It’s astonishing that in this day and age, content companies are still launching new verticals with just a YouTube channel and maybe a Facebook page, but no dedicated mobile app from the start. Their strategy is to launch first online, measure the response, and then expand into mobile apps. However, launching a new brand without a full-access, cross-platform strategy no longer makes sense and can be harmful to the overall success of the rollout.
This is particularly true for video. Viewers are increasingly mobile and using their mobile phones and tablets to view video more than ever before. The latest stat comes from YouTube, who claims 40 percent of its traffic now comes from mobile, up from 6 percent just two years ago. The same piece says Facebook sees 41 percent of its ad revenue coming from mobile. That’s nearly half of viewers opting to access the content they like from a mobile device.
Sure, YouTube has a mobile app and a mobile-optimized web interface to handle this traffic. However, content providers who are launching new brands specifically to capture the attention of new customers should be thinking about owning the mobile experience themselves rather than ceding control and profits to others.
The answer, of course, is that the internal budgeting and decision-making structure at most companies have not yet caught up with the reality of media consumption. Big companies make decisions in silos and target competitive verticals, rather than user behavior patterns.
For instance, say you want to take on Buzzfeed with a content vertical focused on funny animal videos. The typical strategy is to launch a funny animal video YouTube channel to complement the same content on your own website. Boom, Buzzfeed is now targeted and competition is made.
That’s thinking on a content vertical point of view and not a distribution vertical point of view. To succeed, though, you should think beyond vertical distribution competition to cross-platform viewer distribution.
For instance, it’s best to launch new apps simultaneously on YouTube, your branded website, game consoles and mobile devices. That’s where viewers live. But while your content may be on all these platforms, your goal is to drive them to one-mobile. You want to own that last-mile connection, engaging them on the homescreen of their devices, interacting with your icons.
The strategy is simple… find new fans where they live and bring them to where you live. If you own all the rights to your content, why not take full advantage and exploit those rights on every platform? After all, that’s how your viewers are already thinking. Viewers don’t watch in silos, so don’t create in one.
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