The Three Races That Will Determine Advanced TV Domination

CES was full of Advanced TV announcements that do more than hint at the future of advertising. LG’s NEXTGEN TV will not only deliver better picture quality and sound to viewers, it will also bring addressable TV to local station owners and their advertisers. NBC is also planning to appeal to both viewers and advertisers with TV advancement. The network announced that in 2020, they will not only deliver personalized streaming, but unified media buying.

Streaming subscriptions surpassed cable subscriptions in 2019. Global linear advertising revenue declined 4%. In 2020, the media industry will witness further migration of viewers and the ad dollars that follow them. The booming Advanced TV opportunity provides lessons for brands looking to place the right bets.

It’s important for brands to watch not one, but three races taking place in the switch to Advanced TV: the platform race, the content race and the data race.

Platforms, Speed and Scale Win Out

According to TDG, Roku controls half of the streaming box market in the US, with 27 million accounts. That’s almost double that of their next competitor. Several manufacturers now offer affordable TV’s with Roku built in. At CES this week, Roku is hyping their new deals with many other manufacturers who plan to build Roku into their hardware including Walmart and Hitachi.

Old guard companies like AT&T are struggling to stay relevant as Tivo, Amazon and Roku start grabbing cord-cutters and streamers alike. As of January 1, AT&T announced that their streaming app would not be available on Roku, losing them more than 1 million viewers. They plan to announce a new roll-out in February, but they are remiss to keep their Roku lapse going.

Content, Different Profit Models, Attracting Viewers All The Same

The content producer with the best brand recognition is likely Netflix, but that doesn’t mean that the company also has the best revenue model. Hulu, owned by Disney, offers more flexibility; either pay for an ad-free experience, or reduce the monthly fee in exchange for ad-supported content. About 70% of Hulu’s viewers have chosen the ad-supported option, and calls are out for Netflix to introduce an ad-supported model if they expect to grow their viewership as competition heats up. 

Viewers don’t care where content is coming from as long as it holds their interest. Disney+ launched and hit 10 million viewers in one day because they have great content. Their model also relies on merchandise and movies sales.  And while YouTube reportedly surpassed 1 million subscribers to their YouTube TV service last year, viewers are watching 250 million hours of ad-supported content on TV screens every single day. 

These next-generation players take up massive portions of viewer attention, and will attract more advertising dollars as a result.

Data, The Dark Horse Race That Will Determine The Ultimate Leaders

With so much innovation, Nielsen’s viewer panel has a severely limited shelf life. Companies like Samba, Alphonso and TVadSync can track detailed real time viewing for millions of households through partnerships with major Smart TV producers. This level of understanding brings TV data and analytics a lot closer to digital. Until very recently, brands did not have the ability to target their campaigns at a detailed level, or change their media plan in real time. 

Media planners are learning fast, and stealing best practices from digital as they evolve away from linear. For example, the contextual targeting opportunities that YouTube offers brands goes significantly deeper than the standard adjacency planning on linear. Considering that brands have access to search keywords, audio transcripts and viewer habits and they can us. Meanwhile, Walmart owned Vudu produces streaming content that helps the retailer build a data asset that can scale without the need for a major platform partnership similar to Amazon’s already successful content business.

The Hockey Stick Is Happening

Everyone expects continued growth towards Advanced TV, and so brands will need to immerse themselves in the new offerings, testing what works best, while ensuring audience and contextual accuracy. Many companies are working hard to provide this.

NBC announced that they have 300 people working OnePlatform, a combined TV and digital offering that will allow advertisers to plan buy and execute in a single platform.

The Trade Desk just released a study that showed consumers have a cap they are willing to spend on subscriptions, but that they don’t want to see the same ad repeatedly on streaming, and so the company allows advertisers to use a frequency cap to get around this issue.

But, just as quickly as companies provide solutions, changes to the market make it important for brands to adjust. Companies with success across digital and TV have widely different models, from Disney to YouTube to Roku, and all of them are currently working. As 75 years of linear rules get rewritten, now’s the time to test, learn and evolve.

Brand Safety For Brand Advertisers – Why It Matters

Why Does Brand Safety Matter?

Brands want advertise against the right content and make sure that they are brand safe in the process.These rise of user generated content has created a conversation around “brand safety,” the assurance that a brand can show ads safely next to a huge variety of content that is made by all sorts of people about all sorts of things.

Why Did Brand Safety Become Important?

User Generated Content is exploding. On YouTube alone, 1.9 billion people log in monthly to use the platform. Content is uploaded by 50 million creators, including everything from funny cat videos to educational programs to full shows with professional producers and actors. This equates to tens of billions of advertising opportunities across hundreds of content categories. Just thinking about it can make a media planner’s heart quicken with anxiety.

