Mak­ing YouTube work for your busi­ness

Finweek English Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

For many of us, YouTube has be­come noth­ing short of a full-blown ad­dic­tion. We log on to the video-shar­ing site for much-needed mo­ments of comic re­lief, and to watch zany clips that our friends and col­leagues feel com­pelled to share on a daily (some­times hourly) ba­sis.

TAR­GETED ON­LINE REACH

Over 4.5m South Africans hun­grily con­sume YouTube videos ev­ery month, ac­cord­ing to the num­ber crunch­ers, mak­ing it one of the most fre­quently vis­ited web­sites among SA In­ter­net users. For businesses of all sizes, these num­bers rep­re­sent a juicy op­por­tu­nity to reach po­ten­tial cus­tomers and clients in a very tar­geted way. Yet for many businesses, and par­tic­u­larly small- to medium-sized com­pa­nies, YouTube ar­guably re­mains an un­der­utilised mar­ket­ing and brand­ing tool.

Re­shall Jimmy, a search and per­for­mance specialist at dig­i­tal agency NA­TIVE VML, agrees that YouTube has vast po­ten­tial, cit­ing a 36% on­line reach. But de­spite this reach, mar­keters still over­look the pos­si­bil­ity of in­clud­ing it in their cam­paigns.

One of the key fac­tors is cost, says Justin Spratt, MD at dig­i­tal mar­ket­ing agency Quirk. “The pro­duc­tion costs of video – even though they have come down dra­mat­i­cally [a fac­tor of 10 from ana­logue] – re­main sig­nif icant,” he notes. “It still re­quires ad­e­quate budget.”

STRATE­GIC EX­E­CU­TION

Yet Na­tive VML’s Jimmy says that there are sev­eral ways that SMMEs can lever­age YouTube with­out break­ing the bank.

“Video ads, for ex­am­ple, al­low you to pay only when view­ers choose to watch your ad, rather than when an im­pres­sion is served,” ex­plains Jimmy. “Avail­able across all de­vices, the ads let people watch ads they f ind in­ter­est­ing and skip ads they f ind less in­ter­est­ing. By tak­ing ad­van­tage of the low cost, rel­a­tive to other me­dia, a small busi­ness can use links on the video, with a specif ic call to ac­tion, to get vis­i­tors to their web­site.”

He adds t hat once on t he web­site, the usual path to con­ver­sion can be fol­lowed. In ad­di­tion, ban­ner and text ad­ver­tis­ing is also a vi­able op­tion on YouTube and can achieve sim­i­lar re­sults if it is strate­gi­cally ex­e­cuted.

COM­PELLING CON­TENT

Both Spratt and Jimmy, how­ever, cau­tion that many businesses fall into the same traps when ven­tur­ing into YouTube mar­ket­ing, with the poor pro­duc­tion of video con­tent be­ing one of the most com­mon er­rors.

“There still has to be some in­vest­ment in tak­ing raw footage and mak­ing it com­pelling,” warns Spratt, adding that videos need to be share-wor­thy and au­then­tic.

Jimmy adds that most businesses are not aware of the func­tion­al­ity that is avail­able when set­ting up a YouTube cam­paign . . . in other words, the high level of tar­get­ing that is pos­si­ble.

“This re­sults in a generic cam­paign that tar­gets the wrong au­di­ence and that gen­er­ates un­qual­i­fied traf­fic that they still pay for,” he says. “In ad­di­tion, many businesses are pro­mot­ing generic videos with­out con­sid­er­ing how the video is re­ceived. Video ads are usu­ally shown at the be­gin­ning of a video – the op­por­tu­nity is wasted if the view­ers’ at­ten­tion is not cap­tured within the first five sec­onds of the pro­moted video.”

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