Outrigger Media Aims to Make YouTube Less Scary for Brands

Media-Planning Tool Creates a Custom Network of YouTube Channels

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Outrigger Media wants to lower the chance a brand's ad runs against risky content
Outrigger Media wants to lower the chance a brand's ad runs against risky content

For advertisers, TV is easy. Know the top-tier cable channels and a few broadcast networks and you're done.

Not so on YouTube, where high-quality videos with devoted subscriber-bases are there but not easily found, unless you know what you're looking for.

Enter Outrigger Media, which set out several years ago to make buying YouTube easier with a scoring system called OpenSlate to rate more than 200,000 video producers on criteria like content quality, brand safety, frequency, and subject matter expertise.

"Brands are not buying as much YouTube because they don't trust the content," said Outrigger Media CEO Mike Henry.

Now the online video ad company has created a media-planning tool called Vnetic that serves to pinpoint the YouTube channels best suited to a brand's campaign and weed out the unwanted. Advertisers can use Vnetic to "create and curate their own premium content network inside YouTube," he said.

Vnetic takes an advertiser's desired audience targets and then compiles a list of YouTube channels that best fit those targets.

Outrigger's media-planning tool Vnetic
Outrigger's media-planning tool Vnetic

After setting their campaign target, advertisers will be shown the full list of channels in their custom network as well as the combined number of views across those channels and their subject matter concentration. An advertiser can then take that list and plug it into an automated ad-buying system like Turn's or TubeMogul's to place real-time bids against people watching those channels.

Outrigger's aim is for Vnetic to make advertisers feel more comfortable buying YouTube ads programmatically and up their investments.

Some advertisers are hesitant about buying the ads through automated auctions because they're not sure what videos their brands will appear next to. Thanks to the large number of user-generated videos on YouTube, a pet-food brand's ad, for example, may run against a clip of a skateboarding dog or a taxidermied flying cat.

"Given how vast and ever-growing content is on YouTube, I think that marketers are looking for ways to make sense of what the right and best opportunities are," emailed Adam Shlachter, DigitasLBi head of media activation for North America.

"Making YouTube safe to buy at scale is a major priority for our clients," said MediaVest managing director-digital Ritu Trivedi in a statement.

YouTube has tried to alleviate some of these concerns with Google Preferred. Announced during the company's NewFronts presentation, Google Preferred packages together the top 5% of YouTube channels in 14 different categories like news and gaming for advertisers to buy on a reserved basis.

While Google Preferred is focused on direct deals, Outrigger's is looking to bring brand dollars into the programmatic side of YouTube's business, where ads are bought programmatically, or on an auction basis. YouTube ads sold programmatically average a $9.68 cost per-thousand impressions in the U.S., according to automated video ad-buying firm TubeMogul.

"You need this layer if you want to buy media at scale on YouTube. There are not a lot of people buying YouTube through [automated ad-buying tools], but that's where the market is going," Mr. Henry said.

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