As one of the most popular websites in the US, YouTube has revolutionized the video sector, growing from a simple source of amusement to a legitimate marketing tool for businesses and diverse initiatives. The platform is now one of Google’s most prominent divisions accounting for significant advertising momentum. 

Capitalizing on the audience shift from traditional television, YouTube represents still untapped marketing opportunities. Related, an increasing number of brands are utilizing Google data to identify and court these audiences, indicating a broad shift that includes an emphasis on reach in addition to advanced targeting. 

A changing audience 

If primetime programs and high-profile sporting events have taught us anything, it’s that, historically, television has been the go-to method for effective advertising scale and reach. Such broadcasts once made the process easy and singular, but today, audiences sit at a crossroads between traditional viewing and on-demand streaming platforms like YouTube embody a new data-driven approach to audience reach: keeping a finger on the pulse of audiences “cutting the cord” on television in favor of digital streaming, rather than perpetually emphasizing those who remain. 

A changing perspective

Prominent brands are beginning to realize that their initial audiences can still be maintained even if they become unreachable via television. In tandem with this revelation, YouTube has started to integrate crucial Neilsen data into its reach planner, adding “apples to apples” insight to its reach performance against that of television. These new developments  have led to a key shift in perspective towards YouTube’s use as a marketing platform: though Google aims to capitalize on the secular trend away from television and address audiences disillusioned by television-based viewing, it also recognizes YouTube as a “television-like” marketing tool, reflecting time-tested buying practices that could aid in attracting “upper funnel, big-brand advertisers.” 

A changing process

While many audiences have embraced platforms like YouTube in lieu of television, others continue to grapple with a variety of perceived issues and drawbacks pertaining to YouTube’s functionality and structure. Brand safety and content quality are just two of several significant focal points being taken into consideration by marketers and viewers alike — factors that may still appear undesirable when compared to seemingly premium, secure television broadcasting. Paired with a general human reluctance to change, the process of winning former television users has remained slow and steady by default, but moving ahead, traditional linear television must also remain proactive and forward-thinking to keep pace with an ever-changing digital marketing landscape. 

Regardless, YouTube’s lasting marketing prominence is owed to increased emphasis on personalized reach, which has expanded beyond broad demographics alone and has focused instead, on behavioral nuances and viewing preferences. Capturing the attention of post-television audiences represents one of many opportunities associated with this new paradigm.