Building Brand On YouTube

YouTube is ten years and old and has quickly become a significant destination for individuals cutting their cable bills in favor of ad and subscription-based digital alternatives. According to Nielson, millennial males watch over two hours of web videos every week.

Business Insider compared that YouTube’s gross revenue was not much less than CBS and actually 3.5 times greater than AMC’s revenues in 2014. Digital ad spending will overtake TV in 2016 and will represent 36% of all ad spending by 2019. Digital video is here to stay and its traffic isn’t going anywhere but up.

Quoting Johnson & Johnson’s senior director Amy Pascal at the 2015 Media Leadership conference, “If you approach content less as a campaign and more as a platform, you really are investing in that longer term.”

This means that you should be focusing on building brand and creating content that resonates rather than focusing on short-term campaign metrics.

Advertisements such as Follow the Frog and Dollar Shave Club are often cited examples where creative content made for a memorable and highly shareable “viral” campaign, though a case in point for the strategies described above by Amy Pascal would be Clean & Clear’s recent campaigns. These videos were specifically created to appeal to their core audience and build lasting connections with customers, not to see short term campaign lifts.

Building brand is about more than one-offs these days. Strategically investing in messaging that resonates with core audience yields a cumulative effect with lasting benefits.

2. Integrated Marketing

There are over 2 million channels on YouTube with over 250,000 subscribers and according to a survey Variety commissioned, the five most influential figures among Americans ages 13-18 are all YouTubers. These modern celebrities make their money in several ways: allowing pre-roll on their videos, endorsements, sponsorships and integrations.

Just as product placement has been prevalent since the dawn of cinema, social media “influencers” can be paid to mention or integrate your product into their posts on a scale most audiences don’t realize. On YouTube, this could be something as simple as a video being “sponsored by” the brand with a title card at the beginning or end of the video. Alternatively, it could be a 15 or 30 second mention of the product in a regularly scheduled video (E.G., “my favorite new products for Spring”) or a fully integrated custom video created for the brand.

Watch this video devinsupertramp made with Ford to see how integrations can be done in a creative way that is endemic to the influencer’s core content. Burst Media recently reported that Influencer Marketing earns $6.50 in earned media value for every $1.00 of paid media. YouTubers generally have dedicated and loyal audiences and some videos (recipes for instance) have a long-term search shelf life.

When done correctly, integrated marketing can be one important element to long-term brand growth. Social amplification can also be very effective for specific campaigns and product launches. If one person I resect and follow online says I should try a new video game I may consider it, but if ten different people I respect and follow online are telling me I should try a new video game – I am much more likely to be go out and buy it.

3. Branded Content

Branded content is another value proposition with ever increasing importance in strategically marketing on YouTube. With the cost of buying a single 30-second primetime network tv spot running upwards $300k, branded content is becoming a more obvious choice for affordably creating content that can drive meaningful viewership.

“Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” is a perfect off-YouTube example where a sponsor isn’t heavily integrated into the show itself but is endemic and natural to the content.

Shift2 created the 36-part scripted series Carmilla along with sponsor Kotex about a college girl who discovers that her roommate is a vampire (“Do Vampires Get Their Period?”). The show garnered a loyal fan-base with organic traffic. A voluntary survey posted on the show’s social media pages resulted in overwhelmingly positive association of the brand because of the series.

The potential of these platforms to reach and impact audiences is very real. By utilizing good storytelling with a tactical blend of earned and owned media and long-term strategies you can effectively utilize YouTube to build brand and engage with audience for long-term brand connections.