Connected TV 10 Min Read

SteelHouse Performance TV Versus YouTube

Written by Tim Edmundson

Video will be responsible for 82% of all web traffic by 2022, with 67% of US advertisers estimated to shift their media budgets in favor of digital ads by 2023. These numbers alone stress the importance of choosing the right platform for your brand when it comes to video ads—your competition will be using video and you need to be too. But what’s the best way to drive performance with your video assets? Is it YouTube, or is it Performance TV? We aim to find out.

Our battle series was created to shed light on the different platforms to help advertisers make an informed decision, and now it’s time to put YouTube under the microscope. YouTube’s parent company Google is known for its performance marketing. Their search business is great at offering marketers an ad solution that delivers results—but their YouTube offering comes up short in that department. If you’re looking to drive video ad performance, you need to look elsewhere. You need a solution custom-built for that purpose—which is exactly what we offer with SteelHouse Performance TV. 

We put together a robust report on why you’re better of running your video ads on Performance TV vs. YouTube, and we highly recommend checking it out. But since you’re already here reading this article, let’s take a look at the key differentiators for each platform, why YouTube isn’t built for revenue-driving performance, and why SteelHouse Performance TV has the edge where it counts. 

See the full report here.

How to Advertise on Connected TV

Ad Experience

YouTube: This platform is primarily a  mobile first format and works best for brands and companies who are able to play off the virality of the platform. Ads must not only be memorable and entertaining, with an engaging call to action, but also be compelling enough for the viewer to watch the ad to completion. This is problematic since YouTube ads are skippable and most viewers choose to skip ads since it interrupts their regular viewing experience – around 76% of viewers have an ingrained habit of skipping video ads, and it gets worse on smartphones where 84% of viewers skip ads.

Performance TV: Performance TV was built to redefine what a true video ad experience should look like. We’ve combined the prestige and reliability of TV, along with high-quality video and metrics for a fully-immersive (and measurable) experience.  In fact, research shows that television advertising on premium programming drives 4.5x higher brand engagement versus non-premium programming. Performance TV ads are non-skippable, and secondly, they’re screened exclusively on TVs on select, premium networks. A brand story can’t be told in five seconds or less (this is the time YouTube sets as “non skippable” for their in-stream TrueView ads), which is why we support 15 or 30 seconds ads, to give advertisers the time and space they need to tell their brand story on screen. 

Targeting

YouTube: Although YouTube’s targeting capabilities are  generally looked upon favourably in the adtech world, its targeting only goes so far when it comes to driving performance. As we mentioned, YouTube is primarily a mobile-driven platform, which means they need to target a large amount of users on mobile devices. Mobile video ads struggle when it comes to having users take action (see our ad experience point above).  Furthermore, the issue of brand safety (more on that later) is an issue with targeting. Earlier this year, it was found that YouTube had blurred the lines between what was considered adult versus children’s content, and violated the Children’s Online Privacy Act. The consequence? A whopping $170 million settlement with the Federal Trade Commission surrounding targeted advertising on children’s content, and now targeted ads are restricted from running on kids’ videos with a significant hit on their ad revenue

Performance TV: Target based on the basics, such as demographics and interests, using tens of thousands of audience segments through our partnership with the Oracle Data Cloud. Or, use your own first-party data to retarget site visitors to bring them back to your site to convert. And importantly, whether you’re reaching new audiences or retargeting current ones, your ads are guaranteed to target viewers while they’re watching  brand-safe inventory. 

User Attention

YouTube: Humans now have an eight second attention span (similar to that of a goldfish). Paired with the fact that attention spans decrease by 88 percent every year, isn’t boding too well for traditional video ad platforms like YouTube. Did we also mention that smartphone users are notorious ad-skippers? When they’re killing time trying to watch a one minute video, they’re not willing to sit through a 20 second ad. YouTube just doesn’t have a platform that can capture and keep user attention for too long before they’re jumping to the next thing.

