Scottish Government marketing spend on YouTube: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

"To ask how much the Scottish Government pay to YouTube annually" as part of your original request registered under our reference number 202200269311.

Following a request for clarification, you asked for:

  • "IE the annual payment to YouTube
  • Is it a one off payment
  • Does it come out of taxpayers expenditure
  • Is it budgeted
  • Who controls what is paid to YouTube
  • From the start of using YouTube
  • Year 1 - what was payment
  • Current year and previous year"


Due to the significant expansion on your original request, we registered this as a separate case, our ref 202200279001.

We have grouped our response to your request into the below 5 areas for ease of reading:
1. The annual payments to YouTube since we began using it
2. And current spend for the year 2021/2022
3. Is it a one off payment made annually?
4. Do we budget for this spend?
5. Who controls what is paid to YouTube?

1. The Scottish Government started making payments to YouTube for advertising purposes in 2013-14. Effective communication is an essential aspect of the Scottish Government’s purpose, helping to increase awareness and uptake of policy, enabling people to make informed choices and helping to improve people’s lives.

The Scottish Government has utilised YouTube as an advertising platform across a wide range of marketing campaigns it delivers, including road safety, organ donation, teacher recruitment, climate change and Covid public information.

No other payments have been made to YouTube for anything other than advertising purposes during this time. Please see below for a breakdown of advertising spend on YouTube from 2013-14 to 2020- 21.



















2. The total spend to date (as at 31 January 2022) for 2021/22 is £736,119

3. There are no annual one-off payments made to YouTube.

4 and 5. Recommendations in relation to what advertising channels, including YouTube, are utilised by Scottish Government campaigns are made by Scottish Government staff and approved by Ministers.

Recommendations will be made on a campaign by campaign basis and will be made in consideration of the target audience we are trying to reach, the campaign topic and the most effective use of available budget.

About FOI

The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at


Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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