YouTube tells brands 'let's get seasonal' in NewFronts pitch

Google's video site is offering deals on a quarterly basis for advertisers looking for flexibility.

YouTube tells brands 'let's get seasonal' in NewFronts pitch

In an effort to deliver more flexibility for brands who are still grappling with pandemic-related pressures, YouTube is allowing advertisers to reserve ad space on a “seasonal” basis, which is a shorter timeframe for upfront commitments. 

As part of its NewFront pitch, YouTube said on Tuesday is has created seasonal ad packages that will be offered on a quarterly basis, which is a slightly different proposition than most upfront deals that seek to lock in advertisers for a full year. In its announcement, YouTube said the ad deals were “enabling brands to specifically focus on what’s culturally relevant during a particular time of year, such as 'Summer Wellness' and 'Women in Music' during Women’s History Month in June.”

YouTube has been getting ready for its yearly Brandcast, which is part of the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s week-long NewFronts. Digital media platforms like YouTube, Amazon, Twitter, Snapchat and Roku show off their programming and ad services to attract ad dollars. (NewFronts runs May 3 to May 6 and will be entirely online like last year.)

Over the past few years, YouTube has been using Brandcast to tout its growing base of connected TV viewers, as more people view videos in the living room through internet-connected TVs. YouTube says it reaches about 120 million viewers a month through connected TVs, and it has more than 2 billion logged-in users across all devices, making it one of the biggest forces in digital media.

YouTube promotes YouTube Select as the top tier of video ad inventory insulated from some of the brand safety concerns that appear elsewhere on the platform. YouTube has faced persistent brand safety issues, with advertisers worried about appearing on videos that violate their standards due to automatic buying. YouTube Select more closely curates what videos qualify for the upper echelon of advertisers that strike upfront deals.

Typically those deals are yearly, but now with this seasonal option, YouTube is clearly willing to provide a little more flexibility in the planning. Advertisers have been hesitant, especially since the pandemic, to go all-in on certain platforms with long-term deals when there has been so much uncertainty in the market.

In the announcement on Tuesday, YouTube offered a glimpse at the type of seasonal video programming available through Select, including “NFL Game Day All Access,” a show that runs on the National Football League’s channel. YouTube said the show generated 30 million views in the 2020 football season.

YouTube also wants to land upfront advertisers for “Summer Game Fest 2021,” a gaming event, and is programming around Mother’s Day and Black Music Appreciation Month in June.

“Each sponsorship includes high share of voice across relevant playlists like R&B Wave or Essential 00’s Hip Hop, added value components and ownership of top channels like Joe Budden TV,” according to a release.