In a recent article I asked Why Aren’t More Brands Embedding Their YouTube Videos on Their Websites?, and my column prompted a vigorous number and healthy range of comments from video marketers. This indicates that even though I still don’t have all the answers, I’m beginning to ask the right questions.

I also hinted that there might be a couple of new ways for internet marketers and video content producers to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get back home by six o’clock. That’s because I’ve seen some more rewarding ways to embed YouTube videos and playlists into your website or blog.

Understanding the Role of Video in the Customer Sales Cycle

Video marketers in a wide variety of industries know the buying process has grown more complex. And understanding the different roles that YouTube channels and websites play in the customer journey to online purchase is the key to their continued success. YouTube channels tend to play an early and assisting role in the typical sale. In fact, websites are more likely to be the last interaction before a purchase.

Embedding YouTube videos and playlists into a website enables them to be discovered, watched, and shared by consumers and business buyers in both locations. At the beginning of the purchase path, a YouTube video helps customers gain awareness of your product or service. In the middle, it creates desire and boosts interest. And at the end, it helps to seal the deal.

However, these shifting roles mean video marketers might want to add different calls to action (CTA) to the same YouTube video or playlist in different places. On YouTube, you might want to ask viewers to like or share your video, add comments, watch more of your videos, or subscribe to your YouTube channel. If you promote your content with paid media, you might ask prospects to click on the links in your video’s description, associated website annotations, or call-to-action overlay to visit your website. On your website, you might ask customers to sign up for your newsletter, fill out a form to receive more information, or purchase your product.

Why Guide Potential Customers Away From Your Website?

Nevertheless, why would you ever invite your hard-won visitors to leave your website to go to YouTube by adding a link, or icon, to go there? This is not to suggest that YouTube isn’t a fine place to serve or store videos. And there are plenty of benefits to having a strong presence on YouTube (e.g., creating brand awareness, increasing customer engagement, and generating website traffic). But, if you already have a visitor on your site, why point him or her to the exit – especially when YouTube has no qualms about promoting your direct competitors in related videos or related channels?

And even though embedding YouTube videos and playlists on your website makes more sense than “going commando” (i.e., having no videos on a web page), they rarely complement your branding or promote the user experience of your website without a lot of work.  And, merely embedding YouTube videos and playlists on your website doesn’t provide deep links to valuable customer activity on your website, such as purchases, sign-ups, and form submissions – nor does it offer analytics at the viewer- and session-level, which is the key to modern marketing automation.

Brands Who Get Video Embedding Right: GoPro

So, what should you do? Well, a few websites have started to brand-wrap their YouTube videos with other players. For example, check out the GoPro Channel – the one on its website, not the one on YouTube. GoPro, one of the biggest YouTube success stories ever has invested in a custom playlist and player that blends with the rest of their site – fronting YouTube, and occasionally Vimeo videos, mostly created by users of their products.

gopro channel video embeds

How is wrapping their YouTube videos in another player working for them? Well, according to Compete PRO, this strategy seems to have helped GoPro’s website, which got 1,322,667 unique visitors in February 2015, a 188.8% increase over February 2014.

GoPro Compete PRO

And, this strategy of embedding YouTube videos on its website hasn’t appeared to hurt GoPro’s YouTube channel. Google reports more than 3.9 years of content was uploaded to YouTube in 2014 with GoPro in the title, 40% above of the 2.8 years posted in 2013.

For the full year 2014, videos published on GoPro’s YouTube Channel were up 71%, views were up 84%, and video minutes watched were up more than 140% year-over-year. And according to Tubular Intelligence, GoPro’s YouTube Channel got 747.9 million views and added 2.8 million subscribers in the past 90 days.

GoPro Tubular Intelligence

It’s also worth noting that GoPro, Inc. recently announced financial results for its fourth quarter and full year, which ended December 31, 2014. The company’s revenue for the fourth quarter of 2014 was $633.9 million, compared to $361.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2013. GoPro’s revenue for all of 2014 was $1,394.2 million, compared to $985.7 million in 2013

Brands Who Get Video Embedding Right: ULTA Beauty

Now, look at the #ULTAHAUL Videos page on ULTA Beauty’s website.

ULTA haul videos

ULTA Beauty, a Fortune 1000 Cosmetics retailer, uses Vinja Video to synchronously connect product ordering pages with YouTube videos created by YouTube beauty personalities and vloggers who make “haul videos” that share their recent ULTA purchases with their social network.

But ULTA took haul videos to another level by using Vinja’s cloud-based software to segment the videos into product-oriented “chapters” with synchronized links to product purchase pages that let viewers continue to watch the videos while they browse the product page.

Screen-Shot-2014-11-04-at-10.12.45-AM

Once again, this strategy seems to be working. According to Compete PRO, ULTA Beauty’s website got 2,401,177 unique visitors in February 2015, a 56.7% increase over February 2014.

ULTA Compete PRO

And, according to Tubular Intelligence, this strategy hasn’t appeared to hurt ULTA Beauty’s YouTube channel, which got 2.7M views and added 11K subscribers in the past 90 days.

ULTA Tubular Intelligence

And it doesn’t seem to have slowed down the YouTube beauty personalities and vloggers, who made 79K “haul videos”, which got 314.7M views in the last 365 days.

It’s also worth noting that ULTA Beauty has just announced financial results, and for Q4 2014 net sales increased 20.7% to $1,047.6 million from $868.1 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2013. For the Fiscal Year 2014, net sales increased 21.4% to $3,241.4 million from $2,670.6 million in fiscal 2013.

So, there are a couple of rewarding ways to embed YouTube videos and playlists into your website or blog that complements your branding, related content, and calls to action. And they offer internet marketers and video content producers some simple and affordable new ways to avoid the pitfalls, seize the opportunities, and get back home by six o’clock.

I should disclose that Vinja Video is a client. But I hope that you still find these strategic insights and critical data to be relevant and useful. Let me know what you think in the comments area below.