My name is Hannah, and I’m a YouTube addict. You will find me up into the wee hours searching for old 80’s music videos and ‘how to’ videos of cutting hair at home…. and, more amusingly, how not to!

When YouTube told us about their virtual ‘Festival’, my hand went straight up and I dusted off my wellies and dug out my waterproofs. The YouTube ‘Festival’ was an interactive digital-first festival experience which took attendees into a virtual world of various YouTube Execs and Creators including Jamal Edwards, Patricia Bright, Gordon Ramsay and Joe Wicks.

As I virtually waded through the mud towards the various stages, I wondered what YouTube could tell us that we didn’t already know? Quite a lot it seems!

During lockdown, the term ‘beginner’ has been searched for over 3 billion times. From how to raise chickens to how to bake banana bread (please, no more banana bread), people are continually seeking solace and inspiration from YouTube. It has brought people together in the toughest of times. When we couldn’t go out, it brought the outside in. We’ve all enjoyed quizzing, choirs and musical performances… Joe Wicks getting the Nation up and at ‘em every morning and a whole load more virtual, and sometimes very inventive, storytelling from around the world.

So whilst I trudge off to the trends stage to watch Gordon Ramsay curse at a bowl of hot wings, I’ll hand you over to Ewan, Senior PPC Specialist, who can fill you in on how YouTube is adapting and changing with the support of brands and agencies – and what more it can offer in partnership with our clients.

Thanks Hannah!

Working within paid search, you can’t escape how prominent YouTube is in 2020. Attendees at the festival learned that YouTube reaches 96% of online adults every month, with viewership not only coming from laptops and mobile devices but now also from TVs. The growth in popularity of smart TVs and media players such as Google Chromecast and Amazon Fire TV has resulted in 20 million people in the UK watching YouTube on their televisions every month.

But what is reach without value? The festival pointed out that 51% of viewers said they bought something from a brand after seeing it on YouTube, showing the lead generating capabilities this platform has. It also improves paid search performance. YouTube told us that running video advertising alongside search can result in 8% higher search conversion volumes. These figures show that YouTube must be considered a key component of any marketing strategy.

YouTube is also making sure that advertisers are only appearing on appropriate content. IPG Media Brands recognised YouTube as the safest social brand in their media responsibility audit. In an era where misinformation can unfortunately gain prominence, YouTube is proactively evolving their policies. They were keen to stress the importance of brand safety at the festival, and how content that falls short of their guidelines is actively removed.

What of the future? YouTube used the festival to discuss the recently launched YouTube Select. This is a programme allowing brands to reach their audiences through curated content packages created from the most extensive video library in the world. This goes beyond broad categories like ‘sport’ or ‘music’ (though those are still available) to focusing on content streaming specific to TVs, more niche topics like ‘hairstyle tutorials’ as well as across apps like YouTube Kids and YouTube Music. It comes with both machine and human verification to make sure ads are appearing on only the safest brand content. YouTube Select is an impressive offering, driving an average purchase intent lift of 9% in 2019.

Thank you to YouTube for helping us learn, laugh and connect in 2020 – please get in touch with a friendly member of the Space & Time PPC team for more information.

Hannah Levick, Media Manager and Ewan Maynard, Senior PPC Specialist