How to perfect targeting with YouTube contextual video ads

In an industry where change is the only constant, one strategy has stuck: contextual targeting. Why? Because reaching people during moments of intent can be incredibly powerful. Combine this with ever-evolving industry regulations, and contextual targeting becomes more than just better ROI, it can also make life a little easier for marketers.

That’s why I’m so optimistic about contextual strategies. Contextual advertising, when executed correctly, has shown results that can far outperform audience-based buying, and is ripe for reconsideration. But of course, it all starts with having the right tools in your marketing toolbox to identify the most effective videos to place your ad against.

One of the biggest challenges with contextual advertising has always been having enough granular signals to really identify, understand, and separate the appropriate videos from the inappropriate ones. No one wants their contextual advertising campaigns to appear alongside mislabeled segments, misaligned audiences, or inappropriate content, which can result in negative ROI or worse, reputation damage.

The easiest way to solve this has always been to implement blocking at the channel or segment level on all content, but blocking entire swaths of supply can have equally adverse effects on your campaigns. Unfortunately, the tools that exist today for marketers to properly manage context may lack certain capabilities to manage this efficiently. For example, how can you use technology to identify inappropriate videos within a segment or channel and block them while still delivering desirable content within that same segment or channel? The answer is control at the individual video level.

Video ID Check

Consider a news channel on YouTube. You may not want your ads to appear alongside topics like war, famine, pestilence, and death (to name a few). But you also don’t want to block an entire channel because only some of its content may include these topics.

Or say you sell sports gear and want to target popular sports and entertainment influencers, but then some individual videos from your chosen influencers use overly salty language that violates your brand guidelines. What is your job? Block channels completely? If you do that, you’ll miss out on potentially valuable eyeballs and miss out on the other highly desired, brand-safe content on those channels.

We also know of specific creators who are hugely popular but sometimes produce objectionable content. The traditional approach to preventing this content would be to block the entire creator channel, but if you can drill down to the specific video ID, you can still run the proper and safe videos and remove delivery on the rest. The aforementioned “hard-hitting blockade tactics,” which have been logistically necessary for some campaigns, may be overkill.

It’s not really that much different from running a search campaign, where you have the syntax and keywords that make sense for a brand. Just like that, we can segment and chop hundreds of thousands of videos that make sense instead of bundling channels and creators together that might not.

Next generation contextual intelligence

When we launched GP’s next-generation contextual intelligence platform, we built it with video identification level controls for YouTube in mind, rather than using a more general signal for channel identification. This provides marketers with tools to take a more surgical approach to targeting and blocking strategies. I am pleased to say that the results have been encouraging.

We ran a three-month YouTube marketing campaign on behalf of a beauty brand partner using our video ID checks and A/B testing against traditional affinity targeting tools available to them . Precisely placed ads on well-targeted videos outperformed traditional affinity methods three and a half times when measuring user engagement. In addition, the average number of pages consumed on the brand website increased more than 12 times and had a 9% lower bounce rate.


GP also delivered a vast majority of the budget in contextually relevant categories compared to when the campaign was targeting natively available affinity segments.


This A/B test also showed us that without GP’s video identification controls, only 15% of ads were delivered in aligned content compared to when GP tools were enabled, and our client achieved 95% delivery. % in aligned content (related to beauty/skincare). .


The main takeaways are the increase in user engagement metrics, as well as the quality/fitness of the brand and the relevant nature of the videos the media delivered.

Cutting through the noise

Video ID level targeting can also be beneficial in any online video campaign, whether on YouTube, CTV/OTT and/or within other walled gardens. Our goal has been to simplify the process for marketers, making it easy for them to cut through the noise, focus on what’s needed, and block out the rest. All to increase your ability to meet increasingly stringent KPIs.

Marketers also care about having completely cookie-independent contextual targeting solutions (which will probably, maybe, go away… at some point…), and that can avoid tedious and ever-changing regulations on user targeting. . So, in addition to enjoying more impactful and measurable results from your target audience, contextual targeting provides an elegant strategy to protect yourself not only from existing industry challenges, but also for the future against any new developments that may creep in around you. to user orientation, privacy, or anything else. to come.

And we know it will, so it’s best to get ahead of the game now.

Click here to learn more benefits of contextual targeting at the video ID level.

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