At this point, the merits of online video content no longer need to be ‘sold’ to marketers. The majority of companies are now doing some form of video marketing, and that number continues to rise with each passing year. YouTube remains a major component of most video marketing strategies (as it should), but it’s a mistake to assume that it needs to be the cornerstone of your efforts.
In a recent post for ReelSEO, HubShout’s Chad Hill makes “the case against YouTube” with ideas for smarter video marketing in 2014, writing that “as the overwhelming market leader, YouTube has always commanded the lion’s share of the attention when it comes to this particular type of marketing. However, it’s important to look beyond YouTube and consider additional video distribution networks, as well as self-hosted options, to get the best return on this investment.”
In other words, the size and popularity of YouTube makes it a valuable channel for reaching new audiences, but it’s not the only way to engage potential customers with video, and for many businesses, it may not always represent the best opportunity to make meaningful connections.
The case FOR YouTube
As Chad writes, “In years past, YouTube and video marketing have grown to become synonymous with one another. YouTube was the first to market, drives the most traffic, and gives marketers a robust toolset for promoting their videos.”
The first two points are obvious – YouTube launched in 2005 and has been the king of online video views ever since. We’ve all seen the stats – billions more views and millions more visitors than any other video hosting site. This alone makes it a powerful channel that’s not to be ignored.
The “robust toolset” likely refers to Google’s video ads platform (uncommonly referred to as YouTube TrueView), which enables marketers to promote paid video content on YouTube similar to how keywords are promoted using Google AdWords. (If you haven’t advertised on YouTube, Google offers different options for how your content appears.)
There’s also the SEO factor, as YouTube content tends to rank high in Google search results. Of course, this isn’t always the only (or most impactful) way to increase search value for video content.
Looking beyond YouTube
No matter how you use YouTube, the biggest draw is the ability to reach a broad audience – but then again, you’re reaching a broad audience. As Chad explains in his post, “Sure, the big brands can direct millions of visitors to their website or YouTube channel, but the smaller brands and small businesses have to be strategic in attracting new viewers and building a loyal audience.”
In other words, simply creating a bunch of video content, posting it to YouTube and hoping for the best isn’t a very strategic way to look at video marketing. There are lots of other ways to utilize video content outside of YouTube to gain more value from your marketing efforts. For example:
Marketing analytics – In addition to the general viewing data you get from YouTube, video analytics (as with Brainshark presentations) can also tell you more about the actual people viewing your content, including names, contact info, what they viewed, when and even where. This deeper dive can be valuable when using video for various campaigns such as…
Email marketing – Studies have shown that simply mentioning the word “video” in an email subject line can help boost click-through rates, but that’s not all. Looking beyond YouTube, video marketing content and analytics can also be integrated with your automation system (Eloqua, Marketo, ExactTarget), enabling you to gain more insight into the viewing behavior of potential sales opportunities.
Interactive marketing – YouTube annotations are nice, but today’s video content can do so much more, for example enabling marketers to embed clickable hyperlinks directly in the video (no need for overlays), add questions and surveys directly within the player, and even include live polls with real-time results.
On-demand webinars – You can break a pre-recorded webinar presentation up into multiple pieces and post as a YouTube series (nothing wrong with that), but you could also repurpose the entire webinar into an on-demand presentation, easily segmented with a table of contents and with a customized player featuring the speaker’s headshot, title, and so on, then embed that presentation on your website or behind a registration wall to gain more contacts.
Attachments – You don’t need to drive viewers to additional webpages to provide more information. Video content can also include simple document attachments (case studies, product information, etc.) that can be easily downloaded straight from the player.
Video SEO – YouTube content is great for SEO, but so is video content in general. With the right amount of video SEO know-how, you can optimize any embedded video to increase your search rankings and drive more visitors to your company website.
YouTube is an extremely valuable channel for video marketing – no one is arguing that. But in 2014, it’s hardly the only (or even the best) way to do video marketing at all time. For more on the different ways Brainshark specifically can benefit your video marketing strategy, explore the Brainshark Marketing Cloud.