Country Director, Google Nigeria, Juliet Ehimuan-Chiazor, in this interview with Emma Okonji, speaks on how brands and content creators are taking advantage of video ads to engage larger audience through digital communication and stresses the need for affordable broadband across board. Excerpts:
There are lots of creativities around video contents in recent time and Google is interested in collecting these data to further analyse new trends and developments around video ads. Why the interest from Google?
As Google, we collect lots of data and we understand the trends and best practices around video ads and we try in our own way to share with people, some of the trends and developments of the top performance of video ads on YouTube. To answer your question, I will like to look at video as a theme and what video really means to Nigerians and how some short video ads have helped in shaping consumers’ choice of preference. Google is interested in how individuals, entrepreneurs, brands and content creators are taking advantage of videos, with reference to YouTube, which is a platform for video content distribution.
We are also interested in the top 10 performance of video on the YouTube platform from a brand perspective, the most engaged videos and the best practices around the videos.
Why do brands and content creators prefer YouTube as a platform for distributing their video contents?
YouTube is where the world chooses to watch videos and for this reason, brands as well as content creators are closely following customers all over the world to push their videos on YouTube in order to meet a wider range of targeted audience. Today, people watch more video contents via their mobile devices and smartphones and a lot of them are free on the YouTube platform, while some are paid to watch. So contents are proliferated and people can watch video everywhere on the go, unlike the past years when people go to video clubs and get registered before they can watch videos. Some go to cinema houses to watch videos, but all of that have changed over time, with more of the video contents being pushed to YouTube, from where a large number of consumers could access the video content, a situation that has helped to reduce video piracy.
How does YouTube help individuals to personalise their online viewing experience, using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning?
In today’s technology age, contents are personalised and with Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML), the system understands what an individual likes, the behaviour of individuals, and their lifestyles. With such information about the individual that is known to the system, it automatically pushes relevant information that suits the individual lifestyle to the individual, using AI and ML. YouTube, for instance, will use AI and ML to push video contents that are related to the contents that the individual search for while online. So YouTube will, through AI and ML, understand the kind of content that an individual is always looking for online and then overtime, YouTube will start pushing retained video contents to such individual without the individual even asking for it. So it personalises the individual viewing experience by always pushing video contents that are relevant to the individual. Most time people think YouTube is on their mind, since it always preempts their mind and thoughts. This is the reason why brands, content creators and individuals, prefer YouTube video viewing over the regular television viewing.
So how will you describe YouTube in terms of video content distribution?
YouTube can best be described as a Google’s company and the world’s most popular online video community, allowing billions of people to discover, watch and share video. YouTube provides a forum for people to connect, inform and inspire others across the globe and acts as a distribution platform for original content creators and advertisers, both large and small. YouTube is the world’s largest video platform for content distribution. It currently averages one billion hours of viewing time daily, which shows the huge number of views on YouTube in every one hour daily. Few years ago, YouTube generated so much traffic to the extent that it was forecasted then that if YouTube maintained the growth rate in generating traffic, there would be urgent need for increased global capacity in order to accommodate the deluge of online traffic. Based on that, YouTube had to work with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and broadband infrastructure company to increase capacity globally so that online video can be accessed more without hitches. In Nigeria, we can also see the rise in the number of video content viewing. From monthly user point of view, YouTube has 1.9 billion global monthly logged in viewers. There are even lots of people that access YouTube without signing in on YouTube. So if we aggravate all the numbers of YouTube viewers, we will probably be getting twice the 1.9 billion recorded viewers.
What is the difference between YouTube and other online sites that have video contents?
YouTube is a video content distribution platform, and when people visit YouTube, they tend to stay longer because their primary purpose of visit is to watch trending videos. Some of the videos are free to watch, but some are paid for to view the contents. But in other sites like blogs where they also have video, people do not stay long there because they probably stumble on the video while searching for something else. With YouTube, people take their time to watch 20 to 60 minutes video because they actually desire to watch it. So YouTube is native to video viewing because it gives viewers undivided attention and that is one of the reasons why brands, content creators and individuals love YouTube. YouTube is a trusted platform for advertisers, brands and viewers because it comes with suitable contents and channels with adds. Again, people can actually make money from YouTube by taking and uploading short videos on YouTubes. If a lot of people like the video, YouTube can actually monetise it and the video owner will make some money. Most television stations have YouTube channels through which they stream their video contents on their YouTube. So anybody can create a YouTube channel and make money from it. Research has proved that users love YouTube because it is informative, and it is the second largest search platform after Google search engine. Again it allows individuals to express themselves, and it allows access into the wider world.
What is the difference between YouTube Go and YouTube?
The YouTube Go is a light version of YouTube that allows users to effectively manage their data, and spend more time online to achieve more with less data consumption. Most customers do not spend quality time on YouTube, even when they have quality content to watch and get vital information, the reason being that they are conscious of their data usage. So what Google did was to introduce the YouTube Go that allows individuals to manage their data, and spend longer time online, while consuming lesser data. With YouTube Go, individuals can save video contents in some files and transfer videos to other people from their mobile phones.
How is Google addressing the challenges of young Nigerians who are creating video contents and need the protection of their video contents?
