What Does YouTube’s Ad Team Mean to Google Ad Reps and Digital Agencies?

youtubemarketer.gifThe 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.

14 Replies to “What Does YouTube’s Ad Team Mean to Google Ad Reps and Digital Agencies?”

  1. “The type of audience that YouTube attracts is very, vey fickle” is an understatement, in my opinion, and I think that it’s going to be very difficult for mainstream marketing to find the balance that will draw the attention that they’re seeking.

    Perhaps ad agencies should start “dumbing down” (for lack of a better term), and actually consulting some of the bigger names on sites like YouTube, to get an idea of what formula would work best. Of course, given the fickle nature of the beast, a lot of active users would point fingers, and label those content creators, “sell-outs”, lessening the effectiveness of that form of research. A very sticky situation, indeed.

  2. Google takes a major hit when it sells off YouTube to Trump Enterprises for 50 million plus a percentage of the Brooklyn Bridge in 2008. You heard it here first, folks.

  3. Someone (might have been David Oglvie, I forget….) once said, “people read what they’re interested in, and sometimes it’s advertising.” I may be paraphrasing, but swap out “read” for “watch” and really, how hard should it be? Of course, the agency need to be “cooler” than the client probably adds several layers of BS that just clog up the gears of the “film it, post it, rate it” machine.

  4. It’s a true but a shame that YouTubers would label creators as “selling out.” Since they’re entertaining and not being compensated by the site or viewers, what other choice do they have?

    I do think there’s a fine line between having fun and selling out. For instance, I’ve had a lot of people try to get me to plug their stuff… and I say no. But Mentos did sponsor a couple of my videos. I was pleasantly surprised that there were questions but no “sell out” criticism.

  5. I’m a bit worried about getting sell out criticism for my Mentos video, but only because it relies heavily on drama. It’s supposed to be funny though how dramatic my upcoming video is.

  6. Also, it was impossible to sell out doing the Mentos video since we had so much control. I’ve made money on MetaCafe, but I do not consider it selling out. I made and still make videos completely on terms that I 100% agree with.

  7. Google figured out paid search better than anyone; they realized that it was a direct response vehicle, and that relevancy matter within the ad against the stuff/content that it was based on. They were not the first Overture was the first on the paid search game. Does paid search offer other benefits (e.g. branding) other than direct response…sure but thats not the sweet spot. Google figured it all out; watching others on how they did it and refining it.

    The Billion dollar question is that if YouTube is to be advertiser supported; than what model works and whats their sweet spot.

    Google is betting on Red and Black on the roulette wheel of the Internet with keeping Google Video and YouTube in separate ad models.

  8. Nalts puts Darrin Stevens out of work? Gerital, Lucky Strikes, Sleep Number Bed, All Good to the Last Drop? Back to the future circa 1960, Jack Parr – Youtube Celeb Creative Product Placement Advert. I’d watch the sell out, if they are creative, entertaining, and maybe even informative or non-intrusive. I love the Kia commercials. More reason to watch and if I can rate them and get some hard numbers too… Fill youtube with ads flashing at my brain until I fall into an epileptic fit, like Yahoo does, or force me to watch commercials like CNN or MSNBC does, I’ll find a way to turn them off, leave before they load, or shop and get my news elsewhere.

    The important word in online advertising is trust. Do I trust you enough to buy whatever BRAND you are selling. That’s a steady flow of income. Nalts sold mentos, guess what? I bought some mentos instead of starbursts.

    “People buy from people cooler than them.”
    I have gotten a few surveys and the question that kept coming up was image, how important that was to me. Apparently, it’s an important question in surveys. “How do you like my new Cadillac, does it look good on me?”

    What’s cool is always relative and related to demographics or your target audience.

    Who would you buy Rogain from?
    Who would you buy Condoms from?
    Who would you buy Glasses from?

    A. Renetto
    B. bo3h3m
    C. Nalts

  9. I reckon if the advertising agencies try to reach the YouTube crowd by simply embedding so-called Virals, like they are doing now, they’re gonna come unstuck. We can smell an ersatz viral a mile off. I get emails nearly every day from agency wankers saying “Check out this hot new viral” and mostly I don’t even bother to look anymore – they are just so lame and obviously ads disguised as Vlogs. The smart agencies are gonna start hiring vloggers to do their ads – and that’s only gonna work if we really like the product. Imagine if you had the likes of Emmalina or Blunty3000 or any of the other YouTube “stars” really endorsing the product – it would fly off the shelf. But I don’t know whether this is a vehicle for your heavyweights like Coke etc. It’s more for your funky, new, eco-friendly products. Having said that – have you tried new FIZZER beer? Two pints supplies all your daily B2, B3, B6 and Niacin requirements.

  10. Okay… new rule. If you’re going to say something really insightful like some of these comments above, you gotta give me a way to find your stuff online. It drives me crazy when I can’t find out more about someone that is so knowledgeable about this space!

Comments are closed.