As YouTube has evolved as a platform, a number of companies have sprung up to help brands navigate what is undoubtedly one of the world’s most fragmented media environments. One such company is OutRigger Media, whose OpenSlate platform helps advertisers connect with the right audiences and target against brand-safe YouTube content and channels. Here Jimmy Butchart Outrigger Media’s Managing Director for EMEA, explains the platform, how brands are faring on YouTube, YouTube’s demographics and brand safety on user-generated content.
Could you explain a little about how advertisers typically use your platform?
Advertisers use Outrigger Media’s OpenSlate data to evaluate and target the most valuable video content for their message. We’ve developed the most comprehensive dataset available about YouTube’s content and audience, so brand advertisers and media agencies are the heaviest users of OpenSlate.
By scoring all ad-supported channels on YouTube for consistency, engagement, influence and momentum we’re able to give each channel a score for quality, a ‘SlateScore’. This helps them to charter the scale of the YouTube video base with an orientation point for quality, which is factored in to their own campaign parameters.
With over one billion lines of data being processed every day the tool has many other user groups including MCNs, publishers, content production teams, PR and social agencies, as well as more traditional consultancy groups.
Are many brands succeeding in building out audiences who actually subscribe to their content? How does the ROI compare with traditional advertising do you think?
There are hundreds of brands doing a good job in building out audiences online, specifically on YouTube. A handful of those brands succeeded in turning viewers of their content in to subscribers of their channel, and therefore their brand.
In terms of the ROI then these brands see a value in this strategy, which is why the volume of activity is increasing, and we’re seeing more and more tailored strategies specific for YouTube from the types of videos posted, creative used, the editing and production values, not to mention the audience development work.
There’s lots of upside potential: the best channels on YouTube convert views to subscribers at a rate of 0.5 percent (or one in every 200 views). Even the most successful brands are not reaching this degree of conversion just yet with their average subscriber signing up at 750 views.
YouTube is well known for being particularly strong when it comes to hitting younger demographics. Are there many examples of channels that are succeeding in hitting older generations?
With more and more content coming on to YouTube there is a marginal shift in the width of demographics available. The core demographic will not change in the medium term with a younger audience being by far the easiest to reach. Some genres that are effective in reaching an older audience include cookery, auto, news and some sports.
I spoke to the board member of a £6 billion plus turnover company recently who just said YouTube is the only place he can keep up with news of his chosen sports team. They obviously weren’t good enough to make the highlights being covered on linear programming schedules! But he confirmed his children don’t watch normal TV, so I think that’s the difference.
Will platforms that make use of user-generated content (UGC) ever be fully brand-safe?
One of the greatest things about YouTube also represents a major challenge for advertisers. It is a platform for sharing content from across the world, and you needn’t be a professional nor have expensive kit to achieve this any more. The barriers to being a publisher have never been lower.
Our approach to brand safety is to expose the most granular and consistent data about who publishes what, for what audience, and let the advertisers make decisions about how to reassemble the media into something that suits their brand. It is not the right environment for every brand, but there are increasingly few marketers who aren’t willing to work through the data and figure this out.