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Google announced this week it is bringing ad extensions – similar to those that appear in search ads – to YouTube ads.

The new extensions expand the capabilities of traditional ads by offering unique call-to-actions or additional information for users.

Specifically, the new YouTube ad extensions allow advertisers to include directions to brick-and-mortar store locations, show lead generation forms, or use a number of CTAs that better fit your niche.

Currently, the extensions are only available for TrueView in-stream or non-skippable video ads, though the company says it will be expanding the feature to 6-second bumper ads later this year.

Google is already exploring ways to bring more ad extensions for YouTube’s TrueView ads, and will continue to do so in the future.

For example, the company is already beta testing sitelink ad extensions which would add a series of relevant links underneath a video ad.

In the announcement, Google says the new features are aimed at driving more clicks and conversions. In a beta test with 30 advertisers, extensions like sitelinks increased conversions by more than 20% and doubled the number of clicks.

App ads on Google’s ad network will soon be eligible to appear in some very high-profile places as the ad platform is expanding app ads to both Google’s Discover feed and within YouTube apps. 

Currently, app ads are shown across a wide variety of apps in Google’s display network, as well as the Play Store, Google search results, and in select areas of YouTube. 

With the latest announcement, however, these ads will soon be appearing in a few more areas which could be highly rewarding to advertisers. 

Google Discover

 

Starting this week, app campaigns running in the US will automatically be eligible to appear within users’ Discover feeds when they are identified as being potentially interested in your app. 

Currently, Google says the Discover feed (formerly known as just the Google Feed) connects more than 800 million people with targeted content every month. 

Over the next few months, similar ads within the Discover feed will also be available to those in Malaysia, South Africa, India, Pakistan, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and Indonesia. The company also said it hopes to make the app ads available to all markets before the end of the year. 

YouTube 

In the same announcement, Google revealed that app ads are now eligible to appear at the top of search results from YouTube’s mobile app. Within the next month, app ads will also start appearing as in-stream video ads while viewing other YouTube videos 

Along with these announcements, Google says it is exploring the possibility of allowing ads to also display ads while loading content for users:

“Our new app open ad format allows you to show ads to your users as they wait for your app to load. Designed to seamlessly integrate with your app’s branding, this format gives you new ways to earn revenue while creating a good user experience. Reach out to your account manager to get started with this format in alpha.”

This week Google held its annual Marketing Live event to reveal the latest innovations in online advertising, and the latest ad units aim to provide a more consistent experience across all of Google’s advertising platforms while also introducing new ways to advertise across the web.

The new ad units, including Discovery ads, Gallery ads, and Showcase Shopping ads, are all highly visual and highly automated, relying on the same automation model as Universal App Campaigns.

Here’s what you need to know about all the newest ways to advertise with Google:

Discovery Ads

Google has used the “Discovery” section of its platform to highlight content and sites it feels may be relevant to your interests. Now, brands and websites can also target this section with ads in the Discovery area, visible under the search box in the Google mobile app, in Gmail under the social promotions tabs, and in the YouTube home feed.

As Google VP of Product Management Brad Bender explained during the Marketing Live event, Discovery ads are intended to be “visually rich, mobile first, and use the ‘power of intent’”, meaning the ad service relies strongly on signals from users like past site visits, app downloads, or video views.

The company says the Discovery feed now reaches more than 800 million users around the world, making this a highly attractive area to target with ads.

Gallery Ads

Another new format introduced at the Marketing Live event is Gallery ads, which present a carousel of swipeable images at the top of mobile search results. The carousel includes between four to eight images, with up to 70 characters of copy possible for each image.

Notably, this changes the way Google charges for ads. Gallery ads are paid for on a CPC basis, which means you are charged if someone clicks on the ad. However, Google also tracks how far a person swipes through the carousel. When they wipe past the third image in the sequence, that also counts as a “click” or form of engagement. This means that you may be paying for ad interactions that do not include an actual click or landing page visit.

