YouTube is discreetly testing a pilot program to enable advertisers to exclusively purchase ads on YouTube Shorts, a short-form video platform. This effort is part of a behind-the-scenes initiative to give advertisers more control over their ad placements on the popular Shorts format. While YouTube unveiled new ad options for Shorts earlier this year, the ability to exclusively target Shorts inventory is a recent addition to the suite.
The alpha testing phase has been ongoing with a select group of tech providers and brands for several months, as revealed to AdExchanger by three sources with direct knowledge of the program. YouTube’s move to allow advertisers greater control over Shorts placements comes in response to buyer frustration over the inability to separate Shorts from other video ad purchases. Currently, advertisers can only acquire Shorts inventory bundled with other YouTube inventory.
The alpha program aims to address this limitation by allowing advertisers to target ads on YouTube Shorts specifically. Although YouTube has not officially publicized the alpha program, insiders suggest that the platform is working to achieve a certain level of scale before making a public announcement.
YouTube Shorts, which generates over 70 billion views per day, has experienced significant growth. While the testing program currently allows basic targeting based on age, gender, and geolocation, it cannot target specific channels or videos. Advertisers participating in the program have access to measurement metrics such as reach, frequency, and view-through rates. The success of this initiative could offer advertisers a more effective way to connect with their target audience on the Shorts platform.
Additionally, YouTube is expanding its efforts to combat ad blockers. The platform has initiated a “global effort” to encourage users to either allow ads or explore YouTube Premium.