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How we’re enhancing YouTube performance on DV360 with our strategic partnership with Pixability

2020 saw TV consumption skyrocket, especially when it came to OTT and digital video. And YouTube continues to rise as the undisputed leader of digital video content, with over 2 billion logged in monthly users worldwide and around 80% of digital video users visiting YouTube regularly, according to Statista. What may come as a surprise to some, though, is that according to Comscore, YouTube now represents 42% of watch time on Connected TV among ad-supported streaming platforms. For advertisers this means it’s an important ingredient in every CTV strategy.

The power of YouTube

As a marketer, you probably don’t need us to convince you of the power of incorporating YouTube into your strategy. The scale and breadth of addressable users, the level of attention they give while watching niche video content that interests them, and the fact that ads can actually drive users straight to measurable action, is a marketer’s dream. This year, eMarketer predicts a 37% increase in YouTube ad revenues, taking the figure up to $5.56bn.

But the part that can sometimes give advertisers pause, is the thought that a lot of YouTube videos are user-generated, meaning they can be around a variety of topics, some appropriate for advertising – and some not. Add to this the fact that YouTube’s ad platforms aren’t really set up to curate content for a brand or report back on the specific YouTube channels where ads were shown. These are things marketers want and need. If you don’t know which videos your ads are being shown alongside, that creates a huge challenge for making sure your brand is aligned with the context around it.

What does this mean right now?

For a start, no one wants their ad shown alongside the violent, inappropriate, or politically sensitive content that sometimes makes its way onto YouTube – that’s table stakes. This type of content falls below the 4A’s brand safety floor and YouTube already works hard to eliminate this kind of content from its pool of ad-eligible channels – but there are still more considerations for marketers. There may also be times when you need to be responsive to events, avoiding videos and categories that would usually be okay, but for immediate and pressing reasons, are not. Unless you have the insights and the flexibility to control this, there’s the potential for reputational damage. 

At a less sinister level, if your brand campaign for, say, a fast food restaurant, is appearing on health food channels on YouTube, you’re probably not going to get the performance you need. And on the flip side, you would want to make sure that you are running on positive reviews of your restaurant or related channels and videos.

But simplistic brand safety measures like inclusion lists can seriously limit that desirable level of scale that we already mentioned. So how can marketers get the best of both worlds with YouTube, making sure they continue to get great performance balanced with optimal scale, and brand safety?

Our collaboration with Pixability 

We’ve partnered with Pixability to license their BrandShield technology, which does just that – going beyond very simple brand safety controls to provide deep brand suitability at the channel and video level.

As David George, CEO of Pixability, explains, the partnership will bring new value to marketers who want to make the most of YouTube: “MiQ is well known for their programmatic expertise built out of unique data capabilities that drive incredible performance on DV360. Our partnership will allow their partners and clients to leverage BrandShield in conjunction with these abilities, to ensure the best possible brand alignment of campaigns while delivering the best possible campaign performance.”

BrandShield technology uses a massive data set of YouTube and YouTube on TV inventory, scores each video and channel, and categorizes it in alignment with GARM, the 4A’s Brand Safety Floor and IAB content taxonomy, meaning you can get a much richer view and better control of the suitability of content for your campaign.

Our product team has worked with Pixability’s teams to incorporate this data driven brand suitability solution into our managed service offering for YouTube via DV360. Pixability’s team applies BrandShield’s technology to our audience sets to build custom inclusion lists for verticals like QSR, finance, CPG and others. This audience-first brand suitability approach is what drives optimal campaign performance against content on YouTube that aligns with our clients’ goals.

“Pixability brings a level of quality data and data science expertise that is very complimentary to MiQ’s approach in the market,” says Moe Chughtai, Advanced TV Product Lead at MiQ, when asked about the value of the partnership. “It can be difficult for marketers to access audience data to inform their YouTube buys. By focusing not just on brand safety, but also brand suitability, Pixability’s BrandShield product gives MiQ an added layer of insight into content/message fit for a marketer. Moreover, getting access to granular controls to data allows MiQ to marry those insights with our existing Advanced TV and video solution to bring innovative products to market in the future.” 

By collaborating closely with Pixability on data connection to inform activation on YouTube and other TV and digital video formats, we hope to develop further capabilities for clients in the future – so stay tuned.