YouTube has been traditionally hands-off in the realm of brand sponsorships, leaving that role to be filled by third party agencies – until now.
Through a new initiative called YouTube Labs, Google is facilitating deals between top brands and top creators.
The program launched in early 2016, with beauty company L’Oreal USA (Maybelline, Essie, Dark & Lovely) as the exclusive brand on-board in the United States. In Europe, a BMW, Johnson & Johnson, and Mondelez participated. Google executive Kirk Perry described these initial trials as an “alpha test.”
Google doesn’t take any commission from these arranged YouTube Labs deals, unlike third party agencies – including FameBit, which Google acquired earlier this year.
The larger goal of YouTube Labs is to get brands more comfortable using emerging media on Google platforms. YouTube Labs will operate independently of FameBit, working primarily with top-tier brands and creators, as they’re able to provide a higher level of data back to the advertisers.
“We obviously have a little insight on the YouTube business and the creator ecosystem. We also have access to a lot of data and analytics about where consumers are and what they’re watching. So we have that unique insight others wouldn’t have,” Perry told AdAge.