Part of what we do is working with brands, content creators, in order to bring more creative contents for the best viewing. We also partner the media to share some of our thoughts on video content viewing. Digital revolution in Nigeria is about content and developing of local content from Nigeria. So it is our desire and pleasure to bring those content online through the YouTube platform so that more Nigerians will have access to local contents in today’s era of digital revolution where Nigeria is gradually moving from analogue television viewing to digital television viewing. Most times the fillers we get from foreign online content is that there are lots of negative activities going on in Nigeria. They show images of war, hunger, corruption, economic backwardness, terrorism among others, which most tines are not the true reflection of the Nigerian people. So we need to as a county, come up with contents that portray us in good shape, and that is what YouTube also seeks to address, and to also protect the works of content creators from piracy and give the content creators the opportunity to make good money from their local contents. The more we have our local contents on YouTube, which is a global platform, the more the world get to know about the positive side of Nigerians and Nigeria.
In managing local content through data generation, how do we address the issue of unstructured data?
It is true that we have lots of unstructured data out there and we need to convert the unstructured data into structured data for local content development, and one of the ways to achieve this is through constant education to create the awareness on what is possible. Google, for instance, had pledged to train 10 million people in five years on digital skills for free and the reason is to develop more skills and raise the awareness that people can leverage to empower themselves.
Google is working with start-ups to help them develop applications that could address local challenges. Google is aware of the huge unstructured data seated out there and we are trying to organise them and put them into structured data that could be used to address various challenges.
We have the Google map that captures the environment and gives people direction to places. Again, we have converted some of the unstructured data around Nollywood into structured data where content creators can actually make their money. Before now there were huge financial losses from pirated movies that were burnt into compact discs (CDs) and sold at various bus stops and locations, but all that have stopped, with the introduction of our YouTube platform.
What is the current leaderboard for top performers in local video ads on YouTube?
The recent statistics from YouTube shows that the top 10 ads on the Nigerian leaderboard represent over 17 million views in 2018, a figure, which shows that local audience now prefer to watch ads online. The top ads of the year represent brands that have executed the most popular ads, as determined by YouTube’s strongest signals of viewer choice – including factors like watch time, views, and mix of paid/organic views. YouTube has over a billion users, a figure that is almost one-third of all people on the internet, and each day the users watch a billion hours of video, generating billions of views. For instance, the MTN’s Traditional Wedding Day ad, got 2.6 million views, while Jumia Black Fridays 2018 ad got 2.3 million views, and Stanbic-IBTC Enabling you to be you ad, got 2.1 million views. Others are the Enabling Success ad from Union Bank of Nigeria, which got 2.7 million views; the 919 Dance Video ad from United Bank of Africa (UBA), which got 1.6 million views; The Takeover ad from MTN MPULSE, which got 1.6 million views; The-Inlaws – Tutorial ad from Airtel Nigeria, which got 1.4 million views; Ariel Assurance ad from P&G Nigeria, which got 1.3 million views; Come Let’s Eat Together – GTBank Food and Drink 2018 ad from GTBank, which got 1.2 million views, and The new Inverter equation of home appliances from LG Inverter ad, which got 1.2 million views.
Can you share the 2018 global year-end YouTube ads leaderboard?
Amazon Super Bowl LII Commercial ad from Alexa Loses Her Voice, got 50.1 million views. YouTube Music: Open the world of music. It’s all here., got 39.5 million views; OPPO F7 – Real Support Makes Real Hero, got 31.7 million views; Nike – Dream Crazy, 27.3 million views; Turkish Airlines: Safety Video with The LEGO Movie Characters, got 25.2 million views; Groupon 2018 Super Bowl Commercial “Who Wouldn’t”, got 25.5 million views; Samsung Galaxy: Moving On, 17.4, got million views; HomePod — Welcome Home by Spike Jonze — Apple, got 16.3 million views; Gatorade Heart of a Lio, got 13.7 million views; while Rescue Blue the Dinosaur – LEGO Jurassic World – Pick Your Path, got 10.8 million views.
There seems to be a wide margin between the number of local viewers and that of global viewers. What could be the reason for the differential?
The reason for the disparity in the number of local viewing and global viewing of video ads, is that global ads were targeted at global audience, while the Nigerian local online ads were restricted to only local audience. Again, the cost of broadband bandwidth is cheaper internationally than in Nigeria, which could be a determining factor why people stay longer when viewing online ad internationally than locally. Also, traffic generation is correlated with broadband growth of a country, and it speaks to the fact that more people will view a particular ad that they find interesting, if they have cheap broadband. It is for this reason that Google introduced the YouTube Go, which is a light and faster app in terms of speed of connectivity, which also saves data usage. We also launched Google Station last year, which helps us to work with local providers to provide fast high-speed internet access to users, free of charge.
So what is the global prediction about online video consumer traffic in the near future?
According to Cisco’s recent survey report, it was predicted that global online video viewing will reach 82 per cent by 2021, up from the current 60-70 per cent viewing. Most of the contents that are trending today on the web, are video contents and we see them rising in the near future. So going forward, there is likelihood that there will be less of SMS and images and more of video contents. We will be seeing short but powerful videos that will last for between 10 seconds to 60 seconds.