YouTube’s Adding New Still Image Ads

Not sure how this one’s going to be received.

While we all know YouTube as the king of online video – the place for moving image content – the platform has this week announced that it will soon provide non-video advertisers with a new still image option that will appear within YouTube home feeds. 

Called Discovery Ads, the new option will use audience targeting to display your ads to relevant users, based on their activity.

As explained by YouTube:

“Discovery ads are a simple and effective way to tap into the power of YouTube – and you don’t even need a video. Just upload your best images from your social campaign, then we’ll optimize your media mix for maximum performance across Gmail, Discover and the YouTube Home feed. The YouTube Home feed has long been a great place for users to discover their next favorite creator, and it can be a great place for them to discover your brand, too.”

I mean, it makes some sense – YouTube has increasingly become a discovery platform, with some considering it to be the world’s second largest search engine. And as users come to YouTube looking for specific answers, being able to promote your business, right there in a related stream, could well be effective – even if it’s not a video you’re offering.

The above example is from TechStyle Fashion Group, which, according to YouTube, has been experimenting with Discovery ads for the last few months.

“TechStyle experimented with its first Discovery ad in November 2018 to increase membership for its athleisure subscription brand, Fabletics. Repurposing their existing image assets, the brand saw up to 25% lower cost-per-lead on average using Discovery ads compared to their ads on other channels, including social and search.”

Opening up YouTube, and its 1.8 billion active users, to more advertisers does make sense, and given that ‘How to’ searches on both Google and YouTube continue to rise, being able to meet those searchers with related product offers can be a good outreach option.  

And really, it’s probably not that different from the lower panel image ads you see on YouTube videos already. It may be a little jarring at first to see the new ad format jammed into your YouTube home feed, but it could also prove effective. 


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