What Is the Definition of Brand Safety?

The IAB defines brand safety as “keeping a brand’s reputation safe when they advertise online.” Generally, this refers to the practice of keeping ads from running next to inappropriate content. According to the IAB, brand safety also describes the practice of providing a safe environment for ad trading. Any company with content has a responsibility to deliver brand safety, keeping brands away from actual “unsafe” content. Content that is unsafe is almost universally agreed upon at a fundamental level. This includes content that incites violence, terrorism, racism and hate speech, sexually explicit and illegal content.

Where Does Brand Safety Apply

Brand safety matters on all content. In particular, brands are interested in brand safe advertising against user generated content. YouTube is an example of a platform with both technology and manual monitoring designed to ensure every element of the platform is truly safe for brands at a massive scale. This includes metadata and content monitoring, comments monitoring and analysis of creators and the patterns around how and when they upload their videos.  These platforms have a legal and ethical obligation to keep brands, and clearly, viewers, safe.

How Does Brand Safety Work?

Brand safety is a fundamental, built-in feature on most content platforms, including YouTube, other social media sites and large advertising exchanges. Brands can rest assured that these big companies have a vested interest in keeping their clients safe, and have stepped up efforts continually to match the pace of growth on their platforms. These large companies are constantly innovating, for example, using artificial intelligence to recognize patterns that indicate misuse of the platform. While new content is added every second, with it a minute chance that something slips through, the chances that a brand falls victim to these small anomalies in incredibly small. 

Brands automatically benefit from the brand safety work by the platforms when they advertise there, without having to pull any additional levers. Advertisers large and small from around the globe confidently show billions of ads every day with total safety.

From Brand Safety to Brand Suitability

Platforms rightfully focus on the eradication of dangerous and ubiquitous brand safety issues that can be managed at scale for all advertisers. The complexity comes in when brands actually want more than that, when they want content to be “suitable” to them specifically. That requires a much more granular focus on the individual creator content itself. Brands benefit most when they own brand suitability, and approach the content as a fundamental driver of their UGC media strategy.

The Trustworthy Accountability Group states “Brand Safety is a component of a larger effort to control ad placement that a few digital advertising Buyers and many Sellers are now starting to label as Brand Suitability.”  Brand suitability is the specific approach to content and context that matters to a particular brand, and only the brand knows what’s best for them. Common standards and other platform-level or industry level solutions simply don’t make any sense in this case because every brand needs something different. An energy drink company, an insurance company, a toy company – each of these brands requires different content and contextual guidelines.

This additional element of brand suitability requires work by the brands and their partners, as it is too custom and unique for a large platform to automate.  Brands will benefit if they expand their view of UGC platforms from a place to target audiences at scale that simply needs to be “safe.” Brands are best off standing adjacent to content that reflects their brand identity and is never damaging in any way to their brand.

Tell Me More: TV Screen Targeting


Our Tell Me More series is designed to break down ad formats and products into bitesize chunks. There’s a growing universe of strategies and tactics and it’s our goal to make that universe a little more comprehensible.

Today we’ll be diving into Google Ads’  TV Screen Targeting!


The TV screen device type within the Google Ads platform is a way for advertisers to target YouTube users that are watching video content on television screens. Google Ads on TV screens are the newest means of targeting device types, joining mobile phones, desktops, and tablets. Setting your campaign’s device type to “TV screen” offers two distinct benefits:

  • Tailor your YouTube ad for TV screens by using a creative that takes advantage of the larger screen real estate.
  • Set device bid adjustments to optimize your ad bidding strategy towards Google Ads on TV screens.


The TV screen device type is for advertisers that want to target the growing number of cord-cutters across the globe. The new device type targets viewers that are watching YouTube on:

  • Streaming devices like Chromecast and Roku
  • Gaming consoles
  • Smart TVs.

Turning on the TV is becoming a popular way to watch YouTube content, and up to 45% of all YouTuber viewership is now done on a TV now.


On average, users watch up to 450 million hours of YouTube content on television screens every day. This is a huge amount of content that, until now, hasn’t been optimized to take full advantage of the way video is consumed.

With the new device type, your YouTube advertising campaign will be prioritized to succeed on television screens. This is an entirely new way to reach your audience, who are already consuming relative content on TVs and will continue to do so into the future.


It’s simple!

  1. Create a YouTube ad that resonates with your audience and is designed for a bigger screen.
  2. When in Google Ads, set your device type to “TV screens”.
  3. Your ad is now fully optimized to reach your audience on television screens!


