With over a billion users, YouTube has come a long way from a 19-second video of a guy at the zoo talking about the elephant’s “really, really, really long trunks.” Today, it’s a Google subsidiary and the second most visited website. For brands, this means that YouTube marketing can amplify your messaging and achieve global reach as well. After all, the most watched YouTube ad of 2017 was for Samsung India Service. Although promoting a customer service expansion in rural India, the four-minute film about a Samsung service call netted 150.3 million views around the world.
This kind of viral success is what every YouTube marketer dreams of, but even on a much smaller scale there are many reasons YouTube marketing efforts can be essential to your brand’s success.
YouTube Marketing & Today’s Consumers
YouTube’s own marketing materials claim it reaches “almost one-third of all people on the Internet,” and that “each day those users watch a billion hours of video.” The channel also reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any US cable network — on mobile alone! In fact, more than 70% of YouTube watch time happens on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets, according to 2018 Google data.
Plus, YouTube is available in 88 countries in a total of 76 different languages.
If those statistics representing YouTube’s global reach don’t make a case for the value of YouTube marketing, consider these other factors:
- US digital video ad spending is expected to increase by double-digit percentages annually between 2018 and 2021, topping $22 billion by 2022.
- 59% of executives prefer watching videos to reading text
- YouTube is the internet’s second largest search engine
- In an average month, eight out of 10 18- to 49-year olds watch YouTube.
YouTube Marketing Evolution
YouTube also continues to evolve to remain relevant. Just last month the company launched vertical video ads to better compete with the likes of Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram (which already offered the vertical format). Snapchat originally pioneered vertical ads in 2014 as “Stories.”
In launching the square and vertical video ads, “to provide a more seamless mobile experience for viewers,” Google suggested “vertical video ads provide a big, beautiful canvas to deliver your message on mobile.” The ads also fit the customers’ viewing preferences.
“Stories are taking the place of television in some cases with users spending time watching an extended autoplay of stories from brands and influencers,” Rigel Cable, associate director of data analytics at creative agency Fluid, told Digiday. “Story ads present a great opportunity for advertising spots and, based on the off-the-cuff style of stories, authentic and lower production content may perform best.”
Hyundai, for instance, tested YouTube’s new product along with horizontal video ads for its new SUV model, Kona. The automaker received a 33% lift in brand awareness and 12% life in consideration compared to people who had not seen the ad.
"51% of marketers named video as the content with the best ROI capabilities."
How Brands are Using YouTube
Even before the new format, many brands were using YouTube to amass a following, educate audiences, and heighten brand awareness. One of the big brands on YouTube, ironically, is Facebook. With over 800,000 subscribers, the social network brand offers short documentaries on working at Facebook, getting the most out of the network and their thoughts on privacy. Likewise, Twitter uses their YouTube channel to promote itself to its 114,000 subscribers. One of its unique features is its YouTube series #TwitterHouse, which has celebrities discussing their latest movies, books or shows.
Intel is another YouTube marketer to develop a unique series idea. Its #Expertmode segments feature people, known as “modders,” competing against each other in building one-of-a-kind computers. Not to be outdone, Microsoft, with nearly half a million YouTube subscribers, is another brand offering behind-the-scenes footage along with insights into the modern, digital workplace. Of course, YouTube is also another place you can view and review the brand’s popular TV commercials (such as its Change The Odds commercial for STEM education with 8.8 million views).
Salesforce and Skype are brands using YouTube marketing to educate their audiences on how to use the customer relationship management tool or VOIP platform. There are use cases and customer success stories as well. SAS is another major YouTube marketer posting recordings of webinars as well as customer stories and short videos illustrating its software’s global reach. Energy drink manufacturer Red Bull, on the other hand, uses its channel to promote an active lifestyle. Its videos feature risk-taking athletes doing unique things (such as driving a rallycross car on ice or building wooden bikes from scratch).
Making the Most of YouTube Marketing
There are many blogs and entire YouTube videos devoted to best practices for YouTube marketing. Here, though, are a few of the top points you’ll see the experts advise:
- Be consistent. This refers to creating content consistently as well as using a consistent voice that fits with your brand messaging and culture. Between 2005 and 2012 the most successful brands published 50% more videos per channel than the least successful ones.
- Pay attention to production values. Although these videos can be more casual, they should still have quality sound and excellent visuals. According to Backlinko research, “HD videos dominate YouTube’s search results. 68.2% of videos on the first page of YouTube are in HD.”
- Add video subtitles for those viewers who have their devices muted.
- Take advantage of custom thumbnails. These let the brand control the presentation when your video is embedded or shared elsewhere.
- Develop playlists. Grouping videos by theme and bundling them into playlists can encourage channel visitors to stay longer.
- Collaborate. Seek partnerships with YouTube stars and influencers to maximize your audience share.
- Market your channel. A 2013 Pixability study found brands are focusing entirely too much on video production and not enough on video marketing. Over 50% of the entire library of videos produced by the top brands have less than 1,000 views.