Are retailers missing the social marketing boat if they’re not on YouTube?

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Apr 14, 2017
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Klaudia Tirico

Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of a current article from the Retail TouchPoints website.

By 2019, 80 percent of internet traffic will be video, according to Sarah Waters, agency development manager at Google, the parent of YouTube. And 65 percent of consumers say YouTube has influenced their purchase decisions.

“YouTube is not just a branding opportunity; it’s also a way to influence people to purchase,” said Ms. Waters during a session at ChannelAdvisor’s recent Catalyst event. “We don’t just go online; we practically live online. But we need to be cognizant of the fact that marketing hasn’t changed: brands still want to connect to consumers. What has changed is how we go about doing it. We’re no longer limited to 140-character tweets.”

Ms. Waters highlighted three new ad formats on YouTube that retailers can take advantage of.

  1. TrueView A pre-roll ad format that users cannot skip for the first five seconds. YouTube doesn’t charge for the ad until 30 seconds of the video have passed. Said Ms. Waters, “We saw that when retailers exposed consumers to their ads, there was a 30 percent or greater increase in site visits and a 27 percent increase in branded search.”
  2. Shoppable TrueView One option, Shopping Ads on YouTube, enables brands to showcase product listing ads (PLA) within the results of YouTube. A second, TrueView for Shopping, allows users to shop for products within a video ad.“You can include shopping carts [in the video ad itself] that allow viewers to click and shop directly from those carts,” she said. “This is all linked through Google Merchant Center. Companies can plug in the carts and allow the shopping experience to come to life by layering them on top of the sight, sound and motion in the video content you created.”
  3. Discovery With the average length of a mobile YouTube session lasting 40 minutes, Discovery enables retailers to leverage search activity to retarget ads. Said Ms. Waters, “Thirty-two percent of users discover videos through YouTube search, and they don’t necessarily know what they want to watch. This allows you to own the space and capitalize on the queries that are happening for your brand or within your category.”

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of YouTube as a branding and engagement vehicle for retailers and brands? What are your recommendations for effectively using YouTube?

Please practice The RetailWire Golden Rule when submitting your comments.
Braintrust
"Brands have to be more creative and break though the clutter to make an impact."
"YouTube has a lot of work to do to overcome its recent issues if major retailers will step up to the plate this year. Consider recent headlines..."
"YouTube content should be more of an infomercial than a commercial, necessitating a change to the creation of content by both retailers and brands."

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13 Comments on "Are retailers missing the social marketing boat if they’re not on YouTube?"


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Phil Masiello
BrainTrust

There is no question video is a great platform to explain a product’s benefits. However, consumers will only engage if the content is compelling. If a brand is just taking their TV ads and putting them on YouTube or Facebook then they won’t see any positive results. Consumers will tune out.

Brands have to think about social media in a different way. Pounding consumers with deals, ads for your products and discounts will never create engagement. Video needs to be compelling, engaging and express the solution to the problem your brand solves for the consumer. Brands have to be more creative and break though the clutter to make an impact.

Ian Percy
BrainTrust

Absolutely on point as far as I’m concerned, Phil! I’m just madder about it than you!

Max Goldberg
Guest

Brands and retailers should be experimenting with YouTube. Whether utilizing the methods described in the article or posting engaging, informative videos, marketers can no longer sit back and watch; they need to dive in. The costs are not high, allowing marketers the opportunity to test formats and messages. With fewer people watching traditional television, and video being a proven format, the time has come to give YouTube a try.

Ian Percy
BrainTrust

I’m beginning to feel like I’m more and more of an outlier. Do advertisers really believe that forcing me to watch an ad works when all I wanted to do was see the cute puppy video? I mean really? Isn’t this a digital variation on “The beatings won’t stop until morale improves?”

Ms. Waters is quoted as saying “We saw that when retailers exposed consumers to their ads, there was a 30 percent or greater increase in site visits.” Isn’t “exposed” kind of like United’s “re-accommodate?”

This whole arena of invasive and abusive “advertising” and “branding” is doomed to explode one day soon. There is literally no time and nowhere to go where we aren’t assaulted, probed, prodded, measured, tricked and lied to. You can’t even go for a walk without some desperate advertiser trying out face-recognition technology so they can leap out of the hedge in front of you.

For goodness’ sake, leave me alone! Let me watch a blooper reel in peace!

Kim Garretson
Guest
2 years 7 months ago

YouTube has a lot of work to do to overcome its recent issues if major retailers will step up to the plate this year. Consider some recent headlines: “YouTube Advertiser Exodus Highlights Perils of Online Ads” and “YouTube is facing a full-scale advertising boycott over hate speech.” Plus the following, from the site ReCode:

“What advertisers really want from YouTube is what they already get on the open web: tracking how many times an ad has been shown to a particular anonymized user; where it’s happening; and how people are interacting with the ad.”

