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You’re not too late. But you may be a little early

The gaming industry is booming with no end in sight.

And some are even ready to strike unlikely partnerships to grow their piece of the pie.

After struggling to grow its user base, Microsoft announced last week that it’ll be shutting down Mixer and sending its users (mega-stars not included) to Facebook Gaming with future plans to integrate xCloud to the platform as well. 

That’s a big deal for Facebook which has been trailing behind Twitch and YouTube, so far.

Twitch and YouTube have their own big plays in the pipeline too.

YouTube started this year by snatching Activision esports. This move could give Google the leg up it needs over Twitch.

And Twitch has been working on streaming live sports events with its own flair.

With major sports events on hold, both organisers and fans have been flocking to Twitch. This marriage of convenience has taught both worlds some valuable lessons.

E-sports is a new frontier. Even for marketers familiar with in-game advertising.

As a marketing channel, it’s still in its infancy.

But as a medium, it’s ripe for stunts like Warner Bros. partnering with Fortnite for the first-ever in-game movie night.

The advice from brands and studios is simple:

“The major mistake that people make is to take the assumptions about other forms of media and try to take it into the world of gaming,” David Messinger, CMO of Activision Blizzard.

“You have to take your time, approach things properly and build out to those big bets,” Douglas Veney, influencer and esports marketing manager at Nestlé.

How connected TV is changing Video advertising

Who watches TV, right?

A lot of my friends and colleagues have a TV but very few actually watch the TV part of it. We’re all streaming now.

With viewer rates dropping globally, the last decade hasn’t been kind on TV.

However, as a device, it’s still the centrepiece for at-home entertainment. (I mean what’s all the furniture in the room pointed at?)

Our commitment to TV makes it one of the most attractive devices for advertising.

As our habits change, so too, do the business models that produce the streaming content we love to binge.

Just as Netflix is personalising which titles each user sees on the screen, Hulu and others, are personalising which ads users see on TV.

Though many of us now subscribe to ad-free streaming services, the future of advertising on TV is programmatic.

People are paying to watch ads on TV. ?

It may sound crazy, but 70% of Hulu’s 82 million viewers subscribe to its ad-supported model where an unskippable ad is often shown before and after a 30-minute show.

According to emarketer, ad spend across connected TV in the US (including Hulu, Roku and YouTube) are expected to grow from 7 billion in 2019 to 10,8 billion in 2021.

TV advertising is fickle and programmatic across connected TV is here to fix that.

With the possibility to target ads to specific households, advertisers are more interested in measuring how many people view their ads from start to finish.

report published by Extreme Reach shows that Video Completion Rates (VCR) are on the rise, while Click-Through Rates (CTR) are declining.

This means that as VCR for 15-30 second video ads have gone up by 89%, people aren’t skipping any ads but they’re not taking immediate action either.

We can only hope that the ads are more relevant this time around.

I’m not sure if it says anything about the quality of the ads because platforms like Hulu and YouTube often don’t give you the possibility to skip them.

The option to skip would tell us something about which ads are favoured – those ads that we’ll watch even when we’re itching to get back to our show.

Ads such as these clever ones from Heineken and Pedigree (my daughter squeals in laughter at this one), to mention a few personal favourites.

As advertisers, we can make the most of the viewers’ attention by giving them a memorable experience. 

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YouTube is adding new features for advertisers as more people watch cat videos on the big screen

First thing’s first, drop these facts to impress your clients and colleagues:

  • COVID-19 has given a tremendous boost to online video everywhere, including YouTube.
  • YouTube is the second largest search engine (after Google Search) with 3 billion searches a month.
  • Every minute over 500 hours of new content are uploaded to YouTube: from unboxing sneakers to 18th-century quilting.
  • Globally 1 billion hours of content is watched daily on YouTube – Entertainment and Music taking the lion’s share.

As far as advertising goes, YouTube brought 9,4% of Google’s total advertising revenue in 2019. 

From the non-skippable TrueView ads to the quick and dirty bumpers, YouTube is a staple for many advertisers. And their love for the platform is on the rise as more people access YouTube on their TVs.

Traditional broadcasters are becoming wary of YouTube in Europe

Connected TV is the fastest-growing channel for YouTube, which understandably worries traditional broadcasting. In 2019, YouTube’s viewing rate grew by 45% YoY in Europ and now COVID-19 has kicked YouTube’s viewer rates through the roof.

During Mach and April 2020, people purchased or rented 800% more movies, 125% more TV shows and 250% more live content through YouTube on their TVs.

YouTube wants advertisers to benefit from this growth.

The novelty and freshness of the content available on YouTube is pulling in more audiences.

According to YouTube, 60% of signed-in users watched a video published in the last 7 days. And a recent Nielsen study commissioned by YouTube shows that more adults watch YouTube videos together on their TV than traditional TV programs. 

The stage is set for YouTube to deliver new features designed for the connected TVs to attract more advertising budgets to their platform.

And that’s exactly what they’re doing next. ?

YouTube is launching two new features to make the most of the streaming boom.

YouTube’s brand lift surveys are now optimised for the big screen and allow users to respond or skip the survey using their remote controls.

This new feature will be available in Q3 2020, first in the YouTube app and later on YouTube TV. 

During 2020 YouTube will also launch a skippable ad format for content cast onto the TV screen.

According to YouTube, there’s a 75% increase in casted watch time – so, about time us viewers get to see more ads, right?

In case you missed it, YouTube launched their largest ad-format called YouTube Mast Heads on TV Screens in November last year. As more viewers watch content from YouTube on their TV screens, YouTube is preparing to become a serious player in TV advertising. 

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