Are you someone who likes to watch YouTube videos in your free time as we do? It’s ok because we like to watch YouTube too, like a lot! And if you’re like us, then you’ve probably come across hundreds or thousands of video ads when you’re trying to watch the video you clicked on.
We’ve compiled a list of the top 50 YouTube ad campaigns that not only boast compelling video content, but also effectively target their audience and drive conversions. From visually stunning videos to amazing targeting choices, these YouTube ads effectively communicate their message and encourage the viewer to take action. Whether you’re a business looking to improve your YouTube advertising strategy or just curious to find new ideas, these campaigns are sure to provide valuable insights.
Get ready to be inspired by the best in YouTube advertising!
B&H’s video ad A Brief History of B&H is first on our list. We enjoyed this YouTube ad from B&H because it was punctual and lighthearted while also being providing loads of information about the history of the B&H business. The video does a great job at instilling trust and confidence in us as it parades the viewer through B&H’s New York warehouse shop.
The combination of graphics, maps, commentary, comical quips, and personal interviews creates a video ad that shares similar traits to that of many of the great modern documentaries that are out there. Overall, this ad is a great one to keep in mind when looking for inspiration for your next ad.
2. Purple Mattress
This “Does Your Mattress Pass The Human Egg Drop Test” ad from Purple Mattress hit many notes of a good quality YouTube ad, making it an easy choice for our top 50 YouTube ads list. We liked it for its perfect blend of fast cuts, short comedy, and valuable consumer information. We also liked the experiments they displayed as they placed a heavy emphasis on showcasing the strengths of Purple Mattress versus the weakness of typical memory foam.
If we were to ding the rating of this ad, it would be for the long watch time. We think that this ad could have been broken up into three different ads which could have resulted in higher engagement, longer watch time, and lower viewer fatigue than a single long video. Overall, this is a great ad and one we highly recommend watching.
3. Ad Council
This ad from the Ad Council on wildfire prevention is funny and quick. The commercial strikes a great combination of being funny, maintaining a short run time, and also integrating popular consumer electronics into the fold in an effort to connect with today’s youth. It does all of this by portraying the mascot “Smokey the Bear” as an artificial intelligence (AI) phone assistant that was created in an effort to help campers reduce their chances of starting forest fires. The comedic twist is that the AI does a bad job at its task and the campers are left stumped on what to believe.
One great thing this ad campaign does well is that it hammers home the concept that “Only YOU Can Stop Forest Fires” by making light of our society’s heavy reliance on technology. At some point, we have to intrinsically know the information ourselves to be effective, especially when it comes to something as dangerous as a forest fire. The commercial uses all of the right ingredients that make for a great commercial and does so within a small 30-second window of time.
However, we do think that the message of the commercial could have been more effective in its delivery by including more valuable information. It would have been nice if the character who was an outdoor influencer corrected the AI in its mistake, hammering home the message even further. The subject matter is more in line with that of a public service announcement than what you might see in one of the many ads that a big insurance agency might churn out. Sort of like getting a bowl of sugary cereal when you really need a salad.
Regardless, the wildfire prevention ad from the Ad Council does a good job of getting the “Only You Can Prevent Forest Fires” message in front of a younger and more tech-savvy crowd. Even if nobody learns how to prevent forest fires in the 30-second ad, at least people will know that there is a place for them to look to if they want more information on the subject!
The Susans ad from Zillow is objectively and unanimously one of the most hilarious ads we’ve ever seen by striking a nerve in anyone who’s ever had to make a decision in a stressful situation before. The ad depicts a woman addressing an infinitely large conference room that is full of different versions of herself, each of whom embodies a unique emotion. She jumps between random caricatures of herself asking them if they think they should sell her (their) old home and buy a new one.
We picked this YouTube ad as one of our top 50 ads because it has to ability to resonate with anyone, anywhere, regardless of whether you’re buying a home. It also packs a powerful punch by being funny, short, and informative by sending the message that Zillow can help you when you need it. Make sure to look at this ad if you need inspiration in making a funny ad for your company.
Progressive has a long history of making great commercial advertisements, this one is no exception. The setting takes place in a grown man’s bedroom who lives in his mother’s house. The grown man’s stepfather walks by and suggests that the adult child should make the mother a card for her upcoming birthday. It is apparent from the video that the man is still going through an angsty & rebellious phase and retorts to his stepfather by saying that he will find his own car insurance.
Not much information is given in this YouTube ad, but this is an example of an ad from a brand that exhibits peak brand saturation, or when the company is so effective at generating awareness that nearly every person in the target market is aware of the brand. In this case, Progressive Insurance doesn’t need to tell people why their insurance is better, they just need to keep themselves in the mind of their audience by leaving a positive impression. Not every brand can perform this type of ad quick ad, but for those brands that can, it’s a valuable tool that you should use whenever you can.
The official trailer for Chris Voss’s Art of Negotiation course on MasterClass can be viewed as a perfect example of how a YouTube ad displaying a trailer should be. It gives just enough information for the sneak peek to be effective in grasping the audience’s attention without giving away too much information so that the viewer doesn’t feel the need to attend the class.
The tone of the YouTube ad is also on point with the core of its message. The ad emphasizes the seriousness of negotiation and doesn’t rely on humor like so many other trailers do. It also provides real-world examples from Chris Voss’s career on how expert negotiation skills have helped Chris Voss out throughout his career.
Another thing that this YouTube ad does well is getting the average viewer engaged throughout the ad. It starts out by talking about how simple, everyday situations that everyone does, like crossing the road and getting your favorite cup of coffee, all require negotiation. Then at the end of the ad, it ties the narrative all together by discussing how you (the viewer) can always make your position in life better by becoming more proficient at negotiation.
This YouTube ad for Chris Voss’s Art of Negotiation course on MasterClass runs a little long (2:32), but for anyone looking to make an official trailer for YouTube, this ad is a great one to learn from.
7. Travelers Insurance
We didn’t think that we would have needed a box of tissues for any of the ads in our lineup, but this one made us come close to tearing up! The Legacy ad from Travelers Insurance presents a story that begins by showing a warm relationship between a young girl and her father who owns his own hardware store.
The story then progresses by giving us staggered glimpses through their timeline as the daughter begins taking on more responsibility from her father. We then reach the climax of the story when a large branch from the tree out front breaks off during a storm and tears a huge hole in a wall of the store. This leads to them reopening the store, which is when the father hands the keys to the daughter, making her the new owner of the family business.
This YouTube ad does a great job of portraying how having the right insurance can ease the impact that unexpected events can have on small, family businesses. One downside of this ad is that it does risk the loss of engagement from viewers who are listening to YouTube as there’s not much commentary about the services that Travelers have to offer. With all that said, it is a nice reprieve from the typically fast & loud advertisements that most people are bombarded with!