top of page


Imagery. Learning from Essence's Best Ad Ever 

What if your ad had an immediate 600% improvement in response? We had that experience two years ago for a little known YouTube campaign in Indonesia.

The goal of the brief was clear: Drive higher usage of YouTube while educating users about how to download videos for offline viewing.

Our strategy looked like this: create time-of-day-based ads using our dynamic data feed content generator. We would make the ads from genre categories and contextually target their placements. We’d also use a variety of categories to target key download times such as early mornings, evenings, and weekends.

Creative hypothesis: After working through the ask, Creative leaned into earlier Essence/Media Lab work where we found short, human-focused video gets a boatload of lift. 

The team asked "What if we just focused on the moment with over-the-top people clips appropriate to the time of day? If we used Indonesian YouTube influencers, we would find a lot of moment-oriented content snippets in popular categories." (comedy, beauty, entertainment, knowledge, kids, cooking).  So we switched our pitch from “teaching how” to showing content people would want. We wanted to make viewers yearn to learn how to download. The Google PMs got what we were trying to accomplish and gave us the green light! Here are some captures of the final ads:


Above, comedy and beauty examples.


What we discovered. Our media team gave us these great insights from the performance data:

  • High impact video gets lift. Downloading went through the roof! 600% increase from the previous campaign.

  • Ads were far more effective during work hours. Indonesia has expensive data plans with tiny data caps. Few people have wifi at home so Indonesians responded and downloaded best at work.

  • Authentic content that is relevant to the moment, did far better than how-to content. 

  • The main focus of effective "teaching" content can be why you'd want to learn, not literally how to learn. 


As an advertising agency, we are often asked by clients to create "teaching" content. The high customer impact of our innovations blew open what the client was hoping for in their initial request, and they were thrilled with the results.

Next post, Pt 2: How Google Play Is Expanding These Discoveries.

Scott Campbell joined Essence in 2012 as a member of the creative team at Point Reach, the world's first mobile-only agency. He is named as an inventor on over 30 interface patents. Scott helped Apple develop the Mac icon system, and was part of the team that helped develop the desktop publishing revolution with Adobe/Aldus. He now helps invent and promote programmatic creative at Essence... ...focusing on creating high-performing ad campaigns for Google and optimizing how they are delivered to market.

bottom of page