Last month, more than 184 million people in the U.S. visited YouTube.com, according to Quantcast. And many of them went specifically to watch content from brands – four of the top 10 trending videos on all of YouTube in 2014 were created by brands.
YouTube recently partnered with Pixability, a YouTube ad-buying and video marketing platform, to analyze viewership and publishing trends from the top 100 brands, as defined by the Interbrand 2014 Best Global Brands ranking. On Friday, I interviewed Andreas Goeldi, chief technology officer at Pixability, about the top 100 brands on YouTube.
Greg Jarboe (GJ): You’ve just shared some insights into the top 100 brands on YouTube. What’s the most strategic one for video marketers?
Andreas Goeldi (AG): Brands are understanding that they need to play on a high level, both from a quality and entertainment perspective. We’re seeing a significant shift from brands treating YouTube as a dumping ground for commercials, to a destination site for a broad range of branded video content. They understand how consumers use the platform, and recognize the need to guide the viewing experience. They’re getting better at managing the whole channel experience. YouTube deepens a customer’s knowledge of a brand and strengthens the brand relationship in a way that’s not possible on TV, and the cost-benefit of YouTube can be significant.
GJ: You also analyzed some trends around viewership of brand content on YouTube. Which one has the most significant impact on the digital video marketing business?
AG: Viewership is growing and engagement is up – viewers are actively committing to brands on YouTube. It’s a sign that brands’ YouTube strategies have matured. They’re creating better content, enabling them to effectively reach and retain their audience on YouTube.
GJ: You also looked at brands as content creators. Based on these publishing trends, do you have any tactical advice?
AG: Brands are understanding fully that they need strong content to be found organically on YouTube. It’s the second largest search engine, and consumers are actively searching for YouTube-specific content like tutorials and product reviews. As a result, brands have shifted away from uploading TV commercials and discovered the importance of quality content that viewers will be interested in organically. Smart brands understand the need to cover the entire marketing funnel with their YouTube content – from initial awareness, to search, to hooking viewers and guiding them through the brand journey on their channel.
GJ: You also revealed some critical data about fanship of brand content on YouTube. What are the key ones?
AG: Subscribership is up by 47 percent year-over-year – consumers don’t just watch videos, they subscribe to brand channels, requesting to stay connected to the brand and be notified when new content is published. Brand-owned channels are receiving 10 times more likes than dislikes. YouTube is a vehicle for brands to build long lasting relationships with their viewers. The engagement metrics are a very promising sign for YouTube’s overall strategy to serve as a destination site.
GJ: Finally, you pointed out that brands are growing their media investment in video ads. Has this been a slow, steady climb, or was there an inflection point when growth took off?
AG: As brands have become more educated on the return on YouTube advertising, we’ve seen investment grow across industries. Industries that have traditionally lagged on YouTube – for example, luxury brands, financial services, and food – have become much more active. We’re seeing high growth rates; they’re catching up. Brands are realizing that YouTube moves the needle, positively impacting brand perception and brand lift. Smart brands understand that a mix of three elements – paid advertising, an active brand channel with a strong content strategy, and creator partnerships – are needed for optimum success, especially when trying to reach a younger audience.
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