Google eyes TV ads and YouTube social contacts

7 May 2009

Google believes it is possible to make TV ads more relevant to users and deliver more value to advertisers, the company said today. It has also begun pairing Google accounts with YouTube accounts.

In recent days, it emerged that Google has been subtly moving into the social media arena.

The company has separated contacts from Gmail to be used across all of Google, and has begun paring YouTube accounts with Google accounts.

The company has also put its cards on the table in terms of television advertising and how its successful web model could be applied to the small screen.

On the official Google blog today, Dan Zigmond, technical lead for Google TV Ads, said that TV is becoming more like the web.

“Just as users click with their mouse to choose what’s most relevant to them on the web, viewers send signals about what they want to see on television with clicks of the remote control,” Zigmond said.

He explained that the company has been analysing data from millions of anonymised set-top boxes to see what people are watching at any second and, as a result, has been able to use tuning metrics to provide advertisers with next-day reports on how many TVs showed their ads and how audiences responded with their remotes.

Another method being explored is the Percentage Initial Audience Retained (%IAR) to see the percentage of audience that stays watching through an entire ad.

The company is working on developing algorithms that allow it to use historical data to predict future audience reaction.

“If we can use the past to predict the future, then we can get closer to putting relevant ads in front of TV viewers,” Zigmond said.

“Through our analysis of tuning data from millions of set-top boxes, we’re getting closer to matching the right ads to the right television audience.

“It takes a lot of processing power to make sense of the enormous amount of data, but the insights to be gleaned are very powerful. Not only are we able to offer advertisers better measurement and more accountability for their TV campaigns, our goal is to also create a better viewing experience for TV audiences by showing viewers what they want to see,” Zigmond said.

By John Kennedy