Gumtree created ads for TrueView that were concise and engaging, which would complement their 'Success!' TV campaign with additional reach and traffic. They aimed to make the first 5 seconds unskippable. Coupled with careful optimisation of the campaign performance the TrueView ads saw record performance with 49% view through rate (VTR) on their 5 million views. With costs of 1p per view and a 2% click through rate (CTR), the TrueView campaign rivaled search in terms of KPIs.


  • Extend the reach of Gumtree's TV advertising
  • Drive view count
  • Drive traffic to
  • Keep Gumtree at the forefront of customers' thoughts as they browse online
  • Influence consideration of Gumtree in harder to reach regions of the UK


  • Develop short, punchy and concise adverts
  • Test campaign against different times, days, regions and interest groups
  • Operate a week on, week off strategy to enable analysis and optimisation


  • Cost per View (CPV): 1p
  • View Through Rate (VTR) of almost 50%
  • Click Through Rate (CTR): 2%
September 2013

Leading classifieds site has been running TV advertising for several years, but the time had come to extend its reach to a digital audience. The company needed the right online platform to promote its "Success" campaign, showcasing positive transactions on the site. "The TV ads show how easy it is for buyers and sellers to enjoy success on Gumtree, but there is still a large population who haven't used the site before and we wanted to get the brand in front of them using an immersive digital channel," says Sam Diamond, Gumtree's Head of Brand and Communications.

The perfect partnership Gumtree has a long-standing partnership with Google and paid search has been at the core of its business for many years. As a result, it was a natural fit for the two companies to work together to take "Success" online using TrueView, YouTube's pre roll advertising product, which gives users the option to skip after the first five seconds. "It's a great deal for advertisers," says Sam. "You only pay when somebody watches the video all the way through and every view and click is measurable."

Gumtree's adverts exemplified some of YouTube's best practice recommendations on improving view through rate (VTR) through creative optimisation. These best practices include1:

  • Make the first five seconds impactful to grab the viewer's attention
  • Consider keeping the advert short and snappy. However ensure that it is a minimum of 12 seconds to increase likelihood of incrementing watch page view count
  • Develop funny, punchy creative to keep viewers engaged

The ultimate test Making sure the creative worked well for YouTube was just the first step. Once the adverts went live in April 2013, Gumtree suggested specific tests it wanted to carry out. YouTube built out 40 campaigns to measure the effectiveness of the TrueView adverts by time of day, day of the week, region and interest group, as well as trailing companion banners.

Gumtree devised a week on, week off strategy for airing the "Success" ads on YouTube. This enabled analysts on both sides to process the findings and come up with ways of optimising the campaign for the next stage, an advantage not available on other platforms. "There are very few models that offer the opportunity to brand and to grow," says Maria Grech, Gumtree's International Search Manager. "TrueView provides a branding focus but with the ability to optimize it like any other paid for media. For optimal results you need a combination of a good creative concept coupled with a strong level of expertise in optimizing paid media. By combining these elements, we have proved results can be truly outstanding and come close to rivaling some Direct Response KPIs."

A great success Meticulous testing and optimisation made for a stellar campaign. By targeting the adverts in response to the findings generated throughout the six week period, Gumtree and YouTube achieved exceptional results. These included:

  • Reducing the cost per view (CPV) to 1p, six times less than the national average
  • Achieving a view through rate (VTR) of almost 50%, way above the UK mean of 17%
  • Realising a click through rate (CTR) of almost 2%, making TrueView comparable with paid search

The GumtreeYouTube partnership proved to be a winning formula that the company is keen to build on. "Working with YouTube's been great," says Sam Diamond. "We were able to extend the reach of our TV advertising at a really low cost and with fantastic engagement metrics. I look forward to using TrueView in the future as part of our media mix."


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1These are suggestions and do not guarantee improved performance