Does Google’s release of search data for YouTube targeting really mean much for digital advertising?


Perhaps not as much as one might think.

It has now been several years since the major search engines turned off advertisers’ access to search history. Google’s recent announcement that advertisers can now target YouTube ads based on their Google search history has put a crack in this wall. Of course, any time Google opens its kimono, you can bet people will be watching. But what is the real significance of this news?

According to data from eMarketer, adult Americans spend 5.6 hours each day engaging in digital media. Google, as the most popular search engine, is a natural starting point, but Alexa research tells us what we already know—search engines are not the place where people linger. The average person spends about 9 minutes each day on Google—that’s 2.6% of their online time.

That means the amount of data gathered by Google (or Yahoo or Bing for that matter) pales in comparison to the trail of data that users are leaving on the rest of the web.

Graph follows this trail of data

Consumers spend the vast majority – to the tune of 95% – of their search time on ancillary pages. If they’re looking for a new car, for example, they might be searching on Autotrader. A new rake? You might find them searching on Home Depot. That’s exactly the kind of data captures. In fact, our unique programmatic platform captures 13 billion search events per month. And, in case you didn’t know, we have our own proprietary web crawler, just like Google, that captures keyword and contextual data, as well as search events. By gathering this type and volume of data, we’re able to provide our customers a much more robust and granular picture of a user’s buying interest and intent.

You see, that’s the beauty of tracking unstructured data. It captures the level of granular detail—across the web—that is needed to really make your campaigns relevant and effective. Rather than trying to pick and choose popular sites where you think your customers might be visiting, we can deliver ads to your buyers where they really go. And, of course, the more precisely targeted your ad, the better the response you’re going to get.

Bottom line, more data is always good, and this news from Google is a win for YouTube. But how much of a win is it for advertisers? The answer depends on your customers, and whether the premiums associated with the limited inventory on YouTube will pay off as compared to the ample opportunities available elsewhere on the internet.

Want to learn more? Read this article to learn more about the value of what we like to call “the rest of the Internet.”