Aditi Srivastava

"65% per cent YouTube watch time comes from mobile": Simon Kahn, chief marketing officer, Asia-Pacific, Google

The announcement was made at Google for India 2016, an event held at Hyatt Regency, New Delhi on September 27, 2016, on the occasion of Google's 18th birthday.

Google, the popular search giant (founded by Larry Page and Sergey Brin), turned 18 on September 27, 2016. To mark the birthday celebrations, the company, at the second edition of its signature event Google for India 2016, unveiled a slew of new products tailor-made for the Indian market including rural.

Among the new products announced at the event (such as the Google Assistant in Hindi inside messaging app Allo, faster browsing for Google Play on 2G connections, as well as new, global platforms inspired by the needs of Indian users such as the Google Station WiFi platform, and new data-saving features in Google Chrome for mobile), that have been adapted for and are aimed at expanding access to the internet for users in India also includes YouTube Go, a brand new app designed and built from insights gathered from India.

The afternoon session of the event comprised two sessions - one for marketers and another for entrepreneurs.


The post-lunch session for marketers saw Johanna Wright, vice-president, product management, YouTube, take over the stage to talk about the improvements made for the video sharing platform YouTube for Indian viewers in the last one year, and how it has had a substantial positive impact in terms of increased and improved figures with reference to more people watching content on YouTube.

"65% per cent YouTube watch time comes from mobile": Simon Kahn, chief marketing officer, Asia-Pacific, Google
She said that there has been a 90 per cent increase in watch time for YouTube of which there has been a 130 per cent rise in mobile watch time including offline videos.

YouTube Go

Speaking about the launch of YouTube Go, Wright said, "With YouTube Go, we're bringing the power of video to mobile users in a way that is more conscious of data and connectivity, while being relatable and social." The app, which carries the tagline Mazze Udao, Data Nahin, intends to help Indian users say goodbye to data issues as it would let them do the following seamlessly - Discover. Preview. Save. Share.

With YouTube Go, users can preview videos first and choose the video's file size before they save it offline to watch later. They can also share videos easily with friends and family nearby, without using any data at all. Soon, testers in India will be able to use YouTube Go before the product becomes more widely available. If you'd like to be among this first group, or to find out when the app is ready for launch, please sign up at

The new preview function in YouTube Go shows you what to expect before choosing to save or play the video, and in which resolution. You can also share videos with friends nearby, without using any data. YouTube Go will gradually reach out to more people over the next few months, get their feedback, and improve the product before being launched widely.

"We've always believed that connectivity should not be a barrier to watching YouTube. In 2014, we launched YouTube Offline so you could watch videos without suffering from buffering. A few months ago, we rolled out Smart Offline, a feature that allows you to schedule videos to be saved offline later at off-peak times when there's more bandwidth so data is faster and cheaper. But, we realised that for the next generation of YouTube users to fully discover all that YouTube has to offer, we had to re-imagine the YouTube mobile app from the ground up," said Wright.

YouTube Go, which will offer content in two view modes - Home and Saved, would be available in more than 10 languages including Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Marathi, and Kannada. One can play and watch videos on YouTube Go on low, as well as standard quality connection. Efforts are underway to help advertisers look for reach, not only through YouTube, but YouTube Go as well.

YouTube Space

Wright spoke about having set-up 'YouTube Space' in Mumbai's Goregaon area in collaboration with Whistling Woods International. It is a place to learn, connect, and create content with the aim to provide resources for India's emerging creator community.

Within the 'Learn' concept, you can grow your channel with monthly workshops on creative strategy, audience development, and productions with new topics rolling out each month, Wright said, while under 'Connect' concept, you can build your network on YouTube and learn about other local creators with the happy hours, screenings and more, and under the 'Create' concept, you can book YouTube Space Mumbai facilities to shoot videos.

YouTube audiences and brand engagement

"65% per cent YouTube watch time comes from mobile": Simon Kahn, chief marketing officer, Asia-Pacific, Google
Simon Kahn, chief marketing officer, Asia-Pacific, Google, was the second speaker during the afternoon session for marketers. Simon talked about how mobile has transformed consumer behaviour over the years while smartphones are driving this growth towards what users want.

"Our focus is on the viewer. We have to allocate budgets in terms of viewer's behaviour as to what engages them, find out where is our most valuable audience, and what drives the greatest results. Sixty-five per cent YouTube watch times comes from mobile as our most valuable audience is online and the YouTube watch time has surged 87 per cent year-on-year," said Kahn.

He also mentioned that television (TV) content is being increasingly consumed on YouTube in the last one year as he noted that the lines between TV and YouTube are blurring. He cited Kelloggs and Whisper as examples where the former saw a 20 per cent uplift in sales volume on the back of promoted content through mobile, Gmail, and YouTube. The strategy was to focus on viewer engagement.

