3 ways top brands are using connected TV to increase reach and drive results

Matt McDonald / April 2021

Watching TV has always been a guilty pleasure of mine. Growing up, it was a regular pastime to gather with friends and watch our favorite weekly show. Nowadays, I unwind by watching where and when I want, which usually means catching up on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” on YouTube TV, or youtwoTV on YouTube. While the way I watch TV has evolved a lot over the course of my life, the delight it brings is constant.

In the past year particularly, we’ve seen video streaming emerge as people’s preferred way to enjoy content. During 2021, nearly 83% of households will have at least one connected TV, used by at least one person every month. CTV is now mainstream viewing behavior in the U.S.1

During 2021, nearly 83% of households will have at least one connected TV, used by at least one person every month.

Advertisers have been creating for the TV screen for decades, but the CTV screen presents new opportunities for engagement. By pairing the precision of digital with the scale of linear TV, CTV gives brands the best of both worlds. In December 2020, for example, over 120 million people in the U.S. streamed YouTube or YouTube TV on their TV screens.2

Why are people choosing to experience their favorite YouTube content on TV? In large part, because they want to experience it with others. A recent study we commissioned with Nielsen, for instance, found that 26% of the time, multiple viewers ages 18 and over are watching YouTube together on the TV screen, compared to 22% who watch together on linear TV.3

Already, we’re seeing marketers across verticals, including some of our own teams at Google, reap the benefits of CTV’s immersive screen. Here are three specific ways you can use YouTube CTV Ads to go beyond linear TV and improve the impact of your video campaigns.

Efficiently reach new audiences. Drive full-funnel campaign goals. Measure the impact of cross-device campaigns.

Efficiently reach new audiences

As the linear TV audience continues to shift, advertisers are finding it increasingly difficult to reach the people they care about and make their media dollars stretch. Planning CTV to complement or replace linear TV can help ensure you’re reaching your target audience and entirely new audiences as well.

Global brand Kellogg is no stranger to innovation, as it continues to embrace new ways of approaching video, both creatively and in its media plans. Recently, the company’s marketing team began adding YouTube CTV to its video mix for brands like Special K to reach new customers.

Planning CTV to complement or replace linear TV can help ensure you’re reaching your target audience and entirely new audiences as well.

Early in the new year, Special K ran a video campaign highlighting healthy habits. The team used YouTube’s Reach Planner tool to determine the right media mix, which included YouTube CTV Ads. This approach paid off: More than a third of the audience reached by YouTube CTV was incremental to television.

Special K’s campaign also reinforced the momentum of coviewing. Results showed that 31% of the time the YouTube ad ran on CTV, multiple viewers ages 18 and over were watching it together.4 As a brand for the whole family, Kellogg finds value in reaching everyone who influence purchase decisions.

Drive full-funnel campaign goals

As viewers spend more time at home and in situations where they are watching with others, CTV screens can help achieve multiple marketing goals. Beyond efficiently reaching large audiences, YouTube CTV Ads have also shown a positive influence on mid-funnel metrics, like consideration.

With online shopping booming, beauty company Coty knew it would have to take a new approach for its 2020 holiday campaigns. To capitalize on YouTube’s growing watch time on CTV and build on past success with YouTube, Coty leveraged CTV for its fragrance, Gucci Guilty Pour Homme, by repurposing existing video creative and leaning into new formats, like YouTube Masthead on TV screens.

According to Fred Arbel, SVP and Chief Marketing Officer for U.S. Luxury at Coty, “We knew YouTube would play a key role in the campaign as our customers continue to shift attention from TV to streaming platforms.”

Coty’s strategy was a success, as CTV made up 63% of its total campaign reach. It also contributed to brand growth. Last year, Gucci Guilty Pour Homme became one of the fastest growing parent brands in the men’s fragrance top ten, increasing its rank to No. 4 overall.5

“YouTube CTV Ads were a key driver of campaign impact, helping us connect with new audiences beyond the viewers we were already reaching on linear TV and on YouTube’s mobile and desktop experiences,” says Arbel. “It also drove the most efficient lifts in purchase consideration and video view-through rate."

Measure the impact of cross-device campaigns

If you are relatively new to advertising on CTV, gauging your effectiveness can feel challenging. Fortunately, new solutions are underway to help. For example, starting this year, U.S.-based advertisers can measure their YouTube CTV campaigns through third-party provider, Nielsen.

Another readily available tool is Brand Lift, which measures the effectiveness of YouTube CTV Ads across brand metrics, such as awareness, recall, and consideration.

Starting this year, U.S.-based advertisers can measure their YouTube CTV campaigns through third-party provider, Nielsen.

Google’s in-house media team, Media Lab, routinely uses Brand Lift to assess the impact of CTV on our own brand marketing. After analyzing results from dozens of Brand Lift studies of CTV campaigns across products like Chromebook, Nest, and Pixel, the team found that CTV screens showed statistically significant brand lift as often as mobile screens. Recent Chromebook campaign results have also shown that CTV consistently drove lifts in consideration. Based on these findings, Media Lab is continuing to invest in and test YouTube CTV Ads as part of video plans.

As you continue to look for ways to maximize the impact of video, I hope these successful CTV approaches inspire your plans and help you drive powerful results.

5 ways brands are adapting to shifts in video viewership to drive results