For years, digital platforms have courted TV advertising budgets, first via desktop campaigns, then with mobile-first efforts. Now, the pendulum is swinging back to the television screen. Consumers may be cutting their cable cords, but they’re still using their televisions or Smart TVs with OTT and streaming devices and gaming consoles.

YouTube says TV is now its fastest-growing screen in terms of watch time, with over 150 hours viewed per day. “We’re amidst the second major shift in how people watch video on YouTube. In the past few years, we witnessed mobile viewership exceed desktop, marking the first major shift in how people interacted with YouTube,” said Debbie Weinstein, managing director for YouTube/Video Global Solutions, in the announcement.

On Sunday, YouTube announced several initiatives to help advertisers reach TV screen viewers.

YouTube TV to sell ads through Google Preferred network

YouTube says its own paid streaming service that packages content from network and cable outlets, YouTube TV, is now available in more than 100 TV markets in the US. The company is now making YouTube TV programming part of Google Preferred, its premium video advertising program. YouTube will sell ads on content from some US cable networks participating in YouTube TV via the Preferred network.

Ads will be inserted dynamically, “giving advertisers the ability to show relevant ads to the right audiences, rather than just showing everyone the same ad as they might on traditional TV,” said Weinstein.

in AdWords and DoubleClick Bid Manager, advertisers will be able to target their YouTube campaigns specifically to TV screens — in addition to computers, mobile phones and tablets.

This will allow advertisers to adjust bids to TV screens or serve creative tailored to a TV viewing experience.

Light TV viewers audience

A Google-commissioned Nielsen study found more than half of 18- to 49-year-olds in the US are either light viewers of TV or do not subscribe to traditional TV services.

To reach the growing audience of consumers who aren’t tuning into TV traditionally, Google has created a new audience segment in AdWords called “light TV viewers.”

The audience can be targeted across screens.

These moves can be seen as a part of the screen-agnostic evolution and exponential growth in digital video ad spend. According to Zenith, global digital video ad spend overtook television advertising for the first time in 2017 and is expected to continue to gain. YouTube is positioning itself to capitalize on both consumer adoption of OTT and streaming trends and the growth in digital video ad spend to keep chipping away at traditional TV ad budgets.

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