Touche’s new way to do YouTube overlays

In a YouTube first for Canada, Volkswagen gets a targeted audience thanks to some deal-making behind the scenes.

Volkswagen has put a twist on a familiar part of the YouTube experience. It might not seem like a big change to consumers, but it represents some behind-the-scenes deal-making by its media agency Touché – and a first for automotive clients on YouTube in Canada.

CTA (call-to-action) overlays have been appearing as little sliding tabs in the bottom left corner of YouTube videos since 2009. The additional real estate is another way publishers can monetize their videos with advertisers or promote their own content mid-stream with links leading off-site.

Volkswagen Canada, however, is placing CTA overlays on videos it doesn’t own outright. Influencers and reviewers have given over the space to a link that leads to a test drive booking website.

The idea came about when Volkswagen decided to put dollars behind promotion of the Alltrack after already dedicating production dollars to another campaign. Emily Douglas, director of digital investment at Touché, said her agency was asked to get creative with a limited budget.

“Sometimes you see opportunities that make sense from a consumer standpoint, not a marketer’s standpoint,” Douglas said. “You think, ‘If I were on this platform, what would make sense for me?’ But often, there are technical limitations around who owns certain things.”

The overlay solution costs less than a YouTube sponsored post or the production of unique content while still allowing Volkswagen to reach a highly relevant audience.

Everyday Reviews, a 29,000-subscriber channel, reviewed the VW Golf Sport Wagon Alltrack last October. When viewed today, it carries a CTA overlay that mentions that model and links to the test drive site.

Touché worked directly with Everyday Reviews to arrange the overlay. As the channel was not using AdWords (which is required to use the tool), YouTube Canada assisted by enabling the tool in the back end.

“In theory, it doesn’t seem to complicated, but it had never been done before in Canada,” said Douglas. “I think we were all learning together.”