YouTube is falling back on traditional advertising like print, television, billboards and subway wraps to promote its most popular content creators.

YouTube “stars” attract a highly sought-after demographic of young viewers. But as AdAge asks, “Can you name any of them?” The company hopes a more traditional approach to advertising may help it tackle the problem.

“YouTube will be doing a lot of tried-and-true, tune-in advertising over the next few years using media it’s trying to disrupt,” reports AdAge, adding that the world’s biggest ad seller — Google — is moving beyond the search and display markets it created with short-form video to take on TV’s $212 billion global ad market.

Speaking to AdAge, YouTube’s new CEO Susan Wojcicki said, “If you look at our top creators, they have a lot of subscribers; it’s all categories like entertainment, health and beauty, food, cooking, and yet I think a lot of times advertisers and users don’t know about these channels. That’s been one of the challenges: How do you highlight them?”

AdAge describes the move as the “third major evolution of YouTube’s business.”

Like search a decade ago, it’s still early days for video, but at this point Madison Avenue has been around the block a few times with YouTube. And it hasn’t enjoyed the entire ride. The first packages it put together for channels were priced absurdly high — some in excess of $50 million per vertical a year — and required advertisers to buy a whole lot of impressions across YouTube to get the high-gloss, professional content they really wanted.


Agency frustration bubbled up two years later with an open letter from the top digital-ad buyers imploring the video industry — and its biggest player, YouTube — to do things a little more like TV: e.g., spend some money to promote shows; guarantee delivery; and be more transparent in how video was measured.

See the AdAge report here to learn more about Susan Wojcicki and the company’s history.

*photo via AdAge
*featured image via @RichBTIG