There is no question about the importance of video as a key component of a marketing strategy. We live in the age of the video-centric Web.
There are opportunities and dangers in using YouTube as a marketing tool. First, it is important to understand the profile of the typical YouTube visitor. By looking at the most viewed videos, I think it is safe to assume most people spending time on YouTube are teens looking for entertainment – music videos, comedy or funny videos. This is not to say that is the only demographic using it.
The opportunity is to use YouTube as a distribution mechanism to fish for customers. The danger is in using it as your video platform. Let me explain:
There are a number of problems with embedding your own YouTube videos on your own Web site: Google may insert contextual advertising about your competitors and customers can click on the video to be taken to YouTube.com where they can get lost watching at Coke and Mentos videos, forgetting why they went to your site in the first place. In other words, you don’t control the experience. Any medium to large company probably is going to have to manage dozens or hundreds of videos, and you need a better way to manage those videos, to understand who and how they are viewed and to connect them with other resources on your site in a synergistic way.
You can’t do this with You Tube. You probably need a video platform that provides all these capabilities. You need to own your Video experience, because Video is as important as any content on your site. This is why we built Vignette Video Services, to help companies who want to take control of their video strategy.
The opportunity is to use YouTube as a channel to fish for customers. The ideal scenario is the opposite as what I described above: people go from YouTube to your site. Posting your content on YouTube to make it easy for people to find will probably increase your reach and viewership. What you need to accomplish is that at the end of the video customers don’t click on the funny video that Google is promoting but on your site because they need more information or they want to learn more.
At a minimum you should promote your site’s URL at the beginning and end of your video. you may want to create a series of videos and only make the first part of the series available on YouTube, customers would have to go to your site to get the rest of the story.
It is interesting that we live in the age of the video-centric Web, yet most of the industry is still learning how to use it. This tells me Video presents an opportunity to get ahead. It is an opportunity to build a strategy that gives you a competitive advantage.
The question is – what are you doing with Video?