How to YouTube: 3 Ground Rules for Native & Paid Advertising

dtEvery minute, all year round, 300 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube. The platform has more than 1.3 billion users, and every single day, 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube. It is the second most visited website in the world – next to only Google.

With this kind of activity, it goes without saying that content needs to be compelling and interesting if your target group is to notice it, let alone watch what you produce.

Consequently, for most content creators, private as well as corporate, YouTube is a Bermuda Triangle where you spend hours and hours on creating quality videos, upload them only to see them completely disappear after a handful of views, most of which are from yourself and your colleagues or friends.

So, what is the key to success on YouTube?

You just have to know your own target audience in order to make the right content.

The biggest video platform in the World

YouTube is a world of visuals, ranging from extremes with conspiracy theorists to mainstream entertainment like gaming, wildlife, politics, fashion, music, and much much more.

It is, in other words, a platform which mirrors our world and as such is fully comparable to e.g. literature, which also contains all facets of human interests.

Naturally then, there are things and content you do not agree with or like on YouTube. In the same way as back when people still read books, everyone knew the difference between Barbara Cartland and James Joyce.

But this is also the power of the platform. There is a target audience for everything.

You just have to know your own target audience in order to make the right content.

While generally the hardest-to-reach target group, Generation Z shapes the ways of doing marketing on YouTube.

Viewers rule!

8 out of 10 of all 18-49-year-olds in the Western world watch YouTube regularly. However, our viewing behaviour differs. Generation X and Y primarily watch how-to-guides, product reviews and music, but Generation Z – or the first of the YouTube Generation – drive the platform with a preference for YouTube influencers, communities and fan groups and an overall strong platform presence.

Now, every company needs to carefully craft the content to fit its respective target group. But for this article, let me use the YouTube-savvy Generation Z to highlight how to create engaging and successful content.

Why, do you ask? Because they dominate. And while generally the hardest-to-reach target group, they shape the ways of doing marketing on YouTube.

 

They have abandoned all other media; they no longer read print magazines or papers, or online news for that matter; the interwebs are mostly dead to them, and I won’t even mention TV.

Instead, they go to YouTube. 95% of Generation Z uses YouTube – and half could not live without it. YouTube is where they go for news, entertainment and information alike.

This tells us a lot about how to shape our content. Because the good old days of push communication are gone. All consumption of video today is initiated as an active, conscious choice.

There are three R’s that beg consideration, when you work with native advertising on YouTube, to get the viewers to choose you.

With Wikipedia and Google always just a click away, your content needs to be at least as entertaining as it is promotional.

1) Resonance

You address Generation Z like they address each other.

The best way to learn is to look at the YouTube stars – they are experts:

It is important to be authentic and transparent. But while the YouTube stars often vlog alone in front of the camera, it is more dialogue than monologue. The audience feels included in a conversation, and they expect values and emotions – something that resonates with their interests and engages them as viewers.

 

With Wikipedia and Google always just a click away, your content needs to be at least as entertaining as it is promotional. As they used to say in literature, more showing, less telling.

For you, this means that your content must compete on the same parameters. No values = no authenticity = no viewers.

In other words – know your audience!

No marketing professionals will ever admit to making irrelevant content – but relevance is determined by the viewer, not the sender.

2) Relevance

With 300 hours of content uploaded every minute, no views on YouTube happen by coincidence. Nobody has time to watch it all – so we only choose the content most relevant and interesting to us.

According to a recent survey by Frukt, 71% of the 25-34-year-olds feel that entertainment is the best way for brands to communicate with them. 73% feel that branded partnerships with YouTube stars help brands differentiate themselves.

 

This holds immense opportunities for brands. Not only is this a way to create engaging content for the target group – but if you can establish your message as relevant, you will also be able to refer the viewer to similar content on your YouTube channel, which might be equally relevant.

Through CTA-overlays in the videos, end-card annotations (references at the end of a video) linking to others relevant videos and by tagging your content correctly, you can take your viewers by the hand, once you have established your content as relevant.

No marketing professionals will ever admit to making irrelevant content – but relevance is determined by the viewer, not the sender.

I would argue that your reach should be determined by who, you want to reach – not how many.

3) Reach

The third R is related to reach.

There is a quote saying: quantity is a quality of its own. This is true in digital marketing too, but there has been inflation in the term “reach”.

I would argue that your reach should be determined by who, you want to reach – not how many. Because that enables you to ensure that your content resonates with the right viewers. This increases CTR and ensures a longer view-through-rate.

High reach is practically worthless if you need to increase traffic to your website and nobody clicks on the link.

 

Consequently, the same applies to ‘reach’ as the previous two points: your target audience is paramount for successful YouTube campaigns.

But with a fixed audience profile, you are also better positioned to make retargeted pre-roll ads, which can direct traffic to your video content – just as the TrueView function allows you to push the video as an ad to your selected audience.

Make sure you define quality reach at the beginning of your campaign.

This makes it easier to gather the vital data you need to decide on future content or expanding on existing content streams as well as for building a fanbase that your brand can grow and use for future campaigns.

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