YouTube Gives 'Design Star' Free Ad Time, Younger Demos


Free time in front of potential customers doesn't happen for advertisers often, but a video ad model on YouTube makes it a reality for Scripps Network and other advertisers -- as long as the viewer opts out before the 30-second spot concludes.

The video ad format -- cost per view -- rolled out last fall on the YouTube network, but parent company Google also is considering making it available across the Google Display Network.

Facebook, Pandora, YouTube and Twitter become the focus of the ad media buy for HGTV's "Design Star," with the new season airing July 11. The Scripps Networks wants to reach for "a younger and newer viewer base" that has traditionally attracted adults ages 45 and older. Gay men are avid fans of "Design Star," in addition to women.

That demographic insight, in part, comes from monitoring metrics on YouTube. The metrics bleed into the overall ratings for the show. "After marketing a few shows, we're finding some pull in younger viewers," said Jonah Spegman, director of digital media and database marketing at Scripps.



Going after younger demos, ads will run on YouTube tapping TrueView, which requires the brand to only pay when the viewer watches the entire ad. Promoted video ads will highlight the show's clips at the top of YouTube search results pages and in suggested videos.

HGTV ran 30-second pre-roll spots on YouTube TrueView to separately promote the shows "Design Star," "Cash & Cari" and "Selling New York."

"As the ad runs in the YouTube video, a big call to action lets viewers skip the ad, but we found 44% of people actively choose to watch the ad for "Selling New York" all the way through," Spegman said. "The other 56% still see the ad, but not in its entirety. The nice thing is they still watch between 25% and 50% before they choose to skip."

A cookie gets dropped in the browser of site visitors who choose to view the ad. The cookie provides a metric that Spegman calls "view through." The metrics can't directly link it to viewership, but he knows a "huge" percentage of people come back to the site once they are exposed to the YouTube video ad. And when viewers don't watch the whole ad through TrueView, HGTV gets the partial view for free."

Aside from YouTube, HGTV will buy a variety of Facebook ads that target the younger demos demonstrating through Likes an interest in competitive design shows. On Twitter, Spegman said the social network's sales team estimates HGTV can expect between 55 million and 75 million impressions on the day the ad runs.

Internet radio also will play a role in the ad buy. Combining a computer-and-mobile media buy on the Internet radio station, Pandora will target women 25-54. When logging into Pandora, she will see a custom skin on the page that promotes "Design Star."

The campaign will provide an option to run a video clip, but also offer an option to add a design-inspired Design Star branded radio station to their lineup.

The media buy also includes ads run on SayMedia for video, Lotame for semantic targeting and Apple iAd, which Spegman describes as Apple iAds for Developers, a lighter-weight banner that lets users download to the HGTV iPad app. The iAd runs on a cost-per-click model, so impressions are free.

Through the Apple iPad app, users can watch full episodes of the show. "Design Star" will sponsor People's iPad app. "We'll also have a considerable amount of ads running through ad exchanges and demand side platforms," Spegman said, clarifying that "considerable" means about 15% of the total media plan. "The efficiency of buying media through exchanges is tough to ignore."

Through ad exchanges, the ability to target and remarket improves. It lets HGTV serve up more easily click-to-play or click-through in-banner video ads.


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