Unraveling How YouTube and Google Work Together
Before we begin, can you tell me what the most visited site on the Internet is? I’ll wait. Now be honest, did you have to open your phone to look it up? If the answer is yes, you’re probably not shocked to find out that the answer was Google.
On November 13, 2006, Google purchased YouTube for $1.65 billion, knocking out its top direct competitor. This acquisition is the first step in the digital revolution and developing the connection between search and video. Before we take a look at how the two ecosystems work together, let’s unravel the vast capabilities and influence these search giant’s forge on their own.
From searches such as “gas stations near me” to “best wireless headphones,” consumers turn to Google for anything and everything. Over 3.5 billion searches are made every day, and this trend has no sign of stopping, as the number of searches on Google continues to increase by roughly 10% every year. According to BruceB News, “Google knows more about you than any other company on Earth.”
We’ve already established that Google is the world’s top-used website and search engine, however, it’s important to note that YouTube is its video equivalent — coming in a hot second for the world’s top site. Over half the internet is active on YouTube, equating to over 1 billion hours of content watched every day.
The opportunity on this site is absolutely massive, as YouTube has over 1.9 billion active users. Only 15.8% of YouTube visitors are American, showing how YouTube’s influence and reach truly spans around the globe.
So How Do They Work Together?
According to the Verge, people start their search for products and movies on Google and eventually move to YouTube to watch reviews, unboxing videos, or other related content. While Google and YouTube are separate websites used for different purposes, they are both search-based platforms that people use to consume content. For this reason, it has become a very native transition between the two platforms, and Google has taken notice.
Google Search and YouTube Connect With Audiences & Ad Formats
It’s no secret that with these two search giants comes a plethora of consumer data and audience insights. With information from both Google and YouTube at their disposal, brands can leverage audiences and ad formats from each platform. These two ecosystems are connected through various audience types including Youtube RLSA, custom intent, and customer affinity audiences.
Within Google Search, brands can leverage consumers that have interacted with its brand on YouTube and re-engage in the search space. With YouTube RLSA, brands can identify consumers that have watched, commented, liked, or shared any or one specific video from the advertiser’s channel. Advertisers can then show more relevant ads to consumers based on their past actions with the brand. The Youtube RLSA audiences also give brands the power to further engage and uniquely message consumers that are aware of and interested in the brand.
Whereas on YouTube, there are two audience types that take into consideration the Google ecosystem user behavior that can be completely customized to whatever you want it to be. The first being custom affinity. This audience type allows brands to reach a custom audience list of people interested in certain parameters based on their interactions across Google’s properties (whether that be search, map, apps, etc).
For instance, let’s say I’m a shoe brand looking to target people interested in marathon running. I can generate a list of keywords and sites that marathon runners typically use or visit and build a custom affinity segment, which gives me much more granularity in making sure my ads are in front of the right people.
The second audience type that can be leveraged on YouTube is called custom intent which is a more real-time segment that reaches people who are actively searching for products and directly tied to Google Search only. With this custom audience, a brand can define keywords that matter most and reach people on YouTube soon after they show search intent on Google.
Additionally, in the past month, Google announced that YouTube was added to the Adsense Network Search Ads. Meaning that for the first time, Google search ads can be found on YouTube. Traditionally found on the Google Search page, ads are now showing on the YouTube app when consumers search for relevant keywords. This addition to the Adsense network shows the continued effort to connect and further combine Google Search and YouTube.
Other ad formats that connect Google and YouTube include Trueview for YouTube Action and YouTube shopping ads. These ad types are more indirect, but the integrations are deeply rooted in Adwords (aka Google Ads).
TrueView for Shopping: This video format makes a YouTube ad more “shoppable” with a product banner showcasing select SKUs and encourages product exploration. In order to set this up, this ad type utilizes the Google Merchant feed (that is also used for PLAs, etc).
Trueview for Action: This video format taps into intent more readily and uses the same conversion pixel as other Google programs. It features a very strong CTA and headline overlay to encourage action whether it be to shop or learn more.
While Google is the number one most visited website, YouTube is the go-to place for long-form content as well as the 2nd most visited site on the Internet. After Google’s YouTube acquisition, these top sites continued to become more interconnected, sharing audiences and ad formats with the end goal of cultivating the ultimate journey for consumers.
So what does this mean for brands and consumers? For starters, we expect to see more video capabilities in search. Within the last year, Google has launched several visual ad formats in search, and we expect this trend to continue. This will challenge brands to create impactful and meaningful content to share in this space.
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In the end, YouTube and Google could eventually be one site. While this vision isn’t set for the near future, it’s a completely viable option that, at this point, almost seems inevitable.