The YouTube Matrix: Utilising the World’s Largest Advertising Platform

By Banc

4 min read

With more than 1 billion unique users every month, representing almost 1/7 of the World’s population; it is no exaggeration to suggest that YouTube possesses unique marketing and advertising reach. And yet, YouTube marketers are consistently failing to exploit the opportunity and turn expensive advertising space into customers.

Now, imagine if I started this article with ‘…………………………………………………………………’ rather than hard statistics and somewhat grandiose claims. This, in effect, is exactly what the unfortunate majority of YouTube marketers are currently doing.

Everyone who has used YouTube will have undoubtedly balked at the advertisement playing before their chosen video and waited with an almost-ridiculous impatience for the ‘Skip Ad’ button to appear after 5 seconds. Now in a World used to instantaneous content, there is no such thing as a mouth-watering wait, just blood-boiling inconveniences.

YouTube by Thomas van de Weerd

YouTube is considered by many to be the tool of the God of Procrastination, with earnest searches side-tracked by videos of pugs and parodies of Single Ladies; ergo, in theory attracting the attention of viewers is entirely plausible. And yet, advertisers are not adapting their campaigns and content to this blossoming medium.

Slow burning, atmospheric advertisements may work in cinemas and on television where viewers do not necessarily have a simple ‘Skip Ad’ option available to them, but they are entirely ineffectual when utilised on YouTube.

More than any other advertising medium, YouTube offers a finite, pre-determined window for the marketer to grab the attention of their potential customers. You have 5 seconds, go! Something in these 5 seconds needs to persuade the viewer not to click that ‘Skip Ad’ button and resume watching your advertisement.

The first method would be to evoke some form of emotion immediately either with the footage or the accompanying audio. From humour to empathy, align your product to an emotion and evoke that within the 5 seconds you are allotted. After the 5 second mark, you then have the rest of the advert to craft the atmosphere or present the message and complete the hard sell.

A second method to immediately grabbing the attention of the viewer is to introduce the brand straight away. Nike have an excellent reputation of producing advertising content that people actively enjoy watching and this reputation operates as a stamp of authority. Opening the advertising with ‘Nike Presents…’ immediately attracts fans. Rely on brand loyalty and awareness to add identity and loyalty to a YouTube advert. As a form of re-targeting, you are addressing existing customers as much as identifying a new audience.


The active trends of YouTube viewers needs to be considered more closely in respect to optimising advertising content on the video platform. YouTube lends itself equally well to social use as it does to personal use. A large percentage of YouTube views will be done so alone, wearing headphones. Straight away, this necessitates an altered approach to audio. A large bang or immediate crash of a symbol will alarm and irritate the viewer, an instantaneous turn off for many.

The inability to accurately and effectively draw the attention of viewers has led to a disappointing number of advertisers placing their content on YouTube. The majority of the time, there are fewer than half of the eligible videos on YouTube displaying adverts, due to a lack of interest on the part of the advertisers.

YouTube has been described as Google’s problem child since the search giant purchased the video platform in 2006. Google have been unable to find the optimum way to monetise YouTube, understanding that its global appeal does not always correspond to swelling the coffers. The company has tried to implement a number of different tactics in order to rectify this without a single significant success story.

YouTube by Jonsson

May 2013 saw YouTube introduce a trial scheme of 53 subscription channels that was designed to compete with the likes of Netflix, but is yet to experience any level of success. Furthermore, much to the irritation of many viewers, adverts were implemented into the middle of a number of longer videos leading to interruptions and obvious disdain.

Google understands that YouTube is an incredibly powerful tool, but is almost as haphazard as the unsuccessful advertisers in correctly utilising its services. In November 2011, Google synchronised its Google+ social media channel with the video platform, making it necessary for video commenters to sign in via their Google+ account. This necessitated many YouTube users to open a Google+ account due to the relative disinterest that the social media channel had generated.

The fractious YouTube community were greatly irritated with this and site-wide boycotts were threatened. Even co-founder Jawed Karim questioned the decision to align the two platforms and the original statement declaration generated 20,097 ‘thumbs down’ negative responses.

As a user driven platform, YouTube is in the unique position of relying on its users to determine its success and popularity. Similarly, it must rely on its users and advertisers to streamline and perfect the advertising features that it has offered – unfortunately, so far intelligent advertising campaigns on YouTube have been few and far between.

Applying many of the disciplines required for a successful Google PPC campaign, Banc Media can help your business spearhead a successful, streamlined YouTube advertising campaign.

Images sourced via Flickr Creative Commons. Credit: Thomas van de Weerd, Jonsson