In the world of video advertising, September was supposed to belong to Apple. The company launched its highly anticipated iPhone 5, along with a barrage of video advertising to support it. In the past, the buzz around one of its major product announcements and the video advertising to support it was enough to elevate Apple's video views above its competitors. But Apple doesn't take the top spot on the Top Brands in Video Chart for last month. That honor goes to Samsung.
Powered by data from Visible Measures, this monthly chart looks at the most-watched brands in online video, across all of their campaigns. (Check out past charts for August, July, and June.)
Samsung dominates the chart this month with more than 51.4 million views, nearly three times Apple's 17.6 million views. You could assume that Samsung generates more views because it's advertising multiple products at once, whereas Apple focuses on one major advertising campaign at a time. But you'd be wrong. Samsung's biggest campaign of the month was for its Galaxy S III, and it generated just under 30 million views in September -- more than all of Apple's efforts combined.
Samsung's dominance over Apple in online video isn't new. Looking at its performance in 2011, from January to the end of September, Samsung launched 14 campaigns in online video (including multiple creatives). In all, Samsung generated more than 36 million views through September 2011. In that same time period, Apple launched eight campaigns and drove 34.4 million views. So while Samsung's 36 million views clearly tops Apple's 34.4 million, it's by no means a landslide.
Fast forward to this year, however, and we find a dramatic shift. From January through the end of September 2012, Samsung has launched 20 campaigns and has produced more than 181 million views. This is an increase of more than 400 percent compared to the same time period just last year. Apple's numbers are comparatively modest. It's published 10 campaigns through September this year and has seen 63.5 million views, an increase of more than 80 percent.
So, to quickly recap, through the end of September, Samsung has produced 181 million views in 2012. Apple has produced 63.5 million views.
The question is: How is Samsung dominating Apple?
Apple has legions of fans and followers across the world and is the most valuable company on the planet. It's the leader in the market and while at times it might not stack up on a feature-by-feature basis with some of its competitors, it can make up for it with its brand.
But being the leader comes with a price. As the leader, you no longer fight for the top spot, so you lose a target to fight against. Think about Apple's greatest advertisements – "1984," "Think Different," "Mac vs. PC." They resonated with audiences because they tapped into both their hopes for something better and their frustration with the current state of affairs. But now that Apple is at the top, it's no longer about thinking differently anymore -- because most people are already thinking differently.
This is manifested in Apple's current advertising strategy. With each new major product launch, Apple produces a featurette with interviews from top execs about their latest thinking, along with a handful of 30-second feature-focused spots. The ads run on television and also get paid views in online video to drive viewership. This strategy is fine from a broadcast and awareness perspective, but it does little to truly tap into the opportunity offered by online video.
Audiences will choose to watch an Apple ad because it's Apple, or because they're curious to see what Apple's latest product is. But they don't watch Apple ads for their creative content.
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