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Only 74 of the top 5,000 YouTube channels are from brands.
This research comes from Touchstorm’s latest study, The Touchstorm Video Index, covering Q3 2013 and concentrating on the 'YouTube 5,000', an elite group of channels with at least 43m views each.
Of those 5,000 channels, only 2% are owned by brands. That means there are 4,926 teenagers with webcams, older people with camcorders, vloggers with flipcams, bedroom animators with smartphones and various other fashionistas, musicians, close-up magicians, action figure critics and amateur film-makers who are completely dominating the platform and squeezing out the big companies.
What can brands do about this? Is there any hope for them?
Here are some key findings from the report, along with our own insight, ideas for strategy and a look at the brands who are using YouTube successfully.
Some surprises from the index:
- Pepsi and Coca-Cola don’t appear in the top ten, however the much smaller Blendtec is number eight, primarily thanks to its ‘Will it Blend?’ series of videos.
- Make-up brands are absent from the index, whereas there’s an abundance of home-made beauty tip videos on YouTube.
- Samsung has five channels on the list, all from different product groups. This is more than any other brand on the list.
- The modeling agency Ford Models outranks car manufacturer Ford.
- The Mormon Church outranks Apple, Microsoft and IBM.
Everyone has an equal footing on YouTube. Every individual who uploads a video has theoretically the same tools available to them as anyone else.
Brands have a greater advantage than your average vlogger as they have more money to produce content, but after seven years of YouTube's existence, brands still can’t make a dent.
Should brands give up?
Let’s take a look at a recent KISSmetrics study analysing over 18,000 small to medium ecommerce sites and their relative social media channels:
With an average time of 3m49s spent on Youtube and 5.13 pages viewed per visit, YouTube outperforms Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter for user attention and retention.
According to the research ‘video should be seriously considered as a medium for growing brand awareness and for connecting with potential new customers'.
So how can brands improve their YouTube reach?
The co-founder of vidIQ, Robert Sandie, states
Not every brand thinks of YouTube as a social network… They think of it as a place to dump videos and hope engagement occurs. They need to be actively participating and commenting to get the full benefit.
Just like Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, it’s all about engagement. Not throwing money at an expensive production, uploading it, and letting it sit there in the assumption it will become a viral smash.
Some brands make the list with just one or two viral videos: 90% of the views that Turkish Airlines, Dove and Head & Shoulders Brazil have achieved have been from fewer than three videos.
Some made the list by producing regular content and achieving moderate, yet consistent, success: views for Red Bull, Toys “R” Us and Fender Guitars are broadly spread across their libraries evenly.
Further tips for strategy
Touchstorm suggests that companies like LEGO or Nike Football may have excellent content, but they are poor at converting subscribers, therefore failing to gain the maximum amount of velocity when uploading a new video and therefore not being discovered by YouTube’s velocity hungry algorithims. Converting subscribers via your videos is the key.
Don’t buy pre-roll ads
They are actively one of the most hated forms of advertising and they don’t work. Instead use unique tactics, that YouTube apparently prefers, like annotations and thumbnails within videos to drive users to subscribe.
It’s about making the right content and marketing that content right
Brands need to look at the users interacting with them in conversations underneath the videos and listen. If you’re videos aren’t hitting the viewing figures you expect, than this is the only way to gauge how audiences are reacting to your content.
The comments section has recently had a major update and this should make YouTube a friendlier place for brands to begin engaging with users.
Make content for your audience
First and foremost. Keep the brand message in the background, just concentrate on content that’s either entertaining, useful or unique.
Users who respond to your content will naturally gravitate to your brand in other channels and areas of commerce.
Treat YouTube as an engagement platform
Not as a broadcast one. All brands that succeed on Twitter do so with personalisation and character, try and carry this across to YouTube.
The most successful channels publish content regularly, in a rhythm
Once or twice a week, usually on the same days of the week. Videos are most cost-effective when produced in one batch, but don’t overwhelm your audience with a mass upload, time and stagger your uploads to gain maximum velocity.
Subscribers provide velocity
YouTube loves velocity. Get more subscribers. The more subscribers you have, the easier it is to market a video as it’s guaranteed to appear in their newsfeeds.
They’ll watch it, they'll share it and your video will end up in even more places. Your videos will pick up velocity and, as I said, YouTube loves velocity.
Top 10 brands
Here are the landing page for the top ten brands. Click on the images to be taken to their YouTube channels.
2: Red Bull
3: Marvel Entertainment
7: Old Spice
10: Evian (Evian Babies)
Further reading for beginners
During my first year at Econsultancy I’ve been making a point of writing beginner’s guides to any new terms or phrases I find particularly baffling, or that I might suspect other people may find baffling too.
The following related articles should help clear up a few things…