Nadav Shmuel

By Nadav Shmuel

April 10, 2018


We continue our in-depth look at the future of online video advertising by exploring what YouTube has planned for 2018.

Advertisers are increasingly looking to online channels to promote their brands. As a result, online video advertising is now a multi-billion dollar industry. According to eMarketer, online video growth is expected to grow from roughly $13 billion in 2017 to over $22 billion by 2021 in the US alone.

With multiple platforms offering very different customer experiences, marketers have much to consider when planning their advertising campaigns and strategies.

In the second part of our ‘Online video advertising in 2018’ series, we check out what YouTube has planned for 2018.


Despite competitors such as Facebook snapping at their heels with products such as Watch, YouTube is still top of the tree when it comes to online video advertising. The video content giant has over 1.5 billion users, viewing up to a billion hours of video per day.

YouTube also has some other great advantages over Facebook (and many other video advertising services for that matter). With viewability standing at a whopping 94% compared to an industry average of 54%, advertisers can be much more certain that they’re getting value from their ad spend.

Another great advantage for YouTube is their use of skippable ad formats for the bulk of their advertising, such as TrueView. The customer experience is far better for users, and from an advertiser’s perspective it represents excellent value since they only pay for ads if seen completely or if viewers watch for more than 30 seconds.


However, YouTube is not without its problems. Most prominently, there are the brand safety issues that seemed to come in endless waves over 2017 and on into 2018. It began with PewDiePie publishing anti-semitic content into his premium channel.

This was followed by evidence of jihadi videos being monetized and children being exposed to some highly unsavory material. This all led to a boycott of the platform by some major brands.

If YouTube thought their troubles were behind them as they moved into 2018 then they were wrong. Only one week into the New Year and there were further safety issues from Logan Paul, who uploaded a video showing a Japanese suicide victim.

YouTube have responded with a number of initiatives, such as hiring up to 10,000 additional moderators to rate and approve content. However, as the Logan Paul issue demonstrates this doesn’t necessarily solve the issue as the moderators actually approved the suicide video for use on the platform.


Much of the brand safety issues on YouTube stem from a lack of transparency. If brands want to place their ads on the platform they have to use either AdWords or DoubleClick – both of which are owned by Google. This often makes it difficult for brands to place their ads as precisely as they’d like to in order to ensure the contextual relevance and brand safety they require.

Fortunately, Precise.TV are on hand to solve this. We use machine learning to analyze YouTube and ensure that only brand safe and contextually relevant placements are used for brand advertising. This approach can improve performance by up to 110%, while at the same time giving marketers peace of mind over brand safety.


From what we can see, YouTube seems to be making inroads over a number of fronts and they have Facebook, Amazon and traditional TV in their sights.

First, they’re taking on the social media platforms and launching their own take on Stories called “Reels”. While this isn’t an exact copy of Stories, more their own version, it allows creators to make simple updates by shooting a few quick mobile videos of up to 30 seconds each, then adding filters, music, text and more.

And unlike Stories, YouTube creators can make multiple Reels and they won’t expire. The introduction of this feature, if successful, will no doubt encourage more frequent updates by top creators and more frequent visits from fans. In a way, this can start to bring YouTube back towards being a bit more of a social platform than it is today.

The other push that YouTube is making is more towards TV itself. YouTube already gains over 100 million hours of viewing per day in the US.

In reality this isn’t a huge amount compared to linear TV, but it’s growing rapidly. Increasingly, what will drive this growth is the partnerships it’s starting to strike with hardware manufacturers such as Sony, Lenovo and LG to ensure that YouTube is easily accessible from the next generation of TV devices. Not only is this seen as a challenge to TV viewing but also Amazon and their Amazon Show product.

All in all, YouTube will remain a dominant player as we move into 2018 and will continue to make a strong play for TV budgets. At least, so long as they can convince advertisers of their ability to place their ads against content that is not going to risk embarrassment to their brand.

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