David Becker, president and CEO of Blue Plate Media Services, addressed shifting consumer streaming habits and best YouTube practices in the Toy Book‘s State of the Industry Q&A.

In the wake of the Federal Trade Commission settlement with YouTube and increased scrutiny of content creators in regard to COPPA compliance, what should the industry be doing to protect itself moving forward?
The reality is that, last year, the bloom came off the rose for digital media, as a handful of suppliers were found to be violating audience tracking rules and [blatantly targeting] kids. You are only as safe as the company you keep. Unlike many youth industry marketers who have been carelessly, and lazily, relying on implementing keyword targeting for their brands and kid-targeted clients, exposing their brand(s) to non-safe environments and false reads on their audience, BPMS has always recommended a more prudent approach, steering away from the misguided push of Google and the peering threats that potentially await them. A best-in-class approach has always been to focus kid-targeted video placements on contextual, vetted channels. This ensures your message is relevant, more targeted, and living in a safe environment with proven agency benchmarking, and a likelihood that your channels are delivering against measured campaign KPIs (key performance indicator).

Today, toy marketers must be diligent in their application of COPPA and brand safety standards. They must make sure that their own activities are COPPA compliant and their partners in the paid and social spaces are also compliant. It’s time to demand transparency from your partners. You can ensure brand safety by carefully hand-selecting the providers, channels, and videos for your ad campaigns based on the appropriate context of the audience you’re trying to reach.

What new digital media strategies are you implementing this year to drive consumer awareness about new product lines and brands?
Kids’ media usage is spread widely across a wide array of devices, platforms, and content. Since kids use multiple screens, campaigns must increasingly be multiscreen, too.

Mom and parent platforms include connected TV and podcast advertising. Podcast ad dollars are expected to surpass $1 billion by next year, which is not surprising given that podcasts help marketers reach target audiences based on their listening habits, interests, and locations. Within social media, we expect to see a higher focus on Stories. People love Stories — and brands with a story have a great opportunity for a deeper connection than standard postings. With parents, we have the opportunity to implement marketing closer to purchase plans. We will look to implement shoppable media placements across all platforms — from video to Amazon. We will continue to leverage digital [media] to align with the geography of our distribution.

This State of the Industry Q&A response originally appeared in the February 2020 issue of the Toy Book. Click here to read more!