Three former PayPal employees created a video hosting service in February 2005. Google, enticed by the success of what would go on to be a revolutionary platform, acquired it for $1.65 billion in November 2006.
In case the title wasn’t enough of a giveaway, this platform is YouTube. Within a year of its launch, the company reported a daily rate of more than 100 million views and 65,000 videos a day. Online intelligence service Hitwise estimated that by 2007, YouTube consumed as much bandwidth as the entire internet in 2000. By January 2012, YouTube reported 800 million unique users a month. Today, YouTube offers such services as YouTube Red, a premium plan that offers ad-free access to its content, and YouTube Music, a YouTube subsidiary app that streams and discovers music hosted on YouTube.
YouTube is a major source of social currency. YouTube content and its users are actively creating social values and expectations in the dynamic space YouTube offers. The marketing industry cannot afford to ignore video sharing any more than it can afford to overlook YouTube.
Tips for YouTube Content Creation
At Advanced Marketing Strategies, we abide by what we call the “Three Cs”: Content, Context, and Credibility.
Content is the most important component of any YouTube marketing strategy. You cannot grow an audience without compelling material. Be creative in your approach, and have a set of quality standards you consistently follow.
Another thing to keep in mind is value. For example, ask yourselves if you are:
- Adding value to the online community you are a part of;
- Inspiring your audience with motivational content;
- Educating the audience by creating webinars with YouTube live;
- Amusing the audience with quirky anecdotes from your career.
People engage with content that they find valuable. If your videos are 100 percent self-promotional in nature, they may not bring in the viewership you were counting on.
Great content is the foundation of your campaign, but it must be informed by current trends in the market. What are people interested in? What are they looking for? Did anything happen that made some serious waves in the entertainment, sports, political, or cultural arenas that could work for you?
Your topic, title, and thumbnail must be relevant in the context of the day and age in which it was published.
Just to really underline the importance of context, let us reflect on a moment in 2014, when the trendy clothing company Urban Outfitters found itself sinking in a sea of outrage and customer complaints. Why? All they did was sell a vintage university sweater with a few artistic stains on it.
What went wrong?
Their mistake lies in their failure to consider their item in a broader context. The sweatshirt in question was a vintage Kent State pullover with what appeared to be blood stains on it. On May 4, 1970, students gathered at Kent State in Ohio to protest the invasion of Cambodia in the Vietnam War. The Ohio National Guard intervened, shooting into the rally, injuring 9 and killing 4 students. Photojournalism student John Filo snapped a Pulitzer Prize-winning picture of 14 year-old Mary Ann Vecchio screaming over the body of Jeffrey Miller, who was among the 4 killed. This lead to violent and nonviolent protests across 450 college campuses across the nation.
My point is that May 4, 1970 was an extremely painful point in American history, with references made throughout art and entertainment in the decades since. Perhaps Urban Outfitters were not trying to be provocative, but instead simply saw the sweatshirt as an edgy vintage item. Regardless, this tone deafness is not acceptable today in the information age.
The takeaway: always consider the context of your YouTube content. It can work for you, or it can destroy all of your hard-won branding.
The Cambridge Dictionary defines credibility as “the fact that someone can be believed or trusted.” Credibility is not a trait commonly ascribed to marketers, regardless of the success their clients may experience thanks to their efforts. True or not, the image of the unscrupulous marketer has been the brunt of many a joke on many a sitcom.
One good way to combat this generalization is to stick to high standards of transparency. Another good way to gain credibility is to partner up with members of the online community who have already won the trust of their audience. According to a Google statistic, 70 percent of teenage YouTube subscribers say they relate to YouTube creators more than traditional celebrities. Having grown up in the era of the internet, Gen Z has grown up with an oversaturated digital landscape, thus prompting them to be highly selective in their media consumption. To put this in perspective, the oldest Gen Z kids are already 23 years old. They may be the main drivers of YouTube’s efficacy as a marketing platform, but they are hardly the only ones. Millennials continue to produce and consume content on video sharing platforms, of which YouTube has maintained dominance since its inception in 2005.