The phenomena of advertisement on YouTube

I don’t know about you all but I love YouTube! I subscribe to a couple of different channels mostly related to beauty, fashion and traveling; but also, channels such as BuzzFeed and VEVO. I have the attention span of a five year old, so watching 10-20 minute long videos is perfect for me to keep my full attention and not get bored or drift off into distractions such as my phone.


YouTube has grown tremendously in the past couple of years, and from what experts are saying it will continue to do so. Did you know that over ONE BILLION unique users visit the site each month? How crazy is that!? Additionally, YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, only trailing behind Google! Seeing these statistics, it becomes clear that YouTube not only has a massive audience, but an extremely diverse one as well.

In our modern world, digital marketing is more important than ever and advertisers are realizing that they need to be utilizing numerous different outlets. YouTube has become a fresh new marketing tool which can help advertisers and companies reach their specified target audiences. The success behind YouTube is the interaction and engagement is provides. Users often share, like, and comment content; creating an extremely close knit community among users.


There are many ways to advertise on YouTube, product placement being one. One new trend among YouTube users is video blogging, also known as vlogging. Video Bloggers often rack up millions of views, and have quite the influence to their fan base. A study from Variety asserts that “teenagers’ emotional attachment to YouTube stars is as much as seven times greater than that toward a traditional celebrity”. For this very reason, advertisers are choosing to showcase themselves before, during and in videos which generates a large-scale audience. Sometimes it can be a placement ad that plays before the video (we have all seen the “Skip ad in 5”), but can also come in form of sponsored mentions, gift merchandising, or even partnership reviews.


YouTube has been around for a long time but it is rapidly becoming more and more influential. With 300 hours of video uploaded per minute, the site gives advertisers a wide variety of advertising opportunities which reaches people all over the world in a constant and visually appealing manner.

Do you watch YouTube? And if so, what are some of your favorite channels?

– Olivia Nilsson

41 thoughts on “The phenomena of advertisement on YouTube

  1. I love YouTube too! What I love about it is that you can literally find anything on there, and the platform it offers people, to make videos of whatever they want. It is so interesting to see the people that have millions of subscribers, get paid for their videos and get free products, just for making videos. Remember Fred? He had a whole movie made about him!

  2. I watch youtube for how-to videos and yoga classes. But my son who is 10 will watch hours of vlogging. He would even rather watch someone else play a video game than play it himself. I can’t stand the commentary but he is thoroughly entertained by the vloggers and feels a connection to them.

  3. Olivia,

    The most obvious type of advertisement on YoutTube and the one we encounter the most as surfers of the internet is the pre-video commercial that we are unable to skip for the first five seconds (sometimes we have to sit through the whole darn thing). After a while, I got tired of these ads and downloaded a browser extension that prevented them from playing.

    I want to get on YouTube to watch videos, not to be sold something. If there are products being advertised in the things I’m watching through product placement, that’s fine, but I do not wish to have products forced on me.

    – Noah

  4. Hi Olivia,

    I agree with you! YouTube is an incredible content sharing platform and I definitely subscribe to a lot of the types of channels you mentioned in your post.

    I would note that, now, along with advertisements at the beginning and in the middle of the video, some YouTubers who have enough fame have been able to dabble in product placement. For instance, I have seen beauty gurus on YouTube review specific products from singular companies, giving rather optimistic reviews for the companies. This is an interesting new form of advertising: it used to be that product placement would just pop up in film or television, now companies can have their products “reviewed” and talked about highly by people that viewers enjoy watching or trust.


    Casey McAnarney

  5. I love youtube and it’s awesome to see it continuously grow and be successful! Some of my favorite videos to watch are adventure videos or videos of people doing ‘stupid’ things! I also love watching audition tapes of people singing, those are always incredible.

  6. Youtube is one of my favorite things! I love how I can go from searching one specific video, to checking on a completely random subject the next video. The advertisements can get a little frustrating at times, seeing as they play almost the same ones over and over again, but with the new version that you can pay to have the ads removed, Youtube has found another source to make more money, which is smart. Some of my favorite channels are The Tonight Show and James Corden. Carpool karaoke is my all time favorite! Overall, Youtube delivers everything that you need at the source of a click.

