Youtube: A Game-Changer For Advertising?

Posted by Julia K. Wakefield
In our recent post, “This year’s Super Bowl advertisers get more for the buck,” we discussed why 30-second ad spots in the 1990 Super Bowl cost $800,000, but fetched $3 million this year.  Our conclusion: it has to do with the fact that in the digital age, advertisers get more bang for their buck. Today’s most successful ads are uploaded to Youtube, tweeted about, shared on Facebook, and discussed online. If a brand can get an ad to go “viral” in this sense, the number of viewers, amount of buzz, and therefore return on their investment all increase exponentially.

(For example, one of the most popular Super Bowl 2010 ads, the Doritos commercial portraying a little boy slapping his mama’s suitor,  to date has received over 2 million views on Youtube.)

I read an interesting article by Michael Learmouth on today’s confirming that ads can not only  “build TV-sized audiences on Youtube, [but] these are audiences that actively seek out the content, giving brands incredible engagement with consumers.”

Consumer engagement with the brand is the currency of today’s marketing communications. The most popular Super Bowl ads – and indeed, a growing number of the other most popular name-brand ads garnering hundreds of thousands of views online – are more and more the ones that aim to engage the interest and loyalty of their consumers by  focusing more on building the brand, building buzz, and capturing lasting mindshare among their key audiences.

Savvy advertisers know that consumers are going to TiVo past the hard sell and watch the ads that express the essence of a brand in a striking way. Those are the ads that make it on to Youtube. Those are the ones that make lasting impact. Those are the ones worth every penny invested in them.