Is YouTube really worth six times more budget spend in 2016?

An article written in the Guardian this week has reported that Google is claiming YouTube advertisements are much more effective than those on traditional television. In fact, it goes further by claiming in 80% of cases, adverts on the video platform are actually better at driving sales.

This report does seem to be very self-serving for Google, to simply sell more advertising. I mean seriously? Of course, it highlights that YouTube is better  – it is written for them. It uses results from a report, by Matt Brittin, Google’s top-ranked European Executive, stating that in a campaign analysing advertisements across eight countries in 80% of cases, YouTube was more successful than those on television.

I think we all know advertising on television, is not what it once was, with people using PVR’s and live TV getting much lower numbers. The annual comparison between the X-Factor and Strictly has become rather tiresome but the media seem to love that story. Most people I know now pause any live TV they are watching, just so they can skip through the adverts, it’s the small sense of winning that we get from this that we seem to enjoy. So I agree iTV advertising isn’t as great as it has been in its heyday back in the 1980s.

Google has also called for advertisers to spend 24% of their entire advertising budget on YouTube. The article also added:

“Google’s analysis of 56 case studies, carried out by a range of research partners, suggests advertisers should be allocating up to six times more of their budget to YouTube than they currently do.”

There is no doubt that YouTube has owned video on the internet in the last decade – we have all been using it extensively to look at funny and useful UGC videos. However, more recently Facebook has shown much more interest in video, just look at its latest announcement and the growth of Periscope.

I am sure most of us working in digital PR and social media have noticed how YouTube links don’t receive quite as much reach or engagement as they once did – that is no coincidence. In fact, engagement, comments and shares are far, far better on videos that are posted natively on Facebook – this is now a fact and I will explain why.

The latest statics identified that marketers have noticed this reach and engagement restriction and have started sharing their videos more widely in Facebook than in YouTube. Research by socialbakers as far back as January 2013 discovered that Facebook videos achieved a 40% higher engagement rate than YouTube links.

So then Google, is it really YouTube where we need to placing our hard earned budgets? I am not so sure and I have a bit of a theory.

I did some desktop research of my own on native social video for my recent social media trends lecture last month. I looked at a number of videos including (for a bit of fun) a case study of the “Mog the Cat” advertisement for the Sainsbury’s Christmas campaign, which showed the following results.

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  • The Christmas advertisement delivered 0.3% engagement on YouTube (from 29.4m views at the time of my research), while Facebook delivered 7.4% engagement (from 7.7m views). That’s a stunning 506% difference.
  • And Facebook drove 855% more shares (134,460) than YouTube (15,716) from a third of the views which again means if you want engagement use Facebook

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So with that in mind should Sainsbury’s have put its significant spend behind normal TV advertising, YouTube or Facebook, or a combination of all three? Or if we are looking at targeting the younger generation (13-25) should we actually be looking at Snapchat or Netflix for our brand placements because this is the platform that is really taking off.

Only yesterday its Vice President for content, Nick Bell, made the case for snippier ads on mobile with Snapchat. He said there was a “misconception” that Snapchat was expensive for adverts, but said ad rates were in the “tens of thousands [of dollars]” with a sponsored geo-filter starting at just $5. This sounds like a pretty good deal to me maybe this is where your pounds and pence should go. He also added that there is a another misconception that its user base is primarily made up of tweens. When in actual fact two-thirds of the audience is more than 18, while 15% of its daily active users are 25 years old or older.

So I think we agree UGC content sponsored advertising has a role, standard TV advertising has a role and online TV platforms such as Netflix sponsorship also have a role for brand advertisements.

It is still all about your targeted demographic and the platform you select and TV is just one channel. I tell you what Google, why don’t you spend six times more on your corporation tax and we might all actually consider spending more with you. Until then I will look at the brand and use the test and measure approach before throwing away my clients funds.

Thanks to my good friend Elizabeth Waddup for helping me research my post a bit wider.

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One comment on “Is YouTube really worth six times more budget spend in 2016?
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