  7. I think YouTube will be a platform that will always be growing and changing. I remember being younger and getting lost watching all kinds of different videos. I think the diversity of it is great. Most obviously, it is used for entertainment , but it can also be a good educational resource or a place to share a talent. It has been interesting to see the vlogging trend become so popular, and to see that there are kids who are making solid livings for themselves through the use of this media platform.

  8. Olivia, I completely understand what you are saying with the youtube advertisements. Sometimes I will go on to listen to the playlists they have there and all of the 30 second commercials play after every 3 songs or so. Advertisements are everywhere and sometimes we do not even realize we are being advertised to. Most of the time, I find myself surfing youtube after looking something up and then ending up on the most random pages or videos!

  9. Olivia, I enjoyed your post mostly because I can relate to it. I am obsessed with YouTube and use it almost on a daily basis. I use it as a music player when I am working on class assignments and need a little background noise. I also like to watch how to videos and comedic videos like SNL skits or bloopers. I think this is a great platform for advertising since the site receives so much traffic. However, if most users are like myself, then they skip the ads if possible, and if not, then they probably zone out until their video starts.

  10. I can testify to vlogging and its importance on youtube. There are plenty of channels about product reviews, car reviews, anything you can think of really, and because of this YouTube has become yet another tool for product placement. One great example are fishing channels. The most popular ones have started to get more and more sponsorship’s from assortments of outdoors/sporting companies. One company called Mystery tackle box sponsors youtube fishing channels and in return the channel will use their product in a video to show it actually works. This is the perfect way to advertise because obviously their target audience, people who fish, are going to be watching fishing videos on youtube.

  11. Youtube is one of my favorite things to do. i love going up there and finding the newest music videos. What I love to watch is makeup tutorial and learning how to do my makeup good and see if I can recreate that same look. I know that over the years youtube has made a lot of people famous when they put up videos for whatever reason and some go viral.

  12. Hi Olivia,

    I have been a huge fan a YouTube for years now. I started watching different channels when I was a sophomore in high school and have kept up with them since then. I mostly watch beauty and travel videos as well as a lot of vloggers. I watch a family channel called The Michalaks and find it really strange sometimes that I have such an interest in a family I’ve never even met. I’ve watched their son grow up and I feel as though I’m emotionally invested in this family that I only see in videos once a week, but I actually look forward to the 20-30 min videos each week. Ads within videos have become really popular and when I watch channels with a large following, there can be up to 3 ads within one video. It was frustrating at first, but I guess it is a good placement for a product when millions are watching.

    -Melissa Trainer

  13. I’m such a YoutTube addict as well! I think Youtube is such a powerful form of advertising because the reviews that vloggers give on products seem more genuine than ads on TV or the radio. When you are listening to a real person whose videos you follow regularly, you have a stronger connection to them and will be more likely to believe in what they are selling/reviewing. I definitely see YouTube continuing to be one of the most influential advertising platforms!

  14. That is really cool that Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world, I had no idea. Youtube is super great especially when you hear a song on the radio and automatically can go watch the music video or figure out the lyrics. I have been watching Youtube videos forever, it is an easy way to pass the time if you are waiting for something. I watch Spoken Reasons youtube channel he is so funny, and also Failarmy videos. Anything that can make me laugh is about to be on my most watched or recent on my Youtube account.

  15. I also do love youtube and follow a few people who talk about fashion and beauty, and do the try-on hauls and makeup tutorials. I haven’t thought too much about product placement but it would make a lot of sense to utilize it because there are millions of people who watch these videos, advertisement becomes so easy. You already have the audience, and the platform, all you have to do is feature a product. Also that is so neat that there is a statistic about how much teenagers like youtubers rather than celebrities. There is a personal relationship created by watching someone on a television screen, in an intimate kind of way. Super neat!

