As YouTube’s cultural significance builds in Australia so will its ad dollars

Last week Google outlined its plans for YouTube at a huge Brandcast event. DentsuAegis’ Paul Brooks was in the crowd at Maddison Square Gardens and dissects what the future holds for the world’s largest video platform. 

It would be hard to find anyone that wasn’t impressed with the 2015 US Brandcast event in New York. YouTube celebrated its tenth birthday with a very clear pitch to US media buyers and advertisers in New York. It was about scale, it was about headlines, mobile, engagement, fame and above all a very clear play for a larger slice of the $189bn advertising pie.

Susan Wojcicki

Susan Wojcicki

The key speakers were also impressive, from YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki’s opening address through to Bruno Mars and Mark Ronson wrapping up the event and with plenty in between playing a key role in telling the 2015 YouTube story to an inspired audience of 2,000 people. Our overarching sentiment was they are confident. Confident in their business, their product, the role of online video and most importantly their clients are confident in their ability to deeply engage their customers.

I am not going to go down the digital versus television dollars debate; it is a well-worn path that I will leave for others to publicly debate. Channel selection is more complex and convergent than that, and it should always be about the requirements of our clients, all of which have different needs and objectives rather than a straight shoot-out between channels.

However, the debate in the US around linear v digital buying has for the most part moved to a cohesive screens philosophy of investment.

The power and influence of YouTube goes way beyond just the numbers! In the US it has huge cultural and social significance. Youtuber’s in the US are major celebrities – and I mean major celebrities – with the top Youtuber’s enjoying seven million+ regular subscribers with many, many more globally.

I saw a lot more outside of just the event to understand the role that the YouTube brand can play in an advertisers’ marketing mix. The YouTube ‘glow’ in the US is not quite the same in Australia but it is on its way.

There are a multitude of very rich and influential ‘Youtubers’ that enjoy the limelight and fame that we are yet to witness here in Australia, and it is that appeal combined with the views that make it an engaging proposition.

Take Bethany Mota for example, she made her debut 6 years ago on YouTube’s Bethany, she has millions of ‘fans’ that go beyond just viewers, they help shape her content, they interact with her, she is aligned with a multiple of brands and has extended her appeal beyond just YouTube. She is now worth $185m and we were told her recently launched clothing line outsold that of Kendall Jenner.

These YouTube stars really are the current and next generation of ‘cultural and social celebrity’ and I have no doubt this phenomenon will be on our shores shortly.


Mota was also a contestant in Dancing with the Stars

For media owners to succeed in the modern day media landscape they need to be future proofed, dynamic, flexible and most importantly relevant. YouTube in Australia will no doubt follow a similar path to the US but it will need more than that.

As with all products and media owners YouTube will need to diversify and there are plenty of options to do so:

  •  Greater product choice beyond Google preferred
  •  A dedicated sports channel
  •  A shared content arrangement with another media owner
  •  A direct output deal with a production house
  •  A quality TV series à la House of Cards
  •  Continuous education as to the strategic benefits of YouTube

Google and YouTube will have far better steer on what is and isn’t possible but there are clearly many options.

Brandcast 2015 was impressive, enjoyable and most importantly it asked questions and challenged our thought process. I look forward to the Australian version later on in the year to see if it can match what agencies and advertisers experienced at Madison Square Gardens.

      • Paul Brooks is managing director, group investment and partnerships at Amplifi. He was a guest of Google at the Newfronts presentation.


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