Celebs, humor dominate YouTube's top ads of 2018
- Amazon's Super Bowl LII commercial "Alexa Loses Her Voice" ranked No. 1 in the Year-End YouTube Ads Leaderboard for 2018 based on global views through Dec. 12. The ad racked up 50.1 million views, according to details shared with Marketing Dive.
- The rest of the top 10 in order include YouTube Music's "Open the world of music. It’s all here," OPPO F7's "Real Support Makes Real Hero," Nike's "Dream Crazy," Turkish Airlines' "Safety Video with The LEGO Movie Characters," Groupon's 2018 Super Bowl commercial "Who Wouldn't," Samsung Galaxy's "Moving On," HomePod's "Welcome Home by Spike Jonze – Apple," Gatorade's "Heart of a Lio" and Lego's "Rescue Blue the Dinosaur."
- Total watch time for all 10 videos is about 300 million minutes with 1 million likes, with Amazon accounting for 232,000 likes.
YouTube's end-of-year leaderboard offers many insights into which tactics appealed to consumers in 2018. Along with the Amazon ad, which featured several celebrity cameos, six out of the top 10 most-viewed ads featured two or more celebrities. The high viewership of these ads seems to counter the idea that millennials and Gen Zers, the largest YouTube user groups, distrust celebrities and prefer influencers. A 2017 Roth Capital Partners study revealed that 78% of millennials don't like celebrity endorsements or are indifferent to them.
Marketers should note other creative elements of the top ads that made an emotional connection with consumers and attracted viewers. For example, three of the ads feature animation, including the Turkish Airlines' "Lego Safety Video," the five-part choose your own adventure-type series from Lego promoting "Jurassic World" and Gatorade"s "Heart of Lio," which was voted #TheYouTubeAd That Deserves a Best Picture, an award for cinematic ads.
Another takeaway is the value of humor and fun — present in nearly all the ads — suggesting that consumers prefer light-hearted ads, even if the ads touch on social issues like immigration and diversity. The exception was Nike's "Dream Crazy" ad featuring Colin Kaepernick, which YouTube says reached No. 4 in only three months. The Nike campaign has been cited as a successful purpose-driven campaign that has attracted attention and driven sales. Consumers are increasingly expecting brands to support important social and political causes.
Marketers are shifting more of their budgets to digital video as viewership continues to rise. Video ad spend is expected to jump from $91 billion in 2018 to $103 billion by 2023, with the total share of video ad spending increasing from 21% in 2018 to 34% in 2023, according to Forrester research.