The Brag Media
Features November 19, 2020

YouTube pitches passive music listening stats to advertisers

YouTube pitches passive music listening stats to advertisers

Of the 2 billion music fans who log into YouTube each month to watch a music video, more than 85% consume in the foreground. It’s the other approximately 15%, the ones listening without eyeballs on screens, that the platform is now pitching to global advertisers over.

The Google-owned site has launched audio ads in beta, with the measurement and brand safety features used in video campaigns. It introduced audio ads in a limited test phase 12 months ago, with audio delivering the message and the visuals a still image or simple animation.

The test phase discovered 15-second audio grabs heightened campaign awareness by over 75%.

“We know being associated with this content works, and so it’s incumbent on us to create packaged opportunities for advertisers to get close to it in whatever format they want to work in, whether that be audio, video or both,” Adam Stewart explained, vice president of sales for YouTube.

The ads are so far only on the main YouTube site and app, not on the platform YouTube Music.

YouTube, which made over US$5 billion from advertising in Q3, is pushing the pitch of its “twin-engine growth story”, where advertising is equally as important as raising subscription numbers.

The platform is encouraging advertisers to widen to audio-only spots by offering tracks separated in genres, moods or activities like fitness. It also offered its data about the Top 100 artists and songs in 63 countries.

At the same time, YouTube’s head of music Lyor Cohen wrote a blog post encouraging music companies and creators to start or increase their ad spend with the platform. The COVID-19 pandemic “fundamentally changed the music industry forever” after concerts came to a halt, he wrote, which encouraged people to consume more music on online platforms. This made it the best time, he said, for the industry and creator community to reach their fans.

Cohen noted that over 50% of logged-in YouTube viewers who watch music content in a day consume more than 10 minutes of music-related content. Furthermore, watch-time on TV screens of recorded live music performances jumped 100% from July 2019 to July 2020.

“For advertisers, this shift has created new opportunities to reach attentive, engaged audiences through digital music content,” he said.

“But many marketers are hesitant to invest because of common myths about music content and its impact on marketing goals.”

In the meantime, YouTube’s pitch to Madison Avenue seemed bolstered with the release of a new report from Midia Research, which estimated YouTube generated about $2.2 billion in music rights holder royalties from its ad business in 2019.

“Music retains its role as the leading source of YouTube revenue,” the report emphasised, adding that “music-related videos also represented 32% of all views in 2019”.

Midia founder Mark Mulligan wrote in the report: “The amount of revenue that YouTube pays the music industry is not the issue; instead, it is the price per stream.”

Music, while growing commercially, under-performs compared to other genres like gaming. This is because music videos are relatively too short to insert ads into, and most music services except for those in Asia and Latin America are artist-centric and do not have enough content to drive channel engagement.

Nevertheless, the report said, “Currently, YouTube is becoming more important to music than music is to YouTube.

“YouTube continues to dominate the global music streaming market, with 47% music weekly active user penetration, ahead of Spotify in second place at 29%.

“Being the most widely used music streaming app across all ages, with weekly active usage highest among 16-19-year-olds at 70% penetration, YouTube is simultaneously a key ad-supported, premium, marketing and discovery asset for artists and labels.”

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