Yes! While the TV screen device type in Google Ads is a great way to target television viewers, it’s still important to make sure your brand is targeting the right content on TV screens. Channel Factory has been running YouTube advertising campaigns for Fortune 500 brands for over 8 years.

Contact us today to learn more about our services.


Video game content has always been popular on YouTube. From “Let’s Play” gameplay series to E3 presentations to live streaming, there are plenty of ways gaming content is presented.

The looming surge of competitive gaming in esports will only help legitimize the gaming world through valuable exposure, creating an even greater demand for gaming content. Let’s take a look at how gaming content will trend on YouTube heading into the coming years.

Gaming Trends on YouTube

Gaming is already a profitable industry, and it will only continue to grow. According to BestTheNews, the video games market is expected to be worth over $90 billion USD by 2020, up from $78.61 billion in 2017.

The large following that supports the video game industry is heading to YouTube to continue their love of gaming beyond turning on their console. YouTube has the most share of gaming video content viewers, taking up 44% of gaming video content viewers in 2017. There were over 20 million how-to gaming videos in 2017, and more than 40 million hours of gaming unboxing videos watched in 2016.

The stats on YouTube trends in gaming continue to support the platform as the go-to community for gamers:

  • 2 of the top 5 most subscribed YouTube channels are gaming related
  • 56% of gamers say YouTube is where they connect with their gaming community
  • 74% of YouTube gamers watch YouTube videos to get better at games
  • YouTube had an estimated 653 million viewers of content related to gaming videos.

YouTube has already established itself as a premier platform for gaming content, and the industry is just starting to gain traction in the mainstream.

The Future of E-Sports

The most exciting aspect of gaming’s upwards trends on YouTube is the budding potential of esports. Professional gaming is just starting to gain global exposure with influential investors, television deals, and team sponsorships. Activision Blizzard signed a multi-year deal with Walt Disney in July to broadcast Overwatch League tournaments across their multiple networks, including ESPN, Disney XD, and ABC.

The heavy investment in esports will drive the industry’s revenue in the coming years:

  • esports market revenue is estimated to reach $1.65 billion USD in 2021.
  • In 2018, the number of esports enthusiasts is expected to reach 165 million.

So what does all this mean for your YouTube advertising strategy? First, YouTube is already a go-to platform for esports content and professional gamer personalities. Don’t be surprised if YouTube starts inking deals to live stream tournaments. In fact, YouTube signed a deal with Faceit last year to stream their tournaments.

Gaming content is watched by a wide audience that spans all genders and age. The rise of esports will only be beneficial for reaching your audience on YouTube.

YouTube Advertising in the Gaming Industry

As the broadcast exposure increases with gaming and esports, so will the demand for advertising. Advertising currently accounts for the second-biggest revenue stream for esports at $174 million.

With how-to videos, gameplay for new games, professional gaming tournaments, YouTube gaming personalities and more, the market for YouTube gaming content has never been better.

Not only is YouTube full of great content to reach your target audience, but viewers openly welcome video advertising. A survey published by GMR found that 43% of esports viewers appreciate when brands reach out to the gaming world. Another 42% from the same survey appreciate brand marketing through video gaming channels.

Gaming content on YouTube is more than entertainment. YouTube has always been a community for gamers to share their passion with others and connect with fellow gamers. When gaming influencers start getting advertising opportunities, their viewers are appreciative that a member of their community is finding success.

Anything Else About Gaming Trends on YouTube?

Yes! You don’t have to be a video game brand to target your YouTube advertising to gaming channels. Many companies trying to reach a younger target audience use gaming channels in their ad targeting strategy.

In fact, one of Channel Factory’s custom inclusion lists targeting gaming channels garnered a high view rate performance. For more info on how you can successfully targeting gaming channels on YouTube, contact us today!

Tell Me More: Display Ads

Tell Me More: Display Ads

Our Tell Me More series is designed to break down ad formats and products into bitesize chunks. There’s a growing universe of strategies and tactics and it’s our goal to make that universe a little more comprehensible.

We’re going to take a look at one of YouTube’s most popular advertising format, Display Ads


A display ad is a 300×250 or 300×60 image or animated advertisement that appears to the right of the video player. The ad will be placed right above YouTube’s recommended video sidebar feature, making it right in the viewer’s line of sight as they watch the video or when they are looking for the next video to watch.

Display ads are in prime YouTube real estate, as your ad will be seen without intruding upon the user’s viewing experience. You can also pair a display ad with your video ad to drive your brand’s message home and increase conversions.


