As companies invest more in online video, YouTube has stayed a sort of king of the space. Agencies offer YouTube services at a range of prices, from transparently listing $5 fake view creation, to serving brands starting at thousands of dollars a month. YouTube can be confusing to navigate if you’re a brand.
YouTube is perhaps less social than it once was. At least it feels like most YouTube users are passive consumers, and not actively uploading content or even leaving comments. The empty world problem for social networks is when no one participates in the network because the world is empty. YouTube is now the reverse of that, a sort of lonely world problem.
If a new user uploads a single video odds are if they don’t have a large audience elsewhere (email list, Twitter, a blog) very few people will see the video. You’d have to upload several videos to even give YouTube a fair test. Those videos will also have to be “good” by metrics of quality and entertainment.
This leaves a lot of folks discouraged, so they don’t participate on YouTube as creators. Even a very good one-off video rarely makes a viral hit. For brands, going viral will not lead to marketing success without a lot of other efforts, and for most people, a viral video, without any other content, won’t even give them enough subscribers to have a career.
For brands the production cost of multiple videos and promotions like advertising, media relations, and more make YouTube seem daunting. Particularly given the unfairness of YouTube comments. But still, YouTube is a massive platform, and it’s a shame to waste the opportunity by never uploading or just syndicating commercials or other content people don’t want to watch.
Overall brands would waste less money taking the platform seriously as a marketing channel. Otherwise, it is doomed to fail. You wouldn’t spend $1 on paid media and say it doesn’t work, would you? With YouTube brands and normal people have to invest enough to make success a reasonable chance. To do that,
- Make content not commercials
- Create at least 5 videos and upload them predictably over time
- Promote the videos on other channels (Facebook, Twitter, blog)
- Use paid media to support a launch
How much you’ll need to spend on video production, and promotion is going to depend on a lot of factors. But spending any amount of money without a possibility of success is going to fail.