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YouTube Generated $28.8 Billion in Ad Revenue in 2021, Fueling the Creator Economy

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YouTube Moves Away from Original Programming to Focus on Creator Funding Initiatives

While TikTok continues its meteoric rise, and looks set to become an even more influential platform this year, YouTube remains the clear leader in the online video space. And it looks set to maintain the top spot for one key reason – its revenue-sharing program, which sees billions shared with creators each year, and which no other platform is close to matching just yet, in terms of a sustainable creator monetization model.

YouTube’s Partner Program, which is now well embedded, and established within its own ecosystem, is now a key driver of the broader creator economy. And this week, as part of parent company Alphabet’s Q4 performance update, we got some more insight into just how significant this element has become.

As per Alphabet’s report, YouTube generated $8.6 billion in ad revenue in Q4 2021, while for the full year, YouTube brought in $28.8 billion in advertising income.

As you can see, that’s a significant jump on YouTube’s 2020 performance. And with around 55% of YouTube ad revenue going to creators, that means that YouTube paid creators more than $15 billion throughout 2021, a huge chunk of the overall creator economy funding.

Though that’s not exact. YouTube does share 55% of its ad revenue with creators based on the ads displayed on their clips, but it also has other ad options outside of this, while its move to monetize all content, not just videos in its Partner Program, as of November 2020, also makes the full revenue split less clear-cut than 55% of its overall take.

But even so, it’s still a huge amount, and a massive lure for YouTube, which the platform will continue to use to try and sway creators away from TikTok, by offering more incentive, more opportunity and greater rewards for their efforts.

YouTube, of course, has also been looking to combat the rise of TikTok with its own alternative in ‘Shorts’, which, according to Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, continues to see significant momentum.

YouTube Shorts continues to drive significant engagement. We just hit five trillion all time views, and have over fifteen billion views each day globally. This is helping our creator community reach newer and bigger audiences. In fact, more people are creating content on YouTube than ever before. Last year, the number of YouTube channels that made at least $10,000 in revenue was up more than 40% year over year. And we’re continuing to improve support for Artists and Creators.”

Pichai also notes that more creators are now earning money from YouTube’s non-ad products, including Super Chat and Channel Memberships, while its $100 million Shorts Fund is now available in more than one-hundred countries.

Creator funds like this can be problematic, in that the amount remains static, while usage changes (as recently explained by YouTube creator Hank Green). But YouTube, with its expanded funding models, is in a much more sustainable, profitable and beneficial position for creators than emerging platforms like TikTok, which is still working out how to best facilitate creator funding within short video clips.

Short videos are too short to insert mid-stream ads, which makes direct revenue attribution more difficult. That’s pushed TikTok to explore other alternatives, like brand partnerships, though it remains to be seen whether TikTok can establish enough of a business model on this front to keep its most popular creators around long term.

Another option that TikTok’s exploring is eCommerce, and enabling creators to generate revenue by selling products tied to their TikTok clips.

Which YouTube, too, is testing:

As per Pichai:

“We’re making it easier for viewers to buy what they see – and simpler for advertisers to drive action with innovative solutions like product feeds in Video Action Campaigns and emerging formats like live commerce. Backcountry.com generated a 12:1 return-on-ad-spend with product feeds in 2021 and plans to double its investment in 2022. While Samsung, Walmart, and Verizon partnered with creators to host shoppable holiday livestream events in the US”

Just as this is a key opportunity on TikTok, it’s also similarly significant on YouTube – and potentially, even more so, with many people searching on YouTube for product info, while YouTube clips are also linked to Google searches.

That could make this another valuable avenue for YouTube creator monetization, and another element in which YouTube could beat TikTok out, with more incentive for big-name stars.

Also interesting – Alphabet says that it will test some of its eCommerce ideas for YouTube in India first “because we can get quicker feedback”.

“A very dynamic, youthful population. And so we’ll do it there, and then roll it out globally. So we are constantly looking for opportunities like that.”

