Social Video Advertising - 2010 in Review

Posted by Kate Jurras on Fri, Jan 7, 2011

Guest post by Matt Cutler, CMO, Visible Measures. Follow Matt on Twitter! This is one of several guest posts in the MITX 2011 Perspectives Blog Series. Stay tuned for more posts by Boston's most influential thought leaders.

It’s that time of year again. The time of year when we can’t believe how close we are to a new year with new beginnings, opportunities, and challenges. But before we drop oversized sparkling balls from tall buildings and go hurtling into yet another new year, we need to take a step back, take a deep breath, and take a look at where we’ve been, in part so that we might better understand where we’re going.

2010 was the year brands drew a line in the sand in social video advertising. Brands from nearly every category began taking a serious look at the medium and started making serious investments to dominate their industries. Brands recognized the potential social video has in influencing consumer choice and began launching campaigns to capture it.

Old Spice: Responses

In just one day, Old Spice’s Responses campaign generated 40X more views than all Old Spice campaigns in 2009 combined.

Whether it’s Lady Gaga’s latest music video, an episode of the Annoying Orange, a movie trailer for Harry Potter, a game clip from Call of Duty: Black Ops, or the Old Spice Guy, social video lets you watch nearly whatever you want, whenever you want, wherever you want. And when you can watch nearly anything you want and you still choose to watch an ad, it’s an incredibly powerful way to engage with a brand. Increasingly, the brands appear to know this and want more of it.

More Brands, More Campaigns, More Views

2010 brought more brands, more campaigns, and more views to social video advertising. In 2009, 450* brands participated in social video. That number more than doubled in 2010, vaulting close to 1,000 brands. As a result of this increased brand participation, the number of campaigns launched in 2010 also skyrocketed. In 2009, brands launched 700* social video campaigns. That number grew to north of 1,800 in 2010.

Along with the increase in brands and campaigns, social video views also surged dramatically. Social video advertising campaigns racked up a total 820+ million views in 2009. In 2010, social video campaigns generated over 2.7 billion views. That’s an increase of more than 3.3X. Other metrics for campaigns, such as placements and comments, also rose significantly.

IKEA: Herding Cats

IKEA is just one example of a traditional brand launching social video campaigns. Geico, Walmart, and Huggies are also good examples of traditional brands that have performed well in television and began advertising in social video.

More Competition

With more brands and more campaigns getting into the mix in social video, it shouldn’t be a surprise that it’s become more difficult for brands to stand out from the crowd. This was visible on the Top 10 Viral Video Ads Chart, which we publish with Advertising Age and covers the most-watched social video ads every week. In Q3 2009, the threshold to make the chart was just over 200,000 views. A year later, in Q3 2010, it took more than 700,000 views to make 10th place, an increase of over 230%.

T-Mobile: Welcome Back

Welcome Back is the third installment of T-Mobile social video advertising campaign. The first, T-Mobile Dance, went on to become one of the most-watched ads of 2009. Before the Welcome Back campaign launched, there were advertisements for the upcoming ad – as if it were a show – marking one of the first ads for an ad in social video.

After the Bubbly

What all this means for 2011 is open to interpretation, but the 2010 results point towards continued growth in social video advertising. This likely means more brands launching more campaigns generating more views, all of which will drive more competition and innovation. It’s a fascinating space to watch and be a part of and we can’t wait to see what the brands and agencies will bring to the table next. Rest assured, whatever happens in social video advertising, we’ll be here to measure it.

Get More

If you’re interested in more data on the big shifts in social video advertising in 2010, you can download our research brief 2010 Social Video Advertising: Year in Review. You’ll find industry data like we’ve outlined here along with breakdowns by industry and campaign highlights. As always, we’d love to hear what you think. Please drop us a line at or tweet us at @visiblemeasures.


* Figures based on campaigns that have attracted at least 50,000 views.

Which video advertisements did you most enjoy this past year? What do you expect (or hope for) in 2011?

Did you just discover this series? Don't worry! You can check out our last post, by Dean Whitney, here!