In recent weeks and months, we’ve seen quite a few lists showcasing the most watched YouTube ads from the year gone-by. Some of those ads saw upwards of 100 million views within the year – one ad even surpassed 200 million views in the time since.
Today, we’re instead going to take a month-by-month look at how the year shaped out.
Our hope is to take you on a time-trip of the year that was, by looking at the most watched ad from each month, individually.
What’s interesting, is how different a monthly recap looks compared to a yearly recap, with only a few of the yearly leaders appearing as monthly leaders.
The ads with the most yearly views typically have more powerful, long-lasting messages, while the monthly leaders are more product and time-focused. They’re quick-hitters, product releases, and event ads, reminding us of the holidays and times of year that drive our culture, and drive revenue for advertisers.
Our monthly recap also showed us that, much like Snapchat, YouTube advertisers also look to capitalize on a very youthful, mobile-driven audience, as many of the ads were for phone releases and mobile games.
But even though the types of ads present in this list may be different from 2017’s yearly leaderboard, there are still plenty of consistencies lingering within the list.
And with that, we dive into to the strange year that was. Here are the top YouTube ads from each inividual month of 2017:
“Clash Royale: The Last Second”
Brand: SuperCell | Agency: Barton F. Graf
Our 2017 list starts off in slow motion. The most watched YouTube ad during January of 2017 came from SuperCell.
This ad is used as a way for SuperCell to capitalize on their own success of the year prior. The beginning of the ad simply shows that Clash Royale was named the “Mobile Game of the Year,” and received notable recognition on Apple’s Best of the App Store 2016, and more.
As you’ll see moving forward, SuperCell appears more than anyone else on this list.
This particular ad was SuperCell’s most viewed from the year, and stood only behind Samsung for the overall most viewed YouTube ad of the entire year. To date, the video stands at just over 112 million views.
“A Better Super Bowl”
Brand: Hyundai | Agency: Innocean USA
Coming fresh off of this year’s Super Bowl, this ad may still resonate as it did last year.
This Hyundai ad ran during last year’s Super Bowl, giving all of us a friendly reminder of where our military heroes are during the moments we tend to take for granted.
Hyundai reminds that the best part of watching games like this isn’t always the game itself. It’s who you’re watching the game with.
“This is a phone.”
Brand: Samsung | Agency: Leo Burnett
The most watched YouTube ad during the month of March comes from Samsung, promoting the new Galaxy, about a month before its official release.
Currently standing at just over 41 million views, it pales in comparison to Samsung’s ad for their Customer Service Campaign, which was the most viewed YouTube video ad of 2017, now with more than 200 million views. Regardless, 41 million is still very impressive.
YouTube, along with Snapchat, are prime spots for tech and entertainment companies to promote new products, movies, and games. That’s evident here, and will become more evident as this list continues.
“Ping Pong Trick Shots 3 | Dude Perfect”
Brand: Oreo | Agency: Weber Shandwick
April’s favorite was the longest video ad on our list, coming in at just over 7 minutes long.
The above is a branded video from Dude Perfect, sponsored by Oreo Cookies. In this case, the title hides nothing but the details. This is a 7 minute-long video of the members of Dude Perfect doing a number of different trick shots with ping pong balls.
Dude Perfect is the only self-made YouTube channel that appears on this list as a partner in content to the advertising brand.
“Clash of Clans: How Do We Get Over There?”
Brand: SuperCell | Agency: Barton F. Graf
The second of SuperCell’s appearances, this time takes us to an island, where four characters from the game, Clash of Clans, wonder what sits across the sea of water they’re looking out at.
They sit and ponder a few potential ideas, until the “barbarian” character takes matters into his own hands, sprinting into the water, full-steam, and full-sword ahead.
He disappears under water, as the others decide not to follow suit. Soon enough, a much better solution quite literally comes floating on by…
Brand: YouTube | Agency: Flying Object
The most watched ad from June comes from YouTube themselves, using their own medium to advertise a message that goes well-beyond their brand.
As one might imagine, this video was a bit polarizing, in the midst of some internet political turmoil. Regardless, the video topped the charts in June, and currently sits at just over 17 million views in total.
“The Rock x Siri Dominate the Day”
Brand: Apple | Agency: Media Art Labs
It took half the year, but Apple, of course, cracked the list, with this YouTube ad for the iPhone 7, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. This video tallied the most views over the course of the month of July.
The punchline in this ad is that Dwayne Johnson is a very, very, very busy man, and that “he can’t possibly take on anymore.”
He can however, only thanks to the help of Siri.
In a series of action-packed events, Dwayne Johnson moves through his day, task after task, with Siri as his sidekick. The overall message here, is that, if someone could do everything, and they had to organize it all, Siri would be the way to do so.
“Clash of Clans: The Giant’s Surprise”
Brand: SuperCell | Agency: Eyestorm
They’re back again, and this time, with a much bigger message…
In this ad, SuperCell is promoting a limited time offer within Clash of Clans, celebrating the game’s five-year anniversary. In it, a hut, and in that hut, a giant, aptly named, “The Giant.”
This ad once again lives in the unique and wonderous world that is the Clash of Clans, but with a promotional surprise for gamers.
“Meet iPhone X”
Brand: Apple | Agency: In-House
As with any Apple (and usually Samsung) phone release, there tends to be a bit of an online uproar, be it YouTube, or any other medium.
This ad is simply introducing internet users to the new iPhone X, in which they urge viewers to “Say hello to the future.”
The ad runs through the new phone’s features, taking a special focus on the new facial recognition feature introduced on this device.
“Jump Up, Super Star!”
Brand: Nintendo | Agency: Leo Burnett
Here, viewers can join a few classic Nintendo characters in “New Donk City” for a 3D adventure full of song, dancing, and energy.
This is an ad for a new game called Super Mario Odyssey, on the also fairly new Nintendo Switch (new, at the time, of course). The video cuts back and forth from choreographed brilliance to video game clips, and back again, all starring Super Mario himself.
Brand: Samsung | Agency: Wieden + Kennedy, Portland
This Samsung ad takes us on a ten-year journey. Nine of those years being filled with Apple-laden phone struggles.
Samsung has never been shy about poking fun at Apple, but here, they take it a bit further, bringing Apple’s very loyal customer-base into the equation.
The ad shows a man buying his first iPhone in 2007. Struggle after struggle, however, he continues to buy each new iPhone. Upon years of envious, corner-of-the-eye glances at Samsung smartphones, however, in 2017, he finally decides to switch over.
The final shot shows him roaming past a line of Apple-loyalists waiting patiently on the sidewalk – one man’s hairline in the shape of the iPhone’s newest screen…
In Samsung’s eyes, this man has “grown up,” and his days of waiting on-line are behind him.
“Clash Royale: Epic Comeback!”
Brand: SuperCell | Agency: Barton F. Graf
2017 closed with, who other than, SuperCell, appearing for the fourth time on our list, twice with Clash Royale, and twice with Clash of Clans.
This Clash Royale ad shows us not to rule anyone out, and not to celebrate too early. The video depicts two sides going head-to-head, one seemingly dominating the other, until the tides turn, and the crowd begins to shift.
A short time later, it’s the opposing fans that are doing the cheering…
This list shows us the difference one month can make versus an entire year, as only three of the ads on this list were among the most watched ads of 2017. See the full 2017 list here.
Despite the peaks and valleys of a year gone-by, this list shows us just how powerful a single YouTube ad can be for advertisers.