And in another direct assault on TikTok, YouTube’s also now testing commerce links in Shorts:

“Super early also on testing how shopping can be integrated with Shorts. And so, again, early, but I find the opportunity space here pretty broad, and it’s exciting.”

It’s interesting to consider the broader chess game at play here, and how the bigger players are looking to counter the growth of TikTok where they can, and hit the rising platform where it hurts, in terms of monetization and creator promotion tools.

TikTok is the cool app of the moment, and it’s definitely been great at capturing attention. But just like Vine before it, creator monetization remains a challenge – and already TikTok creators are calling for a bigger slice of the revenue pie, under threat of them potentially taking their content to other platforms instead.

Which is exactly what happened to Vine, with its top stars calling for more money as the app continued to grow, which eventually lead to them migrating to other apps.

TikTok is far bigger now that Vine ever was, and seems too big, really, to fail at this stage. But then again, if this does become a key sticking point, and creators do take their talents, and audiences, to other apps, it remains a possibility that TikTok might not make it in the long term.

Meanwhile, YouTube continues to go from strength to strength, and iterate on its already established monetization models. TikTok may be popular, but the battle for online video supremacy is still ruled by the incumbent, and will be for the foreseeable future at least.


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Twitter Blue Subscribers Can Now Post Tweets Up to 4,000 Characters Long

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Twitter Blue Subscribers Can Now Post Tweets Up to 4,000 Characters Long

So, this is a thing…

Twitter has rolled out longer tweets to Twitter Blue subscribers in the US, with paying users now able to post tweets up to 4,000 characters in length.

If anyone needed or wanted that.

Longer tweets will be displayed in the main feed at standard length, with a ‘Show more…’ indicator pointing users to the remainder of the content.

Honestly, it’s sadly ironic that not even Twitter could come up with a good use of the extra characters in its example, but yes, Twitter Blue users – all 300,000 of them – will now be able to post super long rants about whatever they choose in the app.

As explained by Twitter:

“[Twitter Blue users] can also compose longer Tweets in a Quote Tweet or reply. Standard functionality like posting media, creating polls, and using hashtags still apply. Everyone will be able to read longer Tweets, but only Blue subscribers can create them.

I don’t know if anyone requested this, but Twitter 2.0 chief Elon Musk seems convinced that by enabling users to post long-form content, that will eventually open up new avenues to monetization, and will see more top voices posting more stuff to the app.

I mean, the recent Twitter Files are probably the best example – Elon’s hand-picked team of journalists have been trawling through Twitter’s archives to uncover accusations of corruption and Government meddling, all ended up posting their findings in ridiculously long tweet threads in the app.

It would make more sense to post them on a more long-form focused format, but Musk obviously wants all the attention on Twitter – and in instances like this, maybe having longer tweets could be valuable.

But I don’t know.

It also seems short-sighted to only provide this functionality to Twitter Blue users. As noted, only a small fraction of Twitter’s 250 milllion total user base is paying for a blue tick, and while Twitter is now expanding the offering into new markets, it’s hard to see it catching on in any real way.

That means that a lot of the most popular creators won’t even be able to use the option, which seems counterintuitive. But then again, Elon will probably look to add in a new monetization element, which you have to pay up to qualify for, which is probably his broader view for limiting access at this stage.

Who knows – maybe it ends up being amazing, and maybe it makes it way easier to post what would have been multi-tweet threads in a more engaging, interesting way in the app.

It’s different, for sure, very different from Twitter’s usual offering.



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Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade

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Growth Stock Surges On Ad Fraud Discovery, Analyst Upgrade

Ad data and analytics provider DoubleVerify (DV) is building the right side of a cup base with a buy point of 32.53. The growth stock is today’s selection for IBD 50 Stocks to Watch.




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DoubleVerify has a strong Composite Rating of 94 and a Relative Strength Rating of 89. Its stellar EPS Rating of 96 is even better.

Company sales grew 35% to $112.3 million in the third quarter while earnings per share of 6 cents grew 20% from the previous year.

On Jan. 10, analysts at Barclays upgraded the stock to overweight from equal weight with a price target of 29. Shares gapped up over 6% on the news, and the move helped the stock start its recovery from the January low.