  16. I’ve been obsessed with YouTube since I was in middle school. I loved watching makeup tutorials, fashion and lifestyle videos. I find it so interesting seeing how so many people express themselves on YouTube and really enjoy how it brings so many people all over the world together. My all time favorite YouTuber is Mimi Ikonn if you haven’t seen her videos I highly recommend them, I’ve watched her since I was little and feel like I grew up with her in a way. YouTube is so influential to millions of people and I think it’s smart for brands to want to advertise on videos.

  17. I see myself on YouTube everyday and like you I am subscribed to a few beauty vloggers as well. When I go to watch one of their videos, I have noticed the ads before them are related to beauty or make-up most of the time, which is smart since we are there to watch a fashion haul or make-up tutorial. A few of my favorite YouTubers are Zoella, Kristin Lauria, and FunForLouis. I have noticed with Kristin that she does a lot of advertisements for new products and almost always the company sends her a discount code that her viewers can use to get the product for 25% or 50% off. Zoella doesn’t really do that, but companies do send her products to try on camera, which is smart on the companies end since she has 11.5 million subscribers and millions of views on her videos. I think YouTube will continue to grow and be even bigger than it is right now and the YouTubers that are popular now will continue to grow as well. YouTube can only go up from here.

  18. It’s crazy to think that just a few short years ago YouTube wasn’t anywhere near as big as it is now. We’ve watched musicians such as Justin Bieber gain fame and fortune all from YouTube videos, as well as normal everyday people gain near celebrity status simply from posting videos in which they describe their everyday life. My younger sister is 13-years-old and I can vouch for her attachment to YouTubers. When I was her age I remember crushing on punk rock band members and maybe the occasional movie star. On the other hand, she has no interest in either of these, almost all her energy is spent watching boys around her same age talk about their lives on YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Not only this, but I’ve found that instead of talking to someone about her problems she often turns to YouTube, as well. The connections pre-teens and teens feel with YouTube is incredible. Naturally, it’s smart and savvy to capitalize off this trust as much as possible.

  19. Oh man, you have hit the tip of the iceberg. YouTube is a sensational phenomena. I cannot tell you the amount of times I have been sucked into videos about have to master the perfect wing, which i can’t do to save my life…so hopefully these how-to’s will help a sister out. I, myself have never made a useful YouTube video that people would sit and want to watch but I am not opposed to this idea.

  20. I used to love YouTube I was always on it; however, as you mentioned YouTube has become a major platform for advertising which can be somewhat annoying. Instead of clicking on a video and instantly hearing a song or watching a skit you have to sit through 5, 15, or even 30 seconds of an ad. For the most part I tend to sit through the 5 second ads, but when the 30 second ads pop up I tend to close the browser. My preferred YouTube channels are up and coming comedians that perform little skits, but I mainly watch BuzzFeed videos now. I will say that YouTube was a brilliant invention for helping individuals to have their creative content seen all around the world.

  21. My roommate watches a few bloggers on youtube everyday. I didn’t know this was a thing, until a few weeks ago when she started watching them on our TV. I have watch them with her a few times and found the whole thing very interesting. These people make a living off of “vlogging” and in one of the videos a girl received a package of free new makeup to try and review. My roommate said that this kind of thing happens all the time. I personally think that this kind of product placement is a good idea. My roommate adores the people that she watches, so if they like something, then she is likely to try it.

  22. I wouldn’t call myself a big Youtube Junkie, but there have been days where I would accidentally get lost in hours of video. The channels I subscribe to are a kind of hodge podge of different topics and genres including hollywood satire, “how to” videos, and weaponry reviews by a Russian man. All of these channels and others I sometimes visit have a heavy advertising presence in their production. Every video has front end advertisements (some of which can’t even be skipped anymore), and a couple of the channels participate in product placement, as well. There are a couple of channels that have their entire production completely paid for and sponsored by businesses, so the Youtuber has to stop the video halfway through and do a big plug for the product. With the support from all of these advertisers, I doubt that Youtube and its Youtubers will be going anywhere anytime soon.

