Specialist auction site Catawiki use YouTube TrueView ads to expand reach among their highly discerning target audience.



Catawiki was founded in 2008 as a portal for collectors to catalogue items such as comic books, stamps and coins. By 2011 the brand began to branch out, holding weekly auctions in various categories including art, antiques and watches. Now, every week, Catawiki’s carefully curated auctions are visited by millions of users from around the world looking for exceptional objects and hard-to-find collectables.

Rare, exclusive and unusual auction lots tend to attract a rare and diverse audience - one that isn’t necessarily all that easy to find. As part of their growth strategy, Catawiki wanted to explore YouTube’s potential to expand their reach, and tasked their creative agency with investigating how the platform’s global scale, granular targeting and creative formats could help explain the brand to new users. As Harmen Visscher, Chief Marketing Officer of Catawiki explains: “If a channel has the potential to be scalable and ROI positive, we’ll test it!”

Connoisseurs of Creative

Working with their Google account management team, Catawiki and their agency put together a campaign that would help them understand exactly how their audience responds to YouTube’s range of creative options. To do this, they took a creative made for TV, and edited it into thirty and forty-five second versions for YouTube, with different call-to-action messaging used on each closing screen. Then, the videos were rolled out as TrueView skippable ads in the Netherlands, Italy, France, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Alongside the YouTube campaign, Catawiki also boosted their performance-driven approach by implementing a bespoke cross-device conversion attribution model, to help them understand the full value of multi-device users. Whenever someone who registered on a desktop or laptop computer subsequently visits Catawiki from their mobile phone, their user profile is updated to reflect their device usage and to ensure that mobile receives an appropriate conversion attribution in ongoing ROI calculations.

The results of Catawiki’s YouTube campaign were impressive, with Brand Lift studies revealing that the exposed audience was 500% more likely to search for branded terms than a control group who didn’t see the video. Additionally, by making use of YouTube Annotations to ‘customise’ their closing screen with a link, Catawiki were able to increase incremental click-throughs to their website by 125%.

The Value of Post-View Visits

Moreover, when Catawiki analysed the number of post-view visits to their websites, they found that this figure was ten times greater than the audience delivered by clicks alone. Varying the length of videos also yielded some valuable data, with the forty-five second video receiving 300% more clicks than the thirty second version, and an 8.4% increase in brand awareness.

“We now understand the potential of video advertising and we’ve learned that certain aspects of video creative, such as length and call-to-action, work better than others,” says Harmen Visscher, reflecting on how Catawiki plan to build on the insights from this campaign. “We’ve seen that we can effectively target new website visitors with YouTube TrueView ads and convert them into bidders, so these results will be taken into consideration when we create commercials in the future.”