YouTube’s New AI Tools Help Brands Sync Ads With Cultural Moments






YouTube is working on a new way for advertisers to better reach viewers. The video-sharing app last week announced Spotlight Moments, a new AI feature that automatically identifies the most popular and relevant videos so advertisers can more easily “own the moment” around important events that viewers are engaging with.

“Spotlight Moments gives brands a high share of voice across video content surrounding the world’s biggest cultural moments,” Austin Wignall, YouTube’s managing director of brand advertising said in a blog post.

Wignall said Spotlight Moments identifies popular videos on the platform related to a specific cultural moment, citing Halloween as an example. The AI feature would allow a brand to deliver ads on Halloween-related content on YouTube as well as curate them to playlists that live on the sponsored hub.

Spotlight Moments joins YouTube’s portfolio of AI-powered solutions for advertisers along with Video Reach Campaigns and Video View Campaigns. The former aims to drive awareness and the latter brand consideration.

The new AI-powered ads is the latest in YouTube’s efforts this year to get users to watch and interact with more commercials. Recent tests and changes around the platform’s ads could point to a larger effort to boost premium tier memberships. In addition, the platform’s ad revenue has been down all year, resulting in a crackdown on ad-blockers.

In May, YouTube said it would start rolling out 30-second ads that cannot be skipped on YouTube through select connected TVs. Over the last few months, YouTube began testing smaller, less visible ‘skip ads’ buttons and fewer, but longer ad breaks. YouTube said 79% of its viewers reported that they preferred video ads that are grouped together instead of distributed through the video.

The platform is also changing the placement of its ads in YouTube Shopping. Now, ads will show up in place of the product shelf and a creator’s products will appear in the video description. The updates, which only apply to mobile users for now, aim to make it easier for customers to browse and shop for items.

YouTube offers an ad-free experience with its premium tier, YouTube TV. The site is running a limited time offer to pay $65 a month for your first three months. After that time, you’ll pay $73 a month for the YouTube TV base plan.

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