YouTube Drives More Sales Than Other Social Media Platforms [Study]

YouTube is leading the way in introducing new products to consumers and converting them to purchase, according to a recent study by AOL Platforms.

The report, which tracked data from 500 million clicks and 15 million conversions, found that YouTube was the clear winner in the first stage of the purchase funnel when it comes to paid advertising on social media platforms. Facebook came in as the second best platform for introductions and final purchases, followed by Google+ in third place. In last place was Twitter, which demonstrated that it is nearly 16 percent less likely than YouTube to introduce a client to a new product at the first stage of the buying cycle and 13 percent less likely to be the deciding factor in a purchase at the last stage.


The ‘first’ stage of a buying cycle, is when the consumer is initially introduced to a product via social media. The re-targeting of ads or similar marketing efforts designed to drive them back to the product they showed interest in, is referred to as the ‘middle’ of the purchasing decision. The ‘last’ stage is when consumers are ready to buy and is often based on the marketing efforts they have been exposed to in the first and middle stage.

YouTube’s success in the first and last stages of the buying process comes as no surprise to Orabrush spokesperson, Austin Craig. He worked on a YouTube campaign that transformed the tongue cleaner from obscurity to popularity, and enabled it to form partnerships with retailers like Walmart and Target.

“Video is worth exponentially more than a thousand words,” Craig says. “YouTube is the best medium for the introductory phase of the buying process because it’s very low energy for the consumer since you don’t have to look for answers in a video format.” He adds that he has seen sales of Orabrush quadruple after customers watched a short demonstration video.

While YouTube is clearly proving itself as an effective video marketing platform, it is still being underutilized, according to Greg Jarboe, president and co-founder of SEO-PR. “Many advertisers simply don’t understand the platform and big brands keep treating video like it’s TV,” he says, adding that marketers “put their toe in the water with a 30 second commercial and give up when it doesn’t go viral.”

But the AOL report proves that even when videos don’t “go viral,” they still have an impact on potential customers. Craig says, “viral is not something you can count on, but consistent campaigns can deliberately target specific buyers.”

Of course, not all products perform the same and paid social media may not be the right choice for everything. For example, the study also showed that while subscriptions along with health and beauty products performed well on paid social, others such as food and beverage, apparel, and accessories, responded much better to organic social.

To read the full report, download it here.

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