Fairly Quiet on the YouTube Front

In the better part of a week since my last post, I’ve been revisiting the ads posted on YouTube by the Liberals, Conservatives, and NDP. First, a bit of background. Viewcounts for YouTube ads stop increasing after a while, indicating saturation. In effect, the ad is no longer news. But the interesting question is the viewcount level at which saturation is reached. If a political party wants to draw viewers to its YouTube channel, it must repeat the cycle by posting new ads.

The Conservatives have hit saturation on many of their ads, in particular those comparing Trudeau to Trump (view counts of 500,000 in English and 213,000 in French) as well as Harper’s “where I grew up” backstory (441,000), and the attack on the deficit (218,000). The one ad that attracts new viewers is the “how did we get here?” critique of Trudeau’s broken promises, which increased from 815,000 to 851,000 views over the last week. A similar ad, entitled “Look what we’ve [i.e. the Liberals] done”, was posted 2 days ago and has attracted 20,000 views.

For the Liberals, the “Choose Forward” ads in their many variations have attracted few new views. The ads justifying carbon pricing in the 4 provinces in which it has been imposed have attracted 9000 new views (from 42,000 to 51,000 in the last week) and a new ad about gun control narrated by cabinet minister (and former Toronto Police Chief) Bill Blair has attracted 15,000 views in a week. The ad contains several images of Andrew Scheer and other Conservative politicians enjoying themselves on the shooting range.

Finally, the NDP’s “Different” ad has increased from 5000 to 6000 views and its French equivalent “Jagmeet se bat pour vous” has gone from a viewcount of 42,000 a week ago to 51,000 this week.

Overall, existing ads for the three parties are at or near saturation and new ads haven’t achieved traction. Tonight’s debate has the potential to shake up the advertising battle as especially compelling debate moments can readily be recycled into instant advocacy or attack ads. They should be appearing as early as tomorrow.

While the Conservatives remain far ahead of the Liberals in total viewcount – you might call it my YouTube ad tracker – the Liberals have now moved slightly ahead of the Conservatives on Canada Poll Tracker.

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