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YouTube joins the Upfronts: Building the YouTube of the future for viewers, creators, and advertisers

The digital and linear TV worlds are converging. At our first-ever Upfronts, YouTube shared how advertisers can get the best of TV and digital.

Today, viewers have more choices than ever before – there’s seemingly endless content, creators, and even platforms to choose from. And time and time again, people choose YouTube. They’re getting tips on the latest tech to buy from Marques Brownlee. They’re kicking back to watch really anything MrBeast is doing. For any need or mood, people can find content they love and trust on YouTube. So it’s no surprise that according to Nielsen, YouTube is the #1 streaming platform across all devices, reaching over 230 million people in the US in one month alone.1

The digital and linear TV worlds are converging – for both viewers and advertisers. This year we joined the Upfronts for the first time, bringing together some of the biggest advertisers and agencies in the world to explore this exciting time to get the best of TV and digital on YouTube.

In every viewing mode, YouTube is the Main Stream

People still love their TVs, even if they don’t watch them in the same way. Last year, 135 million people watched YouTube on their Connected TVs (CTV), representing every age bracket from 2+, including Gen Z to 55+. Their time spent watching CTV is also increasing: According to Nielsen, YouTube has over 50% of ad-supported streaming watch time on TV screens.2

On the other end, short-form content has always been a part of our DNA. We’re continuing to make short, snackable content even more accessible and helping creators reach audiences on mobile in more than 100 countries. Shorts are now averaging over 30 billion daily views, a 4X increase from a year ago.

This growth is coming from viewers of all ages – and Gen Z in particular. They rank YouTube as the #1 social platform that has content they can’t get anywhere else.5 There’s maybe no better example of this new world than MrBeast: If MrBeast's YouTube channel was its own streaming service, it would have more subscribers than the next three most popular ad-supported streaming services.6

For brands and advertisers, tapping into the streaming boom is paying off


As more and more brands are taking advantage of this tectonic shift, they’re seeing solid returns on their investment, including seeing YouTube outperform TV ROI head to head. In a 2020 MMM meta-analysis with Nielsen, YouTube ROI was 1.2 times greater on average than TV ROI for total CPG MMMs that measured YouTube, Other Digital, and TV.7 And that’s regardless of creative, regardless of their strategy, regardless of whether the brand is more accustomed to TV than digital.

And when it comes to other digital players, YouTube ROI on average was 2.0x greater than Other OLV according to that same Nielsen study.8 Even brands who had already invested in YouTube and increased their investments are continuing to see success. In an Analytic Partner Genome study, 70% of brands saw increased ROI from YouTube after increasing investment year-over-year. These brands are making the case that if there’s ever been a time to increase investment, that time is now.

Innovating to bring the best of digital to TV buyers

YouTube Creator Mr. Beast

We’ve been able to continually help brands drive results by listening to their needs and partnering to make the platform better. As it’s getting harder and harder to find scale all on one platform, reach without optimizing for frequency can lead to a lot of waste. We’ve recently announced that advertisers can control their ad frequency when they buy YouTube and 3rd party CTV programmatically through Display and Video 360.

And today, we’re excited to announce our latest advancement in frequency management that goes beyond CTV. Now, you can complement your reach by actively setting your weekly frequency goal – a solution only YouTube can provide. Combining our unmatched audience reach and leading machine learning capabilities, advertisers will now be able to optimize how many times viewers see their ads in a week. Not only does this mean more efficient spend, but crucially, a better experience for viewers.

In a recent partnership with Discovery+, we ran YouTube campaigns with a frequency goal to determine optimal frequency levels in driving awareness lift. Discovery saw twice the absolute awareness lift compared to past YouTube campaigns, at a similar cost compared to non frequency-optimized campaigns. This industry first will pave the way for frequency management standards across the industry.

As we grow, we will continue to invest in responsibly tackling misinformation. We’re proud to be the first digital platform to be accredited for content level brand safety by the Media Rating Council two years in a row. We’re extending the rigor of our brand safety systems to our suitability solutions, helping marketers make smarter investment choices and tap into the full scale and potential of YouTube, alongside content that aligns to their distinct brand values.

YouTube creators are driving the future of content

YouTube Creator Marques Brownlee

The heart and soul of YouTube has always been – and will always be – its creators. Creators reach their audiences on a variety of platforms, and they continue to choose YouTube as their home. Case in point: We paid more than $30 billion to creators, artists, and media companies in the three years prior to November 2020.

Every time we conduct research on what viewers care about, the results come back that they want content that’s relevant to them – it’s always story over substance. And creators on YouTube have the freedom and flexibility to connect with and grow their global audiences in ways that are unique and authentic to them.

To that end, today we announced new features to help creators and advertisers make more meaningful connections with their audiences. YouTube has long been an important platform in the shopping journey, and we're making it even easier for viewers to discover and buy – and for you to drive sales. Later this year, two channels will be able to go live and cohost together, uniting their communities in a single live shopping stream. And with live redirects, creators can start a shopping live stream on their channel, then redirect their audience to a brand's channel for fans to keep watching.

As the heart of the creator economy, YouTube is where today’s brands are connecting with engaged audiences and driving results for their businesses. Check out more highlights from our eleventh annual #Brandcast on the Brandcast Hub, Twitter, LinkedIn and our YouTube channel.

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1 Nielsen NMI Total Media Fusion; P18+ Total Reach using 1 min qualifier across CTV, Mobile & Desktop; Live+7; October 1-31, 2021; P18+ Reach as a percentage of P18+ Total US Population; Note YouTube includes YouTube and YouTube TV.

2 Nielsen Streaming Platform Ratings; Total Viewing Minutes of P18+ in TV streaming meter panel; Custom definition of AVOD services consisting of Pluto, Tubi, Peacock, Roku Channel, Hulu; Live+7; October 1-31, 2021.

5 Google/Material, YouTube Brand Health Tracker study, US, n=388 Gen Z defined as P18-24, survey in field April 5-June 13, 2021, major social platforms included TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter, and others.

6 MrBeast channel [95.4M global subscribers]; The Walt Disney Company Q1 FY2022 Quarterly Earnings Report [54.3M US, includes Hulu Live TV + SVOD]; AT&T Quarterly Earnings - 1Q FY2022 [76.8M global, includes HBO and HBO Max subscribers]; Paramount Investor Presentation 2.15.2022 [32.8M global by end of 2021].

7 Commissioned Nielsen MMM Meta-Analysis, 2020. Base: Consisting of all available US CPG studies completed in 2020 that contain YouTube, Other Digital, TV results. This list includes 134 studies for brands across all CPG categories. YouTube ROI was 2.02 compared to TV ROI of 1.64. ROI is “Retail ROI,” defined as total incremental sales divided by total media spend. The ROI numbers in the claim are spend-weighted averages across all studies for each channel.

8 Commissioned Nielsen MMM Meta-Analysis, 2020. Base: Consisting of all available US CPG studies completed in 2020 that contain YouTube, Other Digital, TV and Other OLV results. This list includes 124 studies for brands across all CPG categories. YouTube ROI was 1.76 compared to Other OLV ROI of 0.86. ROI is “Retail ROI,” defined as total incremental sales divided by total media spend. The ROI numbers in the claim are spend-weighted averages across all studies for each channel.