The Wall Street Journal’s Emily Steel wrote a piece last week about YouTube’s efforts to commercialize itself. Steel titled it “walking the tight rope.” The article includes a Q&A with Suzie Reider, YouTube’s first chief marketing officer. Reider is rapidly expanding her advertising sales and marketing teams, as evidenced by YouTube’s own “we’re hiring” ads on its site. Here’s the article, but since it’s subscription only I’ve excerpted a small piece (click “more” below).
Now some thoughts about the commercialization, and what it means to media reprensatives, advertisers, and agencies. There’s another tightrope YouTube will have to walk besides the marketing vs. community one.
- Here’s a little-known secret about YouTube. The hardcore visitors don’t live on the homepage. And a very, very small percentage of users view the new “participatory video ad” that is featured in the homepage’s top right corner. In fact, as of this writing there is no ad today.
- This means advertisers need to get more creative about how they approach YouTube, and think about that channel quite differently then they approach display advertising or search-engine marketing. To be seen by the bulk of viewers you have to embed yourself into the hundreds of little pockets that exist.
- Here’s where it gets interesting. What’s the role of the YouTube advertising team versus the agencies? In the perfect world, it’s a partnership. But that takes time to sort out. And some of the legacy advertising deals have been managed primarily between the interactive brand manager and YouTube (without an agency running point).
- By example, Google has begun to figure this out by walking that fine line between direct selling (to marketing teams) and agency selling.
In fact they have different advertising representatives calling on each. REVISION 1/25: Google does NOT have different teams selling into direct marketers and agencies- it’s the same team. They do have agency team, but it’s not focused on selling, but rather on overall relationships.
- Google’s advertising strength is, in my opinion, primarily attributed to it hiring really good account people and focusing them on verticals. When I deal with Google I know they’ll know the nuances of my category and that’s not true for many media properties (as such I relegate those to the agencies).
- YouTube is clear that its ad representatives will fly solo without the Googlers. Since Google’s advertising team already has embedded relationships, will those account executives be compensated for pointing their clients (who primarily buy paid search) to YouTube’s offerings? They’re already expanding their sales offering to include video, remember. Google has pre/post rolls (but of course that’s a different beast).
- With some exceptions, I wouldn’t count on a traditional agency (with our without a digital divisoin) to figure out YouTube unless they’d done some work to prove they understand it. So the YouTube ad team will play an important role to ensure that the users and the advertisers are satisfied. Not an easy balance, and we’ll see some grand success and failures in the next months.
- Behind the scenes, there will be some interesting turf wars between YouTube’s advertising team, Google’s advertising team, and the media-buying agencies. None will want to take a back seat, and all will want to run alpha.
- Marketers will decide who they want to deal with primarily based on a) relationship, b) which one understands their brand and c) who can relate YouTube’s offering accordingly. And whoever’s coolest.
As a seasoned interactive-agency salesguy told me once: “People buy from people cooler than them.”
The video-sharing site, which helped spark the online video craze of the past year, has in recent months been making a serious effort to cash in on its popularity.
YouTube hired its first chief marketing officer, Suzie Reider. Since then, her rapidly expanding advertising sales and marketing teams have been trying to figure out how to seamlessly blend marketing into YouTube’s offerings.
“This type of audience that YouTube attracts is very, very fickle,” says Chad Stoller, executive director of emerging platforms for Organic, a digital marketing agency owned by Omnicom. “It is very much a ‘What have you done for me lately?’ audience.”
Indeed, even some marketing professionals are starting to say that YouTube’s efforts to build advertising into its system are making the onetime start-up site feel too corporate. “It just feels overwhelming in terms of the marketing presence,” says Greg Verdino, director of emerging channels for digital marketing agency Digitas.