YouTube video on mobile phone

YouTube Video Marketing

You can’t spell video without YouTube. As part of our social video series, we explore the power of YouTube video marketing.

YouTube video marketing

YouTube has lead the way for video content since it launched in 2005 and no one touches them for the sheer number of hours spent watching video content. Facebook is steadily snapping at their heels, and it seems inevitable that a battle for video content supremacy is on the horizon. For now, however, if you want your video to be watched, it has to be on YouTube.

YouTube is not just dominating other websites; it is also drawing people away from television. In 2015, 18-to 49-year olds spent 4% less time watching TV, and YouTube viewing went up 74% in the same period. The trend is clearly in favour of people watching online and increasingly on mobile (more than 50% of US YouTube traffic is from mobile devices) as battery life improves and screen size increases.

YouTube mobile statistics graph

YouTube video marketing options

YouTube has two leading video advertising options, Google Preferred and True-View.

  • Google Preferred: this is a service for premium [cashed-up] advertisers who want to target 16 to 34-year-olds. Advertisers select a theme, e.g. travel, and then partner with the best performing videos in that theme to show their video advertising. Google Preferred topics include videos by established YouTube stars as well as breakout videos, which means if reach and relevancy are your goals, Google Preferred should be on your to-do list
  • TrueView: you can target your video at YouTube’s search results (In-Search), the right-hand ‘discovery’ panel (In-Display) or set-up your TrueView ads to play before a related video (In-Stream). The beauty is that you don’t play unless someone clicks to play your ad, or in the case of In-Stream, you pay when someone watches more than 5 seconds of your video (e.g. they don’t click ‘skip ad’). We’re unsure if anyone in the history of the world has ever not pressed ‘skip ad’, so make sure you get your brand into the video within those crucial first five seconds

YouTube reach and engagement

YouTube is the third-most-visited website in the world. That should be reason enough to make it central to your video marketing strategy. A few more mind-bending facts about YouTube’s reach:

  • Every day, almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube (this is less than Facebook’s reported daily video views of 8 billion, but YouTube count a view as anything over 30 seconds, and Facebook anything over 3 seconds, so bear this in mind when weighing up potential reach)
  • Mobile users spent an average of 40 minutes on the site in 2016 (up 50% on 2015)
  • Despite being 11 years old, YouTube is only becoming more popular. Watch time (the number of hours’ people spend watching video on YouTube) is up 60% year-on-year

YouTube also has you covered if it’s engagement you’re after, particularly if your content is targeted at millennials. YouTube conducted a study that found by simply hosting your TV commercial on YouTube you increase your ability to reach millennials by up to 46%. That is without incurring any additional costs. However, if you want your YouTube content to get maximum engagement and traction, we recommend repurposing it for the channel. You can also put some budget behind it to get even more exposure (see marketing options, above).

Shelf life is also shown to be impressive on YouTube when compared to other platforms. For example, putting your video content on Facebook has its own merits, but content can be quickly swallowed up by the ever-churning newsfeed, or overlooked by Facebook’s algorithm altogether if organic content. YouTube, on the other hand, surfaces video in their powerful search results (they’re the second largest search engine in the world), as well as via paid promotion, such as TrueView.

Video metrics

As long as you have the time, skills or resources, you can set-up tracking to see a range of metrics, such as watch time, engagement and subscribers gained or lost. Without setting up tracking, you can see views, comments, likes and dislikes.

YouTube video marketing: strategy

Unlike Facebook, where you have to achieve the nearly impossible task of grabbing someone’s attention while they scroll through their feed at lightning pace, on YouTube, you have the luxury of being able to take a bit more time to let your content unfold. That doesn’t mean you don’t have to modify your content for the platform, though.

It is tempting to just post your existing videos onto YouTube, such as TVC’s and corporate video, but we still highly recommend repurposing them specifically for the channel.

  • Even though you have people’s attention for longer on YouTube, keep your promotional videos short and impactful. This isn’t the place to show your fifteen-minute-long ‘about us’ video. Make the content useful and entertaining to people
  • Average video watch time is around 3 minutes, and a third of your audience will drop-off after 30 seconds. Bear these numbers in mind when editing your content for YouTube
  • Give people a call to action that makes sense to them when they’re online. If you have simply uploaded an existing TVC, the call to action might be irrelevant. Instead, provide people with links to further information or to your website
  • Target your videos at a relevant audience, and refine based on performance data. YouTube is a Google-owned company, so you have a huge range of targeting options available to you

Here is some inspiration to get you started

These social videos were created by Genero’s network of creative filmmakers and are some great examples of long-form video marketing that works so well on YouTube.


Kenya Safari


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Discover more about social video with our Facebook video guide.

Get in touch if you would like to speak to Genero about creating video content for your product, brand, service or band.