Each year, YouTube and analytics firm Kantar put together a judging panel to select the winners of the YouTube Works Awards, which honor excellence in advertising on the world’s top video platform. This year’s honorees have been selected, and an examination of their award-winning campaigns reveals a few hot trends in the online video ad biz.
One of the prevalent trends is as old as influencer marketing itself: Brands are finding organic ways to position creators as spokespeople. In particular, the YouTube Works Awards highlighted campaigns that gave creators the space to discuss their personal identities. Hallease (pictured, left) teamed up with Target to interview black female CEOs whose products are available in the retailer’s stores. YouTube and Kantar awarded that initiative with the top prize in the “Brands as Creators” category.
Tinder, unsurprisingly, connected with creators and their fans on the spectrum of sexual orientation. The swipe-happy app enlisted bisexual creators Anna Akana and MilesChronicles to speak about the ways their identities had impacted their romantic lives. The “Once Upon A Bi” campaign provided visibility to an underrepresented segment of the dating pool — and it increased Tinder’s view-through rate by 55%.
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But not all the trends highlighted by the YouTube Works Awards rely on tried-and-true approaches. In particular, brands have figured out how to utilize ASMR several years after it first became a lucrative category for creators. In BlendJet‘s case, that meant turning the usually-loud genre of blender videos into something more soothing. And pet food brand Sheba appealed to cat owners who are roused in the middle of the night by loud meowing. Its whispery ‘4 AM Stories’ is designed for people who need help falling asleep, and that campaign took home the top prize at the YouTube Works Awards.
“[BlendJet] recognized that oddly satisfying content and autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is incredibly popular on YouTube,” reads a Works Awards writeup from YouTube. “Their strategy was to surprise and delight potential customers with an entertaining video that merged the two YouTube trends into a single creative concept while promoting the BlendJet 2 Portable Blender.”
For the full list of YouTube Works Awards winners, as well as detailed writeups about each one, head over to Adweek.