Retailers using video to drive sales, direct-response sales and brand awareness continue to pick up on YouTube. Steve Arthur, head of industry for retail at Google, provides some tips for those who want to ramp up their brand channel for the holiday season.
"Search marketers have become more valuable," Arthur says. "At one time they were not seen as a major part of an organization, but now they are looked upon as some of the smartest marketers because they have become more strategic in thinking across media. They can use the same skills in other media. Search has an auction-media dynamic. Display and video also have an auction-media dynamic with similar required skill sets."
Arthur views YouTube as the digital shelf in a virtual store window where consumers can see the product without going into a physical store. He said 89% of retail purchases are influenced by digital. Some 1 billion unique monthly viewers watch about 4 billion hours of YouTube video content monthly, according to Google.
Google data also suggests that four in 10 consumers watching an online video about apparel will go to their physical store or visit the Web site.
Defining Goals: Arthur offers up advice for defining goals and creating engaging videos based on successful strategies from brands. The successful YouTube brand channels tend to have clear goals. Sometimes they offer engaging lifestyle tips from sites like Macy's or Rue La La, or adventure videos from North Face. Product-specific videos might offer information on feature differences, and how-to videos from sites like Sephora offer do-it-yourself (DIY) tips.
Creating Engagement: The production quality shouldn't be the No. 1 priority, although marketers should remember that quality projects a brand image. Make sure the quality appeals to the masses, but it doesn't require a production studio to shoot the clip.
Discoverability: Distribution is an important factor. How will consumers discover the video? Some retailers just push videos to the site and hope for the best. Successful retailers organize videos into playlists based on topics to help searchers find them. LL Bean does a good job, Arthur says -- although they offer outdoor videos, product-related, and a whole lot more. They're grouped together, so if the viewer likes one they are likely to want to watch more.
Marketing: Don't just upload videos and walk away, Arthur says. Promote it. Don't build a brand channel and hope the audience will come. It's as much of a social strategy as an ecommerce strategy.