Yesterday, YouTube introduced the new “Spotlight Moments” advertising package, powered by Google AI. This package uses AI to automatically identify popular YouTube videos associated with specific cultural moments, such as Halloween, the Oscars, or sporting events. Advertisers will then be able to run targeted ads across platforms that relate to these specific moments on a branded YouTube channel where videos are compiled into “dynamically updated playlists”.
Targeted attention through tools
YouTube plays a central role in connecting people around the world during cultural highlights and global events. Billions of users use the platform every day to engage with content before, during, and after meaningful moments. Many people like to look behind the scenes, browse highlight reels, and follow fan analyses. A 2023 report from YouTube even shows that over half of respondents prefer watching YouTubers analyze important events rather than watching the events themselves, be it the Oscars or the Grammys.
Last year at Advertising Week in New York, the launch of First Position Moments, formerly known as Moment Blast, was announced. This tool allows advertisers to specifically capture the attention of their target audience in the first few moments of a viewing session. Results from Brand Lift studies show that ads targeted in this way achieved, on average, a 26.96% increase in ad recall. This underlines the effectiveness of targeted approaches in the crucial initial moments of the viewer experience on YouTube.
Spotlight Moments: Culture on YouTube in real time
YouTube also apparently wanted to use advantages like these for themselves and the numerous advertisers on the platform. The marketing agency GroupM is already on board with the new AI-supported offer. It is the first company to give its advertising customers access to Spotlight Moments. “We’re thrilled to partner with Google and offer clients across GroupM first-to-market access to Spotlight Moments,” said Susan Schiekofer, Chief Digital Investment Officer, GroupM US. “This solution optimizes advertisers’ business outcomes and reinforces the dynamic content and cultural tent poles that are at the forefront of their minds.”
Halloween as an example
To reiterate, the AI-powered technology identifies popular YouTube videos that relate to a specific cultural moment. Let’s use Halloween as an example to better illustrate the point. An advertiser wants to increase awareness of their brand during the scary season. Spotlight Moments allows the advertiser to seamlessly serve ads for Halloween-related content on YouTube and curate them into dynamically updated playlists available on the sponsored hub. Brands automatically appear alongside the most relevant and engaging content associated with that moment.
Success with video reach and video view campaigns
The Spotlight Moments product is just one of several AI-driven developments that YouTube has introduced and complements other AI campaigns such as Video Reach and Video View campaigns that also rely on Google AI.
How much has the use of AI already achieved in terms of reach? Google says that advertisers using video reach campaigns with in-stream, in-feed, and YouTube Shorts achieve 54% more reach at a 42% lower CPM compared to in-stream-only campaigns could. In testing, video campaigns launched last month delivered 40% more views and a 30% lower cost per view than in-stream-only campaigns. Meanwhile, video reach campaigns will launch in November.
Google’s look at a “new era” in advertising
While AI is nothing new in the advertising world, Google sees a “new era” dawning. Generative AI advances are set to revolutionize the way ads are sold and placed. Examples include the natural language conversational experience in Google Ads, which helps brands create campaigns, and the automatic generation of search ad assets. Performance Max-AI campaigns use AI to create creative content for ads and integrate ads into the conversational Search Generative Experience (SGE) to query Google’s search engine.