YouTube announced two major features this week, Customer Match and Shopping ads. You might call this ad tech Christmas in September. Let’s unwrap both of the new features, and explain what they mean and how advertisers can take advantage of them.

Customer Match marks the first time that TrueView ads can be targeted using first-party data. This feature has long been available for ad targeting on Facebook, and Google has answered the call to catch up. According to Google, “…now, Google can help you reach customers that you already have a relationship with —like those in your loyalty program or who have made a previous purchase —in ways that are most relevant to their intent and context.”
Customer Match enables advertisers to serve custom ads and custom videos to a specific set of customers. Starting in October, Pixability will be able to upload email lists for YouTube ad targeting, to tailor videos, creative, and bids for very specific audience sets, and monitor performance over time. Say, for example, an auto dealer has a long list of customers who have purchased a car in the last year. The dealer could create a video about its service department, and target only customers who have purchased a specific vehicle. Or, say, a major retail brand has two customer email lists: one list of website visitors who have recently converted, and one of visitors who have not made a purchase in more than 90 days. Perhaps reaching a person who has yet to make a purchase in the past 90 days is more valuable to the brand, so now we can target that exact customer list with an ad about a new sale.
Speaking of sales, Shopping ads on YouTube were unveiled “To help advertisers reach all the other product-focused content on YouTube — from unboxings, hauls, product reviews and how-to videos — …. to transform any relevant video into your digital storefront.”
Shopping ads will allow brands to advertise directly on popular creator videos. Similar to cards that YouTube rolled out earlier this year, brands will be able to advertise their products directly on YouTube videos, and now leverage the reach of creators to find new customers. Similar to Shopping ads on Google, advertisers only pay when a user clicks on their ad.
Let’s say a viewer is watching an unboxing video from a trusted creator on their favorite channel, DigitalRev TV. The creator is reviewing a new Sony camera, going into detail about each new feature. Now, Sony can place a shopping ad on top of DigitalRev TV’s video directly from the DigitalRev TV video.
The two new features will help brands activate their own data to engage specific customers in the most relevant context, and tap into the huge library of user generated content that is unique to YouTube to reach a broader consumer base and drive action.