Video Essentials

What BMW and Ford Understand About Online Video

Even the biggest brands don’t control the conversation when it comes to YouTube.

Brand management software company Octoly just completed an exhaustive study of 50 auto brands on YouTube, learning what strategies are most effective and who’s had the most success. One of its chief findings is that automotive company earned media (meaning videos and views not controlled by the brand) dominates brand videos and views by a ratio of nine to one.

OctolyAutoYouTube isn’t like TV, the study notes, where brands can simply present their messages to a receptive audience. Instead, it’s more like Facebook. The brands that succeed understand how to foster community, sharing, and authentic conversations.

While brands can pay for views to get the conversation started, the focus quickly shifts from brands to brand influencers. Octoly notes that branded automotive videos have been viewed 2.9 billion times, while influencer videos about those brands have been viewed 43 billion times.

To drive results, Octoly recommends adopting the “Hero, Hub, Hygiene” approach. Hero content is big-budget, high production value video created infrequently for a broad audience. Hub content is regularly scheduled video that appeals to the brand enthusiast’s interests. It can include third-party content curated into playlists on the brand channel. Finally, Hygiene content is the core advice or informational videos about the brand that people will be searching out.

In the study, Octoly points out how effective the “Hero, Hub, Hygiene” approach can be in building a community, and shows how Ford created a highly successful campaign around the Ford Fiesta.

For much more on the automotive brands and YouTube, download “YouTube, Automotive, and the Power of Earned Media” for free (registration required).


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  1. Thanks to for mentioning our Octoly study about YouTube and Automotive. We looked at earned, paid and owned media for the top 50 brands worldwide. If readers have questions about the automotive study or earned media/fan videos on YouTube, I’d be happy to respond in here in the comments section, thanks!

    Posted by Dane Golden | December 12, 2014, 1:28 pm
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