YouTube Advertising Vs TV Advertising

In today’s digitally dominated world, it’s becoming clearer than ever that consumers are moving away from their television sets, and spending more time than ever online. In fact, 6 out of 10 people prefer online video platforms like YouTube, Showmax, and Netflix, to live TV.

One of the main reasons for the preference is that you can choose the content you watch at a time that suits you.

There’s no more need to rush home in order to catch that latest episode of “Game of Thrones” on live television. Instead, you can binge-watch the entire season over the weekend when you have the time.

This convenience and personalised content of online video are major factors that appeal to the current market in South Africa, especially as the accessibility and affordability of broadband internet connections increases.

Premium Pay Television Numbers Dwindling

According to a recent article, South Africa’s Premium Pay Television provider DSTV (owned by Multichoice) is reported to have lost a massive 288,000 subscribers between January and June 2016 alone.  But where did these subscribers go?

With the emergence of Paid Streaming Services in South Africa, as well as the vastly improving internet infrastructure, the consumer is quickly turning to online entertainment as opposed to TV.

In 2015, 18-49 year-olds spent 4% less time watching TV, while time on YouTube went up 74% and according to projections, by 2025 half of viewers under the age of 32 will not subscribe to a pay TV service such as DSTV.

Impact On Advertising

It should go without saying then, that as television audiences decrease, the value of TV advertising will fall concomitantly, and the value of advertising on platforms like YouTube will increase accordingly.

Why Advertise on YouTube?

So, aside from the reality of increasing numbers, and more hours spent on watching online video, what other benefits are there to advertising on YouTube?


Online advertising has the major advantage of measurability and targeting.  TV offers you a demographic range and estimates of reach, but determining your return on advertising spend (ROAS) is difficult, and could easily be inaccurate.

Online Video Advertising on the other hand can provide accurate reports on metrics such as demographics, impressions (reach), clicks and engagement, and website conversions. YouTube analytics even provides insights on how long a viewer watched your video, and where they dropped off or skipped your video, indicating that they might have lost interest in your ad.


Television advertising has historically been prohibitively expensive, and only major brands had access to the budgets necessary to advertise on television channels, especially during peak viewing times.

YouTube advertising is not only much more affordable and measurable, but also creates an opportunity for smaller companies and businesses to reach their target audience with engaging video advertisements within a set budget, with virtually no minimum spend.

At an average Cost per View of between R0,60 – R0,90 on YouTube, you can reach a very specifically targeted audience for R90 – R110 per 1000 impressions.

Compare that to the minimum R270 per 1000 impressions for an ad on SABC 1, for instance, and the monetary advantage of online advertising starts to become quite obvious.

Targeted Audience

Advertising on YouTube presents the opportunity to zone in on very specific target markets. Targeting options include:

  • Demographic Groups allows targeting based on age, gender, and parental status of the audience you want to reach.
  • Interests targeting lets you pick from the numerous audience categories in order to reach consumers interested in certain topics. Interests are subdivided by:
    • Affinity Audiences – Raise brand awareness and drive consideration by reaching audiences that have a strong interest in relevant topics.
    • Custom Affinity Audiences – Reach audiences whose interests are specifically matched to your brand criteria.
    • In-Market Audience – Find customers who are researching and actively considering buying related services or product.
  • Video Remarketing – Target viewers based on their past interactions with your video’s, YouTube ads or YouTube channel.
  • Placements – Target specific Channels or Videos on YouTube as well as various sites on the Google Display Network.
  • Topics
  • Keywords

Not only are you able to target using any combination of the aforementioned methods, you can also exclude specific viewers or audiences, shaping the relevance of your audience even further.

Engaged Audience:

The YouTube generation, often referred to as “Generation C” is a powerful emerging market.

65% of Generation C are under the age of 35, and they’re a very important audience for brands to build relationships with.

60% of Gen C’s agree that YouTube has more unique content than TV, while 49% agree that viewing content on YouTube suits their schedules better than TV.

40% believe that YouTube is more relevant to their generation than TV and, not surprisingly, 60% say that TV is in the background while other devices are being used. This makes it very clear that if you want to be where Gen C’s are focusing their attention, TV is not the place to do it.

YouTube Advertising & South Africa

South Africans are very engaged with YouTube advertising – 63% of South African YouTube viewers say that they have taken action after the saw an ad on YouTube.

These actions may include clicking on an ad, looking for more information regarding the advertised offering, visiting the website of the business, watching a video related to the ad, or even making an online purchase.

YouTubers also actively share content online:

  • 67% Share or re-share links
  • 53% post a comment or review on a blog, forum or message board
  • 63% Talk about what they saw on YouTube with their peers
  • 58% Share the videos that they saw on YouTube.

The future of video advertising is online, and it’s crucial that brands recognise this.  There has never been a better time to start investing in YouTube campaigns, and take advantage of a growing, engaged and qualified audience.