Google Switches On Programmatic For TrueView Video Ads

TrueViewThe rumors were true.

Google’s skippable and click-to-play YouTube ad format TrueView will be available programmatically, the company announced Thursday at the Programmatic I/O conference in San Francisco.

The 5-year-old format, priced on a cost-per-view basis, represents more than 85% of in-stream ads on YouTube, according to Rany Ng, product management director for Google.

TrueView ads are available in two flavors. In-stream ads run before or during a YouTube partner video, and viewers can tune in or opt out after 5 seconds. In-display ads run alongside YouTube videos, in YouTube search results and on targeted sites via Google Display Network.

Until now, TrueView was sold exclusively through AdWords. While the format will still be available through AdWords, YouTube will gradually enable purchasing of TrueView via its demand-side platform (DSP) DoubleClick Bid Manager (DBM), which Ng said will improve serving, trafficking, measuring and reporting across all video campaigns.

“We’re seeing more and more brand interest in programmatic buying, which is why we’ve been investing so heavily in making this platform work for them,” Ng said. She noted that last year’s launch of Google Partner Select, a premium video programmatic marketplace, is growing 35% every month. “We’re also investing significantly in brand measurement, like Active View for viewability.”

Ng said Google has no plans to open up TrueView to other video DSPs beyond DBM at this time. She claimed that TrueView placements are based on proprietary algorithms within its auction system, thus spurring Google’s interest to make these formats more targetable and automated for its buyers.

Google has wrestled with claims that it gives preferred access to its inventory by way of its own ad tech.

Should Google decide to democratize, the demand is certainly there, because advertisers essentially get 5 free seconds of branding should a consumer opt to skip the ad. TrueView’s attractive to brands because, when viewers actively decide to watch the ads, it seemingly signifies a greater level of intent.

One YouTube platform partner said that TrueView has gone gangbusters as more TV buyers shift dollars to programmatic video. “They’re looking at this as a programmatic premium marketplace, and we see a lot more demand coming down the pike,” the source said.

“We definitely get quite a bit of requests for [TrueView, and YouTube is] really the only publisher that can get away with forcing people to pay only when people view,” said Jim Caruso, VP of product strategy for Varick Media, in a recent interview. “We accessed it through AdWords when we ran search, but it was nowhere near the programmatic nature of a standard YouTube buy. It’s definitely something we would hear from clients about accessing programmatically.”

One YouTube ad buyer said Google had been briefing agencies for several months on DBM access to TrueView ads. Though Google didn’t disclose the number of beta testers, it says there are several with plans to expand.

“It’s a big deal because trading desks were [champing at the bit] to access that unit, and it just wasn’t available to them,” said the YouTube platform partner. “When this unfolds, it will be a very big deal, but they’re definitely packaging this as [something] you can get through DBM that you can’t get anywhere else.”

Google is also working to access TV broadcasters directly. Its acquisition of mDialog culminated in a cross-screen forecasting tool launched Monday for media companies.


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