By Amanda Garrity
If you check the Internet on a Millennial’s computer, it is likely that YouTube is bookmarked. If not, it will certainly be one of their most-visited websites. YouTube provides endless hours of entertainment to Millennials, creating prime advertising opportunities to reach this key demographic.
Recently, it was announced that YouTube beat out traditional media by reaching more 18-49 year olds than any U.S. cable network. With subscriptions on brand channels rising 47 percent in the last year, viewers are clearly paying attention to what brands have to say via YouTube. Brands looking to reach a younger audience should take advantage of this video-sharing site to showcase their creativity, strengthen customer relationships and increase mass appeal.
Combine Heart and Mind to Go Viral
According to a study by Pixability, every 18.5 minutes a branded YouTube is posted to the site. While it is still widely known for tutorials and prank fails, YouTube is inundated with videos by brands trying to capture global audiences. Because of this heavy concentration, not every video will be a viral success story.
Feminine hygiene brand Always has only posted 21 videos in its short YouTube life. However, its video “#LikeAGirl” has more than 58 million views thanks to shares on Facebook and Twitter. This viral video was both timely and relevant—a double-edged sword in the world of public relations. After a soft launch in summer 2014, #LikeAGirl was re-released during the Super Bowl, which helped this video gain traction and subsequently, go viral. However, it was the video’s inspiring content that made it worth sharing. Videos that appeal to both the heart and mind have the staying power to go viral; Always is a prime example of that.
Take your Pick: 3 Ways to Advertise
Before a brand embarks on the tricky world of YouTube advertising, it must understand the key differences between the three main types of advertising. All three forms will benefit a brand, but some will make more of a statement than others. Let’s break it down by type:
- In-stream advertising grabs the attention of the viewer by placing a short ad before the selected video. Unless it’s a non-skippable ad, the viewer has the option to skip the ad after the first five seconds. Brands have creative freedom with this type of advertising and should use this to grab the attention of the viewer from the very start. This could benefit clothing, cosmetic and food/ beverage brands that are dependent on moving visuals or brands looking to show their personality like Kmart’s “Ship My Pants.”
- In-display ads are featured on the sidebar near the selected video. Thanks to the craze of native advertising, these videos are often hidden among a slew of other videos increasing the likelihood that viewers will click on these advertisements. Brands hoping to promote existing video content, drive traffic to their website or generate awareness of a product line should use in-display advertising.
- In-search advertisements are the least intrusive. When a user searches a topic area, an advertisement in that category will pop up at the top of the page with a yellow tab marked “Ad.” All brands should use specific brand search terms that fit their particular need. For example, an apparel brand hoping to showcase the versatility of their clothing might use terms such as “how-to” or “DIY” to get more attention.
Endorse, Endorse and Endorse Some More
The use of endorsers, from major A-listers to small town heroes, helps establish brand credibility. Brands are monopolizing the newfound fame of successful YouTubers. It is not uncommon to see a YouTube vlogger plug Amazon’s Audible at some point, or slip in a mention of their favorite Venus razor as a part of a partnership with the women’s hygiene brand.
Similar to traditional media advertising, some endorsements are in-your-face while others take a subtle approach. Skype, for example, teamed up with Jacksgap to create videos that ask international viewers various questions on their spiritual beliefs. While these videos were essentially advertisements for Skype, they were tastefully done so that the brand association was entirely forgotten.
Brands hoping to show their personality and reach larger audiences should look at utilizing YouTube if they have the time and resources to commit. Consistency and quality are necessary to make an impression. If a brand does not post regularly or make videos worth watching, it may not see great results. However, when the quality of videos is put into question, brands should remember the important phrase: “quality not quantity.”