Marketers have increasingly felt pressure to ‘get on YouTube’ for a number of reasons, and video production agencies themselves are perhaps most guilty of perpetuating these myths as a reason for businesses to invest in video marketing in the first place.
There are certainly many excellent opportunities for businesses large and small to connect with customers on the video sharing site, but be sure you’re doing it for the right reasons and with a proper strategy in place as outlined here at the bottom.
Don’t succumb to the pressure of these top 4 myths on the benefits of YouTube.
The Top 4 Myths of the Benefits of YouTube
1. “It’s the second largest search engine, so you need to be there”
You know what the largest search engine is? It’s Google and, by embedding videos directly on your own website instead by using a professional video hosting platform, you can help your website get found there first without giving any of that sweet ‘SEO juice’ to YouTube.
This myth is a pervasive one, but trying to take advantage of searches being conducted directly on YouTube only works if your content is related to things people are actually searching for there, like ‘how to’ videos and entertainment.
2. “It’s got a built-in audience”
More than 1 billion unique users visit YouTube each month (Instagram, by comparison, is reported to have 200 million monthly active users so it might be tempting to jump on that as well). But the obvious question becomes whether your specific audience is there, and what kind of content they’re looking to consume. Unfortunately, most businesses start with middle or bottom-of-the-funnel content, such as client case studies and product demo videos which don’t perform well on YouTube at all.
With 100 hours of video being uploaded to YouTube every minute, you’ve got a lot of competition. Consider as well that 50% of all YouTube traffic now comes from mobile and whether your content is something viewers will want to consume on their phones.
3. “It’s free”
Professional video hosting solutions such as Wistia start at as little as $25 per month, a small fraction compared to the cost and resources required for producing videos in the first place.
Some of the many benefits with paid solutions include advanced features like email turnstiles, allowing you to capture a viewer’s email address before, during or at the end of a video, something that is hugely important for anyone invested in email marketing. This and other direct calls-to-action are completely measurable, with results reporting to marketing automation platforms.
In other words, there’s an opportunity cost here by not leveraging your video content more effectively.
4. “It can’t hurt”
This one is a popular fallback, the idea being that even if you are using professional hosting for the embedded videos on your website that you may as well upload them to YouTube as well.
When you consider the amount of time required to properly optimize a video for search, and to setup and maintain your channel in the first place, there’s a cost in terms of labour – not doing this means viewers may land on a poorly optimized channel with all of the distractions inherent to the world’s largest host of cat videos. And yet, in competing with your own website in Google search results, you’re decreasing the chances that viewers will land there instead where they are one step closer to a conversion.
YouTube has every interest in keeping viewers on the site to watch more videos, not to help you convert a viewer to your own website. Wouldn’t you rather a viewer land directly on your website instead?
When Should You Use YouTube?
There’s no doubt that YouTube can be a very powerful tool for businesses, but it’s important to think of it as fundamentally a social media network and not simply ‘free’ video hosting. Like any other channel, including Vine, Instagram, or Slideshare, you’ll need to develop a real strategy before getting too deep into tactics and vanity metrics. Are you prepared to build an audience over time by producing an on-going library of content, while engaging with other members of the community?
Another way to leverage that ‘built-in audience’ may be with paid advertising, since YouTube allows you to target viewers with pre-roll ads, not unlike traditional broadcast commercials.
Whatever you do, just don’t believe the hype.
If you’d like to learn more about developing a proper YouTube strategy for your business, contact us for a consultation.