YouTube has hit the streets this month with advertising urging passersby to subscribe to some of its top creators. This is one of the first major physical ad campaigns pushed by the video streaming service specifically promoting channels. New Yorkers have started spotting ads like the giant one pictured left in NoHo as well as in the subway. And YouTube ads are planned to make their way to other cities as well as network TV.
So why does this matter? Well, for one thing, a major push by a mostly internet-based company like YouTube into the “real-world” is something to watch. Although the ads boast multi-million subscriber numbers, most people probably don’t know who these internet “celebrities” are. Likewise, most casual YouTube users don’t even subscribe. The majority of users still rely on the platform simply as a search-and-discover tool. And therein lies the impact of this campaign.
YouTube has been pushing the importance of subscription to both creators and users for some time now. Most recently, YouTube’s Head of Entertainment, Alex Carloss, made a compelling speech on the topic driving home the value of engaging a devoted returning fan base rather than a casual audience. The exact impact that subscribers have on views is still largely debated, but the concept points to a larger shift by YouTube. Deciding to pair a physical ad campaign with major channels and subscription has a feel more akin to network TV. Getting these brands and channels out in the open provides a new level of exposure to channels that normally rely solely on rabid internet sharing for promotion.
It’ll be interesting to see what the impact of this bold move will be on these channels and YouTube as a whole. Though it’s not exactly a complete game changer, it’s interesting to see an apparent shift in user behavior that YouTube may be looking for. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should change what you’re currently doing on YouTube, but you may want to push more focus toward subscribers to see if there’s an impact on your channel. For a quick way to rope in more subs, try enabling your channel’s In-Video Programming settings to ad subscribe links to your channel. See you on the subway ride home, YouTube!