Brands, Listen Up!
Modern day society is living in the digital era. So much so, every minute, 323 days’ worth of YouTube videos are viewed on Facebook, (Entrepreneur). Today, the sheer volume of content consumed alone is staggering, and trumps that of television ad content consumption.
Not only is YouTube the video content provider that has piqued the most interest in recent years, the brand comes out head and shoulders above competitors with its reach and popularity amongst all age groups - especially millennials. With this in mind, how can brands capitalize on the growing success of YouTube videos?
YouTube Is The Digital Video Distribution Channel Marketers Cannot Afford To Ignore
YouTube is currently receiving more than 1 billion unique monthly viewers – meaning that it is one of the biggest distribution channels in the world. This widespread reach has paved the way to a new form of celebrity; ‘The YouTube Star’. The YouTube Star has become such a hot commodity for brand marketers in the digital marketing sphere, they’re now considered to have more power than a mainstream celebrity.
A brand endorsement from YouTube influencers can carry so much clout, that their ‘real’ testimonials make more impact than that of most famous celebrity talent. A recent study carried out by Variety found that: “YouTube stars scored significantly higher than traditional celebrities across a range of characteristics considered to have the highest correlation to influencing purchases among teens. YouTubers were judged to be more engaging, extraordinary and relatable than mainstream stars.” (Susanne Ault, Variety).
Why Does The YouTube Star’s Approach Trump The Hollywood A-List Approach?
YouTube stars not only create their own digital content surrounding the product, but they are also thought to be a lot more brutally honest in their reviews. They also have a tendency to treat their social following more like family members than fans. In return, the YouTube star’s social following engages in an online two-way conversation with the star and brand identity develops. This in turn ramps up a brand's social media marketing, and brand awareness in the digital world.
The YouTube product placement power is also successful due to the flexibility of the online campaigns that can be created. Traditional A-List celebrity endorsements can often be regimented and controlled by the brand and talent agent – and fans can detect the lack of authenticity in the product endorsement. This isn’t a problem that is encountered often with the YouTube celebrity due to the pre-established nature of the relationship between personality and fan following.
YouTube creators are also just that – creators. They are used to creating content that engages, and much more open and willing to creatively work with a brand. Celebrities on the other hand are used to just passing on a message, and are only now really starting to explore ways to create content of their own.
It really comes down to whether a brand wants content to be created and spread, or if a brand wants to create content and have a famous name attached, doing the spreading – with a fee per post.
YouTube videos have the power to drive the conversation – and this results in sales! Traditional mass media advertising buys have a tendency to be viewed as a branding exercise, (thus seen by the audience as being less authentic). YouTube’s influencer marketing can easily be tied back to the conversation, and result in a push of sales. The YouTube platform lends itself to measuring audience feedback. Followers can comment on the videos and products, and provide feedback as to whether or not they would be willing to make a purchase. This provides feedback to the brand that can be analyzed qualitatively and interpreted as data that indicates the success of a product.
Hollywood’s Talent Agencies Are Paying Close Attention
The spike in the popularity of YouTube stars has not gone unnoticed by Hollywood’s Talent agents. Agents are bucking the trend and signing up YouTube stars in effort to gain and stay part of the rising trend and demand by marketers. The most recent news came in April 2015, with the talent agency CAA signing a deal with the YouTube star, Jenna Mourey, (Jenna Marbles). Mourey’s comedic YouTube videos have generated more than 1.7 billion views to date, and the star has about 15 million subscribers on her YouTube channel.
According to press releases, CAA plans to work with Mourey to create opportunities across all areas, including digital distribution, film, TV, distribution partnerships, personal appearances and publishing. Prior to her signing to CAA, Mourey had hosted a weekly show on SiriusXM, under a deal between YouTube and the satellite radio service.
Where Do You Go From Here?
The first step is to determine your budget as well as end goal. Is there a specific reach desired? How much creative control will be given to the social media influencer? Are there extensions through social media that would help the campaign? The traditional form of advertising is becoming stagnant and stale… Brands are recognizing how beneficial it is to utilize YouTube as a form of marketing. The organic and authentic nature of the YouTube star’s review is a major selling point for followers – thus turning followers into potential customers!
Maynards Sour Patch Kids is a brand who have already run a campaign utilizing the YouTube celebrity. Read more about the Sour Patch Kids' digital branded content campaign here.
Are you interested in learning how to successfully partner celebrities to your brand - without spending a million? Watch this short webinar to learn Hollywood insider tricks to create and kickstart an entertainment marketing campaign that is the perfect extension for your social media program.