Critical to any online marketing strategy is the content an organization creates for its brand. Viewers need to find relevant and reliable content presented to them in a professional manner, whether they discover it through search or are drawn to it through marketing efforts.
Therefore, it’s important for companies to have a rich channel of YouTube videos including ads, instructional videos, company events, and other materials such as interviews. Dane Golden, a video marketing strategist, believes the content mix should be approximately 20 percent on the products specifically with the rest reflecting the company and industry.
“I’m a big believer in how-to videos,” Golden says. “People are constantly searching for how to do things on YouTube. Instead of sell, sell, sell, marketers should consider helping viewers with tips on how to live their lives better (if B2C) or how to do their jobs better (if B2B). Much like content marketing in blogs, content marketing on YouTube can bring in new prospects at the top of the sales and marketing funnel.”
In a recent YouTube study, Golden found that using the word “you” or a synonym of it in the first five seconds of a YouTube video can increase organic views by 66 percent, as well as adding more likes and comments.
“This is because people want to know immediately why the product will help them, or they will leave and never return,” Golden says. “This is how video topics should be structured from the beginning, with solving a single viewer’s problem. If you solve their problem, you will earn their loyalty, which is greater than a sale.”
The YouTube Explosion Too Much of a Good Thing
YouTube has become a vast sea of content. One downside to this is that getting viewers to watch branded content has become more difficult. Evaluating the effectiveness of a YouTube campaign has becoming something of an art. The foundation for evaluating an ad strategy is in the metrics.
- YouTube provides useful analytics for determining a video’s effectiveness. The hard data from Google and YouTube Analytics will quantify which content is successful and point the way for making more strong content in the future.
- Another great analytical tool from YouTube is Brand Lift. This is a Google service that collects qualitative data for your videos. Brand Lift uses surveys along with focus studies to get information that cannot be found in hard data, including perception, intention to act (i.e. make a purchase), ad recall, and brand awareness.
Too much data, however, can be daunting. In the sea of metrics offered by YouTube, be sure to pay particular attention to audience retention when measuring impact. According to Golden, if the audience retention rate is below 50 percent, then either the ad targeting or the video content is wrong and should be adjusted.
Think Cutting-Edge; Think VR
The ways viewers watch videos has expanded, now including TV sets and mobile devices. Getting a jump on the future, YouTube is investing in creating a great virtual reality (VR) platform .
VR headset penetration is still low among consumers, but the area offers an exciting new way to reach the audience. Standing out with distinctive content can be difficult, but VR offers a fresh opportunity. An expert in the field, Lea Kozin, vice president of marketing and partner outreach at Holor Meda, believes:
- Health care, real estate, architecture, military (including space and deep sea exploration), and education are clear fits for VR content.
- Wherever the product or service is visual or experiential, or where the market skews younger, then VR makes sense. Industries such as entertainment, travel, automotive, beauty, fashion and consumer technology should all be thinking VR.
Creating VR video can be a challenge, but Kozin advises marketers to try it for the following reasons:
- VR delivers attributes some brands are after: it’s cutting-edge, trendsetting, young, hot, and more immersive than any other media.
- When consumed through a headset, VR is the only medium offering 100 percent of the viewer’s attention. For a brand competing with consumers’ split-screen viewing habits, that’s a very big deal.
- VR can produce solid marketing results in and of itself, as a one-off campaign, especially with regard to earned media.
VR is a new area for marketers, and it presents both opportunities and pitfalls. To get the best out of VR content creation, Kozin recommends the following;
- Be prepared to spend a good amount of money. VR technology is still evolving and, as such, is more expensive than established media.
- Think about what consumer actions the campaign is after, then tie that into the process every step of the way, from the creative development to the call-to-action, to the channel chosen for content distribution (which could include YouTube, Samsung VR, Facebook, or the brand’s own app or site).
- Plan different ways the VR campaign can be experienced or consumed. Think of this in levels, with the first level being in a headset, the second on a gyroscope-enabled mobile device (i.e. most current smartphones and tablets), and the third on a desktop browser. Are there different situations in which the viewer should experience each? The answer is probably yes, so think about optimizing differently for each. It might make more sense, for example, for the headset experience to contain interactive elements while the desktop experience remains passive, or to leverage the headset experience in a public setting (like a trade show) where reactions of viewers and onlookers can be amplified across social media.
- Tie the VR video into a larger campaign so that it has an extended shelf life and is a cohesive element in a larger message.
Content strategy that seeks to be relevant and fresh for its viewers will always be a step ahead of the rest. The audience is spoiled for choice, so earning their attention and keeping them interested requires a strategy that is always evolving.