  23. I mainly use youtube to watch music videos, or at least I start watching a music video and then, as the picture in the article says, I find myself five ours later watching beauty products vlogs, room tour vlogs or movie trailers. I never thought about how many users youtube could have had and I was impressed reading that it has one billion unique users! It isn’t only a massive audience, it is various too thanks to the large variety of contents that Youtube offers, and that makes it the perfect platform to advertise on!

  24. Olivia,

    I think YouTube has been growing constantly since they started. At first it was just a place to watch funny videos and now it has become a place for people to vlog, teach cooking, basically anything you can think of there’s probably a video on YouTube for it. Vloggers have become famous and get paid for the places they travel to. They advertise hotels, restaurants, and places to visit. I think this trend is only going to continue growing and adapting.

  25. As the rise of internet usage continues to increase, so does the usage of YouTube. With over one billion people visiting the site each month, this is a huge advertisement opportunity. I probably use YouTube at least once a day. Sometimes I’m listening to music at the gym and sometimes I’m laying in bed all morning watching funny videos. The channel I end up on for the most part is VEVO because the music I listen to can be found through their page. There are a few things about YouTube that should be improved and it wouldn’t surprise me to see these things happen now that YouTube has become so popular.

  26. I love YouTube as well, and I closely follow quite a few people on that platform. I think YouTube is an excellent platform for advertising, and have found myself watching entire movie trailers that were ads before the video I actually wanted to watch! I think it’s a growing method, but I think it’s a good way to reach millions of people effectively.

  27. I love YouTube as well, and I closely follow several content makers on the site. I think YouTube is an excellent platform for advertising, and have found myself watching full movie trailer ads before the video I wanted to watch came on. I think it is a quickly expanding empire, and it is an easy platform on which to reach millions of people.

  28. Loved your post. The advertising aspect of the site is a huge part of how successful it has become. I watch Youtube almost every day, mostly beauty, fashion, and lifestyle related videos. Before just about every video there is an advertisement that, like you said, appeals to the audience watching that particular video. I liked how you touched on the sponsored and partnership videos. Every person who reaches a certain social status on the site receives offers for sponsorship or partnership and if accepted they will produce a video advertising one or more of that companies products in exchange for money.

    Also, your mention of the “emotional attachment” these subscribers have to their Youtube stars is so true. Subscriptions on Youtube are a way to keep up to date on the lives of these “Youtube celebrities” in a sense. The video blogs, or vlogs, are raw footage of these people’s lives similar to that of a reality show but 100% authentic and not scripted. This type of content allows their followers to develop a much deeper connection with them than the average celebrity; resulting in loyal subscribers who take the time to click, watch, like, comment, etc., which all contribute to the success of the blogger as well as the site. Great post!

  29. Youtube is low key my addiction. I will go from one to another and some how end up with a cat having their head stuck in an fishbowl. Everything is quick and easy, making me watch longer and procrastinate with homework. Youtube also puts up suggestion videos, causing me to dive deeper into the world of Youtube. In the end, somehow I start watching how to do the four finger challenge.

  30. Hey Oliva,
    YouTube has gotten so much more popular over the years for sure. Like you I enjoy looking up the latest on beauty and fun stuff like that. How-to videos have also saved my life too when I have had no clue how to do something. I have noticed that the ad that appears is something that appeals to me, so like you said they do a lot of product placement with the ads. When I am looking at a videos about beauty and ad will come up introducing me to a new product that is out that is appealing to me, so of course I will give it a try. I have always loved youtube and enjoy it being as easy to access as it is. Very good way to advertise items for sure.

  31. YouTube has always been my favorite! It doesn’t surprise me that YouTube is the second largest search engine, following Google. Anytime I am about to buy something new I always go to YouTube before Google because it gives you videos of people who have bought the items before. They also will describe the item by showing it to you to help you get a better understanding about what the product is like before you decide to buy it.

