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YouTube ads for viral videos: 'buzz targeting'

Google has added a new option called buzz targeting to its attempts to convert YouTube's popularity into actual revenue.

Google is starting to share more details about its high priority of making more money off YouTube's popularity, introducing an advertising product on Tuesday called buzz targeting.

The ad product uses an algorithm to find videos that are about to "go viral," when word of mouth (or IM, or blog, or e-mail) promotes a Web site to a phase in which it spreads like wildfire. In this case, ads are overlaid on the bottom fifth of viral videos supplied by YouTube partners who share ad revenue with the search giant.

Making more money off YouTube is Google's "highest priority," Chief Executive Eric Schmidt said in April. The company is working on new YouTube ad possibilities, he said last week.

Until now, YouTube ad campaigns have been more targeted to specific demographics. Buzz targeting adds a broader option, though the ads still are sold as categories such as entertainment or how-to, a YouTube representative said.

Lions Gate was the first advertiser to sign up, using buzz targeting to promote a film, The Forbidden Kingdom, on 500 different videos. "Buzz targeting allowed us to reach a very large, diverse audience," Danielle DePalma, Lions Gate's director of digital media, said in a statement.