YouTube’s new ad tech automatically personalizes ads, can now target using Google Maps, app install data

YouTube today introduced a series of new tools for marketers, one of the more notable being “Director Mix,” a technology that allows a company to create thousands of video ads tailored for different audiences all using a single creative asset. That is, the advertiser could upload a number of different voiceovers, backgrounds, and copy, and the system will then automatically create different versions of the video ad to match the advertiser’s various audience segments they’re targeting, explains Google in an announcement about the new technologies.

One brand that already used Director Mix is Campbell’s Soup, which created different ads to display on different YouTube videos. In one case, a bumper appeared for those who were watching clips from the TV show “Orange is the New Black,” which asked “does your cooking make prison food seem good? We’ve got a soup for that.”

Another appearing on Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies” music video included the line “Dinner for One?” instead, noted AdAge. Google claims these more personalized, targeted ads earned Campbell’s a 55 percent life in ad recall.

McDonald’s also used Director Mix to create 77 pieces of content from one campaign, Adweek reports. The technology, which is similar to what’s been available with display ads, leverages machine learning, and also lets advertisers know which ads are working, it also says.

Additionally, Google says it’s now expanding the capabilities of its Custom Affinity Audiences offering, which will allow advertisers to target people with a whole new level of creepiness precision.

Before, advertisers could target ads using Google search data. Now, advertisers will be able to reach people based  not only on the kinds of searches they’re doing, but also the kind of places they search for or visit using Google Maps data, or even the apps they have installed on their smartphone.

For instance, Google suggests that an outdoor outfitter could use this feature to target an ad to only skiers by seeking out those who have searched for skis, who spent time at ski resorts, or downloaded a ski resort’s trail guide app.

Google says that using intent-based audiences like this on mobile can help with ad recall (20% lift) and brand awareness (50% higher), versus demographic-only based campaigns. The data was based on early results from over 1,000 advertisers.

(Of course, I would probably notice too when a brand advertisement seemed like it had read my mind, and remember that ad better than others. But that’s not necessarily a good thing.)

Another tool arriving today include a way to create ads that unfold over time by stringing together ad creative, where the ads can take consumers down a different path based on what’s working. This could also be used to tell a longer story over a series of ads – like beginning with a short bumper, then later following up with longer ads.

Google says that Ubisoft used this to promote its “Assassin’s Creed” game, starting with 6-second bumper ads featuring elements of the trailer. The campaign reached 15 million unique viewers, and it increased awareness by 25 percent as well as search life for the term “Assassin’s Creed” by 224 percent.

Lastly, Google is introducing a new way to measure impact in terms of ads’ impact on offline sales with Nielsen’s Matched Panel Analysis. That means advertisers will have a better understanding of which online ad activity – not just video – is working to send people to stores.