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YouTube – The World’s Source for Practical Knowledge

If I were to ask you what’s the world’s largest and most visited social media platform, what would your answer be? Facebook, right? According to our research at the GlobalWebIndex, that answer would actually be wrong. YouTube is, in fact, the world’s largest and most visited social media platform with 57% of global internet users watching at least one video clip on the site in the past month compared with just 40% of global internet uses being active monthly on Facebook (Q2 2012).  At the same time, it is also one of the most underused and misunderstood social media channels for brands out there today.

We all know that content from blogs to tweets is becoming one of, if not the most important aspects of digital marketing.  Great content is worth producing in its own right.  It helps build your brand identity, enhance your brand’s credibility as an expert in your space, and build better relationships with those core customers who will be your biggest advocates online.  When it comes to both social media and search marketing, all of the above are critical aspects to maximising the potential of both.

To put it another way, great content produced by your brand can help “guide” the conversation in the social sphere.  For search marketers, great content will boost rankings by improving click through rates, reducing bounce back, and keeping people on the page for longer.  Getting your content out through social media is also key for building links as well as awareness, word of mouth, and trust.

YouTube Global Web Index 2012 FindingsThis brings us back to YouTube, and how we can use it as a marketing channel more effectively.  It is not just about “making a viral video” or “doing something really crazy”, both of which I’ve heard from clients by the way.  Ultimately, it starts with understanding not just what our customers are doing on YouTube, but what they actually expect from us as brands.  And many customers expect to be informed by the brands that they’re using.

From qualitative research at a global level, we know that people out there are using YouTube for everything from learning how to dye their hair to cooking meals to tying a cravat. From our quantitative research, we know that nearly 80% of viewers of instructional videos at a global level are using YouTube (Data source: GlobalWebIndex, Q2 2012).   We also know that an average of 54% of internet users globally want brands to improve their knowledge when engaging them online.  What is clear is that brands have an engaged audience that wants knowledge and they’re already using YouTube to get at it.  The most important aspect is that, by producing this video content, brands will quickly come to be seen as an authoritative source of trust by consumers in teaching them how they can do new things while using their products.

The only question left is what are you going to teach people how to do?  For some of brands, that may seem very straight forward because the products being sold are so straight forward, but there are great opporunities to encourage your communities to bring their own, fresh ideas on what your products can be used for.  For others with more complex products, it may be about breaking down your product into simple terms in order to explain how it applies to the task at hand.  The opportunity is there, but it is still up to you to produce the quality video content that will allow your brand to dominate the digital space.

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Brett Petersen

Director, Strategy Consulting at GlobalWebIndex
As Director of Stream Intelligence I am currently responsible for leading all GWI research and insight generation. My core role is consulting with agencies and corporates to build comprehensive strategies for communications, product development, and business planning. I have a global remit at GWI which has allowed me to develop a knowledge of markets and online cultures across the globe and gives me a unique global perspective.

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