While Cannes 18 wrapped a few weeks ago, it’s worth taking a look back at some of the things announced and discussed.
YouTube dropped the biggest announcements for video marketers, announcing YouTube Creative Suite, a collection of tools that help brands tell stories on the platform, test variations of creative assets, and measure the impact.
While marketers know they should be A/B testing their creative assets and messages, time and money constraints don’t make that possible for every team. YouTube Creative Suite aims to make testing more affordable. The new head-to-head testing tools in AdWords allow marketers to measure the impact of creatives on awareness, purchase intent, and consideration. This testing is available for no cost beyond the ad investment itself, and delivers results in three days. It’s launching in beta.
YouTube makes report generation more useful for AdWords customers with the launch of Video Creative Analytics. This brings audience segmentation to retention reports so marketers can see how different creative assets captures the attention of different groups.
Finally, YouTube Director Mix (launching in alpha) lets marketers create video ads with swappable elements—such as text, images, sounds, and videos—so they can create custom videos on-the-fly for different audiences. It has the potential of bringing deeper engagement, awareness, and consideration to ads, YouTube says.
YouTube offered a few updated stats at Cannes 18, saying the platform now has over 1.9 billion monthly logged-in users, and delivers over 180 million hours of video to TV screens every day.
“What is (and has always been) special about YouTube isn’t just the numbers, it’s our engagement. It’s not a one-way broadcast, but a two-way conversation. And YouTube’s community is also shaping and creating culture by creating amazing, original content,” said Debbie Weinstein, vice president of YouTube Global Solutions, at a Cannes 18 press breakfast. “One of the things I am most excited about is seeing how YouTube is reinventing video. We’ll continue innovating across our experiences and pushing the boundaries of video. A big bet for YouTube in 2018 is improving the reporting, insights, and guidance YouTube provides on video creative.”
Oath was on hand to take the pulse of the industry, and it found brand safety a major concern—no matter what some major players (see above) have done to calm the issue.
“Whether you’re in the French Riviera or on Madison Avenue, brand safety is still the big, burning issue among advertisers,” says Jeff Lucas, head of Americas sales and global teams for Oath. “In fact, we polled more than 300 digital ad execs heading into Cannes to get their take on brand safety and nearly 60 percent said that they’re more worried about it this year than last year. Improvements are happening—particularly among ad tech vendors—but marketers are still being burned by social media platforms. As a result, a lot of brands at Cannes are talking about shifting their spend to more premium and controlled media environments. I expect that trend to continue over the next 12 months.”
Shots fired! Will brand safety concerns continue to flare up in the back half of 2018? It’s the big wedge issue publishers use to pry advertisers away from YouTube. While YouTube would love to change the conversation, many brands will need a little more assurance before they move ahead.