Display ads are useful for any brand looking to extend their reach on YouTube, but they’re best for brands that are looking to achieve the following:

  • Increase Website Visits: Display ads are visible to all YouTube viewers. Take advantage of this space by linking to a landing page. Make sure you write a strong, personalized call-to-action that will entice viewers to check out your brand.
  • Boost Awareness: Since your ad appears right next to the video player, it will be seen by all. Even if you don’t have a landing page to link to, your ad will still garner high impressions due to its placement on the page. If you’re looking to increase brand awareness and recall, then display ads are perfect for your brand.
  • Target Desktop Users: Display ads only display on desktops, so you’re out of luck if you’re trying to target mobile users. However, many users still watch YouTube on desktop devices, especially if they are engaging with long-form content.


Display ads have some precise benefits for advertisers:

  • Drive Conversions: A catchy call-to-action and eye-popping design is enough to attract the attention of YouTube desktop users as they engage with the platform. Display ads are great for getting clicks to your website and drive conversions.
  • High Impressions: Display ads are placed right where viewers are looking, so impressions will be high. A strong targeting strategy will ensure your display ad is running on relative content watched by your audience, turning impressions into actionable results.
  • Pair With Other Ad Types: Use display ads to complement your video ads. Your display ad will remain on the page after your video ad plays, reinforcing your message and brand to viewers. You can even use the video ad as an introduction, and then pair it with a display ad to generate clicks to your website to learn more. There’s plenty of room for creativity with display ads!


Launching a display ad campaign is simple! First, create an ad with the following requirements:

  • 300×250 in size (or 300×60 for YouTube Reserve companions)
  • PNG, JPG, GIF, or HTML5 format
  • If you create an animated ad, it must be no longer than 30 seconds long

And that’s it! Now that you have your display ad ready to go, you’re only a few clicks away from launching your campaign.


Yes! Display ads are powerful for driving clicks and getting eyes on your brand. However, you don’t want to waste impressions by running on content that is unrelated to your company.

Here at Channel Factory, we have over 8 years of YouTube advertising experience, with expertise in content targeting, brand suitability and high performance on brand KPIs. If you’d like to learn more, contact us today!


Digital music consumption is a continually evolving market that has undergone massive changes even in the last few years.  While advertisers slowly begin their return to YouTube in the wake of brand suitability concerns, music is a category that should be on any good marketer’s radar.  The transition from digital music downloads to streaming platforms has been rapid and shows no signs of slowing down. While most would agree that the likes of Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play dominate the scene, YouTube has emerged as a sneaky competitor and their prominence is greater than you might think.  

In 2017, video streaming accounted for 55% of all music streaming across various platforms.  The data shows that YouTube garners the majority of that 55%, solely supporting 46% of all music streaming on the internet; a claim that Spotify or Apple are unable to make.  The difference, of course is that most of this activity is from unpaid subscribers, but YouTube is seeking to change that in the very near future.

In recent years, YouTube has doubled down on their commitment to becoming a fully-fledged music streaming platform. Statements from Google reps indicate that they will be placing a large focus on trying to get users to become paid subscribers for YouTube Music.

[Google’s ad strategy will] frustrate and seduce’ YouTube’s free users. It’ll have exclusive videos, playlists, and other similar offerings that’ll entice music fans.  – Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s Global Head of Music

This will mean more opportunities to run ads against musical content on YouTube as growth continues to spur.

Brand Suitability Considerations

Running ads against musical content can be risky however.  Artists are notoriously hard to predict with regards to what their content might contain.  Even a typically “clean” artist can sometimes release content that would be considered negative for brands to run against.  The challenge becomes how to scale advertising efforts against music content without risking a brand suitability violation. Exclusion listing and inclusion listing are great tools for more static content, but music is far more dynamic than usual content on YouTube.  3rd party services that include technological solutions like audio/transcript analysis can be hugely beneficial in protecting a brand from a violation. Another concern for advertisers should be the frequent use of playlists. Listeners often turn on playlists in the background while they do other tasks; meaning some ads might fall on deaf ears.  In order to mitigate those concerns, it’s likely that audio-driven ads would perform better on this form of content. However, in spite of these concerns, music is simply too big to ignore when it comes to advertising on YouTube. Music’s dominance on YouTube is not only probable, the data shows that it is imminent.

Key Takeaways on YouTube Music Trends

  • Inclusion List Channels that resonate with your audience
  • Exclusion List Channels that would reflect negatively on your brand
  • Take note of Video Tags and cross-reference with Keyword Lists
  • Audit campaigns to ensure brand-suitable content alignment