YouTube: Partners get it. Why don’t brands?
If you haven’t been on YouTube recently, you completely missed a UX and design overhaul. The number two search engine made it much easier for the user to manage subscriptions and customize what appears on their home page when logging in. The user now has the option of selecting a handful of their “favorite” subscriptions to show up as shortcuts on their homepage. Mine include links to my favorite YouTubers: Philip De Franco, SeaNanners, TmarTn, Hockeyfightsdotcom and, of course, Machinima. These channels have prominent display on my homepage, meaning their videos appear higher up on my home page when I log in.
Did you notice how not one of those channels I mentioned above are owned by a brand? It seems to me the only brand that has ever successfully launched a YouTube campaign has been Old Spice when it utilized the tool to provide video responses to Twitter questions. This cross channel integration has not been matched since. The sad part is, this campaign is miniscule compared to what the top YouTube partners are doing on a daily basis.
SourceFed, a new project lead by one of the most successful YouTubers, Philip DeFranco, releases content daily. They utilize the new playlist feature to keep users engaged. Their newest video series, “20 Minutes or Less” involves uploading multiple videos throughout the day into a certain playlist. This drives users back to the channel to see when new content is uploaded. It also allows users to catch up on the day’s news in one fell swoop when they arrive home from work. Think of it as YouTube’s automated DVR.
The channel also utilizes interactive content. Their series, Curb Cash, allows users to play along with random members on the street in an game show. Viewers are given annotation choices after reach question. Pick the right answer and you are lead to the next question, pick the wrong answer and see a “behind the scenes fail”.
I strongly urge brands to look at the current content on YouTube. Search through the top performing channels and see what they are doing right. Utilize annotations to drive users to promotions, websites, social channels and more. Make sure that your videos are properly tagged and descriptions are given enough thought to include your entire brand’s digital presence.
It seems popular for brands to think of YouTube as simply an advertising channel. Why not think of it as a hub for original, creative content? These YouTube partners have it figured out as they have made YouTube their main source of income.