Celebrate the most creative, engaging, and unique ads of 2014

1 billion minutes watched. 425 million views. 2 million likes. These are just a few of the massive numbers driven by the top ten ads on YouTube in 2014. It’s been an amazing year for digital advertising, with some of the most popular content on YouTube coming from brands. Even in the age of the skip button, viewers are now choosing to watch ads more than ever before. That’s because brands are making entertaining, original, and inventive videos—ads that are truly worth watching.

Think with Google is celebrating the best of the best with its year-end recap—featuring the top 10 ads and top 10 movie trailers of the year, along with the annual YouTube Ads Rewind video, which identifies the biggest themes from the year in digital video advertising, and shows a few ways that brands are breaking the traditional advertising mold:

  • Creating longer videos. The rising length of successful ads is a remarkable new trend, counterintuitive to advertising of the past. Conventional wisdom tell us brands must be brief—but when people choose to watch an ad, there’s no time limit. The top 10 ads on YouTube this year averaged 3 minutes in length—that’s 47% longer than the videos on the Leaderboard in 2013.
  • Shaping the cultural conversation.  While yesterday’s ads reinforced social norms, today’s top ads often rethink them. For instance, when Always embraced the phrase “Like A Girl” in its 2014 video, they earned 300,000 likes, shares and comments in 30 days on YouTube alone. Today's viewers are looking for bold, provocative campaigns. Brands are responding with content that makes people think.
  • Utilizing live events. Brands are increasingly trying to reach consumers online before, during and after live sporting events. And for good reason—the top 10 Super Bowl and World Cup ads this year earned a remarkable 14 million hours of watch time, with 75% of those hours consumed before or after the events themselves. 
  • Collaborating with creators. Marketers are looking to partner with experienced YouTube creators to develop original content that best suits the platform. Friskies, for instance, teamed with BuzzFeed (no stranger to adorable cat videos), to create its “Dear Kitten” ads—which is now the most-watched video on BuzzFeed’s channel.

See more of the year’s top ads on Think With Google, and learn how to create content that people actually choose to watch.