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YouTube: brands should act more like vloggers to reach viewers

Susan Agliata

Susan Agliata

Brands should think and act more like native YouTubers in order to engage a new generation of audience and consumer, according to YouTube executive Susan Agliata.

Speaking at MIPTV yesterday, Agliata, YouTube’s head of branded content solutions, said that brands must create content that is dicoverable, relevant, authentic and consistent – producing videos that “your audience wants to watch, not what you want them to watch”.

With 400 hours of content uploaded to YouTube per minute, brands must find a “sweet spot” between what they want to communicate, their brand equity and the ‘passion points’ of their target audience, she said.

“At the core of your creative strategy, you should strive for really three things – to entertain, to educate and inspire your audience. Despite technology, the very human need for personal and emotional connection and the pursuit of knowledge has not changed and storytelling is more important than ever in a digital world.”

Agliata described a simple framework for brand communication, dubbed ‘hero, hub and help’. Hero content is a typical “big campaign moment” designed for mass reach and impact; hub is “consistent programming”, or episodic entertainment series viewers will subscribe to; while help provides a utility and educates – for instance with how-to videos, unboxings or tutorials.

“The hero, hub, help framework is flexible – not absolute. It’s actually an age-old print model translated to digital, it’s nothing new. No matter what the subject, over the course of a year there should be different types of content that all serve different purposes, achieve different business goals and are measured in very different ways,” said Agliata.

“No matter what kind of content you are producing, consistency is crucial. YouTube is not a broadcast channel. It’s a conversation. Unfortunately most brands upload too little content or don’t follow a regular programming schedule.

“On the other hand, native creators understand the importance of keeping their fans happy. They work incredibly hard to produce their content and promote that content on a regular schedule. This is critical to building an audience over time.”

Outlining some site stats, she said that 50% of video views are now on mobile devices and that 34% of those mobile device views are outside the home. The average viewing viewing session on mobile is also 40 minutes.

“For brands we see that viewers are twice as likely than TV viewers to feel a personal connection from brands that they see video content from. The small screen rules and all content must be liquid – working seamlessly across all devices,” said Agliata.

Joining her on stage at MIPTV, Denis Crushell, vice-president, Europe for video intelligence company Tubular Labs gave some further insights. He said that in the past 30 days 7 million content creators had uploaded videos to YouTube. These creators upload 29 million new videos every month, generating 50 billion views.

“YouTube is now 10 years old and the amount of data there to analyse and understand what’s working is massive. Unlike TV, it’s even better on post-event TV ratings – there’s no delayed reporting. This information is available in real time,” said Crushell.