Using Youtube Yet? Your Customers Are

15th Feb, 2011

It’s surprising the amount of brands not using video content to reach out to customers. It’s getting easier and easier to produce video, free to host it and easy to distribute through existing online and social channels. Those that are using it successfully, do so to try to engage customers in new ways, viewers want information or entertainment and video is an often overlooked medium.

Last year was a landmark year for online video as new tools and features made video content more interactive. Three of the best from last year were from Tipp Ex, Lost in Val Sinestra and Arcade Fire’s The Wilderness. these were three stunning examples that demonstrated how interactive video marketing could be. The first let viewers decide the next stage in the story, the second used the viewers Facebook friends as characters in a movie trailer and the third drew on where the viewers childhood memories and visuals from Google Streetview to make viewing a personal experience. But video marketing needn’t be so elaborate, it could be as straightforward as shooting a short clip on a phone to post to Facebook instead of typing out a status update. It’s unlikely to clock up 10 million views on Youtube but it will reach out to your fans in a new way.

Why Is Video Important?

A recent study by Nielson in the USA points out that viewers there spent 45% more time watching online video content in January 2011 when compared with January 2010. That’s a hefty jump and its not caused by an increase in viewers, with only a modest 3.1% increase in the amount of people watching video in the same period. What this tells us is the same amount of people are consuming a lot more video. The quality of services on offer plays a role too with sites like Netflix and Hulu offering films and TV shows to watch. For brands, most will be looking towards sites like Youtube, Facebook and Vimeo to host content. Youtube streamed 8.5 billion videos to US viewers in January alone, the site also streams 150 years worth of embedded video content per day on Facebook. According to Comscore in the UK online video providers, ranging from Youtube to the BBC, were serving up 8.5 billion streams per month towards the end of last year, up a whopping 40% in just 6 months.

Length of Clips

The average time spent on Youtube in the USA was 2 mins 33 seconds in January, a lot shorter than sites showing TV shows and films. But Youtube isn’t (yet) a place where people sit down to watch shows, for now its funny clips, branded content, tutorials and music videos that keep viewers watching. By nature most of it is going to be relatively short anyway. More recent research by Comscore also found the length of online video clips to be increasing. The average length of an online video clip had risen from 4 mins 30 seconds in September 2009 to 5 mins 30 seconds in December 2010.

Branded Content

But length may actually go against branded content clips and stifle their ability to build views, or go ‘viral’. While few branded videos are actually ‘found’ via Facebook, a distribution network of channels such as bloggers, online publications, the brands own online distribution network (social media, website, mailing lists) and PR all row behind the content in order for it to be given as much exposure as possible. Sarah Wood of Unruly Media identified 45 seconds as being to long for a viewer to wait for a clips comedic pay-off, for sharing 30 – 45 seconds is ideal while 60 seconds works best to increase a viewers affinity with a brand.

With this increase in how much video content we consume, and the distribution channels being easier to access, are you using Youtube yet?