It’s an inevitable question for digital marketers: Should I build on an existing, proven social video site like YouTube, or create my own branded, owned content hub? After having recently attended the iMedia Retail and iMedia Brand Summit across Australia and New Zealand, I spoke with many organisations that face this quandary when designing their content strategy around video. I get it. YouTube is alluring as a free social video site with some useful tools. But is YouTube effective at increasing engagement from prospective customers, and converting them to an actual customer? To find out, Brightcove recently commissioned qualitative eye-tracking research from Objective Experience that tracked exactly how consumers act when confronted with two types of retail content marketing strategies. One relied on a well-designed website with its own branded video content hub, while the other relied on YouTube to store and display videos to customers.
The results gathered in the ANZ region were enlightening! In comparison between video on a company’s site and branded YouTube channels,
- Consumers are two times more likely to buy products after watching videos integrated into the purchasing process.
- Consumers are three times as likely to take additional, brand-focused steps — such as downloading a step-by-step guide, viewing detailed product information or looking at related products — after viewing an onsite video with relevant calls to action, when compared to the same branded YouTube channel.
- Consumers were five times more likely to find relevant video content searching the brand’s website for video.
Why did we see these fantastic results? Simply put, branded video sites put the marketer in control of the user experience. On a branded website, the marketer is able to control when videos are displayed and how they are displayed. By tagging videos with the right metadata and having a well-designed website, consumers are able to easily search for and find the video they want, quickly.
On YouTube, however, this process becomes less clear. When asked to find a specific video related to the brand, the research respondents defaulted to the main search bar, which searches the entire website for those terms. With 400+ hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute, it’s likely that the prospective customer will find a video that suits what they’re looking for. However, in doing so, they will no longer be looking at the brand’s content, and instead be drawn to something entirely different, breaking the customer journey.
At Brightcove, we recommend a blended distribution strategy for video, utilizing both YouTube and your own online video platform. YouTube is a fantastic social media site with communities you may want to engage with, but without a defined experience brands are unlikely to see much in the way of converted customers.
At the same time, simply uploading video content to your website isn’t enough to improve those conversions. An effective video marketing strategy should aim to provide a well-designed user experience with relevant calls-to-action that drive prospective customers back to your website, or to other sections of your site. By doing this, you can ensure any customers that have begun the buying journey with you clearly understand what is expected of them and stay engaged through highly relevant content.