Commentary

Cross-cultural Ads Are The Way To Win On YouTube

Around the middle of 2017, Nielsen polled over 2,000 monthly multicultural YouTube users. The results were consistent with what we learned from our Hispanic Millennial Project Study and We Are Gen Z Report: Multicultural consumers want more messages tailored to them. They are going to YouTube to find representation and inclusion.

With all of the talk of Big Data, it’s clear to these consumers that most advertisers are taking a “one size fits all approach” to content and ads on YouTube. Marketers aren’t leveraging the customization of the medium to really connect with these multicultural YouTube viewers.

A report by Google/Ipsos Connect specifically focused on African-American YouTube viewers, found this group felt brands were sending them “generic” African-American messages rather than ones that speak to who they really are. Brands were assuming, just because they are African-American, that they would like hip-hop or respond to urban settings. African-Americans are a group with diverse backgrounds as well as geography. In the study, they specifically asked advertisers to stop putting all of them in the same box.

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Now, more than ever, brands need to get it right because the reality is consumers are in control. There are two ways to get it right. They can use a multicultural approach that appeals to specific cultural segments with a specific message. Or, they can use a cross-cultural approach, taking cultural insights and applying them in a context that appeals across cultures.

Depending on the advertising campaign objective, a multicultural or cross-cultural approach would be the best way to reach these viewers. In the case of the hip-hop example above, the multicultural approach fell short by putting all African-Americans in the same group vs. segmenting the audience further. And in the age of Big Data, consumers expect everything served up to them — from an in-store experience to a brand message — to be customized “just for them.”

At this moment over 41% of monthly YouTube visitors are ethnically diverse, with Hispanics the majority, and this number is projected to increase. Brands had better step up their game, be relevant, and be customized.

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