Growth Stock Surges After Finding Fraud Scheme

DoubleVerify helps advertising companies that target users on video, mobile, and social media platforms. The company also has an analytics side that provides data on consumer engagement.

The digital media analytics platform ensures that ads reach their target customers in a safe way. This means that ads reach actual people with the right context. The software also has tools to adapt ads to different devices.

Its technology also seeks to address ad fraud. On Thursday, the company discovered “BeatSting,” the first large-scale ad-impression fraud scheme that targeted audio ads.

DV Fraud Lab first identified the fraud scheme in 2019, which is largely responsible for advertisers losing $20 million in several scams, according to reports. DoubleVerify was credited for unveiling the fraud. Shares last Thursday surged nearly 4% in strong volume.

Deals With Twitter, LinkedIn, Meta, Facebook

The company has partnered with leading social media and mobile platforms like LinkedIn and TikTok to improve ad impact and experience. DoubleVerify has a long-standing relationship with Facebook parent Meta Platforms (META). The social media platform faced a massive boycott in 2020 when several companies removed their ads due to concerns over their brand safety.

In June of last year, DoubleVerify brought features that will allow marketers to see where their ads appear in a user’s timeline. The feature uses artificial-intelligence tools to understand the context in which ads appear. The feature also enhanced brand safety  and attracted Twitter and other social media platforms to try it out. Nonetheless, marketers did not buy in entirely, according to reports, as Twitter’s ad revenue continued to struggle.

The growth stock ranks second in the specialty enterprise software group. The stock went public in April 2021. The New York-based company has locations in the U.S., U.K., Europe, Asia, Australia and South America.

Mutual funds own 39% of shares outstanding. That may not seem like much, but more funds have been picking up the growth stock over the past eight quarters, according to MarketSmith. The stock has an Accumulation/Distribution Rating of B-.

Exchange traded funds hold shares of DoubleVerify as well. The Invesco S&P Small Cap Information Technology ETF (PSCT) and the SPDR FactSet Innovative Technology ETF (XITK) own DV.

Please follow VRamakrishnan on Twitter @IBD_VRamakrishnan for more news on growth stocks.

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YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads

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YouTube Will Now Enable Brands to Buy Specific Time Slots Around Major Events for Masthead Ads

YouTube has added a new time targeting element to its Masthead Ads, which will enable brands to display their promotions in key times leading up to key events.

As explained by YouTube:

In a time of multiple screens and countless ways to stay entertained, it can be challenging to get your audience’s attention. But even with so much content available at any time, people are drawn to moments they can experience together: a new movie release, a big game, a product launch, a holiday. And these are key opportunities to connect with a brand. Marketers, you know this well: you center advertising campaigns around the tentpole moments most likely to inspire your audience, shift perceptions or influence a purchase decision.”

YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead enables brands to own the most prominent placement in the app during the hour(s) leading up to, during or after priority moments.

For example:

“[During the recent World Cup], McDonald’s Brazil turned to the YouTube Cost-Per-Hour Masthead. Their strategy was savvy: reach anyone in Brazil who was watching YouTube an hour before the Brazil vs. Cameroon match and remind them to pick up McDonald’s before the game started. This perfectly timed execution delivered tens of millions of impressions at the very moment fans were preparing for the match.

It could be a good way to hook into key moments, and build momentum for your campaigns, while also establishing association with key events and subjects.

“Just a few weeks ago, Xiaomi, the leading smartphone manufacturer in India, prepared to launch their highly anticipated Redmi Note 12 series via YouTube livestream. To drive viewership, Xiaomi ran the Cost-Per-Hour Masthead during the event. Not only did this activation drive scaled awareness, it led to over 90,000 concurrent livestream views. The Redmi Note 12 went on to generate a record number of first-week sales, making it one of their most successful launches to date.

It’s an expansive, but potentially significant targeting option, which could hold appeal for big brands looking to make a big splash around major events and releases.

You can learn more about YouTube’s Cost-Per-Hour Masthead process here.

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