Sky Rota
BrainTrust
2 years 7 months ago
First of all, my parents and I believe most adults don’t really watch YouTube. If retailers and brands use YouTube as a vehicle for my generation to watch they should be using all the top YouTube influencers as their endorsers. However the YouTubers will want to do the commercials/ads in their style or at least have lots of input as to what their subscribers will want to see. The other problem with that is the YouTubers are not politically correct or a best influence for most brands and retailers and as you see lots of them are starting to get in trouble and getting called out for their edgy content. But the same thing is happening with the not-so-great public behavior from athletes and stars that have been dropped by big brand endorsements. The problem is, who is left to be our role models to represent businesses and brands? Now that life is public there is nowhere to hide from any bad behavior. Who can you trust to represent your brand that will stay good… Read more »
Harley Feldman
BrainTrust

Video is an ideal medium for communicating a lot of information in a short time and YouTube is easily available on all devices that are picture-capable. However, most people use YouTube to be entertained or to find information that helps them make a purchase decision, understand a repair process or find reviews about almost anything. Retailers and brands need to realize that the consumer using YouTube is pulling information at their discretion when the user is looking for the above mentioned types of information, while typical retail commercials are pushing content to random eyeballs. The fact that consumers want to pull specific information changes the game for thinking about how retailers and brands should communicate to consumers. YouTube content should be more of an infomercial than a commercial which necessitates a change to the creation of content by both retailers and brands.

Shep Hyken
BrainTrust

There isn’t much weakness in using video as a branding and engagement. The best brands are turning to video (YouTube) to promote with content. Video is a great opportunity to showcase the great ways customers are using and enjoying their products. The key is that the video is filled with content and not blatant advertising. “How To” videos are very popular. For example, Ace Hardware teaches how to lay a floor, fix a sink, replace a toilet, etc. In addition, self-service solutions on video are powerful. Even for a clothing retailer, show how to take stains out of a shirt, properly sew a button, etc. There are many ways to use video to create value for the consumer. The best part is you don’t have to spend a lot of money on production — and it is “free” on YouTube.

Ralph Jacobson
BrainTrust

If you look at the history of advertising, you’d see that 100 years ago we primarily used plain text. That evolved into more artistic fonts, then drawn pictures, then photography. Video is the next logical step in that evolution, so, yes, be it YouTube or wherever, brands need to leverage video heavily to capture the six-second attention spans of shoppers today.

Adrian Weidmann
BrainTrust
Just because it’s video doesn’t mean it will be effective. In order to gain the maximum benefits of video, you have to script a great story. We all crave a great story. Tell a great emotional story with video in 3 minutes or less and you have a masterpiece. Brands need to develop, curate and publish these stories across all available display channels in a manner that syncs with the shopper’s buying, purchasing and post purchase journey. Simply posting them to YouTube is not enough. Too many marketers (and agencies!) pitch and sell the video (that’s how they get paid!), but then don’t have a real viable plan as to how to use that video to their full advantage. Posting it to YouTube checks the “we’re done” box but doesn’t fulfill or align with the shopper’s interest or journey. The right video, telling the correct story should be available to the shopper at various points along their journey. The technology and processes exist for brands and retailers to control, manage and deliver on this promise.… Read more »
Ricardo Belmar
BrainTrust

Video, and YouTube by extension, will no doubt continue to be important to retailers in most segments (it really depends on what the products are). However this isn’t an advertising play — it’s about engagement and experience. People don’t watch YouTube because they want to watch product ads (notwithstanding movie trailers), they watch to be entertained or to learn something. For example, if you’re an apparel retailer you want to offer original content probably starring “regular people” vs celebrities showing off the product in a lifestyle environment to highlight how much you would enjoy having the merchandise. If you sell hard goods, then maybe a how-to video is more appropriate. And many other options in between.The only time consumers want to watch more of your ads on YouTube is when those rare iconic ads go viral in popularity. But trying to create these viral moments isn’t a strong strategy for most brands.

Michael Spencer
Guest

Yes, visual marketing is going into video now in a mainstream way. This includes Instagram Stories, Instagram videos, a YouTube Channel for long-form videos and using Video native to Facebook in Ads with captions.

For the new consumer, developing trust is more than just customer views; it’s the stories you tell in video. Mobile-first content is video, period.

Vahe Katros
Guest
Vahe Katros
2 years 7 months ago
Video takes time and effort, and then time and effort — it’s evolutionary. You may end up with Wayne’s World as the idea, but it takes awhile before you stumble upon “schwing!” Before Schwing (BS) there is a period of forced authenticity — it’s the period where you find your voice, and most projects die before that because without a commitment to the medium, you’ll burn bout and be disappointed. You may pray for an agency to bail you out but that’s where it gets really expensive trying to find your video brand. My recommendation is to find folks within your company (customers or in the stores) who have translated their passion into the seeds of a shtick. When I see the word brand I think of the “rehabilitated” scene from The Shawshank Redemption as in: I have no idea what that means. I know what it means but the truth as it relates to your YouTube videos needs to be discovered and when it is, your customer will stamp your brand: rehabilitated. Here is… Read more »
wpDiscuz
Braintrust
"Brands have to be more creative and break though the clutter to make an impact."
"YouTube has a lot of work to do to overcome its recent issues if major retailers will step up to the plate this year. Consider recent headlines..."
"YouTube content should be more of an infomercial than a commercial, necessitating a change to the creation of content by both retailers and brands."

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