YouTube’s Brandcast pitch highlights connected TV audience, reveals new ways for brands to reach it

By 05/18/2023
YouTube’s Brandcast pitch highlights connected TV audience, reveals new ways for brands to reach it

YouTube made connected TV viewership one of the main themes of its 2023 Brandcast presentation. In its annual pitch to advertisers, Google’s video platform touted its growing audience on TV screens and discussed new ad products that will help brands reach those viewers.

The latest Brandcast spiel was the first since Neal Mohan took over for Susan Wojcicki as the CEO of YouTube. At the start of his address, he remarked on his own history in the ad world. Mohan came to YouTube after Google acquired DoubleClick, where he served as SVP of Strategy and Product Management.

In front of familiar faces and other agency execs, Mohan touted the impressive reach his company offers on connected TVs. Through that format, YouTube reportedly reaches 150 million monthly users. Mohan cited research from Nielsen, which found that YouTube accounts for 8.1% of all traffic on TV screens. No other streaming service claims a bigger piece of the pie.


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“More and more, viewers are tuning into YouTube on the biggest screen in their home,” Mohan said. “Viewers – especially younger viewers – no longer make a distinction between the kind of content they’re watching. When they turn on the TV, they want everything they love in one place – from their favorite creators, to blockbuster movies, to football. And they can find it all on YouTube.”

Other sources have corroborated YouTube’s claims about the size of its TV audience. According to recent data from video advertising company Precise TV, YouTube’s CTV viewership has more than doubled year-over-year. “YouTube is the largest CTV ad player in the US market and we’ve seen some amazing results for our clients on the big screen,” said Precise TV CCO Denis Crushell in a statement.”

TV is eating into mobile’s share of YouTube viewership. Data via Precise TV.

So how can brands take advantage of that rapid growth? At Brandcast, Mohan and his deputies answered that question. The YouTube Select premium ad tier (formerly known as Google Preferred) will now offer 30-second unskippable ads on connected TVs. That offering will allow for a more traditional TV-style commercial experience on YouTube. According to the leading video platform, 70% of YouTube Select impressions come on TV screens.

YouTube is also trying out a format that has appeared on other streaming platforms. New pause ads will appear on TV screens when viewers stop playback within the YouTube app. Similar ad experiences are already active on services like Peacock and Roku.

The rise of connected TV was the dominant theme of Brandcast 2023, but YouTube also filled the event by discussing advancements in AI, teasing the arrival of its NFL Sunday Ticket package, and welcoming rapper Doja Cat for a live performance. Details about all those topics (and more) can be found in a YouTube blog post.

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