Why Do I Keep Seeing the Same Ad on YouTube?

Are you noticing the same ads chasing you on YouTube and other blogs? For me it’s these Keurig ads that seem to be constantly becoming. If you haven’t experienced this, turn on cookies, turn off your egregious ad blockers (stalkerofnalts), and visit the CafePress Nalts store.

With luck, you’ll find ads by CafePress surfacing everywhere.


This ad for Cafe Express follows me everywhere because I visited and bought K-kups.

Google owns YouTube, and the company powers many of the display advertisements that appear on blogs and websites. Google and its advertisers are getting smarter and more targeted. Using your login and cookies, Google allows advertisers to target those of us who have searched keywords or visited certain websites, and it’s called “site retargeting.” Google actually calls it “remarketing,” and it’s not new (see TechCrunch piece almost a year ago).

An example: if you’ve visited Holiday Inn’s website to book a flight, you’re far more likely to be “promotional sensitive” to a future Holiday Inn advertisement (especially an “offer” or discount). You’re worth more, you’re a better target, and you’re far more likely to yield a financial benefit to the advertiser.

Is it creepy? Yes and no. You won’t see it for some advertisers (pharmaceutical brands) and you’re not yet being targeted by such personalized information as your address or purchase behavior. While it does sometimes feel “big brother” it means we’re going to be paying more attention to the banner ads that are otherwise barely registered by the eye. Relevancy, I’d argue, is good for content providers (YouTube creators), websites (who often rely on ad dollars), advertisers (brands) and Google itself. I would also prefer to see ads that are targeted to me, rather than another automobile ad when I’m not even “in the market” for a new car. Besides, my wife does all the purchasing around here.

Is it annoying? It feels wasteful, but it does take about 5-10 impressions to compel most of us to action. So expect to get fatigue of certain ads, and don’t think other people are necessarily seeing the same ads. We’re seeing fewer brands buying loads of YouTube “inventory” and most are targeting. That means they can afford a higher frequency of ads, but will certainly be watching for the “point of diminishing returns.”

What I like best about this from the brand perspective is that it’s more difficult for a YouTuber or blogger to “game” this system. It also shifts the dollars to those who dollars to those with the right demographics not sheer size of audience. Thus YouTube partners will find an increasing discrepancy between their “CPM” (or income per view). Even as one YouTube partner, I might (and should) receive a different income for people watching a family video than one about farts, because they attract different audiences worth varying spend by advertisers.

Keep in mind that audiences are not created equally. Moms are worth far more than others (young kids). That’s what I like best. I’m really hot with the soccer moms, right Sukatra? So if you want to help your favorite creator make money, get your mama watching.

Here’s a video by Google that explains this to advertisers, and it will give you insights into what’s happening. And if you’re freaked by these, check out LifeHacker to find out how you can escape from ad tracking.

Author: Nalts

Hi. I'm Nalts.

17 thoughts on “Why Do I Keep Seeing the Same Ad on YouTube?”

  1. As a CafePress shop owner, I enjoy seeing my stupid shirts populate the sidebar ads. Obviously I hang around my own shops a lot. And I believe if I can get a customer to visit my shop once and check out a few shirts, then she too will experience the joy of seeing my stupid shirts all over her sidebar. Yay, for me.
    But, as a CafePress Affiliate member, I’m pretty certain that when I drive traffic to CP I may in fact just be warming up the customer for a later click on a sidebar ad. An ad that will probably stomp on my 30-day cookie and replace it with one of it’s own.

  2. I keep getting BlackPeopleMeet EVEN before February. I don’t get that. but basically what you are saying is that they are hitting you over the head with the ad till you click it or it clicks in your head. It is all about sauration. Focus ads on people that you KNOW would be interested.

  3. Thanks Kevin, you reminded me that I needed to reinstall my browser extensions for blocking cookie tracking.

  4. I could never work in cahoots with mdj. Hes too contrarian, plus he hates me cause im not gay. And leave poor alexis alone. Shes already getting shit on by nutcheese. And me, shortly.

  5. In the late 1920s, Samuel Oscar Blanc (1883–1964) was motivated by a stubborn clogged drain in his son’s (Milton L. Blanc) Des Moines, Iowa apartment to seek a better solution.

    By 1933, Milton & Samuel Blanc had fashioned a sewer-cleaning machine from a washing machine motor, roller skate wheels and a 3/8″ steel cable. The cable rotated sharp blades to cut tree roots out of sewer lines, eliminating the tedious and expensive need to dig. Blanc’s wife, called his invention, a heavy-duty plumber’s snake, the “Roto-Rooter.”

    By the mid-1930s, Blanc was selling “Roto-Rooter” machines for $250. Many who were eager for work in the midst of the Great Depression started their own Roto-Rooter businesses throughout the upper Midwest, the Great Plains and the Northeast.

  6. It’s a good idea in most instances, because, as you say, it takes many of us a while to make a purchasing commitment. There are instances (particularly I find on Facebook) where I find myself seeing ads for things I’ve already purchased and which I won’t need to replace any time soon. That does feel very redundant.

    But I guess that’s why Google will be the Next Top World Power because it has all the data about Internet users and their preferences… YouTube videos, search results, anywhere a Adsense ad is embedded, any site that uses Google Webmaster tools/analytics… Google already knows much more than Wikileaks, surely?

  7. @8 first, I just thought the icon was a whory bathing suit. Second, alexis is girly name, at least in the US. But if youre a guy, sorry for the mistake. Well, not really. Now I agree with nalts.

  8. I completely ignore all ads. I am truly sorry for the advertisers, but that’s just how I roll.

    And, sukatra, I knew Alexis was a guy, but it’s still a girly name, I agree.

  9. It’s a historically male name, FWIW. Damned hipster parents keep giving their girls male names which eventually leads to those names being abandoned by parents of the male offspring. The name “Ashley” suffered a such a fate.

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