Performance TV: TV is still considered the gold standard of advertising, and 79% of the public would engage with TV ads over other types. This platform also drives customers to other brand touchpoints beyond your website, such as social media  – in fact, 1 out of 5 of social media engagements are driven by TV advertising. Couple that with the fact that the audience is settling in to watch and engage with their favorite shows, and you don’t have to worry about them switching a browser tab or skipping to the next funny cat video. They’re watching, engaging, and taking action with ads on Performance TV.

Watching Connected TV and browsing a phone

Devices

YouTube: Viewed across all internet enabled devices, but primarily on mobile devices. It is capable of reaching other devices though, like smart TVs, streaming media players, game consoles, desktop, and tablets.

Performance TV: Supports all TV-connected devices, which includes smart TVs, Apple TV, Fire TV Stick, Roku, Chromecast, mobile devices and Android TV.  We took a strategic approach when building our product, to make sure that all compatible devices provide the best quality ad experience for the viewer. Why? When ads are exclusively streamed to television screens, viewers can immediately take action once they see your ad. Not by exiting out of the show they were planning to stream (like on mobile or desktop), but instead using their always-present second screen to navigate to the advertiser’s site. Nearly nine in ten viewers use a second digital device while watching TV, and 65% of viewers will look up a product they see advertised while streaming. Performance TV’s device targeting is designed to leverage that key user behavior, and drive user action.

Inventory Quality

YouTube: The biggest catch with YouTube’s inventory is also its perceived strength—you’re limited to YouTube. That means you’re dealing with a walled garden, and while you do get access to tons of inventory… it’s also short-form and not guaranteed to be inventory you’ll want your brand aligned with. The biggest concern is brand safety. Advertisers have little transparency and control over where their content will be published, and a UK marketing director for Google Ads even admitted that YouTube might never be able to guarantee “100% safety” for brands on YouTube. It’s a moot point having any type of audience targeting only to find out later that your ads are being screened on content that is not reflective of your brand or its values. 

Performance TV: Brand safety is a phrase you’ll no longer need to worry about when advertising on Performance TV, as we only serve ads on premium publishers that have demonstrated success with converting users. Of course, we made sure there was enough variety to go around, so we have curated 150+ networks to house your brand’s story. These networks include, but are not limited to, CNN, ESPN, Food Network, CNBC and more.

Delivering Your Message

YouTube: We looked at the reporting inefficiencies briefly in our Video Advertising versus Performance TV blog post, where this metric is greatly underinflated for video advertising platforms since viewers don’t typically watch ads until completion. Long story short – advertisers need to spend even more on YouTube, but aren’t guaranteed that their audience will be fully engaged or finish the ads.
 

Performance TV:  Generally, Connected TV ads outperform other platforms and boasts a 95% completion rate. Performance TV is the proof in the pudding with a low average of $0.03 CPCV (Cost Per Completed View), thanks to non-skippable ads, pinpointed targeting, and premium TV networks.

Attribution

YouTube: There’s a reason YouTube is prioritized as a brand marketing channel. It’s ultimately not built to drive user action—their list of key metrics for video ads doesn’t include a single one that measures bottom-line impact. And while they track click performance, their average CTR (which is inflated due to accidental clicks) is 74% lower vs. a true Google performance product: search.

Performance TV: We weren’t joking when we said Performance TV is a performance marketing channel. Our proprietary attribution model, Verified Visits, tracks viewers’ cross-device journey to accurately measure your ads’ impact. So if they see your ad while streaming Connected TV, then visit your website or convert on another device at home—you’ll know. That’s because it takes a holistic approach to measuring performance, so whether a viewer visits on their desktop, tablet, or mobile phone, if it’s tied to their IP address we can tie it to your Performance TV ad.  Performance TV is also fully integrated with Google Analytics, because we know how important it is for marketers to be able to track all of their performance campaigns in one place.

Performance TV Comes Out on Top

Whew, that was a lot! Thank you for sticking with us through this blog post! We hope that you found the insights as valuable as it was for us to tell this story, and look forward to having you on our journey. For more info on how Performance TV stacks up against YouTube for video ad performance, don’t forget to check out our full report