As a savvy marketer, you're always on the lookout for new ways to connect with your audience and grow your bottom line, so why not YouTube?
What's not to love about fan engagement and authenticity with native video marketing campaigns? It seems like the perfect solution.
Unfortunately, however, it's not as simple as slapping a video on YouTube and praying for popularity. YouTube users' diversity matches any marketing demographics', and they're even more discerning about what they'll watch. Each subset has unique characteristics and desires that you need to tap into to build an audience for your product.
Take Honda, for example. The car manufacturer created a stir this summer when it heavily slashed its TV spending in favor of a music-oriented YouTube channel called "Honda Stage." Executives were highly optimistic about the venture - which was supposed to serve as the linchpin of a wider branded entertainment web effort - but the campaign didn't deliver, garnering less than 50,000 views within 24 hours of its release.
YouTube isn't so much about the content as it is about the personalities and distribution. Indeed, it almost doesn't matter what video you upload - it will do infinitely better if you upload it to a channel with a lot of subscribers.
Honda went wrong by trying to elbow its way through the mass of YouTube creators, rather than hitching a ride with someone at the front of that crowd.
In other words, if you want to be successful on YouTube, don't pick up a camera.
Reap the Benefits of a Content Partnership
If you've paid attention to the shifting digital marketing environment, you already know that YouTube is worth your time. The platform's revenue grew 51 percent in 2013 and accounts for more than 6 billion hours of viewership per month.
What you might not know is how effective content partnerships can be in helping you make a human connection with those numbers. YouTube partnerships help you:
Produce authentic and enthusiastic branded content. At the end of the day, content creators control the YouTube platform and the media that's uploaded on it.
Viewers trust that YouTube influencers won't sign deals with brands that aren't accurate representations of their values. This creates a powerful level of authenticity and trust between the stars and their audience, which is extended to your brand.
Further your reach into desirable demographics. Taco Bell wasted no time in partnering with YouTube star FreddieW on a Fiery DLT commercial that gained more than 1 million views. The ad aired across ESPN, CBS, MTV, and more, and it showcased the tangential benefits of working with a YouTube star: access to a stellar social media network.
By partnering with one YouTube influencer, a brand like Taco Bell rides the wave of popularity into his large social media footprint. It also expands its reach into the star's desirable 18- to 35-year-old demographic, which makes up 30 percent of YouTube video views every month.
Increase engagement with native content. Kmart has also embraced YouTube video marketing, creating its own YouTube show "First Day," featuring popular Internet star Molly McAleer. The show, now in its second season, features outfits and costumes exclusively from Kmart. It costs a fraction of major network shows or network TV airtime and focuses on the most promising numbers out there: native ad space.
Over the past 15 years, display ad engagement has fallen from 9 percent to barely 2 percent. Compared to the 25 percent likelihood that a consumer will look at a native ad, it's clear which strategy provides the biggest advantage.
Partner With the Right YouTube Talent
There's always a caveat, isn't there?
Don't expect to see these benefits unless you take the time to identify and nurture a relationship with the right YouTube talent for your brand. Use these four tips to ensure that you connect with a partner who will deliver authentic content that aligns with your marketing goals:
1. Start the Planning Process With YouTube in Mind
It's the brands that reach out first that connect with the best and brightest rising stars. Plan your marketing process with YouTube in mind from the beginning.
2. Align Your Brand With the Right Content Verticals
Content verticals run YouTube, and audiences are driven to these verticals based on level of interest. To stay relevant, understand what type of content your audience is interested in, and identify the right YouTube star for that topic.
3. Make the Message Clear
The most effective campaigns are organized around a clear marketing message. The more focused your message is, the more likely your content creator can relay it effectively to the audience.
4. Don't Control - Collaborate
YouTubers devote a lot of time and energy to planning their videos to maximize engagement and audience retention. Rather than risk destroying that creative element, view work with YouTubers as collaboration - not outright ownership of the content and creative idea. By fostering a dynamic relationship with a content creator, you won't limit yourself to one-time partnerships or limited campaigns.
In any industry, the challenge presented by online marketing is turning prospective customers into enthusiastic brand fans on a tight budget. That's where the benefits of strategic YouTube content partnerships and native video marketing come into play. Get more engagement on a smarter budget by embracing YouTube content partnerships - and the reach that comes with them.