The content landscape and opportunity
As video viewing moves to smaller screens, YouTube is propelling the growth of branded content. What is success in this evolving landscape?
Mapping the online and mobile video landscape
How people find and consume video content has shifted significantly in the decade YouTube’s been around. Audiences expect to be in control, and are more empowered as gatekeepers of their time and attention than ever before.
With the rise in prominence of the YouTube platform over last few years, it's important to recognize the rules for sucess have evolved. In fact, YouTube features and frameworks change quickly enough that there’s always something new to learn, even if you’re confident you know the platform well.
But it’s not changing alone: Cisco predicts online video will account for 72% of all internet use by 2019. The financial commitment to supporting branded content is predicted to double by 2019 as well, and budgets for mobile video ads will increase by 70%.
What’s really compelling about the landscape right now is the rapid uptick of video being consumed on mobile screens and devices. A huge segment of the population doesn’t own a TV or a computer — but they have wireless internet connections and smartphones. The rate at which mobile viewing is eating into desktop viewing is more rapid than the rate at which computer viewership outstripped TV.
81% of millennials own a smartphone, and 91% of those watch video content on their phones every day. If and when they watch TV, they’re doing something else at the same time 72% of the time. When they watch video on their phones, they’re undistracted and focused solely on what they’re watching 53% of the time. So, there’s about twice as much attention paid to mobile video than to video content viewed on other devices.
Viewers are firmly in charge of when and how they watch anything. But many do choose to consume paid and branded content: fewer than 30% of the YouTube audience hits the “skip” button on every ad, every time. That’s an opportunity, because people are 75% more likely to respond positively to ads that they choose to watch than the ads they’re forced to sit through.
US digital video ad spending (eMarketer.com)
- 2013: $3.82 billion
- 2015: $7.77 billion
- 2017: $11.25 billion (projected)
- 2019: $14.38 billion (projected)
See it in action
Mobile audiences engage differently with brandsHow do people respond to ads today? And does that differ when they encounter the same content on a smartphone? Mountain Dew recut an existing TV ad, then ran multiple versions of it on YouTube -- and received some surprising results from mobile audiences.
Put your messages where your audience is
The latest Nielsen study confirms that the number of daily hours spent watching TV has declined every single year since 2009; until 2009, that number had never gone down.
76% of millennials subscribe to company or brand channels on YouTube, and they’re 1.5 times more likely than Baby Boomers to compare products by seeking out videos when making purchase decisions.
But this isn’t just a young person phenomenon: eMarketer estimates that American adults, on average, consume 39 minutes of video on mobile devices daily.
Content that’s consumed differently needs to be crafted differently. Shifting focus from video on TV screens to video on computer and phone screens is more complicated than just uploading assets to a YouTube channel.
In addition to traditional creative, media, and production teams, this new landscape will demand new authorities and consultants: data analysts, social media strategists, and distribution experts, plus specialists with deep, specific knowledge of the YouTube space.
Given not only the size and enthusiasm of the YouTube audience, but more urgently, the vast quantity of actionable data that can be pulled from the platform — and from its parent company, Google — now is the time to start building a technical and data strategy to bring your message confidently into this shifting landscape. In fact, some of the biggest opportunities in this space will be technological.
What makes YouTube so special
YouTube leads in the online video space: our billion unique global users spend 6 billion hours watching YouTube each month, on hundreds of millions of devices.
What is it about YouTube that allows content creators to build massive followings tens of millions strong? What is it that so many viewers on the internet respond to? And can brands leverage this knowledge?
The most important thing to take away from YouTube creators is to actively listen to your audience, and to include viewers in creative decisionmaking.
The traditional broadcast model was one-way: companies transmitted messages that were passively watched. The YouTube audience is not passive. They will leave comments on your videos; they will pass great videos on to more viewers. Engaging with your target audience, in the same way that YouTube creators engage with theirs, is a key first step to success.
Your message is one of millions in the YouTube space, so it’s important to understand the whole, as well as where you fit.
Brands and advertisements are essential to YouTube, both to the company’s business model as well as to top creators (who earn most of their income from paid endorsement deals and brand partnerships).
Some brands choose to go a step beyond this, and to act as creators themselves.
The 20th century was notable for companies creating new genres of radio plays, and then television shows. In this century, brands have begun creating content that pulls viewers in, rather than pulling them away from what they intend to watch.
People engage more with — and purchase more from — brands that connect to their personal passions and interests. And YouTube is the best place to connect with a billion future customers if you’re willing to listen to what they want, and willing to learn how they want you to be relevant in their lives.
See it in action
Adidas transforms content into conversationAdidas prepared for the 2015 World Cup by producing YouTube-exclusive content, engaging with a global audience online, and being an always-on presence in a world where consumers’ devices are always on.