YouTube Offers Ad Placement in Soon-to-Be Popular Clips

YouTube has begun offering advertisers the ability to pair their in-video ads with videos the site believes are on their way to becoming viral hits.

The YouTube product team created an algorithm it says can identify videos that are on the up and up in terms of audience. It makes that determination by looking at factors such as the early acceleration of views on a given clip, along with the number of times it is “favorited” and the number of ratings it receives. The Google-owned platform hopes the feature will appeal to entertainment marketers and to those pushing products with broad appeal, according to a spokesperson.

“We believe buzz targeting is a strong marketing opportunity for any advertiser that wants to offer compelling content alongside the most popular videos taking off on the site,” the spokesperson said. “It’s an opportunity for them to wrap themselves in the experience that is YouTube itself.”

The targeting option is available only on clips created by members of YouTube’s ad partner program. Among those partners are content majors like Universal Music Group, NBA, and CBS; amateur creators such as Brookers and Daxflame; and recording artists like Ashley Tisdale.

The first advertiser to use the program was Lionsgate Films’ “The Forbidden Kingdom.” For roughly the past month, the distributor has advertised the Jackie Chan/Jet Li martial arts vehicle on approximately 500 of YouTube’s most popular music and entertainment videos, YouTube said. Buzz targeting joins other YouTube ad targeting factors such as geography, time of day, gender and age criteria. The feature is available now to advertisers in the United States.

YouTube and other Google sites hosted more than 4.3 billion video views in March, accounting for 38 percent of all U.S. video traffic. During that month, U.S. Internet users increased their video intake by 13 percent gain compared with the previous month, and by 64 percent compared with March 2007.

YouTube has regularly introduced new ad-related features in recent months. Six weeks ago it debuted an analytics product designed to generate a wide range of data about who viewed their videos, where they viewed them, and when — information that can be applied in planning future video programs.

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