Retailers such as John Lewis, M&S and Sainsbury’s are launching high-profile Christmas campaigns on the site, while brands such as PepsiCo, Evian and Volvo Trucks are seeing huge engagement with their viral hits.
Marketing Week spoke to marketers from brands including the Post Office, Nestle and Asda to find out their views on the impact of YouTube, its challenges and what comes next.
Pete Markey, Post Office
“You Tube is a global phenomenon. It’s become the go to destination for so much content – from movie trailers to music videos, to cats falling off fences. Its become the battleground for brands to showcase their ads and even the making of their ads as well as more content to help them better connect with their customers.
“The numbers of views are staggering and no other platform comes close. It’s taken on and challenged more ‘traditional’ mediums with some audiences relying on it more than traditional channels like TV for their content.
“YouTube’s challenge as a platform is its commerciality and application. Is it essential to the marketing mix or just ‘nice to have’?”
Pete Markey, CMO, Post Office
“Its challenge as a platform is its commerciality and its application. Is it essential to the marketing mix or just ‘nice to have’? And can it truly work for all sectors? In short, it’s missing some hero case studies of how its use as a platform has generated strong ROI which makes it the essential part of the mix.
“Its other challenge is the part it plays in the channel mix – its still not seen as the real challenger of the likes of TV. The best examples I have seen are when YouTube works as a companion channel to others not as a standalone – this is a real challenge if YouTube want to take more spend away from traditional channels.”
Jonathan Earle, Telefonica
“Inside 10 years, there is more content uploaded to YouTube in 1 single week than has ever been broadcast by the combined TV stations in the world ever.
“If you aren’t on YouTube you need to be… More traditional media like TV may already not be as cost effective at driving reach and awareness.”
Jonathan Earle, head of customer strategy & development, Telefonica
“This trend will only continue and accentuate further – for marketing this means if you aren’t on YouTube you need to be, your customers and competitors are showing everything from ‘how to’ videos to reduce call centre costs to content that goes viral and gets more people talking about your brand (e.g. Justin Timberlake and Souza). More traditional media like TV may not already be as cost effective at driving reach and awareness.
“Going forwards, a combination of YouTube videos and augmented reality could pose a powerful cocktail for the marketer.”
Tom Malleschitz, Three UK
“YouTube has been, and will continue to be, an essential platform for us to use as a brand and for our campaigns. It’s perfect for creating emotional engagement by entertaining consumers and to encourage sharing silly stuff!
“YouTube has catapulted the importance of video and user generated content and enabled customers to become influencers, bloggers and advocates. It is a great communications tool that is a key ingredient to telling our brand story and a springboard for our growth. It’s had an exciting impact on us as a brand and users and we can’t wait to see how it develops during the next 10 years.”
Dom Birch, Asda
“As a brand we have struggled for about 5 years on YouTube hiding a load of not very exciting content there and I think lots of brands are struggling to find their way little bit.
“About 18 months ago, with YouTube influencers, we finally got our heads around how we can play there in a way that makes sense for Asda.
“We have a channel – Mums Eye View – where we showed how to cook an Easter nest cake and it got 150,000 views. Anna Saccone Joly and her husband are serial bloggers and they brought their audience across and promoted it and the reaction we got, the numbers that clicked the link, was unbelievable compared to Asda doing it on its own channel.
“For Red Bull, Pepsi, Nike, YouTube is more obvious because they have big brand-led activity, high budgets – it’s a great place to get viral reach for blockbuster content. For harder working marketing budgets, where you’re trying to shift baked beans, it can be harder for brands to find a way.
“The most exciting thing is the YouTubers – they have massive influence that spreads across Snapchat, Tumblr, Facebook. They are born off YouTube but are developing their own brands.
“We try to pick YouTubers whose audience overlap our customers and allow them to do what they do best with a fairly loose brief. We get editorial approval but we’re quite light touch. Over the next few years it will be interesting to see how that develops into a more credible and mainstream part of marketing – it’s still at the innovation side at the moment.
“YouTube isn’t displacing press, TV, radio but it has the opportunity to prove it has more value than other forms of media. We can see who is watching and remarket to them, we get an immediate sense of who likes it, leaves a comment – the engagement metrics and how shareable it is. What the pay off is for us.”
“Youtube has been a revolutionary platform as it has given consumers access to so much content with a link to their past (i.e TV shows, songs, cartoons). However we have also seen the platform become a ‘launch’ platform giving people at the grass root an opportunity to express themselves in a visual format leading to the creation of YouTube-based celebrities.
“These celebrities might never have become the stars they are today had it not been for YouTube. I think in the future there is a high likelihood we will see a shift as more content is premiered on YouTube as a ‘launch’ platform in addition to being a ‘catchup’ platform. With the culture I have seen personally working with them, I have no doubt that YouTube will continue to remain the strongest player within this market.”