Views of branded content have boomed over the past year, perhaps driven by rising video views on mobile devices. The trend reveals a public that’s thirsty for quality branded video content—a thirst brands can quench as part of a successful YouTube marketing strategy.
As Google recently reported, viewers go to YouTube specifically for branded content. In fact, four of the top 10 trending videos on YouTube in 2014 were created by brands, and views of branded content by YouTube’s top 100 brands almost doubled in the past year, according to data from Google and Pixability. Moreover, YouTube users are signaling a desire to engage with brands over the long haul. Brand channel subscriptions, Google noted, are up 47 percent year over year.
The research suggests brands with educational, informational, and entertaining content may be able to raise brand awareness in ways that brands without a video marketing strategy cannot. On YouTube, brands have an advantage: YouTube’s one billion users have already proven they’re open to branded content. It’s up to brands to entice them with quality videos.
YouTube’s top brands share a few characteristics in common:
YouTube used to be a place where brands dumped their 30-second TV commercials. Today, top brands leverage YouTube’s ability to reach a massive audience, while recognizing the specific desires of that audience. Users head to YouTube to answer a question, learn something new, or be entertained (or even moved). Consider GE: Its buffet of video content includes in-depth info about GE products and the company, but also perfect-for-YouTube content like a six-minute discussion on whether hybrid dinosaurs (a la Jurassic Park) could one day exist (science celebrities Neil deGrasse Tyson and Bill Nye also chimed in). GE’s content creation showcases just how diverse brands can be on YouTube—from serious and complex, to fun and irreverent.
Searches for how-to videos on YouTube are up 70 percent year-over-year, the Content Standard previously reported, and savvy brands are taking advantage of users’ hunger for info with creative how-to content. Brands like Gillette offer instructional shaving videos including how to shave over a tattoo; outdoor gear company REI can teach you how to ride a mountain bike on switchbacks. To identify where how-to video content might fit into your YouTube marketing plan, consider what questions users are asking at each point in the buyer journey and what content you can offer to help.
Successful YouTube creators have long noted that updating content frequently builds a YouTube audience. Consider self-confessed “charming idiot” (and YouTube superstar) Grace Helbig. Since 2008, she’s uploaded over a thousand videos, helping her amass 2.1 million subscribers. Sixty percent of her viewers are subscribers who eagerly await her three-times-per-week uploads. Brands should follow suit with freshly updated video content to complement more evergreen fare.
Brands are also betting on celebrities to help raise their YouTube profile. Petco, for example, tapped YouTube celeb Toby Turner and pet Gryphon for its new “Petcode” series, featuring pet tips and a dose of comedy from the sarcastic pooch. Petco says the move is aimed to help the retailer become a “go-to source for information and fun.” No doubt the brand will also earn fans, thanks to Turner’s 15 million subscribers across three YouTube channels.
Employing such strategies can help brands reach YouTube’s massive user base. But as always, content must be quality to attract eyeballs. For tips on how to build a successful video marketing strategy, check out Skyword’s resources on video content creation.