YouTube Blast can help brands reach 140M -150M people in a week’s time: Vikas Agnihotri

Agnihotri, the interim Head of Google India, talks about the new marketing tool launched by the search giant recently

e4m by Shweta Raaj Singh
Updated: Apr 5, 2019 8:37 AM

Google introduced YouTube Blast six months ago to help marketers and advertisers get maximum reach in minimum time. It is best suited for a brand, or a concept or campaign launch. Flipkart’s ‘India ka fashion capital’ is one of the campaigns that used the tool and managed to reach 100M users, recording a near 10 per cent lift in consideration in 10 days. While their ad recall increased 27 per cent; purchase intent increased by 11 per cent and brand awareness by 6 per cent.

 To understand the tool and its purpose better, exchange4media spoke to Vikas Agnihotri, the interim Head of Google India. Agnihotri explained us how YouTube Blast can do the task in 7-10 days, while traditional media would take three to four weeks to do it.

 Excerpts from the interview:

What is YouTube blast?

 YouTube Blast is a new innovation that offers unparalleled reach with relevant audience in minimum time and eventually provides higher impact.

 Several customers across many verticals--CPG, Auto, BFSI-- are increasingly relying on YouTube Blast as their preferred YouTube ads package to engage audiences at scale in a short period of time.


What is unique about YouTube Blast? Also, tell us about the top three features of the new package.

 It is best suited for a brand or a concept or campaign launch. Today, brand launch campaigns are no longer restricted to just driving awareness, they are rather assisting in every part of the conversion funnel to convert the consumer’s intent into action. This makes it more effective. Simply put, campaigns need to reach the audience, catch their attention, use the data/insights to re-engage with them, make it to their consideration set for a long-term relationship and convert intent to action. In this funnel, awareness is the starting point and it is important for marketers to capture consumer’s attention. This is where YouTube Blast comes into play, giving maximum reach to relevant audience in minimum time leading to higher impact. And what makes it a winner is that everything is powered by data.


For how long usually the campaign runs?

It can go for as long as you want, but the key thing to note is that it ensures maximum reach with relevant target audience in a minimal time possible. It can reach more than 140-150 million people in a weeks’ time. To get the same kind of reach through traditional media, one would take twice the time if not more. Therefore, a marketer, in the awareness stage of the campaign, trying to reach its target group and cast the net wide and far, will take 3-4 weeks to build that kind of momentum through traditional media. But with YouTube, you can do this in a week to 10 days.

How is YouTube Blast different in terms of leveraging the reach of YouTube?

YouTube by itself can reach millions. You can run campaigns across the board. YouTube Blast uses parts of search, smart display campaigns as well as other YouTube aspects and combines data signals from all of that. It uses a programmatic platform that is able to drive high reach in a very short span of time.

It is also a three-staged programme – one is to blast it to the audiences, the second is to re-engage with the audiences (capture to connect phase) and the third is using the same marketing signals to take the customer from a consideration to an action step (connect to convert stage). Many advertisers have an objective of only creating awareness or only creating brand consideration or driving action in terms of getting somebody to click on the website. So there are different objectives that people come with and this is a holistic offering for them. As I said, it is more helpful at the time of the launch of a product.

What is the kind of reach YouTube Blast can offer & how does it work?

Depending on the target, a launch campaign using YouTube Blast can reach 140M -150M people in a week’s time and 80M-100M in one to three days. Achieving the same kind of reach in traditional medium will take twice the time.

Once marketers have connected with audience, they use insights to re-engage with audience to drive their intent into action. The ability to re-market and drive conversion at scale is what will really make launches more measurable and actionable than ever before.


Customer Example:

Flipkart wanted to position itself as one of India’s premier online fashion destinations in India, primarily targeting the tier 2-3 cities. For this, they created ‘India ka fashion capital’ campaign. They complemented their TV spots with a variety of YouTube ads (TrueView for Reach & Bumper) to maximise reach while running search and dynamic display ads in support. They became visible to a wide consumer base across multiple touch-points quickly, and using audience insights garnered in the first two weeks honed messaging to be more relevant at each stage of the consumer journey. Further, they used Google targeting solutions to reach shoppers interested in fashion apparel and then followed up with bumper ads on fashion-related content.

And the results they received were phenomenal. In 10 days, they reached 100M users and registered a near 10 per cent lift in consideration. Ad recall increased by 27 per cent; purchase intent by 11 per cent and brand awareness by 6 per cent.

To share another example of a BFSI company, Scripbox used YouTube Blast to build awareness and relevance for the brand and get people to save tax with their curated ELSS funds. They successfully used YouTube Blast to garner high reach in the first week followed by mid funnel engagement with the right audience with contextual communication in the sustenance phase. And as a result, their consumer intent rose with 125 per cent growth in search queries. They received 15.6 per cent lift in ad recall, 6.2 per cent lift in brand awareness and 246 per cent lift in brand interest. They got 370M impressions in a week and 59M unique reach.

In addition to this, several customers across many verticals such as CPG and Auto are increasingly relying on YouTube Blast as their preferred tool to engage audiences at scale in a short period of time.

When was the YouTube Blast campaign started? How are brands responding to it?

We started YouTube Blast six months ago. The response from the brands has been tremendous. In this medium, a marketer has complete control. In other mediums, a marketer is pretty much spraying and praying. You have control in terms of how your campaign is going, as you get daily information in terms of how people are engaging with your ad. You are also able to tweak the campaign as you are going through it.

In a brand manager’s life, product launch is a very critical phase. This medium gives full control over the communication, the ability to reach out, the ability to tweak the campaign as it is going on, the ability to have data signals, and then being able to say what is needed to change in terms of re-engaging behaviour. I think these are the things that clients are appreciating. Also, what YouTube Blast is doing is reducing the action journey by 50%. So if you want to measure the offtake of a communication strategy, in the traditional media, the strategy will start ramping up in the 3rd week and taking shape in the 4th week. But with YouTube Blast, it starts ramping up from day 3 – day 4 and you actually start seeing action happening by day 8 or day 10 and start seeing results coming in.

How do you ensure effective targeting in an era of information overload and diminishing attention spans?

I can talk about our platform YouTube. Unlike other platforms where videos come into your feed, on YouTube, you are searching for something. And when you show the intent of watching a certain kind of content, it means you are more engaged. That’s also the reason why you will look at watch time of YouTube growing at 100% y-o-y because people find content on YouTube very engaging. That’s the difference. You are expressing your intent to the kind of content you want to consume and because of that you are more engaged into the video that is playing in front of you.

The other fact is that, even from measurement perspective, our view-ability and audibility rate is at 95%. It is the highest by any standards, which again helps the customers get a seamless experience and give marketer the comfort that there is measurability in terms of the content that they are watching. That is really a critical element. The content that you make should not be jarring. It should not be unrelated to what you are consuming. That will be a bad experience. So for example if I am reading about fashion and I see something come from Flipkart fashion, it makes eminent sense and I am bound to be more engaged and receptive to that ad.

 YouTube Blast was a new take on YouTube and provided brands with an opportunity for the first time to build high levels of targeted frequency-controlled reach in a short time frame. Youtube Blast is benefiting marketers and advertisers immensely. We are crunching the result time for marketers and advertisers by half of what the results they would expect from a campaign to happen when compared to traditional way. The marketers and advertisers are loving it and we are going to grow. 

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