Let’s Get Visual: Why You Should Incorporate YouTube into Your Marketing Strategy


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Two funny dogs running down the street

Okay, I think we all need to make a confession here: we, as human beings, have a slight “problem” when it comes to our obsession over funny animal videos. I don’t know if it’s something hardwired in our brains from the beginning of time, or if we should be pointing fingers at YouTube for hosting billions of videos of adorable cats and dancing dogs.  

Since YouTube first arrived on the scene in May 2005, the video-sharing website has grown to over 1 billion users, reaching over 88 countries in 76 languages. Initially, YouTube was designed as a space where literally anyone could post their own videos for all of the interwebs to see. However, similar to the evolutionary path of other social media tools, YouTube has developed into a visual platform where marketers can take advantage of the high viewership and easy to use interface to share their message. Formerly an amateur videographer’s virtual record of all their most treasured moments, the video-sharing platform has turned into a hotspot for celebrities and brands to connect directly with their fans and consumers.  

Should Marketers use YouTube?

With so many social media tools to manage out there, I know what you’re thinking: do we really need another one? While the decision will depend on each individual company’s industry or marketing needs, YouTube should be considered a must-have for all brands for several reasons.  

First of all, YouTube takes the cake for having the widest reach out of any social media tool on the Internet. Not only is it the second most popular search engine after Google, but its viewership boasts  95% of global Internet users. Since a lot of people use YouTube as a search engine, having an account on this channel will not only improve your SEO results, but also attract more potential consumers because of greater reach. With such an expansive network of users, it’s easy to see why marketers should have an account for the amount of exposure alone.   

Another factor to consider is how impactful videos have been on consumers from an engagement perspective. According to one study, millennials, in particular, “connect more strongly with YouTube and other digital-native content because it feels more real than what’s produced for TV”. Since millennials form 25% of the consumer base and have a reputation for having the greatest spending power in the market right now, it’s crucial to work with the marketing medium that best reaches this demographic in order to continue encouraging them to identify with your brand.  

Some great examples of reaching an online audience through YouTube are GoPro, an action camera manufacturer, and ASOS, an online clothing company. Both companies feature how to tips on creating videos and styling the clothing, respectively, which allows consumers to make better purchasing decisions. When GoPro creates content for their YouTube channel, their use of their own product shows the quality of their cameras and inspires others by demonstrating the variety of content that can be created with GoPro. With ASOS, however, the videos help shoppers make better decisions because the short clips show how the clothing fits and pairs it with other items to present complete outfits that can also encourage cross sales.

Lastly, it’s important for us to acknowledge YouTube’s most recently launched feature: YouTube Community. YouTube’s new social media network hopes to compete with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other social media channels in allowing brands and marketers to better engage with their followers. Although users can currently comment directly on their favorite videos, many other interactions with these clips are shared externally on other social media platforms. YouTube Community has just been released as a beta version to a select group of users, so we’ll find out soon whether it will generate as much hype as its competitors and keep viewers within the platform!

Creative Ways to Market on YouTube

Now that you’ve decided to include YouTube in your marketing arsenal, let’s get down to business and talk about about the fun ways to reach out to your consumers!

Start a YouTube series: 

YouTube series are an entertaining way to spread the word about your brand with a more casual marketing approach. Redbull, for example, is one of the most well-known brands on YouTube because of its eclectic selection of series and sub-channels. With series featuring insane flips from skateboard aficionado Ryan Sheckler or pro surfer Jamie O’Brien tearing up the ocean around the world, it’s a no-brainer why Redbull has been so successful on YouTube: it’s because their videos reflect the hobbies and lifestyle of those who consume their energy drinks rather than explicitly promoting them! With that being said, think about what interests or hobbies your consumers have in common and then generate content that will resonate with them.

