Google Preferred is no longer preferred by Google. Starting with this year’s upfront, the company is giving advertisers a new way to reach consumers of its most popular videos in the United States and around the world: YouTube Select.
The new product, announced today by YouTube, also includes connected TV usage for the first time.
The company will pitch YouTube Select to advertisers during its annual Brandcast presentation on June 25 as part of the IAB’s Digital Content NewFronts, which were postponed nearly two months due to the pandemic.
YouTube Select replaces Google Preferred, which debuted at NewFronts in 2014 and first gave advertisers the ability to target the top 5% most popular videos in certain categories like entertainment and food. While Google Preferred was only available in select markets, including the U.S. and Canada, YouTube Select will be global, tailored to each individual market in which YouTube advertising is available.
In the U.S., YouTube is honing in on its connected TV successes with the new offering. YouTube Select adds a package of the most popular content on YouTube and YouTube TV that is streamed to TVs via connected TV devices—representing an audience of about 100 million every month, according to the company.
This will help YouTube monetize the spike in connected TV usage of YouTube and YouTube TV during the pandemic: U.S. watch time increased 80% in March compared to a year prior, according to Google, while watch time on casting devices rose 75% in the same period.
“Around the world, people are turning more and more to YouTube on the biggest screen in their home,” Vishal Sharma, vp of product management at YouTube Ads Link, wrote today in a blog post. “This shift in viewing behavior means lineups contain more TV screen inventory than ever before.”
Like Google Preferred, YouTube Select allows U.S. advertisers to choose from the following video categories: entertainment and pop culture; music; sports; food and recipes; beauty, fashion and lifestyle; comedy; Spanish language; technology; gaming; and science and education.
YouTube said it is offering “expanded supply” by adding what it calls emerging lineups—featuring “brand-safe, up-and-coming or niche creators”—for YouTube Sports and YouTube Music. The company is also promising “greater flexibility” in its negotiations with upfront advertisers during the pandemic, including with “deal timing,” given that this year’s upfront marketplace will operate on a staggered schedule.
The company recently expanded its Brand Lift measurement feature and introduced skippable ads for connected TV devices, fast-tracking those features in response to the surge in streaming during Covid-19.