YouTube Will Let Brands Target Top 5 Percent of Its Videos

Johnson & Johnson and Heineken have beta-tested 'Google Preferred'

YouTube is attempting to assuage advertiser concerns about showing up next to poor content by rolling out Google Preferred. The feature allows brands to target pre-roll ads against the top five percent of the most popular content in areas like entertainment and food. 

Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO, unveiled the offering at the beginning of the digital video company's splashy Brandcast, which is part of the Digital Content NewFronts, in New York on Wednesday evening. Later in the event, DigitasLBi was introduced as the initiative's first agency partner, while Johnson & Johnson and Heineken have beta-tested Google Preferred while apparently finding success.

"We’re in the middle of a big revolution with video," Wojcicki proclaimed.

Google COO Margo Georgiadis attempted to entice advertisers in the attendance, riffing on YouTube's abilities to reach millennials. 

"Today's 18-to-34-year-olds, they just live differently," she said. "They've grown up in an always on, connected world. …YouTube is the number one place (they) go to learn about a product or passion that interests them. They're four times more interested in watching ads on YouTube than anywhere else."

Google VP Robert Kyncl said Google Preferred will entail a minimum viewership size guarantee, determined by the brand and the tech giant. Kyncl admitted Google Preferred would be an "incredibly scarce offering," but worth it for big brands that add it to their media mix. The Mountain View, Calif.-based company will partner with comScore and Nielsen to provide numbers for advertisers, and will boast the ability to measure actual interest in brands based on lift in search.

And, the company rolled out a Who’s Who of names in the online video world at the presentation, including fashion YouTube teen star Bethany Mota, SoulPancake’s Shabnam Mogharabi and Vice co-founder Shane Smith. Janelle Monae and Pharell Williams performed their hit songs at the event.

Google also announced that Dreamworks TV, an online branch of animation studio Dreamworks, would roll out on YouTube this summer.