Ad agency Think With Google recently released a list of the top 20 most viewed ads on YouTube in 2012, which spelled out the degree to which sports dominated the most popular campaigns of the year. TWG has followed up that effort with a second list revealing the top 10 trailers of 2012 in terms of views.
Two of Activision‘s trailers for the Call of Duty: Black Ops 2 video game easily took the top spots, combining for over 66 million views. A third Black Ops 2 trailer came in eighth, while a fourth rounded out the list in tenth place. Of course, it’s very important to remember this list incorporates both paid and organic ads; if you watched a handful of Machinima videos this year, you were probably served an ad for Black Ops 2. The game’s mammoth marketing campaign helps explain how it so thoroughly dominated the top 10.
Four movies made their way onto the list: The Dark Knight Rises (#3), Skyfall (#4 and #9), Ted (#5) and The Hunger Games (#6). Those films are a more telling representation of user trends; after all, they were all among the most anticipated movies of the year, and all four did quite well at the box office. This isn’t groundbreaking information, but it’s important for ad agencies to see the correlation between a trailer going viral on YouTube and the subsequent film exploding at the box office. Yes, correlation doesn’t imply causation, third-variable problem, I know. It’s still interesting.
Rounding out the top ten was the trailer for the Revolution TV show, which, once again, was served to me a million times as a pre-roll ad. This list is curious in itself, but I can’t help but wonder what a list devoid of paid views would look like. I feel it would best articulate which films, such as Chronicle, were able to turn word-of-mouth into a sleeper hit.