Big Brands Lag on YouTube

Advertisers have long recognized the value of video, with its combination of sight, sound and motion, and they are eagerly embracing social media sites like Facebook and Pinterest -- but curiously when it comes to YouTube, where social and video intersect, big brands have lagged behind.

That’s according to a new report from Touchstorm (“The Touchstorm Video Index: Top Brands Edition”) which analyzed YouTube’s most-viewed channels and found that just 74 out of the top 5,000, meaning channels with over 43 million views, belonged to brands; the rest belonged to other publishers, including YouTube personalities, celebrities, TV networks, and of course YouTube users.

Asked why brands don’t have a larger presence on YouTube, Alison Provost, CEO of Touchstorm, said they’re failing at two basic tasks: creating content suitable for YouTube and marketing that content correctly. In the area of content creation, “Ironically that means not over-thinking it. They shouldn’t be looking at some miraculous content strategy that is overarching and takes agencies a year and a half to develop.” Rather, brands should take their cues from other publishers in their category and join the dialogue: “For example it’s not talking about your diaper brand on YouTube, it’s engaging in the conversation about pregnancy and parenting.”

Provost went on: “Watch any good brand. With Kraft for example, it’s an expert coming to you from the Kraft kitchens with recipes and tips. Then they publish a list of ingredients, but it’s not necessary for Kraft to tell you ‘we’re the cheesiest.’” Summing up an effective content strategy, Provost said: “It’s not your job to persuade through this medium -- it’s to be there, and then you accrue loyalty by being there and being helpful.”

When it comes to marketing their content on YouTube, the easiest way for brands to build their distribution network -- as for any other video publisher -- is to get viewers to become subscribers. According to Provost, partly this means paying attention to details like “choosing your thumbnails, which are like the packaging on the shelf.” But the most important thing is to “act like the successful YouTube producers,” which means publishing frequently and regularly: “You don’t advertise that you have new products coming out, you advertise that you have new content coming out every week. Then ask people to subscribe, put the subscribe button up the entire time.”

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