Marketers are spending boatloads on YouTube – to the tune of $15 billion in 2019 ad revenue, which Google shared for the first time last week.
But YouTube can be a black box for data, and buyers want more insights to optimize their spend on the platform.
“The more [data] we can get upfront about the creative and competitive landscape on YouTube, the more efficient we can be, especially when we’ve only got two or three seconds to grab someone’s attention,” said Jeremy Cornfeldt, US CEO of Dentsu-owned performance agency iProspect.
The agency is testing a tool called BrandTrack to analyze and benchmark brand activity by vertical on YouTube. The tool, from brand safety vendor Pixability, came out of beta on Wednesday and is available as an SaaS offering or as part of Pixability’s core video ad software platform.
Brands and buyers can use the dashboard to track channel growth, estimated ad spend by competitor, ad spend by quarter, brand sentiment, top videos by industry, like/dislike ratio, subscriber growth, engagement correlated with time spent and other related brand metrics.
Marketers can choose their own competitive set for analysis or use prepackaged verticalized insights across roughly 25 industries, including beauty, gaming, luxury watches, sports apparel, airlines, snack food bars and QSR.
For spend estimates, Pixability models publicly available data pulled via YouTube’s API, including whether a view is paid or organic and average cost per view. Pixability is a member of the YouTube Measurement Program, which means its data is verified by YouTube.
Getting a sense of competitive spending helps clients gauge their rivals’ weight in the market, Cornfeldt said, and the types of creative and messaging they’re boosting with their ad dollars.
“You’re always limited in how much creative you can produce for testing, so we need to be as effective as possible,” he said.
Say a retailer is going to market with a brand awareness-focused message, but its competitors are going for broke with a down-funnel discount message. Is the discount messaging working? Does a more aggressive sale pitch make sense and over what time frame?
“Flighting, who’s heavying up during certain time periods and why – these are the types of insights that can help us with targeting and messaging; they’re key levers for us,” Cornfeldt said.
But competitive insights are also handy for looking smart in client pitches.
“Every time you go into a pitch, you want to know everything you can about that client: what’s working, what’s not working, things that aren’t in the brief they need to be paying attention to,” Cornfeldt said. “If you can come in armed with that level of intelligence and a point of view, it’s a really big help.”
For the moment, BrandTrack is mainly a planning solution that brands can use to inform their creative strategy, messaging and spend levels.
Next up on the road map, said Jackie Swansburg, the company’s SVP of product, is to connect the tool to Pixability’s buying platform so that advertisers can directly activate their insights on YouTube.