Celebrating our first YouTube Festival in Sub-Saharan Africa

Around 500 hours of video are uploaded every minute and over one billion hours of video are watched every day on YouTube. With more than 70% of YouTube videos being watched on mobile devices and 475 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa projected to have mobile internet access by 2025, YouTube provides advertisers with distinct opportunities to connect and reach a growing market of African consumers right where they are.

This is why we recently hosted our first-ever YouTube Festival in Africa. The festival celebrates Africa’s vibrant ecosystem of YouTube creators and advertisers, while providing exclusive first looks at new features, products, and innovations.

The virtual festival, attended by leading advertisers from across Sub-Saharan Africa, was an opportunity to learn about key emerging trends and global best practices. All this in a bid to empower advertisers to learn about all the new ways they can reach engaged audiences on YouTube.

The day's headline announcements included the introduction of YouTube Select and YouTube Audio Ads, which are designed to help marketers target individuals interested in particular content categories and those who use YouTube for ambient listening.

YouTube Select
YouTube Select allows advertisers to place their ads alongside curated content that is most relevant to their brand. Let’s say you manage a smartphone brand aimed at tech savvy millennials. You could have your ads play alongside tech review content, for example.

YouTube’s most popular and relevant content, based on topic, audience, or moment is curated into packages called Lineups. Lineups are designed to achieve popularity, with a focus on top categories and creators across sports, broadcast, beauty and fashion, and popular content.

Lineups give advertisers the confidence that the right people are seeing their ads at the right time. Coupled with the existing YouTube targeting capabilities that advertisers know and use every day, ads can be hyper-personalised.

Audio Ads
Audio is a content format on the rise with people spending 18 hours a week on average listening to music — and 89% of them do so through on-demand streaming. Now advertisers have a new way of reaching these audiences on YouTube, the most popular destination for streaming music.

YouTube Audio Ads is a new format that allows advertisers to reach people using YouTube in the background and those on the free version of YouTube Music. 15-second, non-skippable ads are currently available with more formats coming soon.

Advertisers who have tried it are already seeing great success. More than 75% of measured campaigns are driving a significant lift in brand awareness with an audience that is highly engaged.

This is My YouTube
To shine a spotlight on creators, the festival featured an episode of This is My YouTube. The segment invites advertisers to experience YouTube through the eyes of YouTube creators. We find out what they laugh at, who they cry with, learn from, and escape to — and crucially, how they work with brands to bring relevant products and messaging to their followers.

Content creators play a significant role in influencing purchase behaviour. Research shows that conversions from interest to purchase increase 133% with positive reviews for South African consumers.

Watch our first episode of This is My YouTube with South African YouTube creators Kay Ngonyama and Snikiwe Mhlongo — who, combined, have over 250,000 subscribers.

YouTube + TV
Festival attendees also learned about how YouTube and TV work better together. Today, people watch video content across devices, through different platforms, any time, and anywhere. This change requires advertisers to reach their audiences beyond TV.

Planning on both TV and YouTube provides an opportunity for advertisers to extend their reach even further and drive incremental reach. This is because the consumer journey is not linear. It involves a multitude of touchpoints as a consumer considers a product or service.

While TV has a large reach, research shows that when brands combine both TV and digital as part of their marketing strategy, the return on investment is much larger than the sum of just one medium.

With this consideration, when advertisers craft messaging across both mediums, they’re able to be exactly where their consumers are as they navigate the non-linear consumer journey.

Interestingly, we have found that YouTube as an advertising medium allows advertisers to get TV’s large reach at a much lower cost. And as audiences in Africa, and around the world, consume more content on the platform, why not leverage this screentime as a brand?

A new era for advertising
As the go-to platform for video streaming, YouTube offers an array of curated content for diverse groups of people. Our audience solutions offer a variety of ways for advertisers to reach their valuable audiences.

If you would like to find out more about these YouTube offers, watch the full festival on-demand below.

Posted by Alex Okosi, Managing Director of Emerging Markets, YouTube EMEA