Power to the People: On YouTube, Brands Are No Match for Fans

In the digital age, just about every consumer facing brand is now also in the content generation business. In fact, companies are spending significant amounts of time and resources creating official online videos.

Although there’s a role for product videos on your YouTube channel, the vast majority of views are actually coming from user-generated content.

According to a recent report by Zefr, the tech solutions firm, cosmetic company Covergirl has 251 million views on YouTube with 249 million coming from user generated content. And this trend is not unique.

Know anyone who uses Adobe Photoshop? Chances are when they are looking for some advice or trying to find the answer to a question about the software, they are finding user generated content. Although Adobe has done an admirable job creating 269 official product videos that have been viewed almost 9 million times, those numbers are dwarfed by the 12,610 instructional videos created by fans that collectively have been watched 115,619,227 times. Overall, official company videos account for just 7% of all views.

Meanwhile, Oreo cookies, which are a staple in my household and perhaps yours too, owe 93% of their YouTube views to the people who are eating the cookies not the ones making them.

In fact, there are no signs of this trend slowing down. Cisco indicates that YouTube will become the #1 social media platform by 2017 driven primarily by user created content and comments.

Take for example “unboxing”, the practice of recording yourself opening, unpacking and trying out a new tech gadget or pair of athletic shoes. According to an Adweek article, “These videos serve as instant reviews, where instead of going to Amazon to read feedback, people now search YouTube to get even more.”

One of the early driving forces of this phenomenon were new Apple devices as people wanted to share with the world the latest Steve Jobs’ marvel. However, brand advocates also like posting and commenting on commercials about these same products. Users have posted Apple commercials over 11,000 times resulting in 133 million views. Those ads are worth $9.3 million in advertising on YouTube.

The opportunity for companies is to filter out the noise and engage with your biggest fans. They aren’t waiting for your permission, they are already sharing and promoting your brand.

What Does This Mean for Radio?

Realistically, nobody is going to spend time “unboxing” a new clock radio or sharing with the world their 20 year old radio that fuels workplace listening. However, a quick YouTube search of two prominent radio stations here in Cincinnati uncovered that while most station created videos average around 600-750 views, each station has user generated content with 16,443 and 21,245 views, respectively.

Simply having someone from the station comment on these videos, would serve as meaningful recognition to the people who are doing the posting and would likely encourage them to keep generating more video. These kinds of interactions keep radio vibrant, personal and fun.

To discuss how to fully incorporate audience amplification into your marketing strategy, please contact Andrew Curran, COO at DMR/Interactive.


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