YouTube Turns to Traditional Advertising to Promote Content

YouTube hopes a more traditional approach to advertising may help its stars gain name recognition.


YouTube is falling back on traditional advertising like print, television, billboards and subway wraps to promote its most popular content creators.

YouTube “stars” attract a highly sought-after demographic of young viewers. But as AdAge asks, “Can you name any of them?” The company hopes a more traditional approach to advertising may help it tackle the problem.

“YouTube will be doing a lot of tried-and-true, tune-in advertising over the next few years using media it’s trying to disrupt,” reports AdAge, adding that the world’s biggest ad seller — Google — is moving beyond the search and display markets it created with short-form video to take on TV’s $212 billion global ad market.

Speaking to AdAge, YouTube’s new CEO Susan Wojcicki said, “If you look at our top creators, they have a lot of subscribers; it’s all categories like entertainment, health and beauty, food, cooking, and yet I think a lot of times advertisers and users don’t know about these channels. That’s been one of the challenges: How do you highlight them?”

AdAge describes the move as the “third major evolution of YouTube’s business.”

Like search a decade ago, it’s still early days for video, but at this point Madison Avenue has been around the block a few times with YouTube. And it hasn’t enjoyed the entire ride. The first packages it put together for channels were priced absurdly high — some in excess of $50 million per vertical a year — and required advertisers to buy a whole lot of impressions across YouTube to get the high-gloss, professional content they really wanted.


Agency frustration bubbled up two years later with an open letter from the top digital-ad buyers imploring the video industry — and its biggest player, YouTube — to do things a little more like TV: e.g., spend some money to promote shows; guarantee delivery; and be more transparent in how video was measured.

See the AdAge report here to learn more about Susan Wojcicki and the company’s history.

*photo via AdAge
*featured image via @RichBTIG

Publish date: April 16, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT