At the CII Content Summit held last Friday, Sam Balsara, Chairman and MD of advertising agency Madison World suggested that online advertising, if you remove search advertising, is still much too tiny: “If you remove search from online advertising, then advertising on new media is just Rs. 600 crore, out of a total Rs. 25,000 crore.” Balsara said that the agencies will have to change their approach to advertising online, as users begin to watch content in a non-linear manner, but adequate measurement systems will have to be in place. Speaking specifically on Youtube, he said that “The reason why YouTube is not able to monetize, is that you don’t get data on who is watching what. If there is no systematic panel data, advertisers are not going to spend millions of rupees on YouTube.”
On the sidelines of the conference, I asked Gautam Anand, Director (Asia Pacific) at YouTube about advertising on YouTube, though, I must confess I forgot to ask about panel data:
MediaNama: What kind of reporting do you provide to advertisers on YouTube?
Gautam Anand: We actually have pretty granular reporting for our partners and advertisers: An advertiser can go to his account and look at where the views are coming from, what geography, how they break up percentage wise, male versus female and age. We are limited to some extent on demographic data by logged in versus non logged in users (logged into YouTube, not Google), but you can extrapolate. TV Ratings aren’t not a perfect science either. Online, on the advertising side, you are able to provide better ROI because it is a lot more measurable. You can see which ad was delivered versus not delivered, and there is data around unique users. You know that we have close to 19 million unique users in India, 350 million unique users globally, and there is actual view count for each and every video.
MediaNama: Can advertisers do audience specific advertising?
Gautam Anand: Yeah, you can buy demo targeted, but that is limited to logged in users. We have to encourage more users to log in, but you can extrapolate from those logged in users. For example, if you have a progam that has 30 percent of its viewers logged in, then we know what the demographics are. Out of those if 80% were male 18-24, then it is reasonable to extrapolate from that the entire demographic is probably similar. We sell YouTube by demo targeting, to the extent that that inventory is available. Not all the inventory is demo-targetable, but a lot of it is.
We’ve introduced what we call 100% share of voice of a channel. Dabanng was Unilever’s. We had Bigg Boss sold to one or two specific sponsors. Jor Jhatka was sold to one sponsor. IPL was six sponsors. They’re owning that channel for a specific duration of time. All of that ad inventory, whether that is co-branding of the channel page, whether mid-roll, pre-roll, they own that for that period. That’s a separate buy from a run-of-site type of thing.
MediaNama: Are you looking at a subsription based model for publishers in India, which is microtransaction based?
Gautam Anand: We have a paid product in the US. In India, it depends on if it makes sense. I’m sure we have some kind of an international rollout plan, but right now we feel that ad-supported is working well, specially with the types of brands starting to spend on digital. Some of these folks for example Perfetti, Levers, Nescafe are not traditional digital spenders. This is new unchartered territory for them. We’re providing them with 15-30 second spots like those on TV, which is what they do on TV.
MediaNama: Do you think there will be an impact on Cricket advertising on the IPL, because of the World Cup before the IPL?
Gautam Anand: I think the IPL is a very very powerful brand, a very different format, and Sony has already shown that they’ve been successful in going out there and selling most of the inventory available to them on the TV side. We will bet on the same to continue online.
MediaNama: How important was the IPL for you?
Gautam Anand: The IPL from a technology point of view, was a large scale streaming exercise. Not just the IPL, but some of the things I just talked about, show that these are advertisers working with us, for the first time. It’s been very positive. Once they understand YouTube, and start thinking about Digital, they being a lot more open to spending on Google as a whole as well, on Adwords and other products.