Three weeks after advertising holding company Publicis Groupe
agreed to purchase tens of millions of dollars in YouTube advertising from Google over the next year, the two sides have extended that huge deal to give Google another pivotal foothold in its campaign to capture the advertising dollars that have traditionally been spent on television and other traditional media.
Ad Age’s Alexandra Bruell
reports that Publicis digital agencies DigitasLBi and Razorfish have agreed to purchase more than $US100 million of Google advertising inventory over the next year, not only on Google’s banner and mobile advertising networks, but on sites like Google Plus, Hangouts, and most importantly, YouTube.
In addition to the amount of money involved here, which eclipses that of the earlier Publicis-Google deal we called “Broadcast TV’s Worst Nightmare” when it went down last month, several things stand out about this latest partnership.
For starters, Google has sold the inventory to Publicis at a discount and across several different platforms, tapping into the reserve of display spots Google holds across its properties. This grants Publicis both the scale and the savings offered by television, two of the primary reasons major media buyers are still spending 62% of their budgets on TV, despite mounting evidence that Americans are spending more of their free time online.
In this way, the nature of the deal reflects Google’s desire to make big consumer brands more comfortable spending money on YouTube by making the online video ad-buying process more like the TV buying process those brands are used to. It’s almost like a TV “upfront” deal, in which prices are negotiated in bulk before the campaigns run.
Earlier this week, Google announced it would allow television measurement stalwart Nielsen to place its measurement tags on YouTube. It also hired executive Kirk Perry from the world’s largest advertiser, Procter & Gamble, for a new position created to convince those big brands to spend their money with Google.
But while the deal mimics television’s more convenient purchasing method, it also allows Publicis to take advantage of YouTube’s unique publishing platform and the digital expertise of its agencies Razorfish and DigitasLBi. As part of the purchase, Razorfish and DigitasLBi will work with YouTube to create and distribute standalone branded content, offering Publicis clients access to the vehicle that is YouTube’s clearest advantage over television as a marketing medium.
On television, the best brands can do is purchase what is called a “rented audience.” This happens when a brand like Crest buys an advertising slot on, say, Breaking Bad and presents viewers with an ad they may or may not miss while grabbing a snack. Then the viewer goes back to watching Breaking Bad.
By contrast, sponsored content on YouTube allows brands to own the experience from start to finish, and it offers them a better chance of maintaining a viewer’s attention because the ad itself is the main attraction.
Though there are more artistic constraints on branded content than cable television, videos like Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches have shown the medium can draw TV-sized audiences. Since being posted in April, that video has earned more views — 56 million — than the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad combined. The challenge for Publicis’ digital agencies and Google will be figuring out a way to consistently produce content of that quality.
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