A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of moderating a panel at Streaming Media West on YouTube strategy for major brands. The panel discussion focused on why most brands have not yet mastered the dominant entertainment platform for millennials and second-largest search engine in the world: YouTube. A very diverse group of professionals who have built careers around YouTube weighed in on this question, as well as sharing best practices for brands that are beginning to invest on YouTube.
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I was joined at Streaming Media West by the following YouTube experts: Bailey Rosser, Audience Development Strategist at YouTube; Mina Seetharaman, Senior Partner and Executive Director of OgilvyOne’s Advanced Video Practice; Jack Ferry, Independent Director & Producer; and Charlie Muirhead, CEO of Rightster.
The consensus among the panel seems to be that YouTube, though culturally ingrained, is still new to most brands and agencies. Until recently, tools like Pixability that drive data-driven insights and optimization, and expert practices like Ogilvy’s, did not exist. As a result, brands have been left to experiment, which often means relying on television-centric thinking that does not suit YouTube’s unique strengths and viewer expectations.
So what are some key takeaways for brands? YouTube’s creator playbook should be a go-to resource for all content creators and has useful insights for brands interested in developing content and engaging effectively with YouTube communities. Pixability’s top 100 global brands study offers complementary insights about how top brands are already using YouTube.
It is important to note that YouTube’s search and recommendations engines are designed to favor channels and videos that drive strong watch times. Brands should engage with popular YouTube creators, produce content that will resonate with their core audiences, and focus on content that YouTubers will want to share. Writing memorable, eye-catching titles and optimizing metadata is key to driving video discoverability across all search engines.
In a nutshell, brands tackling YouTube can increase their chances of success and ROI by following five simple guidelines:
Know target audiences and their content preferences, and offer real value aligned with those preferences.
Engage with YouTube creators to source content and cross-promote with shout-outs and annotations.
Create videos that are easily shared through all social media channels.
Make use of targeted paid media buying against relevant content to promote your brand channel and assets.
Ensure all videos are optimized for organic discovery.
Thanks again to Dan Rayburn and Streaming Mediafor including me on this year’s Streaming Media West conference panel.