At the 2015 IAB MIXX Conference, YouTube (along with other sponsors) ran a print ad in the print version of the program. (How retro, right? And for an interactive advertising conference about “the emergence of a mind-blowing, beautiful, consumer-centric digital world,” no less!).
But, the print ad contained information that I hadn’t seen before: The Top Creative Agencies, the Top Brands, and the Top Media Agencies based on the YouTube Ads Leaderboards. Now, ReelSEO frequently focuses on the most popular ads created that month, but it’s time to take a closer look at the agencies and brands behind them.
Why is it worth knowing which creative agencies have multiple ads in the year-to-date standings? Well, success on YouTube is hard. That’s why there are so many one-hit wonders. In fact, I once taught a YouTube marketing workshop in London and was surprised to discover that the creators of one of the previous year’s viral videos were in the back of the room. I quipped, “You should be up here teaching this class.” And they looked awkwardly at each other and then quietly explained, “We’re not sure what we did right. And now our client expects us to be able do it again. So, we came here hoping to learn the best practices and strategies for creating great content.”
So, if I were in charge of advertising at a top brand, I’d want to invite a couple of the creative agencies that have produced multiple hits to participate in my next agency review. And if I were in charge of an agency that wasn’t producing multiple hits, then I’d want to find out what brand of whiskey the people at the top creative agencies are drinking and send a barrel to my creative director.
YouTube: Top Creative Agencies
Since the YouTube’s print ad went into production, two more YouTube Ads Leaderboards have been published – for August and September 2015. So, year-to-date, the top creative agency with 7 appearances is Wieden+Kennedy, an independent, creatively driven advertising agency. Wieden+Kennedy’s work in 2015 includes “FIFA 16 – Play Beautiful” which ranked #1 on YouTube in September with 13.2 million views.
The agency’s work also includes: “Better For It – Inner Thoughts,” which ranked #3 in April with 8.4 million views; “The Dunk to End All Dunks,” which ranked #4 in August with 9.2 million views; “The Internetest safety video on the Internet,” which ranked #5 in May with 9.2 million views; “Old Spice | And So It Begins” which ranked #6 in August with 10.3 million views. Yes, I know some of the ads don’t seemed to be in the right order, but the ranking is determined by an algorithm that factors in paid views, organic views, and how much of a video people watched. And the monthly rankings aren’t always reflected in the views a video now has year-to-date.
In second place with 6 appearances in the YouTube Ads Leaderboard year-to-date is Barton F. Graf (BFG), an independent, fully integrated, creative agency. BFG’s work includes “Clash of Clans: Revenge” which ranked #1 in the YouTube Ads Leaderboard in February 2015. The video, featuring movie legend Liam Neeson, currently has 75.6 million views.
And BFG created five ads that ended up on the YouTube Ads Leaderboard in May 2015, including “Clash of Clans: Ride of the Hog Riders” with 72.8 million views at #1, “Clash of Clans: Shocking Moves” with 32.0 million views at #2, and “Clash of Clans: Balloon Parade” with 26.3 million views at #3.
In third place with five appearances in the YouTube Ads Leaderboard year-to-date is GoPro Original Productions, an enabler of some of today’s most engaging content. Their top performing ad is “GoPro HERO4 Session” which ranked #3 in July with 14 million views.
GoPro Original Productions also created: “GoPro: Owl Dance-Off,” which ranked #9 in February with 7.1 million views; “GoPro: Didga the Skateboarding Cat,” which ranked #8 in March with 3.9 million views; and “GoPro: Twiggy the Waterskiing Squirrel,” which ranked #8 in July with 2.2 million views.
Top Brands on YouTube
YouTube also congratulated to top brands featured in the most popular ads on YouTube this year. Tied for first place with five appearances apiece, they are GoPro and Apple.
We’ve already seen the list of GoPro ads. But, let’s take a look at Apple’s most popular ads. The most popular one is “iPhone 6s – The Only Thing That’s Changed Is…,” which ranked #6 in September with 5.8 million views.
Other popular ads from Apple include: “iPhone 6s and iPhone 6s Plus – Reveal,” which ranked #10 in September with 2.2 million views; “iPhone – Hardware & Software,” which ranked #9 in July with 1.3 million views; and “Shot on iPhone 6 by Antoine D.,” which ranked #6 in June with 1.3 million views.
Tied for third place with four appearances apiece are Clash of Clans and Samsung Mobile. We’ve already seen the list of Clash of Clans ads. So, let’s take a look at Samsung Mobile’s most popular ads. The most popular one is “Samsung Galaxy S6 and S6 edge” which ranked #3 in March with 33.3 million views.
Other popular ads from Samsung Mobile include “It’s Not a Phone, It’s a Galaxy: Wireless Charging,” which ranked #4 in September with 9.9 million views; and “Galaxy S 6 v 6: Edge Display,” which ranked #4 in June with 1.4 million views.
What does the list of top brands tell us? Well, more than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices. The number of hours people spent watching videos on mobile is up 100% year-over-year. And on mobile, the average viewing session on YouTube is now more than 40 minutes, up more than 50% year-over-year. So, are you shocked, shocked to find that the iPhone 6 and Samsung Galaxy S6 are among the top brands on YouTube?
Top Media Agencies on YouTube
YouTube’s print ad also congratulated the top media agencies. The top media agency with 10 appearances in the YouTube Ads Leaderboards was OMD, an integrated communications agency. In second place with six appearances is Starcom MediaVest Group, a globally recognized home for media creativity. Tied for third place with five appearances apiece are Performics, the global performance marketing agency, and UM, a global media agency that fuses curiosity and creativity to unlock competitive advantage for brands through media.
Now, some people may think that you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to buy paid views on YouTube. But, they would be wrong. It takes a brilliant media strategist to leverage two TrueView formats – in-stream and in-display – and half a dozen targeting methods – demographic groups, keywords, interests, topics, placements, and video remarketing. And don’t get me started on optimizing your video campaign by improving your bidding, adding a call-to-action overlay, or using advanced campaign settings. Hey, I know the beauty of TrueView ads is you pay only when someone chooses to watch your video. But, if you target the wrong audience at the wrong price, then nothing good happens, either.
So, there you have it: The YouTube advertising dream team. Yes, we tend to notice the great content first. But, when someone demonstrates that they aren’t just a one-hit wonder, then it’s worth finding out what brand of whiskey they’re drinking.