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YouTube makes a bid for Shorts ad dollars at NewFronts

The news: During the IAB NewFronts this week, YouTube unveiled new methods for incorporating Shorts into advertisers’ awareness campaigns.

  • YouTube is integrating Shorts into its video reach campaigns, which it says use Google AI to deliver promotions that balance reach and efficiency. In-feed video ads are being added to video reach campaigns as well.
  • With the video reach campaigns update, advertisers add a vertical video of 60 seconds or less alongside their other assets. Buyers who prefer to rely on their existing horizontal content can take advantage of YouTube's campaign setup tools, which offer AI-driven features that automatically adjust and optimize landscape videos for vertical viewing.

The results: Paramount+ was among the early partners to experiment with the updated version of video reach campaigns. To promote the new movie “At Midnight,” Paramount+ efficiently expanded reach and brand influence by using in-stream and in-feed ads as well as Shorts placements.

  • YouTube says the campaign not only reached new audiences but also achieved greater efficiency and higher ad recall compared with campaigns featuring solely in-stream ads, suggesting short-form ads provide additional uplift for brand campaigns.

In other news: YouTube Select, which enables advertisers to engage with YouTube's most popular content, is now being extended to Shorts, allowing brands to reach 1.5 billion monthly logged-in Shorts users.

  • First Position on Shorts, a new YouTube Select offering, lets advertisers reach users at the beginning of their Shorts-viewing sessions.

Our take: The number of ad formats on TikTok far exceeds those on Reels or YouTube, principal analyst Debra Aho Williamson notes. Meta and YouTube are wisely using the NewFronts to narrow that gap, considering both players will rely on short-form video ad revenues for growth in the near term.

Go further: For more on how Shorts stack up against TikTok, read our new report.