Christmas dominates YouTube UK ad list but online specials make strong showing

Google UK has released its 2016 YouTube Ads Leaderboard celebrating the most popular video ads among UK viewers. The ranking is determined by number of views and percentage of organic views versus paid views.

Key trends include:

*Watch time: The top 10 YouTube ads in the UK drove over 200 years of watch time in 2016 (*YouTube Internal Data, UK, 2016).

*Ads as Entertainment: humour figures strongly as some advertisers sought to lighten the tone against the backdrop of a difficult year.

Google MD of branding David Black says: “The topics these ads depict may range, but they all tap into what’s unique about YouTube and online video – its deep authenticity and participatory culture.”

UK Ads Leaderboard – 2016

1. Sainsbury’s Christmas 2016 -The Greatest Gift

2. John Lewis Christmas 2016 – #BusterTheBoxer

3. KitKat – Crossy Road

4. M&S 2016 Christmas – Christmas with love from Mrs Claus

5. Nike Football Presents: The Switch ft. Cristiano Ronaldo, Harry Kane, Anthony Martial & More

6. Flash Ah-ah Dog #FlashDog 2016 – P&G UK and Ireland

7. Waitrose Christmas TV ad 2016 – #HomeForChristmas

8. Dolmio – The Look Up Experiment

9. Virgin Media Usain Bolt – #BeTheFastest

10. EE – Spencer FC VS Weller Wanderers! – Wembley Cup Final 2016! #8

As you’d expect Christmas ads play a big part in the UK. Most interesting in this list, perhaps, are the efforts from KitKat, Dolmio and EE at three, eight and ten respectively which are clearly ads (if such they are) designed for YouTube and online video. Also interesting that two of the top four, Sainsbury’s and M&S have recently changed agencies, to Wieden+Kennedy and Grey.

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