The same result was noticed in case of Whisper's 'Like A Girl' campaign which registered a strong double digit hike in product awareness as did the automobile company Volvo Trucks where engaging content was promoted through videos on YouTube. In all these cases, YouTube used the 'Entertain. Learn. Inspire' ideology to drive home the point.

Kahn next spoke of YouTube creators such as The Viral Fever (TVF) which has created successful and memorable content for brands such as Red Bull and Pepsi. He said that content optimisation across platforms can be done through reach and engagement. YouTube comes loaded with the two features of Extra Reach Lite which would optimise the reach for TV and YouTube, both from a mere 5 per cent to 50 per cent, and Unskippable Labs where a product such as Nescafe - Blend and Brew, made by Nescafe Thailand was shown to audiences in three different formats - Product (15 seconds), TVC (30 seconds), and Story (96 seconds). The long-format 96-second story was found to have done the best for the digital platform.

Shifting brand presence: From TV to YouTube

Eric Jumbert, vice-president, Colgate-Palmolive, shared how his team worked on extending the Colgate Visible White television campaign to YouTube where the time spent on viewing was more than TV since the target group of young working women were active on online communities, had an interest in music, and searched for YouTube creators.

Colgate Visible White was the first Colgate brand to shift its media strategy from TV to digital as the lead medium. As part of the transition, the brand collaborated with actor Sonam Kapoor, its brand ambassador, for Phase 1 of shooting the Shine song while in Phase 2, YouTube creators were brought on board along with beauty bloggers to shoot the same song whose underlying agenda was #SmileToImpress.

YouTube: Choice and acceptability

"65% per cent YouTube watch time comes from mobile": Simon Kahn, chief marketing officer, Asia-Pacific, Google
Satya Raghavan, head of entertainment content, India, YouTube, said, "YouTube is all about choice to viewers and acceptability to advertisers." He went on to list three factors which bring people to YouTube - intent, viewability and impact.

Talking of impact, he noted that those who are hooked to YouTube videos keep watching it despite the ads. YouTube now has more control over the ads, and hence, is accountable to advertisers more than ever.

As for viewability, the opportunity for the ads to be seen by the consumer is the simplest definition of the term. 'True View', which was introduced in 2010, went mobile in 2012, introduced Ad Words in 2014, evolved in a better form in 2015, and is now responsible for more accountability and conversions in 2016 as True View ads render 10 times monetisation to engage with the brand along with 7 per cent higher top-of-mind awareness.

In terms of impact, bumper ads, which drive incremental reach and True View which drives app downloads are to be credited for an 8 per cent surge in total app downloads attributed to YouTube. He also said that True View for Action, a feature meant for advertisers which will optimise action for brands, will soon be launched.

YouTube content creators

Next was a session of YouTube content creators which began with Samir Bangara, co-founder and managing director, Qyuki Digital Media. YouTube content creators were equated with a good number of subscribers to having achieved fandom. He listed the example of Jammin' - a musical collaboration featuring Bollywood composers and YouTube stars where the YouTube content was created by Qyuki and presented by Airtel and Signature.

"65% per cent YouTube watch time comes from mobile": Simon Kahn, chief marketing officer, Asia-Pacific, Google
Ashish Patil, vice-president, brand partnerships and talent, Y-Films, listed the digital ad films-based content (such as Bang Baaja Baraat, Sex Chat With Pappu and Papa, 6 Pack Band video, and Ladies Room) rolled out by his company. He was of the view that consumers today have turned into funsumers (fun-loving consumers) who belong to an impatient generation and feed on constant connection and the data demon even as they look for purposeful relationships while being self-obsessed youths.

Patil mentioned that YouTube content creators need to partner with their consumers as once the content is out on the media platform, it does not belong to the company alone."

Programmatic marketing

Guy Gibbs, director, Double Click, Asia-Pacific, talked about Programmatic Marketing at Google for India 2016. He talked about how major Indian brands such as Docomo, Nissan, Tredin, and Maruti Suzuki are supporting the concept in India and that it has been used by Indian brands for performance campaigns in 2009, for brand campaigns in 2013, and is currently being used for media planning in 2016.

Google marketing

"65% per cent YouTube watch time comes from mobile": Simon Kahn, chief marketing officer, Asia-Pacific, Google
Sapna Chadha, country marketing manager, Google India, who closed the afternoon session of Google for India 2016 explained how Google products solve problems every day. She mentioned that technology is at the core of everything at Google and that the company's focus lies is more on the user that on data.

Expressing her views on the occasion, Chadha remarked, "Enhancement of product experience (such as using Google to search for movies) is essential as is being in the moment because context is critical and should be kept simple for users."

She went on to say that one in 10 Google searches are on Indian cinema which is why the company recently launched the 'Movie answers made easy' campaign even as it sought to democratise creativity.

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