Social Shorts: YouTube expands ad inventory, Twitter launches Fleets, more

YouTube to show ads on channels that aren’t in the Partner Program

In it’s latest terms of service update, YouTube creators agree to allow the service to monetize their content with ads (or by charging users for access) but are not necessarily entitled to revenue sharing. To be eligible for YouTube’s revenue sharing Partner Program (YPP), channels need to have more than 4,000 watch hours in the past 12 months and have more than 1,000 subscribers among other requirements. 

“This is part of our ongoing investments in new solutions, like Home Feed ads, that help advertisers responsibly tap into the full scale of YouTube to connect with their audiences and grow their businesses,” said YouTube.

Why we care. For advertisers, the change means there’s more advertising inventory on YouTube, which as the company noted, it has been focusing on. That begs the brand safety question. Do you want your ads on these channels? 

YouTube says its brand suitability controls have gotten better since many advertisers boycotted the platform over ads running alongside objectionable content in 2017. “Over the past three years, we improved our ability to identify appropriate placements for advertisers, in part by working closely with our advertising partners and industry organizations,” the company said. 

For creators, of course, it means YouTube can start earning revenue from your content before you become eligible for YPP. 

YouTube gets into audio ads 

Also from YouTube: Audio ads. Audio ads are now in beta on YouTube along with new “dynamic music lineups” of channels across music genres such as Latin, K-pop as well as lineups aimed at moods and interests like fitness. “Music lineups and audio ads make it possible to be there, at scale, whether YouTube is being watched front and center or playing as the backdrop to daily life,” YouTube wrote in a blog post this week. 

YouTube’s 15-second audio ads are accompanied by an image or simple animation and include a link to the advertiser’s site. They are largely aimed at driving brand awareness and are available to advertisers now in Google Ads and Display & Video 360 on a CPM basis.

Why we care. YouTube’s scale makes its entry into digital audio advertising particularly notable.  There are more than 2 billion monthly music listeners on YouTube, according to the company. Spotify, by contrast, reaches 185 million monthly users with its ad supported product. Internet audio advertising revenue reached $2.7 billion last year, up 21% from the previous year, the IAB reported. YouTube says more than 50% of logged-in users who listen to music content in a day consume more than 10 minutes of music content on the platform.

Update for Instagram Branded Content ads: New workflow, product tags and more

Instagram advertisers can now create Branded Content ads without creators having to post organically first. Branded content ads on Instagram have been around since June 2019. With the new workflow, advertisers request ad creation access from creators. After a creator approves the request, they’ll then be notified to approve or decline branded ads that appear from the advertiser under the creator’s handle. In Stories, Branded Content ads can now include tappable elements — mentions, hashtags, location. 

In addition, Instagram will begin testing Product Tags in Branded Content ads. Currently, creators’ branded content posts that have product tags can’t be promoted by brands as ads.  

Why we care. The new workflow streamlines the process for both brands and creators. Product Tags are potentially a big opportunity as Instagram becomes a bigger driving force in commerce. “More and more, people are shopping directly from the creators they love on Instagram – this new ad format is another way brands can provide a seamless shopping experience on Instagram,” the company said.

Twitter launches Fleets, tests social audio feature

Twitter has launched Fleets, the company’s version of Stories allows users to post content that vanishes after 24 hours. “You can Fleet text, reactions to Tweets, photos or videos and customize your Fleets with various background and text options,” Twitter explained.

Twitter is also testing an audio feature with which users can come together for live conversations, similar to the Clubhouse app that’s still in pilot. In an effort to avoid the moderation challenges that Clubhouse has found, Twitter said, ““We are going to launch this first experiment of spaces to a very small group of people — a group of people who are disproportionately impacted by abuse and harm on the platform: women and those from marginalized backgrounds,” TechCrunch reported

Why we care. Twitter has been slower to develop new product features commonplace on other platforms — even LinkedIn had Stories first — but Fleets and audio features could bring interesting new ways of engaging users on the platform beyond 280 characters. Twitter also continues to work on voice tweets for Android and is testing audio DMs.

Facebook injects more machine learning in content moderation

Facebook is now using machine learning to power how it prioritizes content slated for human review. Currently, flagged posts are largely reviewed in the order in which they were flagged. “In the future, an amalgam of various machine learning algorithms will be used to sort this queue, prioritizing posts based on three criteria: their virality, their severity, and the likelihood they’re breaking the rules,” The Verge reported.

Why we care. Conspiracy theories, misinformation and extremist content have been able to spread rapidly on Facebook. Leaning on more machine learning to take these three criteria into account cloud help the company respond to harmful content faster. That, in turn, might help improve brand safety on the platform. 


About The Author

Ginny Marvin is Third Door Media’s Editor-in-Chief, running the day to day editorial operations across all publications and overseeing paid media coverage. Ginny Marvin writes about paid digital advertising and analytics news and trends for Search Engine Land, Marketing Land and MarTech Today. With more than 15 years of marketing experience, Ginny has held both in-house and agency management positions. She can be found on Twitter as @ginnymarvin.

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