YouTube, the most popular video sharing platform in the world with more than 2 billion users, recently announced the launch of audio ads. The new YouTube audio ads will reach users who are listening to – but not necessarily actively watching – videos. The move could offer brands advertising on YouTube an opportunity to reach users who are adopting new habits and preferences during the pandemic, like using YouTube ambiently. “Audio ads, currently in beta, help you efficiently expand reach and grow brand awareness with audio-based creative and the same measurement, audience and brand safety features as your video campaigns,” said Melissa Hsieh Nikolic, group product manager for YouTube Ads, in a blog post announcing the new YouTube audio ads product.
Why Is YouTube Launching Audio Ads?
Music streaming is at an all time high for YouTube, with Nikolic noting that, “more than 50% of logged-in viewers who consume music content [on YouTube] in a day consume more than 10 minutes of music content.” And, in a year when search has revealed a lot about what people are interested in and the new habits they’ve developed, reporter Matt Southern for Search Engine Journal notes that “57 out of the top 100 [YouTube] searches are music-related.”
The YouTube audio ads offer advertisers a new way to reach consumers on YouTube, while still obtaining the same analytics and campaign support, including targeting options and bidding strategies, as when they run standard YouTube video ads.
Additionally, YouTube is launching dynamic music lineups, described as “dedicated groups of music-focused channels across popular genres such as Latin music, K-pop, hip-hop and Top 100, as well as moods or interests like fitness.” The dynamic music lineups provide targeting opportunities for advertisers across musical genres, whether YouTube “is being watched front and center or playing as the backdrop to daily life.”
Will YouTube Audio Ads Have Images?
Yes, YouTube audio ads will include images. YouTube is a video platform, and even when people are listening to playlists and not watching the screen, there are always videos playing. The new YouTube audio ads will have still images or creative with simple animation to accompany the audio.
Will YouTube Audio Ads Be Effective?
Although YouTube audio ads are still in testing, it appears they will be effective for advertisers — at least for brand awareness campaigns. In fact, 75% of advertisers testing audio ad campaigns on YouTube reported upticks in brand awareness and, according to Anthony Ha at TechCrunch, a “Shutterfly ad resulted in a 14% lift in ad recall and a 2% increase in favorability in its target audience.”
Advertisers already leveraging audio ads for podcasts and streaming music apps like Spotify are likely to be some of the early testers of YouTube audio ads. However, with more and more users turning to online platforms for everything from music to shopping, all advertisers should be willing to try new digital advertising strategies that help place messages in front of their target audiences when their audiences are ready to take action.
“Regardless of when and how people are tuning in, we have ways to help advertisers connect, even when they’re consuming music in the background. Now you can complement the moments your consumers are watching, by engaging them in moments when they’re listening,” said Lyor Cohen, global head of music at YouTube.
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