In testing, the search engine says Gallery ads saw “25% more interactions” compared to other search ad formats. Though, it is unclear how the actual CTR of these ads stacks up.

Increased Visibility for Showcase Shopping Ads

Showcase Shopping ads have been around since 2016 as a way for retailers to highlight a curated list of products in non-branded searches (which Google says accounts for 40% of queries).

Now Google is expanding these ads to a variety of new areas of the platform, including Google Images, the Discover feed, and the YouTube feed.

The ads include a large main image, as well as smaller images. When clicked these ads expand to showcase a variety of relevant products from the retailer, and may include other information such as store locations or in-store availability.

YouTubeAds

Finding the right length for video ads can be a tricky balancing act. Too short and you can’t get your message across. Too long and you annoy or lose your viewers’ interest. Apparently, 30-second ads fail this tightrope walk, as YouTube has officially announced it will be doing away with 30-second unskippable ads starting next year.

In place of these ads, Google says it will focus on more interactive or user-based advertising.

“We’re committed to providing a better ads experience for users online. As part of that, we’ve decided to stop supporting 30-second unskippable ads as of 2018 and focus instead on formats that work well for both users and advertisers,” a YouTube spokesperson told AdWeek via email.

Of course, this doesn’t mean YouTube is ridding itself of all unskippable ads. The platform will still sell 15-second and 20-second ads that don’t give viewers the option to skip to their content. Additionally, viewers are likely to see an influx of six-second “bumper ads” instead of full-length ads that you can skip after five seconds.

Ultimately, 30-second unskippable ads lose too many viewers along the way. Some get distracted during the interval, while others entirely refuse to wait that long for their content. There is still plenty of time to make use of any ad campaigns you’ve been planning, but the decision to move away from this ad format underscores the ineffective nature of the format.

The Super Bowl is advertising’s biggest day of the year with brands spending millions to get their products in the spotlight. Many tune in just to enjoy the biggest ads of the year and this year commercials gave audiences a fair share of laughs, pangs of nostalgia, and surprises – though maybe not anything as shocking as the Patriot’s comeback.

Of course, these days you don’t have to sit through the big-game (and insanely long pre-show) to see the ads. Several advertisers shared their campaigns early on YouTube, and the others were uploaded as they aired for you to watch and re-watch.

To make sure you catch the best and biggest ads of this year’s Super Bowl, I collected five of the most unforgettable commercials you’re likely to hear people talking about:

Snickers Live Commercial

https://youtu.be/_9M_wQDTTdk

Most brands spend weeks shooting and editing their commercials ahead of the game to make sure everything is absolutely perfect. Snickers took a different route this year with a live commercial starring Adam Driver which ends in a (perfectly orchestrated) catastrophe. It’s a novel twist on the typical Super Bowl ad in a way that perfectly ties into the message, and I predict other brands may follow their lead in the future.

Avocados From Mexico

https://youtu.be/VneoEvAJX0g

Comedy in Super Bowl ads usually boils down to celebrities doing zany things (and yes, we will get to one of those soon). But, the funniest ad in this year’s game is almost entirely celebrity free – aside from SNL’s Jon Lovitz, if you consider him a celebrity.

Instead, it sets up a simple premise of a secret society gathering to discuss their recent leaks, including all the most well-known conspiracy theories. Even better, the brand took a risk and slipped in a “Deflategate” joke knowing there was a good chance the Patriots would make it to the Super Bowl – and it payed off beautifully.

T-Mobile – #NSFWireless

https://youtu.be/pNCG9fHGXB0

T-Mobile went with the “celebrities doing zany things” angle this year, with mixed results. While the dancing Justin Bieber ads were eye-rollingly awkward, two hilarious commercials starring comedian and actress Kristen Schaal more than make up for their missteps.

Schaal, playing a Verizon customer addicted to being treated poorly by her service provider, perfectly sells the message that only a masochist would enjoy the customer experience of T-Mobile’s competitors.

