YouTube videos skyrocket, but marketing lags

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Almost all the top global brands have built strong video presences on YouTube, and the number of videos uploaded has skyrocketed. But most of those videos win paltry viewerships, and YouTube channels fail to reach their intended audiences because of poor marketing practices, according to video marketing company Pixability Inc. Pixability conducted a first-quarter analysis of the YouTube performance of the world's top 100 brands as identified by Interbrand. Among the findings: Many of these companies focus heavily on video production while paying scant attention to actually marketing their videos. Video publishing rates among the world's top brands have increased an average of 73% annually since 2009, with the number of videos now up to 258,000 across 1,378 YouTube channels. Yet 37% of the YouTube channels studied had not been updated in the previous 120 days, and a substantial proportion were completely inactive. The study also found that 50% of the videos received fewer than 1,000 views—a poor performance even given the fact that many of them were intended for narrow audiences. “YouTube is a powerful social platform and marketing tool,” said Rob Ciampa, VP-marketing at Pixability and co-author of “Top 100 Global Brands: Key Lessons for Success on YouTube.” “But people spend their whole budget on an over-produced video and dump it on YouTube with no marketing or optimization and expect magical things to happen.” Only about 1,300 of the 258,000 videos analyzed had garnered more than 1 million views, with far fewer achieving the much hyped “viral video” status. But most viral videos have minimal business impact, Ciampa said. “I would say the most important metrics now are a combination of watch time for videos and the number of subscribers for channels,” he said. “Remember: Subscribers receive notices when new content is staged and are more likely to socialize the video. Video can go a long way as long as you have an audience mentality and not just a view mentality.” Another weakness uncovered by Pixability's study is that many videos in the same industry niches use similar content strategies in terms of subject matter and length. This is an approach that Kryton International, a manufacturer of concrete water-proofing products, is trying to change. Kryton's YouTube channel features the usual array of customer testimonials. But also among its videos are how-to demonstrations; videos for Spanish- and Chinese-speaking audiences; and even careers interviews with a panel of “Women in Concrete” and shots of a recent employee group vacation. Especially innovative are its latest two offerings of cartoonlike animated stickmen discussing concrete-leakage challenges facing both new construction projects and existing buildings. “You can show actual photographic evidence and scientific research about concrete waterproofing, and watch the viewer's eyes glaze over,” said Rolf Skala, director-marketing for the Vancouver, British Columbia-based company. “With the stickmen videos, people tell us they've seen it and say, "That's me.' ” Kryton markets its YouTube channel via social media, in particular its “Concrete Thoughts” blog, Facebook and Twitter, as well as its newsletter. “Coordinating with our b-to-b customers to create video material is another way of strengthening relationships and getting the customers more emotionally invested,” Skala said. Among Pixability's recommendations for more effective YouTube marketing is to connect YouTube videos with other social channels—on average, the top YouTube brands had 330 times higher Facebook sharing and 89 times greater Twitter sharing than poor YouTube marketers had, according to the study. Also, top marketers vary videos by content and length, make sure to keep their channels fresh with new content, remove old videos that are no longer relevant or up-to-date, and regularly use targeted YouTube advertising.
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