Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches ad was the most viewed ad on YouTube India in 2013, as per the YouTube Ads Leaderboard which has ranked the ads based on the number of views on each ad. Update: Google hasn’t disclosed India-specific views for the ad, although the video page of Dove suggests that it has generated 60.44 million views globally.
This was followed by Lifebuoy help a child reach 5 (16.18 million views), Kitkat Dancing babies (3.45 million views), Old spice Mantastic Man (2.13 million views) and Evian baby and me (67.14 million views).
Other ads in the list were Kajol’s reaction on Lifebuoy help a child reaches 5 (1.51 million views), Ramesh and Suresh ad campaign for Cadbury 5 star (1.36 million views), Sony Xperia Z (10.18 million views), Samsung Galaxy S4 (16.64 million views) and Google Reunion Campaign (10.49 million views). (Note: The individual video views figures mentioned here are global stats and hence mismatch with the India leaderboard)
These ads could be broadly classified into genres of humour, drama and technology. It’s worth noting that most of these brands have their own brand channels on which other ads are also hosted, similar to content channels on YouTube. This enables them to interact directly with consumers which is not otherwise possible with television. Consumers comment, share, like the videos giving brands a better understanding of their audiences’ perception of the brand.
Interestingly, Google has said that several of these brand campaigns have been web-first while some have been web exclusive campaigns. Unlike television, YouTube has been trying to brand itself as a platform for global advertising due to the global reach that it claims to offer with targeted advertising. This is essentially an attempt at making brands spend more on a single platform to reach out to more people, instead of diversifying the spends across multiple platforms. Besides, brands receive real-time metrics on YouTube, unlike television which offers extrapolated numbers to advertisers.
Indian audience not large enough? Although YouTube could be a good option for global targeting, brands targeting only Indian audiences may not have the same reach. In September 2013, YouTube had crossed 55 million unique users a month in India. According to YouTube, the platform globally receives more than 1 billion unique users every month which essentially means that India presently contributes only 5.5% of the global unique users visiting on YouTube. Indian brands will be able to target only 55 million viewers while television has a larger base of audience although the metrics offered to brands may not be precise.
There is a shift in attitude towards online media with more brands opting for online ads and the number of brand channels on YouTube is witness to this changing trend. However, until YouTube finds a way to grow its Indian audience, brands in India are likely to target both online and offline channels for video advertising.
Vikas Adds: It’s also worth noting that unlike TV, YouTube allows brands to air pre-roll ads which are much longer than TV commercials, as we saw in the case of Tata Sky’s Prison Break ad which was about a minute longer or more recently Google’s Reunion Campaign which was about three and half minutes longer. The companies were able to air only an shortened version of these ads on TV due to length constraints.
This longer duration ads enables brands to create a story which can engage audiences, which otherwise would’ve been very tough to execute in TV commercial. However, this also leads to some interesting situations wherein the pre-roll ad is sometimes longer than the original video itself.
(Updates: Changes headline, added a note to clarify that the figures mentioned here are global stats)