It’s a 10 – Four Years

Perhaps unsurprisingly, politics also played a major role in ad campaigns from several advertisers including Budweiser and Audi. While those ads were beautiful, my favorite political ad of the night took a lighter tone. Opening with “America, we are in for at least four years of awful hair,” It’s a 10 urges viewers to “do your part by making up for it with great hair.”

Understated and smart, the brand left a mark on their night with a truly bipartisan message urging everyone to take pride in their hair.

Tide Cleans Terry Bradshaw’s Shirt

https://youtu.be/jF3otdfvSBQ

Terry Bradshaw and Tide teamed up last night to tear down the walls between reality and advertisements like never seen before. Many viewers noted that Bradshaw returned from commercial in the second quarter with a conspicuously large stain on his shirt, which prompted mass ridicule on social media.

But, the joke was on us. Bradshaw’s stain was setting up a Tide ad telling an epic journey from the broadcasting booth to actor Jeffrey Tambor’s house to clean out the stain and do some quiet sitting in front of the TV. The ending is enjoyable enough on its own, but the creative breaking of the fourth wall makes Tide’s campaign a standout ad of the night.

YouTube Ads

YouTube may be one of Google’s largest platforms, but it gets treated a bit like the black sheep when it comes to Google’s ad services. Targeting has been limited compared to typical AdWords options, and ad options have been built around desktop functionality first.

This is all starting to change, as Google says it is rolling out several updates aimed to make advertising on YouTube better on both mobile and desktop. The announcement also mentioned that over 50% of YouTube videos are now happening on mobile, which likely motivated the change in how they think about ads on the platform.

Target Advertising

Google is now allowing YouTube ads to utilize information associated with users’ Google accounts like their search history, demographic information, and whether the viewer has engaged with an advertiser in the past to better target who sees your ad.

More Focus on Mobile

In response to the increasingly mobile viewership of YouTube, Google is shifting away from a desktop-first mindset. To do this, they are moving from using cookies and pixels because they were not designed for targeting users on YouTube’s mobile, TV, and set-top box apps. The hope is to make tracking and ad functionality more accurate across all devices.

Better Control of What Ads You See

Not all of the new changes are limited to advertisers. Google is also introducing the option for users to device what ads they see on both Google and YouTube from one location. For example, if a user mutes a specific advertiser in Search, the advertiser will also be muted for the user when they watch videos on YouTube.

 OnlineVideo

Advertisers are seeing more value in online video ads than traditional TV advertising, according to the Interactive Advertising Bureaus’ third annual Video Ad Spend study.

The annual survey asks 360 marketing and media buying professionals about their past ad spend habits and how they plan to spend their ad budgets in the next year. The takeaway from this year’s findings is that advertisers are moving away from traditional advertising channels in order to reach the more diverse audience online.

“Marketers and agencies are telling us they clearly see great value in original digital video programming,” said Anna Bager, svp and general manager of mobile and video at IAB.

The majority of advertisers surveyed by IAB (72%) said they plan to move advertising spending away from TV ads in favor of focusing on improving and sharing digital ads in the next year.

Out of those advertisers who said they intend to increase their digital video spending, 41% said they plan to pull from cable TV advertising. Similarly, 47% of these advertisers plan to pull from broadcast TB spending.

Some advertisers said they would also pull from non-video ads online (30%), advanced-interactive TV (30%), and mobile video ads (28%).

Most tellingly, more than two-thirds of advertisers and marketers (68%) said they believe original digital video will be as, if not more, important than, original TV programming within three to five years.

The study also found that advertisers and media buyers have increased their overall investments in digital video by more than 114 percent over the past two years, averaging more than $10 million annually spent on digital video.

YouTubeRed

YouTube has long been a favorite platform for online video advertisers, thanks to its full-featured and highly effective ad service. However, that might be changing in the near future.

YouTube has announced it will be launching an ad-free subscription service starting on October 28th, in order to meet the demands of users.

