What is YouTube?
YouTube is the biggest video hosting and streaming platform and the second most popular site in the world according to Alexa Internet. It allows users to upload, view, share and interact with video content. YouTube is owned by Google and its content is integrated into Google searches.
While some assume that Youtube is just a video hosting tool, it can also be used as its own self-contained social media platform. It has a varied, ‘anything goes’ culture, with content of all types and varieties succeeding to gain an audience. As long as a video is engaging and/or useful, users don’t tend to mind if the production quality is a little on the amateur side. This means that businesses don’t necessarily need the best most expensive equipment or expert editing skills to make a mark on the platform. As a consequence, many independent YouTubers and content creators have communities of fans that follow them specifically for their video content. This model has been replicated successfully by businesses on YouTube, creating a strong community around their products and services.
- 6m UK monthly users
- YouTube is used by 79% of UK adults
- YouTube is the first most used social media platform among 18-64 year olds and second most used platform for 66-75+ year olds.
- Gender – 80% of males, 78% of females use YouTube
- 97% of 18-24 year olds
- 96% of 25-34
- 93% of 35-44
- 85% of 45-44
- 71% of 55-64
- 54% of 65-75
- 40% of 75+
What it’s best for
- Long-form video content – YouTube offers unlimited storage for video content of all lengths, from a few seconds to 12 hours long. This includes capacity to upload high-definition video (up to 128gb). Consequently, it is one of the best video hosting platforms out there.
- Video embedding for websites – All videos from the platform can be embedded by the creator and viewers on websites, social media and other platforms. This can help boost the video’s reach.
- Creating a dedicated community – Since a YouTube channel acts a little like a mini-broadcasting service, channels with engaging content can gain strong followings for the content itself. Users can opt to see updates from your content by clicking the ‘Subscribe’ button. This can give you a vehicle to show why your products are superior, to show your values in action or provide content that helps your customers use and maintain your products.
- Live-streaming – YouTube Live is one of the top services available for live-streamed content. All live streams are accompanied by a live chat, which allows users to interact with the content and the YouTube creator in real time.
- SEO optimisation – Since YouTube is owned by Google, all YouTube videos are indexed by the search engine. Google even has a dedicated tab, ‘Videos’, for YouTube videos and sometimes it will display a small selection at the top of a google search. This gives the public yet another way to find your content and, if someone searches for your brand, another useful landing page.
- Administration and analytics – YouTube channels are designed to be managed by brands and corporations. As a result, it offers the ability to add additional administrators through their Google accounts and fantastic moderation tools. YouTube also offers a great amount of analytic tools for all users, meaning it is easy to monitor the success of a channel and see detailed breakdowns of your viewer demographics.
- A culture of creativity and ‘anything goes’ – YouTube boasts a unique culture where all types of content are legitimate. As long as a video is engaging and/or useful, users don’t tend to mind if it does not have the highest production quality. This means that businesses don’t need the best camera or editing skills to make a mark on the platform, as long as the content is reasonably well-presented and the creativity is there. Even those with minimal budgets to spend on video can compete on YouTube.
- Advertisement potential – YouTube has a large collection cost-effective of video-, image- and text- based advertisement opportunities with excellent targeting options. We recommend checking out this guide for an overview. See how businesses have utilised these tools to great effect on the YouTube Works for Brands website.
What it’s less good for
- Finding a new audience from scratch – While YouTube is somewhere where any type of engaging content can gain an audience, this is less easy in practice than it should be. Due to algorithmic changes, it has become increasingly difficult for channels with few followers to get their videos to show up in YouTube or Google searches, stopping them from attracting a solid audience in the early stages. This problem lessens considerably as a channel grows but can provide an initial hurdle. However, this problem can be overcome by ensuring your content is cross promoted on other channels and embedded in your website to help gain that initial audience and subscriber base.
- In-platform visibility – The algorithmic changes mentioned above also impacts content visibility for established users. In YouTube’s search and relevant video recommendations, videos with longer watch time are favoured over everything else, including keyword relevance. This can effectively hide your video from your target audience. While YouTube SEO optimisation can help, unfortunately there is no easy way to overcome this.
- Linking engagement with brand loyalty or sales potential – Like with Pinterest, those who run YouTube channels need to accept that they may gain viewers who are watching their content purely because they like the content and not because they have any interest in the brand which creates them. In other words, having an active and successful channel may not necessarily lead to sales. However, it will enhance your reputation and build awareness of your brand.
- Time investment requirements – Although potential engagement opportunities are generally higher, video content in general takes far longer to create than a simple text or image-based post. With this in mind, making effective video-led content strategy (as opposed to a social media strategy which uses some video content) requires more resource and time investment. For some brands, this might be prohibitive or not worthwhile.
It might work for you if:
- You have time to invest in making creative and engaging video content
- You want to create a strategy based around engaging video content
- You want to build a community around your brand or product(s)
- You want somewhere to host your videos
- You are looking for somewhere to host live-streams
Are you considering YouTube or another social media channel for your business? Don’t know where to start? 360 integrated PR offer a range of social media services for businesses who are established or complete novices in the social media scene. Find out more here or call us for a complimentary chat!