SAN FRANCISCO, CA: Alphabet’s YouTube has announced a new product that will allow brands to maximise reach from shorter ads by simplifying inventory, an enhancement of the six-second ‘bumper ads’ and promoted cards introduced two years ago.

The original TrueView was built “on the promise that you’ll only pay when someone chooses to watch your video ad”, prioritised showing audiences videos that would pique their curiosity, and allowed viewers to skip an ad after 5 seconds, billing advertisers for what they agreed a view was worth. According to YouTube’s blog, the product has now been enhanced to allow buying by CPM.

The key difference is that TrueView for reach “brings our popular in-stream format built on user choice together with the simplicity of CPM buying.” As such, the new product is designed to simplify buying, with a view to growing awareness across a broad swath of consumers.

In an internal YouTube study, taken in July 2017, of 84 beta-tested TrueView for reach campaigns, the company found that 90% drove an average lift in ad recall of almost 20%.

In addition, launch partners including Samsung, Pepsi, and Under Armour endorsed the new system, with particular emphasis on “engaged reach.”

“We use TrueView to drive engaged reach,” said Jim Mollica, SVP Digital Marketing and Media at Under Armour. “For us, frequency is the core driver of impact, and bumpers consistently enable this with a high degree of efficiency and proven impact.”

AdAge, meanwhile, likened the product to traditional, linear TV, in that an impression will still cost advertisers even if a viewer presses skip. Of course, AdAge noted that YouTube’s offer is not limited to CPM-based buying, though it echoes criticisms that have dogged both Facebook and Google for some time: that certain metrics go unreported. For instance, the number of people skipping video ads has never been made clear.

TrueView for reach joins TrueView for action, as an extension of the company’s offer, to drive both marketing outcomes and now reach.

“It looks like they made the calculation that with so many people skipping the ads, they'll make more revenue charging on a cost-per-impression basis rather than giving away five seconds of free branding,” said Jim Nail, principal analyst of marketing at Forrester.

Also speaking to AdAge, Jared Belsky, president of 360i suggested that YouTube was trying to present media inventory in a way that marketers understand. Indeed, if reach is the language that brands understand, the offer is working. Quoted on YouTube’s blog, Vanessa Tsangaratos, Digital Marketing Manager at Pepsi France, noted that the new system drove 30% lower CPMs compared to previous campaigns. “This ultimately drove lower average costs on incremental reach points: -46% versus TV on specific target audiences”.

Sourced from YouTube, AdAge; additional content by WARC staff