The new service, YouTube Red, claims to give users “exactly what they want” by providing ad-free and offline viewing capabilities.

If you absolutely can’t stand ads, you can get rid of them entirely by subscribing for the cost of $9.99 a month.

Thankfully, you aren’t just paying that much for removing ads from your cat videos. YouTube Red will also contain original content from some of YouTube’s biggest names such as PewDiePie and College Humor, launching in 2016.

Starting October 28th, anyone in the US can sign up for a free one-month trial of the service, which will be available for mobile and desktop. The company says it will be expanding to other companies before long.

It is unclear exactly how this will affect advertising earnings and YouTube has not said if there will be revenue sharing amongst publishers. However, if YouTube Red catches on it be the final push to make some video advertisers finally turn to Facebook’s video platform.

Google has made a big deal about its ability to prevent advertisers from paying for ads that aren’t seen by real human eyes, including on YouTube’s ad network, but a new study by a team of European researchers suggests something is amiss. According to their findings, advertisers are still being forced to pay for ads despite YouTube’s systems flagging the view as “suspicious” or fraudulently coming from a bot rather than a human.

The experiment from researchers at NEC Labs Europe, UC3m, Imdea, and Polito, was conducted in three stages. First the researchers uploaded videos to YouTbe and set up an AdSense account to monetize them. Then, the team set up AdWords accounts to run ads against the video, before creating and deploying bots designed to specifically view the videos with the ads.

While the researchers concluded that “among the studied online video portals, YouTube is the only one implementing a sufficiently discriminative fake view detection mechanism,” they also found “that YouTube only applies this mechanism to discount fake views from the public view counter and not from the monetized view counter.”

That means that YouTube filters out views it deems as fraudulent for the public view counter, but they are still charging advertisers for those views.

Throughout their experiment, the group observed the number of monetized views was consistently larger than the number of counter views and came to the realization that “views considered suspicious are removed from the public view counter, but monetized.”

public-viewcounter-v-monetized-youtube-dailymotion-e1443113264182-800x372

This isn’t the first time Google has been accused of charging for fraudulent clicks. When similar situations were brought up with YouTube, the company said the discrepancies are likely due to users watching the video ad, but not the video itself. That would lead to the view to be monetized but not included in the public counter.

However, the researchers say that cannot be what happened here because the bot was designed to “view” both the ads and the accompanying video all the way through.

The team also took the fact that YouTube performs part of its view validation after the fact into consideration, however after six months the team saw no compensation adjustments. That happened even after YouTube suspended the AdSense account due to the bots’ suspicious activity.

The team also found YouTube is vulnerable to relatively simple attacks. They say they have given their findings to Google and will continue to refine the tools used for the study and potentially make them widely available.

A Google spokesperson said, “We’re contacting the researchers to discuss their findings further. We take invalid traffic very seriously and have invested significantly in the technology and team that keep this out of our systems. The vast majority of invalid traffic is filtered from our systems before advertisers are ever charged.”

YouTubesThe Financial Times is reporting that YouTube will begin allowing third-party verification of ad viewability by the end of the year following major pushback from major advertisers.

Until now advertisers have had to rely fully on YouTube’s viewership metrics to gauge how their ad efforts are working, but third-party authentication could potentially provide a less biased and full understanding of how your ads are being viewed and it may even help finally settle the dispute between which video platform is more popular.

The report claims Unilever and Kellogg’s are the key instigators for a move to enable independent viewability measurement. Kellogg’s is especially notable as it has even stopped its ad buys on YouTube due to lack of third-party verification.

Google does allow advertisers to buy ads on a viewable impression basis, but the verification is reliant on the company’s own Active View measurement tool.

Using its own measurement tools, Google has boasted of incredibly high viewability rates. In one study this year, Google said 91 percent of ads served on YouTube were found to be viewable using Active View.

Google declined to comment specifically, but told The Financial Times, “We’re committed to meeting all of our clients’ measurement needs” and “are taking our clients’ feedback into account as we continue to roll out new solutions”.