Search Marketing Update: Target YouTube Users Based on Search History

Search Marketing Update: Target YouTube Users Based on Search History 1024 683 lodestar marketing group

We are all familiar with how Google searches work. We type into our browser bar the name of a particular product and then click over to their website to do our research. These product searches then begin to show up in the form of ads on our search engine home-page as well as other sites we may visit. This has become so common-place that we may not even notice these targeted ads as we spend time online.

Google has been very adept at allowing advertisers to target consumers based on their searches while also guarding the privacy of its users.  However, one place where these ads have not appeared is on YouTube. Well, that’s about to change.

Just a few weeks ago, Google, the parent company of YouTube, announced that marketers can now target their ads on the video platform based search history.  Now, as you may be logged into YouTube, you will start to see video ads that will reflect your most recent search history. It’s likely no surprise that targeted ads are now taking advantage of YouTube’s video platform, but these types of changes have a way of stirring up concerns about privacy and how much information is shared with marketers.

Privacy Concerns

Google has always been very careful about how it deals with search information and the privacy of users and addressed these concerns in a recent blog post about this change.  You can read the full article here, but we thought it would be helpful to share the specifics on how they will plan to continue to address the issue of privacy now that your search history will be accessible to yet another platform.

Users will continue to have control over what ads they see on YouTube and across Google with the controls in My Account, and as always, we maintain strict policies against sharing personally identifiable information with advertisers. In the coming weeks, we’ll enable a user control that was built with cross-screen viewing in mind: if a user mutes an advertiser on Google Search, ads from that advertiser will also be muted when they watch on YouTube. For example, if you see a gym membership ad but have already signed up for a gym as part of your New Year’s resolution, you can mute that ad in Search, and you won’t see ads from that advertiser on YouTube.

Why the Change?

Google has sited two primary reasons for this change in targeted ads:


Facebook has proven to be a driving force of competition in this area. A scroll through our Facebook feed will show a number of targeted ads, both static and video, based on likes and searches. Considering how this platform has expanded far beyond a simple social network, Google could no longer keep at bay the need to allow YouTube the benefit of the user’s search history.

Mobile Devices

The drive toward mobile devices is an even bigger factor influencing this move of Google. People are doing searches all day every day and the vast majority of these searches are happening on mobile devices.

Consider this; you’re shopping for a new kitchen appliance and do a Google search to gather more information on the appliance, you then see a YouTube video ad for this appliance from a local retailer demonstrating a particular feature and then offering 25% discount on the item.  This is an example of how the YouTube platform can be used to target consumers with relevant and specific content based on their search.

According to Google, more than 50% of YouTube viewing is done on a mobile device, so from a marketing perspective, it makes sense to utilize this widely-used platform to reach potential buyers with your message.

As part of this move, Google also announced that it is developing a cloud-based measurement solution over the course of this year, that will give advertisers more specific information on how their ad campaigns are performing. However, they offer assurances that while advertisers will get better analytics, this will not come at the expense of consumer privacy.

We Can Help.

Lodestar marketing group will keep a very watchful eye on these developments in the coming year as we will be navigating this platform for our clients as well. If you have questions about this or any other changes that Google has made, give us a call.  We know how to quickly adapt when Google makes changes and we will be happy to help you.