Want to make a viral ad on YouTube? Google wants to help.
The video service is launching a pilot program designed to educate advertisers on their YouTube content strategies, not unlike what they've been doing for other YouTube creators through Next Lab for the past several years.
The new program is for brands only and it's an expansion of the company's Brand Labs service, which was designed to educate advertisers on YouTube content strategies. This new initiative will focus more on helping those brands actually create engaging content.
The effort is completely separate from YouTube's original programming efforts, but advertises will get the same resources as YouTube "partners," meaning those that allow YouTube to sell ads on their videos.
The program is structured to arm advertisers with dedicated YouTube executives and more broad access to existing resources like Brand Labs and YouTube Space in Los Angeles and the UK -- production studios it recently launched to support creators who post their video content on YouTube -- according to people familiar with their plans.
It will also help facilitate partnerships and potential sponsorship opportunities between the brands and YouTube creators.
The company likely drew inspiration from Next Lab -- the former Next New Networks -- which was acquired in 2011 to help creators improve their content and ultimately grow their subscriber bases. Next Lab will also likely play a role in the new program for brands.
The program is for new and existing customers that are committed to spending a certain amount with parent Google, industry executives told Ad Age. It's a recognition that brands want to create content for YouTube, not just place their ads there.
Robert Kyncl, global head of content at YouTube, discussed the product for the first time today in a presentation in Cannes, France. The brands involved in the pilot program include: American Express, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo and General Electric, according to a report in the Drum.
The move comes as more brands look to become custom publishers themselves and create content that consumers care about. As a result, agencies across disciplines have set up devoted content groups to advise clients and create, produce and distribute content featuring their clients' brands.
Although YouTube's new program will focus on content created specifically for its own platform, the video giant is now yet another player in the content services space, which also lists publishing companies and content specialist agencies.
Google did not respond to a request for comment.
UPDATE: In a press release, YouTube says the program kicks off in September at YouTube Space in Los Angeles. YouTube sales chief Lucas Watson says: "By inviting advertisers into our partner program, we hope to give them access to resources and expertise that will help them develop even more compelling and authentic content on YouTube."
Contributing: Timothy Peterson