Google is fully recognizing YouTube as more than just a video-sharing site, but as a network for e-commerce and building brands worldwide.
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Speaking during the company's first quarter conference call with investors on Thursday afternoon, chief business officer Nikesh Arora noted that "YouTube has gone from an interesting ad buy to key buy for brands."
YouTube, in particular, has real potential for e-commerce given that, at the heart of things, it is a social network that is accessible from nearly any device (i.e. computer, mobile device, TV, etc.) connected to the Internet.
Arora remarked that YouTube is "fast becoming the platform for the next generation of channels," with initial success selling sponsored channels for large companies such as Toyota and GM.
Beyond that, YouTube has 100 new original channels in the pipeline along with several new products, such as YouTube Live and YouTube TrueView video ads, to further entice advertisers.
Taking a page from what television "has been doing forever," Google will be hosting its first YouTube upfront for brands and agencies, showcasing the platform in May. Part of the motivation here is that marketing agencies from major brands are starting to recognize the value of digital media.
Arora addressed how Google is seeing YouTube's place in cross-media measurement:
Search advertising has always been highly measureable, and we have been leading the industry. Not only in search but in display, mobile and now video. We're actually taking that one step further and trying to move that measurability into offline sales, to new areas. But they invest serious money only when they can measure the results. We are rolling out best of bleed measurement technologies so all clients can measure their ROI, whether their goals are online conversions, or just the ability to compare offline and online media.
The key point there is understanding what YouTube could do for businesses offline. Arora acknowledged that in the past, YouTube was usually seen as a tool for getting Internet users to a brand's website. Yet, the opportunities have evolved considerably.
Now they're seeing the benefit of using the web for brand affiliation and for brand recognition. We are beginning to have a different sales pitch with the large brands, which is oriented towards them coming and getting their brand seen on the web, and YouTube is a phenomenal tool in that regard.
Then we're able to package our demographic based inventory around the Google display network, around YouTube, and actually get the brands to engage in a large campaigns which can run the millions of dollars. This was a capability we couldn't have a few years ago because the inventory didn't exist, all the demographic tools didn't exist. Clearly this is a new space and new sort of pitch to our brand advertisers, and as I said, we are trying to light this up across our sales force around the world in 60 countries.