If you were the No. 1 online video advertising company in the world, and you wanted to promote one of your services, how would you do it? Well, it stands to reason you would exclusively use video ads, right?
Not always, apparently, in the case of YouTube and YouTube Red.
YouTube Red, as you may know, is a paid service that enables viewers to go ad-free on YouTube. But that’s not all. For $9.99 per month, you also listen to music and videos offline on your phone and watch exclusive content from top creators. I’m not arguing its value – I think it’s a good service.
But what I think is interesting is while they are using video ads to promote the service (including straight pre-rolls or trailers amplified by paid media), they’re also using pop-up-like text ads from within the web page and app that encourages viewers to sign up for the ad-free service.
I can’t really describe what the ad format is exactly, as it’s not really like other formats, but let’s call it a “mini-text pop-up.” See photo below for how it looks on desktop and mobile.
Apart from the irony of running ads to get people to not watch ads, here’s my main question: Why not only use video ads? I know that YouTube knows who all the best ad creators are, so why not use them?
Certainly, many ads are for driving awareness of a product or service. But there are also ways of setting up videos for conversions. My mind, probably like yours, turns first to “pooping unicorns.” This video for Squatty Potty, created by the Harmon Brothers and strategy ninja Derral Eves. The video drove millions of dollars in sales. These folks have also created other highly-effective conversion videos for brands like Chatbooks, FiberFix and others.
In general, there’s a bit of a disconnect in that YouTube isn’t able to get all of its YouTube Red conversions to meet its goals by just using YouTube ads. Because video ads can work very well in driving conversion, if you use them in the right way.
Clearly, YouTube Red is essential to YouTube’s future strategy. In the embedded video, I dive into several concurrent trends that show why YouTube is pulling out all the stops to win the day. I touch on conversion-driven ads, video content marketing, influencer marketing, ad blocking, the premium content streaming wars with both music and video between YouTube, Spotify, Amazon, Netflix, Hulu, and Apple, and the YouTube TV/Cable challenge.
Do you agree or disagree? Am I on track or totally off base? If you have thoughts or questions, please post in the comments section, thanks!