NEW YORK — In an event laden with advertisers and influential video creators alike, YouTube’s Brandcast in New York on Thursday was a brandish of metrics, niche content development and new inventory opportunities in a glamorous pitch for ad dollars.

Key announcements included updates to the Google Preferred algorithm, a fresh YouTube TV lineup grounded in specialized interests, deeper performance insights for Google Preferred advertisers, and YouTube Originals series becoming available for free to users as an ad-supported experience.

Digging into niche markets. YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki took to the stage to recognize the wide-reaching influence of YouTube creators – while simultaneously acknowledging the cultural and commercial impact YouTube has on advertisers.

“YouTube Creators are the cutting edge of culture, creating entirely new genres we could have never imagined beforehand and diversifying our perspectives in the process,” Wojcicki said. “Most people say the content they watched on YouTube is related to something that they are passionate about. And according to our joint research with Omnicom, relating to a passion is three times more important than whether or not there’s a big Hollywood name attached.”

In an effort to broaden YouTube TV’s channels, the company announced it’s making 70 broadcast and cable channels available as its own lineup under the Google Preferred reservation program. The initiative is designed to give advertisers access to more live and in-demand ad inventory with more focused targeting based on subscriber interests.

Google Preferred updates. YouTube announced key updates to its proprietary P-score algorithm, aimed at increasing visibility for videos with higher production value and content frequently watched on TV screens.

YouTube said it found a “significant lift” in ad recall (112 percent) and purchase intent (53 percent) from Google Preferred ads viewed on TV screens.

To provide advertisers with more resources for measuring offline sales, YouTube said it plans to make Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) available for Google Preferred ads in the coming months. The tool aims to give marketers and advertisers metrics into offline sales and provide deeper insights across audiences and content creative for CPG brands in the U.S.

YouTube Originals free with ads. YouTube said it’s making its original programming free for all users under an ad-supported streaming model. In addition to returning shows – featuring celebrities and influencers like Liza Koshy and Kevin Hart – YouTube plans to add a slate of new shows to the mix. While it’s a worthy effort to address viewer demands, the expansion underscores YouTube’s effort to cater to the diverse targeting opportunities for advertisers.

Why we should care. YouTube has the highest share in reach and watch time across all ad-supported OTT platforms, according to Comscore OTT Intelligence and Custom Reporting. The rising streaming trend is already disrupting addressable TV ad products, and platforms like YouTube are competing head-to-head with networks for ad dollars.

YouTube’s focus on content quality and ad-supported programming is tipping the scales for digital advertisers, who are now faced with more specialized targeting options than ever before.

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