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From early April to mid-May 2014, YouTube ran an ad campaign to promote three of the biggest YouTube stars with ads appearing across TV, magazines, and out-of-home advertising as well as on Google-owned properties. The three partners that YouTube chose to feature for the first phase of this ad campaign were Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota, and Rosanna Pansino.

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Michelle Phan was one of the earliest YouTube adopters to share beauty tutorials. Over the past seven years, she has uploaded more than 300 videos that have positioned her as a how-to influencer, with more than 6 million subscribers and almost 1 billion video views. And last August, Ms. Phan launched a cosmetics line with L'Oreal.

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In June 2009, at the age of 13, Bethany Mota started her YouTube channel, MacBarbie07, as a way to share her creative fashion and beauty tips. Five years later, a large Gen C audience of more than 5 million subscribers (collectively averaging 20 million monthly views) can’t seem to get enough of her tutorials, “haul” videos and style advice. Ms. Mota has also designed a clothing collection for Aeropostal.

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Rosanna Pansino has uploaded more than 100 cake, cookie and cupcake recipes as part of the NERDY NUMMIES series. Its success has driven her channel to 2 million total subscribers and an average of 15 million views per month. Ms. Pansino’s creative combination of two seemingly very different genres, consistent programming, and savvy annotation strategy have all contributed to her success on YouTube.

YouTube Advertising Goes Mainstream

According to Google, YouTube’s TV ads ran on a few national shows – including programs on ABC Family and The CW. They also included local broadcast buys in New York and Chicago. Each of the three featured creators received her own 30-second spot. Rounding out the traditional media buy, YouTube bought magazine ads in Allure, Seventeen and Entertainment Weekly. A number of billboards, subway stations and trains in New York City and Chicago also carried the campaign.

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Ads on Google properties included YouTube's home-page takeover equivalent, Google search and display banners and video ads across the company's ad network. Google declined to share how much money the company is spending on the campaign.

Back in April, Tim Peterson of Advertising Age reported, “Developed by New York agency Co:Collective, the initial phase of the campaign will run through mid-May. It is part of a longer-term push for YouTube to raise the profile of its programming in hopes of also raising its ad revenues.”

Don't Cross the Streams - Did Advertising Work?

Now, some videologists and columnists (like me) told Google and YouTube, “Don’t cross the streams.” Nevertheless, their ad campaign did combine offline and online media. So, did crossing the streams benefit or endanger the three nice ladies who have millions of subscribers?

Michelle Phan web search interest

Michelle Phan

If you use Google Trends to explore web search interest in Michelle Phan for the United States during the past 12 months, you will see a spike that starts April 13 and continues through May 17. Before the campaign, relative web search interest in Michelle Phan was 69 in March. During the campaign, it hit 100 in April and 89 in May. And after the campaign, it fell to 57 in June. And if you look at regional web search interest in Michelle Phan by metro, you will see New York, NY, ranks #3.

Michelle Phan YouTube search interest

If you use Google Trends to explore YouTube search interest in Michelle Phan for the United States during the past 12 months, you will also see a spike that starts April 13 and continues through May 17. Before the campaign, relative YouTube search interest in Michelle Phan was 72 in March. During the campaign, it hit 95 in April and 100 in May. And after the campaign, it fell to 81 in June. And if you look at regional YouTube search interest in Michelle Phan by metro, you will see New York, NY, ranks #3 and Chicago, IL, #4.

And according to Socialbakers, the view’s on Michelle Phan’s YouTube channel increased from 900 million three months ago to 963 million today. Meanwhile, subscribers to her channel increased from just over 6 million three months ago to almost 6.6 million today.

Bethany Mota web search interest

Bethany Mota

If you use Google Trends to explore web search interest in Bethany Mota for the United States during the past 12 months, you will see a spike that starts April 13 and continues through May 17. Before the campaign, relative web search interest in Bethany Mota was 58 in March. During the campaign, it hit 99 in April and 100 in May. And after the campaign, it fell to 67 in June. And if you look at regional web search interest in Bethany Mota by metro, you will see New York, NY, ranks #1 and Chicago, IL, ranks #5.

Bethany Mota YouTube search interest

If you use Google Trends to explore YouTube search interest in Bethany Mota for the United States during the past 12 months, you will also see a spike that starts April 13 and continues through May 17. Before the campaign, relative YouTube search interest in Bethany Mota was 63 in March. During the campaign, it hit 92 in April and 100 in May. And after the campaign, it fell to 87 in June. And if you look at regional YouTube search interest in Bethany Mota by metro, you will see New York, NY, ranks #1 and Chicago, IL, ranks #5.

And according to Socialbakers, the view’s on Bethany Mota’s macbarbie07 channel increased from about 425 million three months ago to over 483 million today. Meanwhile, subscribers to her channel increased from just over 5.7 million three months ago to almost 6.5 million today.

Rosanna Pansino web search interest

Rosanna Pansino

If you use Google Trends to explore web search interest in Rosanna Pansino for the United States during the past 12 months, you will see a spike that starts April 13 and continues through May 24. Before the campaign, relative web search interest in Rosanna Pansino was 11 in March. During the campaign, it hit 71 in April and 100 in May. After the campaign, it fell to 43 in June. And if you look at regional web search interest in Rosanna Pansino by city, New York ranks #1 and Chicago #2.

Rosanna Pansino YouTube search interest

If you use Google Trends to explore YouTube search interest in Rosanna Pansino for the United States during the past 12 months, you will also see a spike that starts April 13 and continues through May 17. Before the campaign, relative YouTube search interest in Rosanna Pansino was 14 in March. During the campaign, it hit 67 in April and 100 in May. And after the campaign, it fell to 60 in June. And if you look at regional YouTube search interest in Rosanna Pansino by city, you will see New York ranks #1.

And according to Socialbakers, the view’s on Rosanna Pansino’s YouTube channel [Tubular Creator ProfilesView Creator Profile] increased from about 275 million three months ago to almost 357 million today. Meanwhile, subscribers to her channel increased from just over 1.5 million three months ago to almost 2.3 million today.

So, as much as this videologist and columnist may hate to admit it, it appears that crossing the streams worked. The YouTube ad campaign – which ran across TV, magazines, and out-of-home advertising as well as on Google-owned properties – appears to have boosted Google and YouTube search interest for these three YouTube Stars as well as views of and subscribers to each of their YouTube channels. As Dr. Peter Venkman said (belatedly) in Ghostbusters, “I love this plan! I’m excited to be a part of it!”

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  • uglymugagency

    Interesting. Granted that by combining traditional with online you get an advertising powerhouse. But this does beg the question as to which was more effective at boosting the campaign? Traditional advertising media or Google's online ad network? Those are the numbers I'd like to see.

    • http://diabeticcookbookblog.com Adam Garcia

      I agree those numbers would be interesting, but according to what is above it appears the advertising media on Nerdy Nummies worked better on Google's online ad network.