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Generating awareness from YouTube and digital strategy expectations


I was at Google’s Think Shopper event at Googleplex, and came to learn new digital tactics and marketing ideas on Google services.

One of the thing that caught my attention is YouTube’s changing strategy to support media companies and individuals providing great content. I’m sure we’ve seen YouTube being used in many ways to promote brands online to drive awareness of the products or their brand or services.

On the other hand, it worked really well to promote home made videos getting a lot of buzz online, and even made some people a famous singer.

Recently, YouTube has changed their home page to support more personalization tied to user’s account, added a banner at the very top of the page, etc. Here is what my YouTube page looks like.

You see my favorite channels on the left side, huge banner ads that you can collapse, more relevant videos in the middle, etc.

YouTube Channel

From marketing standpoint for businesses, I am probably naive to think that YouTube was like a general awareness channel where marketers would buy ads or generate videos to drive buzz or awareness.

All that is done to get people’s attention in a 1st moment of truth and then let those users search for products online and then convert them, blah blah… Another way was to buy ads that served on the bottom of the video and generate click-throughs not knowing if those ads were reaching the right audience or not…

However, it is interesting to hear and see how Google is trying to support more for the media companies generating content because it is really showing their commitment to support those folks who are making a great content win in both through hosting the content, and monetization.

They’re doing so by helping content creators serve their own channel, and leverage Google’s search technology to sort videos and channels like the information they sort on Google SERP (search engine results page).

Notice channels come up higher in results page when you search something on YouTube search box.

Consumers who watch more content online on YouTube will select the channels they love, pin, share, like it, etc. What that means is channels with great content builds audiences, hence more great data for advertisers to segment and target their ads per channels, demographic, views, audience, etc.

In the past, I’ve measured YouTube home page takeover video ads, but in most cases, there is no longevity in the value. Traffic spikes, but doesn’t last and conversions dies quickly.

Those videos or ads would be very costly to make and place, too. You can argue me wrong, but that’s what I’ve seen, and I’m sure you could build a great online strategy to capitalize from that boost of traffic since it is not only the home page takeover ads.

Like I said, I may have been naive about the ad strategy on previous YouTube platform, but things on changing on YouTube side, and in my view, it is much more digestible from marketing standpoint.

Two points I want to make from the new YouTube strategy for businesses come in two ways:

Ads will be more targetable and relevant due to better positioning and support for great content/channels.

When more people sort and subscribe to channels, it likely reflects or defines their preferences, such as channels catered to cooking, travel, news, etc. Given that YouTube account may have your age, location, history data, advertisers could target the ads to a specific audience at proper channels. This is probably not different from TV ads, except advertisers have more control and better data for targeting the ads.

Great ads in a form of content itself, and could live in brand’s channel and continue to gain free impressions. I’m pretty sure overall ROI on video and CPM will continue to improve if that video is GREAT. Example, M&M ads or Old Spice ads that have been viewed over and over hosted on the brand channel.

You can build tiers of media avenues to drive traffic or experiences.

So the search box is not going away, and those random funny videos aren’t going away either. What that means is Google is still supporting those one-offs, and if those people are serious about generating videos, then they can publish it as ‘channels’. Have their own shows.

If they’re really great, people will follow. Kind of like the blog for videos in my view. The big difference is that the YouTube homepage or your template will have less of those random videos, but rather catered to your specific interests. (Buzzed videos will be in ‘Trending’ section, you gotta go there). You’re most likely logged in, as many folks are using Gmail… so YouTube will be more personal to you.

In a very general sense this opens up clearer options in digital marketing strategy, it is not just Awareness thru ads in content –> Traffic to Site –> Conversions.

It could also be…

Awareness thru ads in content –> search for channels on YouTube & subscribe –> consumer engagement on YouTube –> Traffic to Brand Site –> Converstions


Awareness thru content itself –> more interactions on YouTube (share, like, find similar content) & subscribe –> Conversions at offline retail


Ads Click Through on YouTube –> Traffic to Site –> Curating engagements on site/social channels –> Conversions

What this means is the digital marketing efforts on YouTube is going to be like… managing a channel on TV and making sure that curation of content and experience lead to an outcome. YouTube strategy will be more diverse and unique to digital.

Different digital marketing strategy means different measurement tactics. Different consumer journey and touch points will have different expectations in data and measurements. Attribution will be different per strategy and tactics, too.

Wow, digital marketing and measurement are still changing a lot. What a fun industry to be in. What do you think?! I think this is exciting. We can also leverage knowledge from experts in traditional medias on content that works.

Some additional fun stuff…

Here are some facts on US video via think with Google website.

“Recommendations from other people account for 60% of all video clicks from the YouTube homepage.”

What this means: Not all the buzzy videos started from YouTube. From consumer journey standpoint, the zero moments could be else where. This is why I say, YouTube channel strategy could be broken into tiers.

“Only about 10% of the population will always skip ads.”

What this means: Google gives consumer the option to skip ads. Their data and study shows skipping ads shouldn’t be a concern for brands advertising. Good news is advertisers will only pay for the views, and will not pay for the ads that have been skipped.

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Marketing Strategy

Kris Twitter

As a data journalist, I enjoy curating and analyzing marketing trends, and data. The things that fascinate me the most are the transforming business landscape due to evolving marketing technologies.