The month of September saw a large number of brands concentrate not just on YouTube, but also on Facebook to run their video advertisements. Brands such as Uber, Shell, Kingfisher, and Head and Shoulders have video ads with millions of views on Facebook just for the month of September alone. Even though the viewability of these ads is still up for debate (a substantial portion of Facebook video views is through autoplays, which the users don't pay much attention to), one cannot ignore the potential that Facebook has in capturing the eyeballs of potential customers.
The ads mentioned in this list are only pertaining to YouTube, and the data updated is till October 5.
The overall audience sentiment that is mentioned below each advertisement is based on the number of views, likes, dislikes, watch time, and comments.
Here are the 10 most-watched ads on YouTube for the month of September:
10. Knorr India
Knorr India is one of the very few food product brands that have a neat online video strategy. The brand uploads videos quite regularly and experiments not only with advertisements, but also with un-paid video marketing strategy. It has a lot of recipe videos on its channel, and lately, has been running video ad campaigns on YouTube aggressively (in fact, its top three most-watched YouTube videos have been uploaded within the last five months)
With over 2.3 million views so far, this latest ad promoting its Italian Mushroom soup offering is at No.10.
Run time: 0:20
Average watch time: 0:13
Average views per hour: 2,848
9. Huggies India
At No.9, we have Huggies. The emotional ad centred on the theme of the 'power of hugs', has clocked 2.8 million views so far. However, it is a bit strange that the ad has a like-dislike ratio of 65-35! A little fine-tuning in audience targetting may have reduced the dislike ratio for the ad.
Run time: 0:31
Average watch time: 0:29
Average views per hour: 4,290
The new ad by the Gurgaon-based online marketplace ShopClues is at No.8, with around 2.9 million views so far. The commercial is about the latest Diwali Sale that ShopClues will host from October 1-10.
Run time: 0:20
Average watch time: 0:11
Average views per hour: 15,163
7. Treebo Hotels
At No.7, we have an ad by Treebo Hotels, OYO's competitor in the budget hotel space. With over 3.3 million views so far, the crisp 33-second commercial talks about the obsession that Indians have with the rating system.
Run time: 0:33
Average watch time: 0:32
Average views per hour: 6,966
6. Bajaj Avenger
Arguably, the best ad in the list. Launched just a day before Brotherhood Day, the ad is testimony to great storytelling. It is quite common to see brands hesitate to acknowledge the weakness of their products or even the strength of their competitors. But, contrary to their belief, truth and honesty don't hurt all the time. In the ad, which is set in the picturesque location of Ladakh, Bajaj celebrates brotherhood and acknowledges the cult status that Royal Enfield has among bikers. A great example for positive advertising.
Run time: 1:07
Average watch time: 0:58
Average views per hour: 5,926
5. Amazon India
At No.5, we have the latest ad by Amazon promoting its Great Indian Festival offers. Amazon is pushing this ad aggressively over the past few days, but to be honest, the audience sentiment is not so great.
Run time: 0:59
Average watch time: 0:29
Average views per hour: 7,896
4. ASUS India
At No.4, we have the latest ad by Asus featuring Sonakshi Sinha. Carrying forward her action persona from Akira, we see Sinha thrash the bad guys at a gala in the commercial.
Run time: 0:45
Average watch time: 0:40
Average views per hour: 7,056
3. Hindustan Unilever
Promoting the importance of hygiene in our daily lives, this ad by HUL was actually launched in December last year. The ad, which was promoted heavily in September, conveyed the message through its three popular brands - Lifebuoy, Pureit, and Domex.
Run time: 1:00
Average watch time: 0:51
Average views per hour: 7,322
2. Google India
Back in 2010, acclaimed director and producer Sir Ridley Scott had partnered with YouTube and National Geographic Films to make a crowd-sourced documentary film called Life in a Day. The documentary comprised of over 80,000 video clips submitted to YouTube by regular people from around the world. The movie had captured the imagination of millions of people and was even premiered at the Sundance Film Festival.
Google is now trying to replicate the same concept for India. To educate the audience about this initiative, it has been running ads aggressively on YouTube. With over six million views so far, the teaser video for the docu-drama is at the second spot this time around. It'll be really interesting to see how this one turns out to be.
Average views per hour: 10,039
1. Closeup India
At No.1, we have the Closeup ad promoting its First Move Party campaign. The ad has been clocking over 16,000 views every hour, and has over 8.4 million views in total.
Average views per hour: 16,461
Other noteworthy ads for the month are:
Hope, the Boat by Paper Boat
Uber Moves Shankar
Gang of Dusters by Renault India
(The author is co-founder and CEO at Vidooly, a YouTube audience development and analytics firm)