The YouTube ElectionWhile taking a look at the leaderboard for YouTube ads for January 2016, there are some familiar names at the top. Clash of Clans, Boom Beach and Pokémon — all popular gaming brands — control spots one through four. Gaming ads tend to perform well on YouTube, as there’s a demographic of users that spend a lot of time finding gaming content on the site.
However, politicians have begun to recognize the growing power of YouTube ads, and three of those top ten ads are political in nature. Ads from candidates Bernie Sanders, Ted Cruz, and a PAC against Donald Trump, have received millions of views and are reaching their target audiences in ways TV ads simply cannot provide, and for a fraction of the cost.
Using YouTube to advertise a political message works in a few different ways:
The most successful YouTube content creators are considered to be masters at responding to what their audience wants. A great example of responding to audience preference data came from Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Her advisors recognized that topics like refugees, immigration, gun control and the economy sat atop the list of search trends for political issues. Her campaign created an ad on immigration and utilized standard targeting features to reach voters who would be interested in the issue.
Some candidates are trying to get ahead of the curve by creating content on issues their audience may not even know they have, yet. During the Iowa caucus, Bernie Sanders released a video describing how to caucus in quick and entertaining detail.
The more savvy political teams are recognizing the power of YouTube creator influence. Some will do interviews with creators or create videos with them outlining their positions.
The importance of YouTube advertising cannot be overstated.
- Nearly half of all YouTube users aged 18-49 say their personal opinions have been influenced by YouTube Creators.
- 69 percent of the people watching political content on YouTube are under the age of 35 and half of them watch primarily from their mobile phones.
- 110 million hours of candidate and issue related content has been watched on YouTube.
Let that sink in for a minute: That is around 12,000 years’ worth of content that has been viewed since April 2015.
A report published by Borrell Research Associates outlines the growth of political digital ad campaigns. In 2016, a whopping $1 billion will be spent on digital media run political ads. That marks a 5,000% increase from the miniscule $22.25 million spent on digital ads in 2008. YouTube alone has reported a 294% increase on political ad spending since October 2015.
According to the report, spending on digital media advertising could balloon to nearly $3.3 billion dollars by the 2020 presidential campaign. It is also noteworthy to mention that even with such large growth, the political world lags behind the private sector when it comes to spending.
The projected $1 billion would only roughly account for 9.5 percent of campaigns overall advertising budgets. In many other industries, digital media accounts for 30 to as high as 50 percent of the money spent on ads. Private sector entities understand the vast importance of digital advertising, but as always, politics is slow to catch up.
Tags: bernie sanders, digital media advertising, donald trump, election cycle, feel the bern, gun control, hillary clinton, immigration, presidential candidates, presidential election, refugees, ted cruz, the economy, The YouTube Election, YouTube advertising, YouTube creators
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