The latest YouTube South Africa stats indicate that this phenomenally successful internet video platform now has an average of four million playbacks per day, and yet it remains a largely untapped vehicle for South African marketers. As an online social medium, YouTube enables brands to reach more people, more consistently, for a longer period (and at a fraction of the cost) than the traditional advertising model permits.
Social video acts as a low-risk way for consumers to get involved with a particular product or service, and for companies to interact with their customers. Audiences choose engaging content that entertains, informs, and offers a solution to consumer needs. Every time a viewer watches a given YouTube clip he/she is reminded of a particular brand, its promise and relevance to a specific culture. Unfortunately the majority of marketers are not taking full advantage of this ever-growing platform, because their online offerings are lacking in two crucial areas: sufficiently entertaining content, and content-creation skills.
The advice we give marketers is to think about audiences in exactly the same way a broadcaster would – in other words, to develop content based on consumer needs, as opposed to specific products”. It’s not about how many times you get to punt your product or services to your target audience, it’s about how you can improve and maintain the relationship of your brand with your target market.
In planning a YouTube strategy, marketers need to make the shift from “brand-centric” to “consumer-centric” content. Once you start considering what the audience wants to see and hear from you and your brand, you can start to develop an editorial positioning and video-content plan, incorporating especially-tailored features, just as broadcasters do.
Brands are transitioning from ‘interrupters’ to ‘entertainers’, thereby becoming a welcome and sought-after part of consumers’ daily lives. Instead of shouting out “Look at what we are doing/selling and how trendy we are!”savvy marketers are engaging directly with their target markets, by providing edgy, quirky YouTube entertainment that promotes the product more as a lifestyle choice than as a branded advertisement.
As a result, this content is willingly shared across social media platforms. In short, succeeding via ‘new media’ is all about consumer engagement! With potential customers actively seeking out and increasingly demanding more exciting video content, brands need to develop an ongoing, dedicated online media strategy and schedule, centred on compelling content that will appeal to the audiences the brand is looking to attract – which includes a knowledge of current trends and the type of content your market wants.
We produced a hip-hop series for MK channel on DStv and many times made use of Red Bull branded content in our shows. The content they create is so good and exclusive that bloggers and television producers scramble to incorporate it into their schedule. Red Bull gave it away for free, but benefit immensely by getting millions of dollars worth of media exposure for free.
To quote a comment from a recent YouTube audience survey, “For me something is share-worthy if it puts a smile on someone’s face, or it’s something that would be used to strike up conversation… It’s something you want to share with multiple people.”
Jerome Mouton is creative director at 34 South Media, a video content agency specialising in YouTube marketing.