What YouTube’s new in-app messaging feature means for brands

YouTube has rolled out a new in-app messaging service, leaving brands wondering how they can take advantage of this new social feature.

YouTube has decided to join the messaging trend with an in-app chatting service. This will allow users to share their favourite videos with their friends without leaving YouTube’s mobile app.

According to YouTube, this will make “sharing easier, faster and more fun on your phone”, as users will be able to access messages in a new tab. This is expected to bolster YouTube’s social proposition and encourage users to spend more time on the app; going beyond simply sharing their favourite videos to start a discussion with their friends.

 The new feature is seen as an attempt to win users from Facebook’s Messenger, which is typically preferred by users for casual conversation. So what does this new feature mean for brands? Here are some key benefits.

More users sharing content

Users’ ability to start a personal discussion after watching videos, along with the ease associated with not having to leave the app, will likely increase the volume of content sharing. This is great news for brands looking to create viral content, although the same the same rules apply to content creation – it must be engaging, appealing, and interesting.

Until now, typical link-sharing behavior involved manually copying the URL of a YouTube video and pasting it into another messaging app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp. From now on, YouTube is hoping its new discussion feature will keep link sharing inside the app. As this feature streamlines the user’s experience of sharing a video by reducing the number steps required, it arguably increased the likelihood of content going viral.

This is a great opportunity for brands to see improved results from their content. It may even require an adjusted strategy when creating video content. As sharing among YouTube users becomes easier, brands could benefit from a more direct approach when asking users to share a video. YouTube hasn’t made it clear if any additional features or integrations might be available to content creators.

Building engagement

This is also a great opportunity for brands to increase their own engagement with their audience, by keeping them engaged in the same app as their content.

Competition for users’ attention can be fierce and, over the last few years, Facebook has been winning – seeing 8.4X higher impact on small businesses than any other social channel. In other words, YouTube has its work cut out.

However, it offers a golden opportunity for brands; those that embrace this new approach early stand to benefit heavily. So it’s essential that brands:

  • reconsider their overall social strategy
  • discover what makes people share their video
  • come up with new creative solutions to achieve engagement
  • seek genuine conversations with users on the platform

This emphasises the importance of thinking like a user – considering exactly what makes someone share a video with a friend and how the brand can be a part of that conversation.

Now with over 1 billion active users, there is a potentially huge untapped community of users for brands to access. It’s a good idea for brands to begin exploring the feature sooner rather than later, as it rolls out to everyone worldwide.

Taking advantage of YouTube’s power

There are 72 hours of video uploaded to Youtube every 60 seconds; proof that Youtube is still a major player in the video space. Despite the growth of video among other channels, it is still a reliable source of traffic and engagement for brands. In fact, this feature can even increase its impact on brands that may have been thinking of creating more native videos on other platforms.

It is a feature that both users and brands can enjoy and it’s the right time to test it and explore how it can be part of a brand’s social strategy. If social engagement is among your brand’s goals, then it might be a good idea to consider:

  • how Youtube’s social feature can be part of your digital strategy
  • what this means for your existing engagement among all social channels
  • what the best ways are to test whether engagement can be higher on Youtube than other platforms

For example, if your brand already sees a good rate of engagement on Facebook when posting social videos, it might be useful to replicate this strategy and see the results from it. Adjustments to the content may be necessary, as YouTube users visit the platform only to watch videos, but this is still a great opportunity to maximize engagement from your content.

Another interesting thing to consider is the rise of mobile videos. There is a lot of potential to increase engagement by optimizing for a mobile audience. Over half of all video content watched online is viewed on mobile and it is estimated that 92% of mobile video viewers share videos with others. This is a great opportunity to promote your brand through the medium of video, provided that you cater for mobile users:

  • they consume content while moving
  • they tend to be more impatient
  • they are still willing to engage with content if it’s relevant
  • they are all about exploring the social experience through messaging with their friends

More effective influencer marketing

YouTube is a great platform for influencer marketing, as there is a large community of content creators with an even larger community of engaged subscribers. This allows brands to form mutually beneficial relationships and promote themselves in a native format.

According to Google, 6 in 10 YouTube subscribers would follow advice on what to buy from their favorite creator over their favorite TV personality. The idea of increasing the engagement on Youtube’s platform through in-app conversations can make influencer marketing even more effective. Influencers and aspiring Youtube stars can gain even bigger influence by encouraging conversation through the app – in turn helping brands benefit from heightened in-app engagement.

Overview

YouTube seems to have made a wise move by introducing the in-app messaging feature in an attempt to survive in the growing competition among social platforms.

If this feature receives a warm greeting from users, it can turn out to be highly beneficial for brands investing in social content. There may be untapped opportunities to increase social engagement, reach a larger audience and launch successful campaigns.

For now, brands should certainly experiment, test the feature and see how audiences respond.

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