Digital Transformation

YouTube Advertising: How to tap into cultural moments

By Elliott Haworth | Writer



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November 26, 2019 | 5 min read

If you happened to be in England last summer, you will remember two things: First, it was really rather hot. Second, though, was an appropriate companion to the weather: The World Cup.

Skinner and Badiel’s Three Lions, in which the lyrics “football’s coming home” start in a whisper, growing to a braying crescendo, was the soundtrack of the summer. Among the division of Brexit, of politics polarised, of a nation certain only of uncertainty, the song and its video brought us together to create unforgettable shared cultural moments that will be cherished by many.

Video has this power to create shared cultural moments. Millions of people view a video within a given timeframe for a myriad of reasons: shared feelings, iconic moments in time, the release of a long-awaited song. These are what James Cornish, vice president of international sales at Vevo, terms ‘societal moments’.

Vevo offers something unique to advertisers looking to leverage cultural moments

Vevo offers something unique to advertisers looking to leverage cultural moments

“Think about England in the football World Cup last year,” he says. “We could pinpoint the moments that consumption of Skinner and Badiel’s Three Lions went through the roof. We can see in real time content aligning with the state of the nation or cultural happenings. These moments correlate directly with whatever is most talked about that day and we have the ability to tap into that.”

Translate what that means for advertisers; Vevo makes your brand more memorable. Vevo’s research with 1,000 participants showed those that watched an ad against a Vevo music video were 31% more likely to remember an ad vs. watching an ad alongside user generated content or google preferred content.

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Reshaping advertising around ‘fandom’

Vevo, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, offers something unique to advertisers looking to leverage said cultural moments. Official music videos are distributed through Vevo to YouTube and a host of other platforms. Arguably, Vevo is the point from which popular music culture grows.

“The excitement generated around new releases is huge,” says Cornish. “It creates huge standout moments that shape the internet and conversation on the day a video launches.” But even these numbers have grown exponentially. Cornish offers the example of when Adele released ‘Hello’ in 2015 to a record 28m views in a single day, compared to this year, when Taylor Swift released ‘ME!’, generating some 65m views in the same timeframe.

“It gives advertisers the opportunity to leverage those new videos from different artists on release day. We know we’re going to create a huge cultural moment with highly-engaged fans and can tailor advertising around that. The scale of the different audiences, the virality of content we have – it’s unmatched.”

Over the last six years Vevo has witnessed a staggering 300% growth in daily views. And while these opportunities are both voluminous and there for the taking if an advertiser so desires, these are not Vevo’s only appeal to brands looking to be a part of shared cultural moments.

Brand safety

Since the YouTube brand safety scandal erupted in 2017 – whereby ads were appearing next to questionable content – advertisers have desperately sought environments they know won’t suggest controversial affiliations. Many major brands still haven’t returned to the platform for fears of inadvertently funding terrorism. The Drum reported back in March this year that the tech giant might never be able to guarantee “100% safety” for brands on YouTube.

Vevo, however, can offer brands just that. “I guess the whole furor over brand safety has really helped us translate the value of our proposition into the market from an ad perspective,” says Cornish.

Unlike the volumes of unvetted, user-uploaded content on YouTube – some 300 hours of video every minute by some counts – Vevo’s platform-within-a-platform is more reminiscent of the curated nature of television, offering brands a hand-picked environment sheltered from the uncertainty of the unfiltered Wild West.

“We aggregate professionally licensed videos only,” insists Cornish. “This is premium content which gives traction to advertisers but does so around content that is inherently brand safe. And not coincidentally, we have the best engagement on the [YouTube] platform.”

Talking of controversial affiliations, the French won the World Cup, and that’s that. But next time England might, and advertisers reading this will know how to tap into those moments in the safest way possible, on Vevo.

Digital Transformation

Content created with:

The world’s largest all-premium music video provider, offering artists a global platform with enormous scale through its distribution partners. Vevo connects artists with their audience globally via music videos and original content, working directly with them to find unique ways to bring their music to life. Vevo also works with emerging artists, providing them with a platform of global scale and reach, to find and grow their audience.

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