Launched in 2005, YouTube has evolved from a simple clip site into a social-media powerhouse in just under a decade. And wherever billions of users congregate, you can bet your bottom dollar marketers aren’t far behind. We know that the big boys are now leveraging YouTube’s popularity to maximize brand engagement. Nike, for example, has had many wildly successful YouTube campaigns.
What should be of greater interest to today’s marketers, however, is how heretofore unknown brands utilized the social-media clip site to disseminate their message and gain a foothold in the public consciousness. Savvy marketing companies have kept an eye on this trend for a while; but for those new to the party here are four shining examples of YouTube marketing success.
4 Brands Who Gained Success via YouTube Marketing
GoPro: Let’s kick things off with one of the biggest Cinderella stories in YouTube advertising history. Nowadays everyone has heard of GoPro, and there’s a good reason these ubiquitous wearable cameras are on folks’ radars: because the brand inserted itself in the conversation. What’s more, the company didn’t even do the heavy lifting; in 2013 thousands of their customers uploaded over two years worth of YouTube content all featuring “GoPro” in the title. This led to the creation of the GoPro Network, media channels that focus on programming across a variety of platforms.
By 2014 the company boasted 7.2 million “likes” on Facebook, 2 million followers on Instagram, and 950,000 Twitter followers. But the major coup was claiming 450 million YouTube video views as well as 1.8 million subscribers. This strategy helped increase company revenue from $234.2 million in 2012 to $985.7 million by the end of 2013. That’s over a 200% increase in sales in just three years. And never forget that it was all possible because, while other companies were struggling to figure out how to make e-commerce work for their product, GoPro was turning its product into their very own media company.
Modcloth: The vintage-clothing industry has a lot going for it. Not only does it generate billions of dollars a year, but it boasts being good for the planet, too. But how does one vintage operation distinguish themselves from the robust competition? San Francisco-based online store Modcloth found a way—by turning customers into brand ambassadors via YouTube. Owners Susan Gregg Koger and Eric Kroger created their YouTube channel in 2008, offering up fashion lessons and contests that engage their viewers. Since then they have been promoting their original videos through TrueView video ads, which has resulted in a click-through rate of 18% and the capture of the coveted 18-34 female demographic.
LSTN Headphones: Not everything in digital marketing needs to be a shameless cash grab. There are those companies looking to smash revenue projections as well as give back to the community. LSTN is one such brand, and they earn a spot on this list for being equal parts savvy business folk and earnest do-gooders.
Interestingly enough, it was YouTube videos that inspired the team behind LSTN to start their business in the first place. Since then they have used the outlet as a microphone to promote not only their product, but the positive effect it can have on people throughout the world. Watch LSTN’s video and you see a celebration of humanistic commercialism. Note how their brand message—for every pair of headphones we sell, we help restore hearing to a person in need…—is featured throughout. This altruism effectively boosts consumer engagement while simultaneously branding LSTN as a company with a conscience—one of the cornerstones of marketing to millennials.
Rokenbok Toys: On its surface, Rokenbok is a simple toy company that makes building blocks. Look deeper and you’ll see a group of savvy tech experts designing engaging, educational toys for children. But when specialty brick-and-mortar toy stores began closing, Rokenbok needed another way to demonstrate their products. They decided to go digital and turned to YouTube, creating an in-house studio and shooting videos on a three-day turnaround. They uploaded this content—mostly demonstration videos—to their YouTube channel, and it appealed to a targeted audience. Just how appealing was this gambit? Now the company generates 50% of its customers through the social media channel and, according to Rokenbok owner Paul Eichen, YouTube has “set the direction for our marketing communications for the foreseeable future.
What the above examples serve to illustrate isn’t merely that YouTube should be a cornerstone of any modern digital marketing strategy. That’s hardly new news. These brands are a showcase for the potential inherent in the platform. Those who harness YouTube’s power correctly have the opportunity to capture lightning in a bottle and increase brand engagement at geometric rates. Those who do will find that their reach never exceeds their grasp.
5 Ways Video Marketing is Primed to Explode in 2016
When marketers look back on 2015, they’ll likely remember it as the year content marketing went visual. Sure, there have been display ads and video clips for as long as there’s been an Internet, but it wasn’t until last year that video marketing shook the ad industry to its core. That’s because 2015 saw online video rise to account for 50% of all mobile traffic. It was also the year YouTube posted the awe-inspiring figure of 40 billion all-time views for branded content. That means video marketing has gone from a trend to a bona fide phenomenon, one that will set the pace for the foreseeable future. Now we look ahead, and learn how video marketing will continue the momentum and fulfill its potential in 2016 and beyond.
#1 More focus on branded video
It doesn’t take the Amazing Kreskin to predict that branded video is a trend that will continue to skyrocket. Interestingly, YouTube and YouTube alone is responsible for this vital marketing tactic. That’s because the other half of the statistic mentioned above says that half of those 40 billion all-time YouTube video views occurred in 2015 alone. That’s 20 billion views of branded content in a 12-month space of time. Expect small businesses to follow the lead of the big brands and focus the brunt of their marketing efforts on creating content for their own YouTube channels.
Also, don’t forget that during the last year we’ve seen the rise of vloggers and other regular folks who promote products via YouTube Channels. They’ve now supplanted even celebrities when it comes to direct influence over a target audience—hence the name “influencers.”
#2 More videos and animations on home pages and product pages
This may seem like a regressive trend to some. After all, it was only in the mid-oughts that webpages with convoluted Flash intros proved a failure, and any business worth its salt focused on clean, static websites with easy-to-read text. But that was before HTML5. Now there are quicker page-load times (or none at all), and browser windows can pop up featuring lush background video and/or animation without interrupting the user experience. This would be an easy trend to be skeptical of if there weren’t so many successful examples out there.
#3 The rise of guided selling
As mentioned above, expect brands to incorporate more videos on product pages. This is a form of guided selling, which can be particularly useful to those business segments that manufacture complex products. Interactive product finders, mobile apps, and video tutorials are already prevalent in e-commerce and retail, and some of the biggest brands are utilizing these solutions to reap big gains. The benefits of these tools come in the form of educating the customer, as well as opening a direct line of communication with them at every point on the purchase path. Expect to see more of this now and well into the future.
#4 Bite-sized video content
By 2015 the typical attention span of a person living in today’s digital world was 8.25 seconds. That doesn’t leave marketers with a lot of room to make an impact. Enter GIFs. Once thought to be a low form of visual marketing, they are now coming back in a big way thanks to their ability to make a huge visual impact in a short time. People share them on Twitter; folks post them on Facebook. GIFs and cinemagraphs are ideal for social-media and email marketing, which is exactly where you’ll see them in 2016. Also, don’t be surprised if the six-second video-clip site Vine becomes even more popular—so much so that influencers eventually take over the Vine sphere the same way they’ve done with YouTube.
#5 Up Periscope
Whenever a marketing juggernaut like YouTube appears, some folks stare in awe while others look farther down the horizon for the next trend. At the moment, at least as far as digital-video marketing is concerned, that trend is Periscope. There are certainly plenty of other live-streaming apps out there, but Periscope can boast one thing these others can’t: everyone is using it. This isn’t lost on brands, as many heavyweights, like Red Bull, Spotify and General Electric, are honing their targeted messages with the help of Periscope.
In the end, marketers shouldn’t make the mistake of going all in with whatever new social-media video platform presents itself. YouTube will dominate the digital marketing realm for some time; Periscope will continue to be a major player; Vine will have carve out its own niche. Those brands that develop a comprehensive strategy among each platform are the ones who will see the most success.