YouTube Video Series Shows Branded Content’s Success

Google’s new “Behind the Scenes” video series highlights the way Clean & Clear grew through YouTube and aims to show marketers the effectiveness of branded content on the platform.

After struggling to connect with its audience in the digital world, Clean & Clear, a skincare brand owned by Johnson & Johnson, launched the “See the Real Me” campaign a year ago. The campaign features a variety of video content, such as young girls talking about their personal struggles and skincare tutorials. Clean & Clear has since produced 120 videos, which have collectively amassed more than 30 million views.

Google’s behind-the-scenes series, the first of its kind, aims to show brands and agencies how to create more compelling video content. In one video, Princess Lauren, a 16-year-old social media phenom with more than 225,000 YouTube subscribers and 450,000 Twitter followers, takes over Clean & Clear’s social channels and covers MTV’s Video Music Awards. Lauren’s takeover resulted in 252 million impressions and a 14-time increase in engagement, driving consumers back to Clean & Clear’s YouTube channel.

“The term paradigm shift has been overused and abused, but this is a classic example of a paradigm shift,” says Greg Jarboe, president of content marketing agency SEO-PR.

Referring to 2012 Nielsen research about Generation C – C for “connected” – Jarboe says YouTube is an incredibly powerful platform. He thinks Clean & Clear is smart to embrace it so wholeheartedly.

“The reason most marketers don’t embrace the [Generation C] data is because it’s focused on a psychographic as opposed to a demographic, and most marketers learn demographics buying and selling TV time,” Jarboe says. “Way too many people are still trying to force that worldview on YouTube. You can do that, but those eyeballs don’t just watch stuff; they share stuff and comment on stuff and create their own video.”

Often seen as less intrusive than traditional TV ads, branded content is huge for YouTube. According to 2014 research from Pixability, an ad-buying and video marketing platform for YouTube, the top 100 global brands have nearly 1,400 YouTube channels. With more than 360,000 videos – which total more than 19 billion views – the channels’ activity was up 39 percent year-over-year.

Jarboe attributes control as part of consumers’ receptivity to YouTube.

“How crazy is it that YouTube would roll out an advertising format that allows you to skip ads?” he says. “What YouTube figured out early on is that when you empower the viewer, you’re doing something very different than just serving up an impression. And as a result, the viewers lean forward instead of leaning backward.”

There are three other installments of the series – “How to create a content strategy,” “how to spark a conversation with your audience using content,” and “how to operationalize content creation” – which also went up yesterday. If these videos are successful, there could be more in the future with other brands.

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