Making YouTube work for your business
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.”
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.
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.”