YouTube is experiencing unprecedented momentum as a platform for brands to connect with a vast and engaged audience. Maile Carnegie, Google’s Australia & NZ MD told the audience at Sydney’s Brandcast event last night: “This is only the beginning.”
The biggest news to come out of the evening was the confirmation of a partnership for 2015 between media agency group GroupM and Google Preferred – an advertising initiative aimed at creating a premium pool of ad space on Google’s YouTube.
“It’s become clear to us at GroupM that YouTube has seen rocket-propelled growth and engagement from audiences online. At GroupM, our clients expect us to be ahead of shifts in media and consumer behaviour, they expect us to lead the market with the right solutions for today,” stated Danny Bass, chief intelligence officer at GroupM.
“The upfront commitment that GroupM made means that they will have the first opportunity to reserve some of our top content on YouTube and the unique ability to geo & demo target against this content,” explained Carnegie.
Lucas Watson, vice president for global brand solutions and innovations at Google told the audience that media companies are beginning to take notice of YouTube’s influence with many of them investing significant capital into YouTube creators in a bid to drive further growth.
“Globally, advertisers will spend more to promote their brands online this year than broadcast TV. On YouTube, the top 500 brands grew their paid and earned views by more than 70% versus a year ago,” said Watson.
Examples of brand investment in YouTube includes a deal earlier this year where Disney bought multi-channel YouTube network, Maker Studios for close to $1 billion. Major studio DreamWorks Animation also purchased AwesomenessTV, a YouTube sketch-comedy series.
“This momentum feeds off itself. Brands advertise and support the platform, creators start to make better and better content, which attracts passionate fans and bigger and bigger audiences.
“We’re working in a golden age of brand building. There probably has never been a better time to be a marketer and YouTube offers brands creative freedom that’s not shackled by the constraints of a 30 second TV spot,” added Watson
He referenced the success of the six minute short film by Johnny Walker titled The Gentleman’s Wager.
“It was great entertainment but also incredible brand building,” said Watson.
Following Volvo’s Epic Spilt, which won Titanium at Cannes, Watson said: “46% of the buyers who saw this advertising said they’re more likely to buy a volvo truck the next time.”
“We dream that YouTube will be a place where you can unlock your brand story like never before,” he said.
YouTube is also capitalising on the success of its talent. Young YouTubers who’ve risen to stardom thanks to the platform have become marketing tools for many brands.
18-year-old YouTube vlogger, Bethany Mota has built an audience of more than 7.5 million subscribers on her channel. She uploads videos of outfits, makeup and hair tutorials, recipes, and do it yourself ideas, the success of which, landed her a Teen Choice Award for Best Web Star. Mota spoked at the Brandcast event stressing that point that YouTube has the power to build authentic and engaged connections with an audience. Her online recognition led to her partnership with American fashion retailer Aeropostale, and she has launched her own fashion label with the brand. Her label pulled the flailing retailer out of the red delivering $50 million in profit in just a few months.
Troye Sivan, a 19-year-old Perth boy also resides in YouTube-celebrity-status ranks. With just shy of 3 million subscribers, Sivan, a singer-songwriter and actor has struck a deal with BBC 1 radio to host his own show.
“I think the BBC latched onto the fact that they can reach a new audience by offering shows to various YouTubers,” Sivan told the audience at Brandcast.
The single – Happy Little Pill – from his EP, TRXYE – went to number one in 58 countries. “YouTube has been such a great platform to reach people and basically live my dreams,” said Sivan.
And before you start feeling like an unproductive failure, the 19-year-old who was listed as one of Time Magazine’s most influential teenagers will also be starring in a film alongside acclaimed English comedian, John Cleese. “Yeah, it’s pretty exciting,” he said.
Since the start of this year, Aussies have contributed more than 40 million new channel subscriptions on YouTube and Brad Cramb, the CMO at Toyota said at the Brandcast event: “YouTube is a platform that delivers scale comparable to broadcast, enables us to tell a more engaging brand story through long form content, can help us win in brand, win in retail and win in engagement. No other platform gives us this kind of reach, this kind of interactivity, to distribute our content, remain relevant and to engage our audiences.”