What You Can Learn From The Young YouTube Networks

Back in the late summer, BusinessWeek’s Felix Galette took a closer look at the hit-factory that YouTube has been creating and why old-guard media are lining up to take ownership. His take was focused on how these snack-sized content networks that have been growing for more than a few years are gaining legitimacy in the media community. In fact, the media industry frenzy around this new generation of digital entertainment and content has led to a flurry of attention to the market. 

They’re giving a fresh face to content, a closer look at the changing consumption habits of the American media diet. So, what can other marketers learn from this steady rise of consumer engagement?

Respond to the changing Americans media diet

I’m sure by now you’ve adjusted your brand strategy to embrace the new media consumption patterns that align with the reality TV addictions, snack-size content and new influencers. But its more about adding a hashtag and creating an experience that will hopefully emerge as the next Facebook viral video. It’s about carefully architecting your network effect to help evolve your brand experience to the changing landscape. 



Design your content plan and brand initiatives for today’s iterative culture

These new and evolving networks are digitally baked and responsive to immediate feedback. They can shift programming, create new offerings based on the feedback in a matter of weeks. It truly is a moneyball effect in content. Take a page. Have you adjusted your teams and resources to think about the data and the potential response? The critical thinking, as always, will be in the details. Have you considered having a response team to be able to take these learnings and bring it to market to help extend your brand? Do you have a process in place to quickly assess ROI so that too can be adjusted?

There is a network effect

It is about engagement. It is the start of a personal relationship expected to grow deeper and endure over time. It requires listening, nurturing and care and feeding. It comes with expectations of intimacy and trust. The engagement that marketers seek is not so different. Cross-stream insights and promotions are not a new phenomenon, but taking this to a network effect to show value and take fans on a journey is a growing effort. To keep viewers engaged, it is necessary to listen to your viewers and react to their needs. What are their comments reading and have you made changes or responses to each individual?

Content was king but content monetization is its evolution

Content has frequently been king and that pendulum always swings wildly as tastes and markets change, but I think we might have a new apex forming. It is not only that content is once again king, but monetizing that content is the next level that brands are ascending toward. If you look closely at where these young networks are ascending they are iterating their content to extend that experience into products. It’s not that they’re endorsing colas or recommending night creams, but there is a movement of these new generation of stars taking their expertise and packaging it beyond the initial brand. E-books and videos are the first wave we’re seeing from these YouTube stars and that is starting to bubble up into other forms of entertainment properties. Take YouTube star, Michelle Phan. Michelle took a series of makeup tutorial videos and with her success, has now launched her own L’Oreal makeup line, an e-commerce beauty startup called Ipsy and a new book. The products build upon the initial viewer experience and take it beyond the YouTube screen. 

As with any evolving media, there are always lessons to be learned. I think these YouTube networks will look very different under their new corporate brands but the consumers desire for these evolving content will keep this evolution happening. Now it is our charge to keep iterating.

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