I spoke with Andy Stack, Product Manager at YouTube following his keynote, "Video Convergence is Here: Get Ready!", at the 2011 Liveclicker Video Summit, who says, online video is a valuable tool to drive brands, and is transforming the way consumers engage and conduct commerce. The use of online video in e-commerce is an opportunity you can’t afford to miss or not fully understand.
His main message to brands and retailers is to create content, not commercials. Stack says that it's important for retailers to develop a content strategy and not necessarily an advertising strategy, and sponsor content that matters to your community and spend money to promote content that's tested and works.
Brands can’t sell brands, People sell brands
Stack says that the definition of content is very rich and changing, by definition. So, we shouldn't be held to old ideas of what content is. It could be curated content, mash-ups, expression, dialogue, and a variety of different types of content.
"Lines are blurring between entertainment and advertising, and between consumers and marketers. Marketing platforms are rapidly evolving, and at the center of it all is online video. Brands and consumers are interacting in ways they never have before, and everyone is witnessing this through the power of sight, sound, and motion."But underlining it all, he says, is that we’re content creators by our own DNA.
“We are all storytellers, and a content strategy helps ultimately for people to sell brands, not brands to sell brands.”If you’re a marketer, then you'll probably recognize some of the following videos. Which of these were made by users? By marketers? Who started the conversation?
Tiger Woods 09: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZ1st1Vw2kY
Numa Numa Gecko: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HItwu7PNdNo
E-Trade Trading Baby: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6vW9gUmooFg
Cadbury Eyebrows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVblWq3tDwY
Online Video is Social
Stack says that aside from being huge in reach, online video is also what many other media are not – it’s social in ways that move viewers to engage with your brand, connect with new ideas and even change the world. An interesting fact he shared was about the activism in Egypt earlier this year that was first sparked on the Internet and spread throughout the country to rally the population and spark a revolution that forever change people’s lives there. He shared the following quote that helped sum up his point.
"We use Facebook to schedule the protests, Twitter to coordinate, and YouTube to tell the world…"
— Activist in Cairo, Egypt, March 2011
The results is that Lady Gaga is the first artist to reach 1 billion views on YouTube, and her music video for Born This Way has over 79 million views and in the first week of release her album sold 1.1M copies and brought down Amazon’s servers.
Stack says that a characteristic of successful videos are retailers, brands or others who have a whole social media strategy around the launching of a YouTube video.
"One of the other things I encourage is to engage the viewer in a conversation. Think of the video experience as a conversation. It doesn't start and stop with the video. There's great opportunity to have at the end of a video, various calls to action. Such that if somebody's hooked with the video, here's the next step that they can take to either engage with the brand, learn more information or perhaps discover other videos."Another great example of a brand using video is Orabrush, which became a YouTube sensation. Who knew that oral hygiene products could be a cross-over hot with video, yet Orabrush used it's YouTube channel to sell over 1 million of the $5 tongue brushes, and major drugstores are now carrying it on their shelves. They were named one of the Top 10 Social Media campaigns of 2010.
5 Things Andy Stack has Learned about YouTube
Stack says there are 5 lessons he learned from his experience at YouTube to help create successful online video campaigns:
1. Rethink what “content” means
Kutiman & Pogo make work by micro-splicing together other content.
They use films, sounds, chords, even syllables to make their music. The Khan Academy also has emerged as a new voice of authority http://www.youtube.com/user/khanacademy.
2. Every video is a conversation (if you let it become one)
Electronic Arts produced this response to a user generated video on the Tiger Woods '08 game.
3. Every video is interactive
Interactive zombie movie adventure - Hell Pizza's uses annotations to encourage interaction.
4. Every video finds an audience.
Online Video is reaching NEW audiences every day. Blair Fowler and her sister Elle post style and beauty related tutorials that has reached millions on YouTube and are at forefront of the "hauling"phenomenon.
5. You don’t always have to make video, you can inspire others or curate
Tweak inspired fans to help them design their shoes and the result was the mythical shoe, with wings and a pocket for a guitar pick. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S6meIMpnwp4#t=2m20s )
Mass Media is De-Massing
Are they watching less TV? Generally speaking, Stack says, no. People are watching more TV. They are just watching cable. If you stack networks by percentage reach, you’ll see that 50% of viewership is on networks with a rating less than 1.0 (1% of households). And at 0.5% share (the point at which Nielsen stops measuring), you’ll find 30% of viewership.
"It’s a good time to be a content creator. Our system allows you to unlock the untapped value of networks you may not have previously considered. For example one brand seeking to target young adults found that Fuse network delivered a much more efficient cost per order than the networks they were traditionally targeting, now Fuse is a permanent part of the line up. This also means that the established media companies don’t have the high upfront cost strangle hold on access anymore"
Read Jen Fahey's related post on Videoretailer.org at: http://bit.ly/qRdMmb
About Andy Stack - Product Manager, YouTube