YouTube: From Monkey Business to Big Business

YouTube Then

The popular video platform we know as YouTube, was created in 2005 by three former PayPal employees and purchased by Google in October of 2006 for $1.65 billion in stock. Before Google purchased it, YouTube saw huge growth during the summer of 2006 with more than 65,000 videos uploaded daily and viewers “watching more than 100 million video views per day” by July, as it was explained in a USA Today article.

Create, View, and Share

YouTube made videos so much easier to create, view, and share online. Any nobody could make a name for themselves just by creating a viral video about something hilarious, inspirational, or unbelievable. Musicians could be discovered in new ways, without going the traditional route of moving to Hollywood and having a go at it the “hard way”. Does the name Justin Beiber ring a bell? That little twerp was discovered in 2008, when he was just fourteen years old! He recorded tons of at-home videos as well as videos of himself performing in singing contests. Sure, you have to have some talent to get recognized as a musician, but YouTube provides the environment for virality.

Limitation

When it was first created, there were limits on what users could post. They couldn’t post “clips bigger than 100 megabytes — about 30 seconds of camcorder footage or 10 minutes of video from a digital camera.”

Solution

In a 2008 New York Times article, it was announced that MGM would be partnering with YouTube to create full-length films and TV shows in the hopes of competing with Hulu and to adopt a bigger view of the monetary potential in working with media companies.

YouTube Now

YouTube turned eight in May of this year. According to the official YouTube blog, “more than 100 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute” and “every month, more than 1 billion people come to YouTube”. YouTube is more than just a place for individuals to create videos for and about themselves. It’s a different monster all together.

YouTube for Business

YouTube can be part of any Integrated Marketing Communication campaign. It provides a perfect platform for not only creating great content but one in which it is extremely easy to share across all social channels, within companies websites and blogs, and can be viewed on pretty much any device with an Internet or WIFI connection. We are already beginning to see a change in the technology of televisions, with the ability to stream content from the Internet. Options provided by players like YouTube, Netflix, and Hulu will no doubt challenge conventional satellite and cable programming and bring a new competition to the offerings and pricing structure.

Channels

If a brand is able to create a video that attracts their audience, they have a good chance of holding their attention if they’ve created their own YouTube channel, where they can display all of their relevant videos. It makes it easier for their audience to find what they seek without having to weed through hundreds or thousands of other videos. By creating a YouTube channel, you have the ability “to comment, save videos to playlists, and more. Without a channel, you can only subscribe and like or dislike videos.” YouTube has put a lot of focus and resources into their new website redesign to highlight their channels, and they are “in the process of launching around 100 channels curated by celebrities and other well-known content providers. The firm is investing tens of millions of dollars into the project.”

YouTube Paid Advertising

If a brand wants to target their advertising by specific locations, keywords, tags, or demographics, YouTube has a solution. Because YouTube is part of Google, it can take advantage of their AdWords program. A brand wishing to do so just has to connect their YouTube account with their AdWords account (or create a new one if they don’t already have an account). AdWords works the same with video as with pay-per-click links in Google searches. You are only charged if your video ad is watched. You can choose for your ads to appear in locations as broad as countries or as specific as zip codes or IP addresses. You have the ability to show up across all devices, which is important when you consider that “25% of all YouTube views happen from a mobile device.”

A Powerhouse

When YouTube was purchased in 2006, there was already speculation that “the combination of Google and YouTube could further strengthen Google’s dominance in online advertising”. When a brand chooses to reach out to their audience through video, YouTube wants them to be successful. That’s why they created the Creator Playbook to offer “important tips, best practices, and strategies to help you build your audience”.

One of the most impressive resources YouTube has to offer is found in their “Spaces“. They have physical production facilities located in Los Angeles, London, and Tokyo, chock full of information and equipment.

Branding

YouTube is a wonderful place to let your brand personality shine. There are limitless possibilities to paint a clear picture of who you are, why you are in business and what you have to offer your audience. Some brands have a presence on YouTube to offer how-to or product instructional videos. Others wish to inspire. Many brands benefit from audience participation when their customers post videos of their products in use. By using hashtags to allow their audience to join the conversation, they are able to drive more traffic. Whether a brand wishes to pay for advertising or create content to publish only on their channel, their main concern should be to create the type of content that will attract their audience and draw them in for further engagement.

Jonathan Mildenhall, VP Global Advertising Strategy and Creative Excellence for Coca Cola says,

“All advertisers need a lot more content so that they can keep the engagement with consumers fresh and relevant, because of the 24/7 connectivity. If you’re going to be successful around the world, you have to have fat and fertile ideas at the core.”

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