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Pathmatics Blog
Streaming & Video |


Digital Advertising and YouTube: How Much Are Your Competitors Spending?

March 03 2021 by Sarah Fleishman

YouTube is the single most popular website for advertising. Hands down.

The video sharing platform is on a steady march to generate over $6 billion in ad revenue from its 2 billion plus users. Put another way, nearly 80% of people on the Internet have a YouTube account.

And they spend a lot on advertising.

Maybe you’re even one of them. If you aren’t, you probably should be.

But how do you get in on the game? Where do you start? And how much should you spend on YouTube advertising?

These are valid questions. They’re something every business should know, whether they have yet to advertise on YouTube or been broadcasting ads there for a while now. Finding the answers starts with understanding your competitors.

That is why it is vital to know: 

  1. How much is the competition spending on ads?
  2. What is the competition promoting with their ads?
  3. When is the competition sending out ads?


And that’s where our YouTube ad intelligence tool comes in.  Below we’re going to see how to find the answers to each of those three questions using Pathmatics Explorer.

1 . See Who Advertises on YouTube and How Much They Spend

A quick search in Pathmatics Explorer for youtube.com will show us a ranked list of its top advertisers, including how much they spend and the impressions they get from that spend. (Note: This data applies to the United States over the past 12 months. We could just as easily check it against a different location or time frame.)

YouTube 1

If we select any one of those companies we can gain further insight into how much of their overall ad spend goes towards YouTube.

Take Apple, for example.

Youtube 2 Apple These totals apply to their overall spend in the United States during that time across all devices and formats. With regard to advertising costs that total is nearly $300 million. Which means that a whopping 80% of their ad budget (over $237 million as shown in the first image) was spent promoting their products and services on YouTube.

2 . Monitor What Competitors Promote on YouTube

Returning to our list of top advertisers on YouTube we can easily pull up a snapshot of their advertising efforts.

To do this in Pathmatics Explorer, we hover over a company and select “Show Details.”

YouTube 3 Apple

From there we see their top creative and a breakdown of the brands they are promoting on YouTube.

YouTube 4

So for Apple, over this timeframe, we can see that they prioritized their ad spend towards promoting Apple TV.

By selecting any of the ad creatives shown (or the “See Top 500 of 859 Creative” link) we can get a clearer picture of how this spend was allocated.

YouTube 5 

For each ad creative we see its specific spend total and impression total. For example, Apple spent $6.6 million on the first ad here and garnered 635 million impressions as a result. Which, when compared to the data found earlier, we now know accounts for 2.7% of their total ad spend on YouTube, and 3.3% of their total impressions.

In addition to these two stats, we also see the spend trend for that ad. Which leads us into...

3 . When Are Competitors Advertising on YouTube

Let’s take a closer look at one of Apple’s ad creatives on YouTube. This particular campaign is promoting one of their programs for Apple TV.

YouTube - Apple TV ad

 Here not only do we see again the spend and impression totals for that specific ad, but we get a timeframe for the campaign. Shown are its start and end dates, and in the graph the spend allocation over that time span.

What Can You Do With This Competitor Insight?

Analytics are only as good as the decisions they drive. So it’s important we’re not just analyzing for analyses sake, and actually getting actionable and profitable results from it.

No worries here on that front.

With the insight captured above you will be able to better strategically manage your YouTube advertising. Knowing how much your competitors are spending can help you streamline marketing channels and optimize your ROI for each. Knowing what your competitors are promoting and ads they’re running can help you understand their target audience, hone in your marketing content, and fuel creative ideas. Knowing when your competitors are advertising can help you efficiently schedule your efforts and more effectively deliver your messaging.

All that action from that competitor insight. 

Best of all, it only took a few minutes to get it.

There’s a reason why both B2B and B2C companies alike are loving Pathmatics Explorer. With competitor insight like this, opportunities for growth abound. Helping ensure that the next time your potential customers fall down a YouTube rabbit hole you’ll be there instead of your competitors.

About Author
Sarah Fleishman

With over a decade of experience across digital marketing, content, creative, and PR, Sarah is a creative and dynamic thinker who loves to delight clients with unique and relatable content. Sarah graduated from UC Berkeley with a BA in Sociology.

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