YouTube’s latest venture: holding the hands of advertisers. Even though viewership for online video portals is constantly increasing, advertisers have remained more than a little uneasy about massively increasing their spending for online video ad time, largely because they’re not entirely clear on whether they should just repurpose television advertising or create something different in order to take full advantage of this still-new medium.
Luckily for them, YouTube announced plans to help 100 major advertisers adapt to the possibilities and realities of online video advertising. During an appearance at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity on Thursday, Google’s vice president and global head of content at YouTube, Robert Kyncl, said that “the type of creative experiences and what works well [on YouTube] just can’t be done on television.”
He explained that YouTube can go beyond the 30-second spot, and that the advertisement can be an entire show. “[On television, advertisements] don’t have the creative freedom, can’t have the two-way conversation, and don’t have the sharing [or] amplification effect [content] receives on YouTube,” he said.
Brands taking part in the program include American Express, General Electric, Johnson & Johnson, and PepsiCo. Kyncl said that, in the program, “advertisers will receive the same white glove treatment as top content creators do.”
The intent of the program is to demonstrate the value of YouTube as a venue for advertising, but as Kyncl told the Guardian, it isn’t to suggest that YouTube is simply a replacement for television in that sense. He explained that advertisers working with creative agencies are generally used to doing fewer TV ads at a higher cost.”We’re talking about creating an ongoing conversation with audiences … Not just [TV ads] four times a year,” he said. “Advertisers need to rethink their cost structure, it is practical to produce many more ads through YouTube.” Kyncl stressed that this plan is about working like a content creator and not just an advertiser.
The program launched with a pilot this September, with four advertisers being invited to a week-long retreat and workshop in YouTube’s headquarters in Los Angeles to discuss ways in which they could better take advantage of the Internet and YouTube.
This isn’t the first time that YouTube has reached out to customers like this. In 2007, the company launched a partner program for content creators similar to this new scheme that’s grown into a massively successful undertaking with millions of partners taking advantage. If the advertiser program is as successful, then YouTube and its business partners will likely be very happy.