  32. It is very interesting to see how vast the count of YouTube subscribers has risen in the past couple years. I was unaware that it is also the second largest search engine other than Google, which is pretty amazing! I used to watch Youtube much more often when I was in high school, and especially middle school. If I watch YouTube videos now, it’s typically a beauty or fashion channel. The last YouTube video I watched was a fitness model, @sophiamiacova. Her workout videos are really interesting to watch, because sometimes she will give me new ideas for different workouts that I haven’t tried yet. After reading this, I kinda look at YouTube as a bigger marketing scheme, rather than random people placing videos on their channel, which could also be helpful for myself with any future marketing techniques.

  33. This is actually extremely relevant to me, as I watch YouTube Videos daily and have actually gone on a cruise because I saw an advertisement on before a video that planned on watching. The crazy thing is is that the technologies that they us to show certain advertisement that are relevant to our search history were so accurate that it showed me the cruise advertisement as I was looking up cruise videos to decide which liner I wanted to take my trip on.

  34. I love youtube videos! especially ones that are reviewing products like makeup and skincare. In turn, very often I see advertisement for makeup and skincare. Sometimes they are even ads for the product I am about to see reviewed. Youtube ads are very prevalent right now and I think it is important to acknowledged their effect on consumers.

  35. Olivia, I as well am a big fan of YouTube. I’ll go on there to search a movie quote or find out how to fix things, it’s super easy and accessible. After going on YouTube to solely check out one specific video, I find myself getting sucked in to the suggested videos, just like you had mentioned. It’s just so easy to get lost in all the videos available. The adds are my least favorite part, I remember back in the days when YouTube was add-free. I understand the purpose though, if I uploaded a video and became YouTube famous I’d definitely want to get the money I deserve for having it stream from YouTube. Overall, I think it’s a great resource for information.

  36. I completely see your point of the relevance of adverting on youtube. I’m on Youtube all the time to listen to music and almost every video that plays has that 5 second ad at the beginning. Advertisers have found a great strategy to share their products. Although more times than not I skip the ad as soon as a I can, however, sometimes I find myself watching the ad all the way through. When this happens it happens because the ad has interested me. This is there whole goal in my opinion is to reach niche markets who they know wont skip there ad. It may not be the conventional advertising we’re used to but its definitely the direction we’re headed

  37. Great post! I always catch myself watching youtube videos for hours and not even realize it. I am not really surprised that youtube is the second largest search engine in the world behind google. It’s awesome because it always has suggested videos for me based on videos I have seen either in the past or currently watching. It is great for advertising and its ability to reach millions of people at a time!

  38. I love Youtube. The pre-video advertisements, though annoying, are very effective. Plus not being able to skip most of them until the time has run out forces the viewer to watch them. I love the Ossie Man Reviews videos. If you have good content on Youtube, you can reach an extremely large audience.

  39. When I was younger I would watch youtube for entertainment purposes, such as getting the latest detail of certain movies and video game. Now that I am older I use it more of learning resource for “do it yourself” projects. There is a lot of information on in books and online, but by actually watch someone work on the project personally, you can find the little tidbits of information that the other traditional resources leave out.

  40. I remember when YouTube was run by 2 small time guys and remembered watching it transform over the years into the huge internet superpower it’s become. I’ve bought beauty products via “product review” videos from some of my favorite beautification youtubers like Bubz or Michelle Phan. It tought me how to properly apply eyeliner, make a smoky eye, and keep me up to date on all the latest pop culture and Lady Gaga music videos. I think it’s a powerful and sometimes dangerous tool of relaying a person’s view, which can end up effecting a million people, such as the popular video “What Guys Really Find Hot” telling women they always needed to keep their bodies shaved flawlessly. It can be a source of huge positive messages, huge negative messages, and filled with uncountable communication messages through advertisements, product placements, and endorsements.

  41. I myself, am an avid youtube watcher and consumer. In recent months, I have noticed my favorite vloggers on my most-watched channels succumbing to the horrors of product placement and endorsement more frequently. Although, i’m sure it is highly profitable for them, it somewhat deteriorates the experience I have watching their videos.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s