Adage has published an article that looks at the current Evolution campaign for Dove, and compares the traffic resulting from a Youtube spot vs a Superbowl ad. Here are the statistics from Alexa, showing performance:

alexa graph showing site traffic on site

The first bump is traffic from the Superbowl ad, which cost around $3.75 million to run. The second bump is from this ad on Youtube, which ran for free:

The results are pretty compelling- the first spike jumps and then falters, but the Youtube is massive initially, and then appears to be gradually tapering. Keep in mind that this isn’t traffic watching the video itself (that is handled on the Youtube site) – this second bump is clickthroughs from people that have seen the video, and then are interested enough to click through to the site itself.

From the Adage article:

This is a great example of where we’re not using the old playbook where we do a lot of TV advertising, Todd Tillemans, VP-North American skin care said. He believes the strong consumer insight behind Campaign for Real Beauty gave the effort viral legs and that the particular message was more powerful because it came from an objective source in the form of the TV news and entertainment programs.

But don’t forget that Youtube does not = Viral – manufactured viral can cause more damage than you might expect. Just ask those hip dudes at, who dreamt up a viral approach for a Subway account pitch but then pulled out suddenly after creating much controversy and mirth.