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Two of YouTube’s Top 10 Videos of the Year Were Ads!

August 6, 2018

Typically when we think of “viral videos” we visualize adorable children, adults acting like children, absurd pranks, and a plethora of cat videos. While this year’s top 10 most viewed YouTube clips did include an adorable group of children doing the “whip/nae nae,” a husband pranking his wife by turning their home into a plastic ball pit, and a 6ft man turning himself into a human water balloon, not one cat made the cut in 2015! Even more shocking is that two advertisements snuck onto the top 10 list.

How could this happen? Doesn’t ad blocking exist because ads interrupt us from being entertained? Not if they’re done well, and clearly some advertisers are getting it right.

With over 83 million views, “The Clash of the Clans: Revenge” Super Bowl TV commercial won second place on the list. Check it out below.

As you can see this video ad incorporates lots of engaging elements, including an action-packed plot, a celebrity protagonist and humor. Without Liam Neeson and a Super Bowl ad slot would this video have stolen the number two position? Probably not, but that’s not to say marketers can’t steal elements from this ad and apply it to their own strategy. Moral of the story, if you can’t afford to hire Liam or pay for primetime ad slots, focus on quality content incorporating humor, recognition, and action in your video ads.

Youtube ads

Ad number two, which happens to be my personal favorite, stole the fourth spot on the list with over 55 million views. The non-profit Ad Council really knocked it out for the park with this heartstring-pulling ad showing love behind a large X-ray screen, where couples hug, kiss and dance, and then reveal themselves to show that love has no labels. This ad challenges society to look past race, age, gender, religion, disability or sexuality, stop making judgments, and realize that love should not be labeled. Check it out for yourself:

So, what can marketers take away from this ad? Aside from a powerful message, the main takeaway is that awakening emotions should be a main focus of all your video content. Whether it be feelings of warmth and sentiment, surprise and delight, or sadness and loss, if you can make humans feel something they will remember your brand. I truly believe the greatest tool marketers have at their disposal is leveraging the power of human emotion in their messages.

Several of the top videos also fell into the late night television category, including clips from The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with James Corden, and Jimmy Kimmel Live, which proves that people watch videos to be entertained. It just goes to show that if your ads feel like entertainment, people won’t even care that they’re ads!

Copy these strategies, and who knows, maybe your video will steal a spot in YouTube’s top 10 of 2017! 

Margot da Cunha

Margot is a Content Marketing Specialist at WordStream and nutrition graduate student at Framingham State. She loves all things digital, learning about nutrition, running, traveling, and cooking.