Live stream exclusive events:  

Coachella’s live stream of its music festival last spring was a huge success, especially for all of us who couldn’t make the trip down to Indio, CA in flower crowns to watch all of our favorite bands play. Unlike a YouTube series, where you plan out the content you’ll include in each episode beforehand, live streaming is ideal because of its candid footage and its easy accessibility for consumers. Live streaming works best for those exclusive events that a consumer may not otherwise be able to attend such as a product launch party, a convention for products in your industry, a Q & A session, or anything that would be of interest to the consumer.

Post a tips or how-to video:

Some brands find that confidence or trust in the quality of their product/services is essential to creating clients. These companies may consider creating videos to demonstrate their expertise in a certain area. A great example, from Business 2 Community, is how XtremeAirUSA, a company specializing in range hoods, released a video on installation that generated buzz around their brand because people could ask questions about the technique shown in the comments section in addition to discovering more about XtremeAirUSA’s products.

Design an exclusive YouTube ad campaign:

Volvo introduced its latest truck model by teasing their audience with a weekly ad campaign that was only published on YouTube. Since viewers would have to check back each day to see what other new features would be included, it successfully held the interest of consumers longer than a typical 30 second commercial would. The highlight of the whole campaign? Watching a four-year-old girl drive the truck via remote control through an obstacle course to show just how tough the truck is!  

Sponsored Ads

In addition to attracting traffic to your brand’s YouTube Channel, you can also gain exposure with YouTube video ads. Below are some other important details you should know before uploading your ad content:

TrueView ads: These are ads that advertisers only pay for if their ads are watched all the way through or for at least 30 seconds, whichever comes first. These are becoming increasingly popular with marketers and are available in a variety of ad formats including: in-stream, discovery or bumper videos.

Skippable video ads: Allow users to “skip” the video after the first five seconds if the content doesn’t interest them. Videos range between 30-60 seconds total in length.  

Non-skippable ads: These are shorter in length, with a maximum length of 15 seconds, and they do not count towards the video view count because the user did not have the choice to skip them before watching their desired video.

Call to action overlays: This feature allows you to include a link to your website or wherever you want the viewer to go as a result of watching your ad. The link normally appears at the bottom of the video.

In stream video ads: These are ads that usually appear before a user watches their searched video, but these ads can also show up in the middle or the end of video. YouTube determines this.

In search video ads: These ones air above the search results in YouTube.

In display video ads: These are ads that appear on the sidebar above Related Videos on the right hand side of the screen.

Banner ads: Ads that are featured at the very top of the webpage.

How to Measure Using YouTube

While the most obvious metric to marketers would seem to be the number of views their videos has, this little number doesn’t really tell us much about how the customer felt or reacted when viewing the video (or if they even watched the whole thing!). With that being said, here are several KPIs that can tell us how engaged our audience was:

  • View Duration: According to VP of AARP Studios Tammy Gordon, this is one of the most important metrics because it “allows [companies] to identify where viewers are dropping off” so they can improve the content they produce for their next videos. Since YouTube only counts a view after 30 seconds, it is very difficult to tell if your audience even liked what they saw or where they dropped off prior to this limit.
  • Click through rate: As we mentioned earlier, YouTube offers the ability to add a CTA (call to action) on your videos. Whether it’s adding a link to your website or a share option that enters clickers into a contest you’re promoting, it is crucial to monitor how many people actually clicked through your CTA link.
  • Shares: Normally if someone likes what they’ve seen online, they’ll share it! Since most people view YouTube as a search engine rather than a social media platform in which they can interact with their friends, they typically share the video link on other tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram so it’s pertinent to measure this.  
  • Likes and Retweets: Similar to shares, Likes and Retweets on other social media tools are an easy way to quantify how many people enjoyed your video.

How would you incorporate YouTube into your marketing techniques? We’d love to hear your ideas!

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Lindsey Larson

Professional Services Project Lead, with a passion for interpersonal communication, content development, and marketing. Proud Communications graduate from the University of Washington.

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John Mark

This is outstanding information. I am forwarding to my IT person in our company. This article truly hits the “sweet spot”.

Published on , 8:49 pm   

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