Creators, AI, and Shorts: YouTube breaks down 2023 ad trends

By 12/21/2023
Creators, AI, and Shorts: YouTube breaks down 2023 ad trends

YouTube has continued its end-of-year recap by drawing insights from 2023’s top advertising trends. In a blog post, the YouTube ads team discussed the ways that AI, short-form content, and the creator economy powered winning campaigns over the past 12 months.

2022 was the year that YouTube touted its multiformat approach, and the platform supported that strategy in 2023 by rolling out new features like related links. Advertisers bought into the multiformat hype by spreading campaigns across long-form videos, live streams, and Shorts. YouTube cited Apple as one advertiser that varied the runtimes of its ads. Its 2023 spots ranged from short-form quick hitters to a 90-minute “Study With Me” video.


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Another technological advancement — generative AI — opened up a new world of possibilities for advertisers on YouTube. As the platform introduced a full toolkit of AI-inspired features, it assisted advertisers through AI-driven Video Reach Campaigns that delivered 3.7 times more return on ad spend compared to manually optimized campaigns.

“In the world of YouTube ads, brands and culture moved together,” wrote YouTube VP of Ads Marketing Anne-Marie Nelson Bogle in the wrap-up blog post. “Opportunities to connect with audiences felt boundless, driven by innovations in AI and growth on connected TVs and YouTube Shorts.”

Not all of YouTube’s advice to advertisers centers on automated processes and diversified formats. Nelson Bogle’s blog post also trumpeted the creative power of the YouTube community. Brands like Reese’s and  Old Spice saw strong results with creator partnerships, so there’s still some value in a more human approach to ads.

And although YouTube wants its advertisers to use as many formats as possible, it is also encouraging them to buy into the vertical video phenomenon. 2023 was the first year of Shorts ads, and YouTube highlighted a few brands that made the most of their short-form time slots. Those winners included  Clash of Clans and Domino’s.

It’s still early days for Shorts ads, but as the year drew to a close, YouTube got some encouraging news related to its TikTok competitor. A recent test revealed that Shorts ads are more efficient than their counterparts on TikTok. YouTube will look to bring those good vibes into 2024.


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