YouTube is ready for the Super Bowl early this year, having added a teaser section to its Ad Blitz program.
Super Bowl advertisers are shelling out $4 million per 30 seconds for ad time on Fox, but they’re also paying YouTube to make their high-profile commercials part of the Ad Blitz gallery to take advantage of the high interest in the spots--which to some people are the most entertaining part of the game.
This year, Ad Blitz, which launched in 2007, will also have a collection of teaser campaigns.
"Brand marketers were recognizing that it’s not just what happens on the day of the game that’s so exciting. It’s the weeks leading up to the game, the big game, the big reveal [of the spots] and what happens after," said Suzie Reider, managing director of brand solutions at YouTube.
The teaser gallery went live on the site Friday, but some teaser videos are already online, collecting hundreds of thousands of views, most notably a making-of spot for SodaStream featuring actress Scarlett Johansson.
In addition to SodaStream, brands airing teaser spots include Axe, Butterfinger, Jaguar, Intuit and Squarespace, Reider said.
Reider said that many of the teaser ads are longer than common 30-second spot. "It’s become pretty clear that they were actually created for YouTube, for the video platform. It’s not like an afterthought. Marketers are now thinking about YouTube in their core marketing and Super Bowl strategies and figuring out how to leverage and use YouTube as a platform to extend and ignite everything that’s going on around the Super Bowl."
She added that the program shows that marketers are including online video in their budgets in addition to TV. "If you were to keep investing in just that one place, you’d be missing major swaths of your target audiences," she said.
On YouTube, viewers watch the spots as content rather than as advertising, Reider says. On top of that, advertisers who buy the site's TrueView ad format don't pay unless a viewer watches the entire ad.
Do viewers who click to watch an ad because they heard it was funny or sexy actually buy the product? "Brands don't usually spend good money after bad," Reider said. "If it wasn’t working, they would have stopped doing it, but they’re doubling down on it and investing more."
YouTube declined to say how much it charges advertisers to participate in the Ad Blitz program. It does cost less than a spot on the Fox Super Bowl broadcast, she admitted
In addition to the Ad Blitz gallery, where YouTube expects to post all of the Super Bowl ads, and the teaser gallery, the Ad Blitz channel features games, a GIF creator, a hashtag search, and allows users to vote on their favorite ad. The ad that wins in the poll gets a free ad unit on YouTube’s home page.
While there are many places on the web where people can find Super Bowl ads, few can match the traffic YouTube generates.
Last year, people spent 3.2 million hours watching Super Bowl ads on YouTube. The total number of video views of Super Bowl ads on YouTube was up over 2.6 times the 2012 level.