YouTube plans interactive ad features for connected TV, mobile

YouTube accounts for 40% of all ad-supported streaming watch time in the U.S., according to Comscore. (YouTube)

YouTube used part of its NewFronts presentation today to show off new interactive advertising features for marketers on connected TV and mobile.

The service will soon allow advertisers to generate further engagement with connected TV ads by letting viewers send links directly to their phones or other connected second screens. The company is also adding more shoppable features to direct response video ads including browsable images that click through to web sites.

YouTube said over time it plans to introduce more interactive features for advertisers as it continues to grab share of time spent watching on connected TVs. The company reiterated internal data from last month suggesting more than 120 million people in the U.S. streamed YouTube or YouTube TV on their TV screens in December 2020.

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The company also said that the YouTube Shorts player now receives more than 6.5 billion daily views and Allan Thygesen, president of Americas at Google, cited Comscore data that suggests YouTube accounts for 40% of all ad-supported streaming watch time in the U.S.

During the most recent quarter, Google reported YouTube advertising revenue of approximately $6 billion, up from approximately $4 billion one year ago.

In February, Google CEO Sundar Pichai was asked about YouTube’s efforts to sell more advertising on connected TVs and said his company is investing in Google TV, Chromecast and YouTube TV to ensure it can offer a YouTube experience on a screen that’s most convenient for users.

CBO Philipp Schindler said that advertising efforts on YouTube TV are gaining momentum but that it’s still “very, very early.”

“We think that there’s an opportunity to apply some of our targeting and measurement capabilities to provide a better user and advertising experience over time,” he said during Google’s Q4 2020 earnings call.