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Google's Big Bets: YouTube Premium Content and +Pages

  |  December 13, 2011   |  Comments

What the recent Google and YouTube announcements mean for marketers.

As the social media landscape continues to evolve, so do opportunities for marketers to connect more deeply and frequently with audiences - in real time.

In the past weeks, Google and YouTube have made announcements that not only highlight key trends in social media, but present compelling opportunities for marketers.

Google's Banking On Content and Social Connectivity

YouTube recently announced its entrance into premium content with the launch of a hundred niche content channels in partnership with media companies, celebrities, and brands - including popular beverage brand, Red Bull.

That YouTube would make a play for premium content is not surprising given it's the web's largest video platform, with 24 hours of content uploaded every 60 seconds. In fact, YouTube's audience is larger than Network Primetime with over four billion views a day. Additionally, YouTube has become the second largest "search engine," handling more search queries than Yahoo. Premium content will help YouTube continue to grow its already significant audience.

Additionally, Google recently announced the launch of Google+ brand pages, +Pages, which I discussed in last month's column. It's also likely that Google plans to integrate Google+'s social graph into almost every Google product (read: YouTube). Google isn't building just another social network; with Google+, it's attempting to build the social layer that permeates and enhances every web experience.

Between the YouTube premium channel announcement and +Pages launch, Google is clearly establishing a roadmap for growth that is focused on the strategic interplay of content and social connectivity.

So, what does this mean for you?

Considerations for Marketers

Content is certainly the name of the game in digital marketing today. The disintermediation of publishers caused by social platforms means that brands themselves have the opportunity to build and nurture audiences, and connect with them daily through compelling content and community cultivation. Brand equity is no longer achieved through paid media alone as brands extend their reach by becoming real-time "brands-as-publishers."

With YouTube premium content channels and Google+, brands have the opportunity to create highly compelling brand content, develop audiences, and drive incremental brand reach through community networks.

Additionally, both YouTube premium content channels and +Pages will have significant impact on search visibility as Google's algorithm continues to evolve based on social activity, or "social signals." It's likely that premium content channels on YouTube with high levels of social engagement will have greater rank and visibility in both YouTube and Google search results.

We believe it's imperative for brands to capitalize on the power of content, and in particular video, by developing a comprehensive content strategy that focuses on the interplay between content, social connectivity, search visibility, and paid media. YouTube's premium content channels and +Pages should be considered key components of such real-time content marketing strategy.

Key Takeaways

  • Consider this: video is the web's fastest growing medium, accounting for over 30 percent of web traffic, and according to a recent Cisco report, will account for up to 90 percent of web traffic by 2013.
  • YouTube's premium content channels will continue to grow the video giant's audiences and viewership (four billion daily views and growing).
  • It's extremely likely that YouTube content will be integrated with +Pages and the Google social graph, creating greater intimacy between brand content and engaged audiences.
  • Social signals driven by engagement with video content will have a potentially significant impact on natural search visibility.
  • To enhance digital marketing performance and ROI, brands should develop a comprehensive content strategy focused on the integration of content, social connectivity, and search visibility.

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Alisa Leonard

As vice president, strategy and planning, Alisa Leonard focuses on building connected brands through the strategic interplay of content and community across bought, earned, and owned media. She provides strategic guidance to iCrossing's Live Media Studio, a team of EMMY-nominated web content producers and WOMMA-trained audience managers who execute real-time engagement. Alisa and her team have helped develop social media strategies for top brands, including bebe, Billboard.com, Ally Bank, and BMW, Facebook's no. 1 auto brand.

Alisa doesn't just preach social to clients; she lives it. As a recognized thought leader in social media, she's been named one of AdWeek's "Top 50 Marketers on Twitter" and one of Direct Marketing News' "30 Under 30" marketers to watch. Alisa frequently speaks at industry events, including SXSW Interactive, Web 2.0 Expo, ad:tech, and Social Media Week. She also contributes to Mashable.com and ReadWriteWeb.com, and is the chair of communications for the DataPortability Project – an organization driving thought leadership on the future of the web.

Alisa earned a degree in English from Brigham Young University.

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