With the rise of social video across multiple platforms, you’d be forgiven for falling off the YouTube hype train as of late. It’s one of those channels that is just…there. It’s a part of our life; plain and simple. Not in the way that Facebook is. On YouTube, the vast majority of users consume content, rather than create; and Nielsen’s latest Digital Content Ratings back that up. A recent piece in Think With Google, showed us just how many Australians are turning to YouTube at the moment, and how long they’re hanging around – here’s the download.
Latest figures show that in May this year, 14.7 million Aussies spent an average of 19 hours and 12 minutes per person on YouTube. Now, if you’re reading this I don’t know how easily impressed you get, but those stats are insane. Imagine bingeing through the entirety of the Harry Potter movies, all eight of them. That’s just about how long the AVERAGE was in May 2017.
When talking about why they’re giving up so much time for the old YT, the piece by Google concludes that this is down to three things. Viewers in Australia want possibility, authenticity, and freedom. Sounds like they’ve taken creative license with that one, but beyond the buzzwords what does it mean?
“Possibility” aka Knowledge Is Power
The author writes, “Want to learn how to throw a javelin? Change a tyre? Speak Latin? Chances are, if viewers have a need, YouTube has a video that can teach them everything they need to know. YouTube has democratised knowledge, providing a place where people can watch and learn just about anything they can think of.”
Why does this matter? Brands should be thinking about the utility of their content and the role it plays in a viewer’s life, rather than seeing YouTube through the lens of traditional TV. Are you just advertising showing off a product, or solving a problem? If it’s the latter, you’re in a better position to get the audience on board and stay for longer.
“Authenticity” aka Be Real Son
“One of the study’s participants, Charmaine, age 24, summed it up nicely: ‘I would rather buy Mac makeup from an everyday person than from some skinny person who is being paid thousands to wear it anyway.’ Users want to know what brands stand for—and what it means to identify with a brand.”
Why does this matter? YouTube isn’t another distribution channel, or a place to dump large overproduced TVC’s so that ‘the kids will jive with it’. As much as the large majority of viewers are consumers of content, it’s still an engagement channel and viewers come to fulfil a purpose. They are looking for realness, rawness and honesty. What does your brand stand for and how do you want viewers to feel about it? Be real with yourself and make sure that shines through in your content.
“Freedom” aka Whatever You Want
“On YouTube, users can watch what they want, whenever they want—and skip everything else. They want content that can be worked around their lives, not the other way around. Aussies will only choose to watch things that resonate with them deeply, so making great creative is as important as ever.”
Why does this matter? YouTube is a channel that demands great creative. Unlike other channels which offer a range of ways to reach an audience, the focus on video means it’s usually more expensive to create and therefore more important that you nail it on those first two points. Yes, you can target and amplify using YouTube advertising tools. But crowds are digesting single pieces of content at a time for longer periods than, say, Facebook. It’s not enough to have them see it. Think, what are my audience taking away from this?