YouTube is such an integral part of the consumer buying process these days that it is rare to find a brand that doesn't have some sort of presence on the site, whether that's via their branded content, or because of user-generated review or informational videos. Potential customers are turning to YouTube in huge numbers to research future purchases in one vertical in particular, consumer electronics (CE). But which kind of content is appealing to viewers the most in that category, and how is YouTube changing the way we behave when it comes to research?
A brand new report from Pixability, "Consumer Electronics and YouTube: How YouTube is Changing Consumer Behavior and How the Best Brands Adapt,” confirms that CE content on YouTube accounts for 18.9 billion total views, and generated 483 million views per month in 2013. That's an increase of 100 million views per month from 2008, and it makes that category one of the most viewed.
Branded vs User-generated Consumer Electronic Video Content
Using data pulled from from over 900,000 YouTube videos using its own analytics software, Pixability analyzed the top 25 global consumer electronics (CE) brands on YouTube to ascertain how they are performing. It also analyzed over 100,000 independent CE content creators within seven key electronics categories:
- Phones and Tablets
- Television and Audio
- Headphones and Personal Audio
- Wearable Technology
- Smart Home Technology
The study found that, despite huge demand from viewers for information and advice about CE products, only 5 of the 25 major brands are really engaging with their YouTube audience in terms of subscriber numbers. Most big brands are still using the site to upload TV content. There appears to be a major disconnect between how consumers use YouTube in their product research and selection process, and how brands use the site to reach out to potential customers.
TV Mentality is STILL Highly Ineffective on YouTube
The study indicated that too many major brands are still using YouTube as a receptacle for TV content. Traditional TV adverts, which still make up 37% of the YouTube content published by CE brands, generate only 10% of views and miss the mark when it comes to engaging the viewer. In contrast, high-profile branded video content that features the product with a convincing narrative, with perhaps a sprinkling of celebrity, attracts 123x the views of the average CE video.
Consumer electronic led brands do own 23% of the 18.9 Billion CE-related video views on YouTube, and appear to be leveraging the platform more successfully than other industries. However, they are missing out on huge opportunities when it comes to creating the type of video content that really appeals to consumers, or from collaborating with independent content creators, or celebrities.
How Consumers Use YouTube as Part of the Buying Process
When it comes to the way users search for information on consumer electronics, YouTube and Google serve very different purposes. Potential buyers have often have a brand in mind when searching for bargains on Google, but will be more brand-agnostic when it comes to YouTube, which is used more for general research and discovery. Alongside the reviews , viewers are also consuming a variety of video content around CE such as:
- Hack videos which walk the viewer through through a particular device
- Spoof videos which parody branded videos
- Versus videos which compare different branded devices side by side
- Unboxing videos which show new products being removed from their packaging
- Destruction videos which show devices being smashed up (I know....)
Product Teaser Videos Beat all Other CE Content on YouTube
Branded product teasers videos, even though they make up only 12% of all CE videos uploaded to YouTube, are the most popular of all the CE categories, and attract the highest average numbers of views and engagement at 21%. Branded product videos also lead in terms of views before a product launches (obviously, as the public hasn't got its hands on it yet). But it's a different story post-launch as user-generated content in the form of reviews, unboxing etc. outperforms the branded content. In fact, the top 25 consumer electronic vlogging channels attract twice as many subscribers as the top 25 branded channels.
How Can Brands Benefit from YouTube?
The report confirms that viewers are hungry for engaging content, but brands needs to raise their game to meet that demand, or the views and attention will continue to flow towards user-generated content. Brands have much to learn about what works and what doesn't, and developing a convincing video marketing strategy now will pay dividends in the months and years to come.
The study highlights the example of the 'Beats by Dre' brand which uses celebrity musicians to promote its range of headphones. The company uses celebrity endorsements, with a range of stars from different fields, to appeal to a wider audience base as possible.
The strategy is working so well that 'Beats' is performing significantly better than its competitor Bose when it comes to YouTube metrics like subscribers, likes, views etc. The fact that Bose has disabled its comments and likes/dislikes features on YouTube hasn't helped of course as that strategy severely curtails its ability to interact with its fans.
Rob Ciampa, CMO of Pixability.
The data from the consumer electronics industry proves that YouTube has now reached the point where a one-size-fits-all video marketing strategy is not only ineffective, but a flawed way to engage consumers on a medium they covet.
You can download Pixability's report on Consumer Electronics and YouTube here. The Company also created a video around the study, which highlights the findings.