Why Irish marketers need to take a different approach to YouTube

A message to brand marketers and advertising professionals:  I urge you to start thinking differently when approaching your YouTube and advertising allocations.

For millennials in particular, YouTube & VOD is fast becoming a more important media channel than print, radio and importantly, T.V.
Yet, marketers seem to lump YouTube in with digital display, failing to use the unique innovation opportunities available on the platform.

One of the best examples of this, and something which really annoys me, is a brand just placing a T.V. ad into pre roll, with no understanding that the 5 seconds before ‘click to go to video’ are incredibly important – a time when you need to capture users’ attention.

Repurposing television ads on digital platforms such as YouTube just doesn’t work, but we see it all the time. The YouTube audience expects a different digital video experience; one that is more authentic, and frequently instructional. Brands are missing the mark with a television mentality to content.

Throw in the failure from most brands to produce regular, meaningful video content via their channels and the prevalence of staid digital display on the site and you’ve a recipe for failed campaigns and, more worryingly, culturally irrelevant brands.

Consistent publishing of content, and that’s not simply dropping television ads onto your channel on an erratic basis, is critical. Brands tend to produce and publish new content to YouTube far less frequently than popular YouTube vloggers. And yet, it’s the frequent and predictable producers who get both the views and the engagement.

Here are three good examples of simple YouTube innovation that won’t cost the sky and the ground for your brand:

AIB use in-banner digital game

I mentioned in my year wrap up for 2013 that Rothco are doing some really interesting stuff with A.I.B. in the youth banking space, and the brand and agency have come up with another simple, novel and well executed idea. To support the new A.I.B. transfer app campaign, and to accompany an ‘air hockey’ style T.V. ad, a simple YouTube in-banner game was developed. Engaging and illustrative of product intrinsics, it’s a good example of using display in a different way.

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Vice’s constant publishing keeps users coming back for more.

A self styled media brand for milennials, of course YouTube is the perfect platform for Vice to spread its unique brand of ‘gonzo’ journalism. The company, which has recently launched Vice News, accompanies most big stories with unpolished, riveting ‘grassroots’ videos, illustrating to other brands that your videos don’t always have to be perfect.

Other news and media brands like The Verge & ESPN have excellent YouTube channels also, and while most brands won’t have the resource to constantly create video content, there are some lessons to be learned around thinking like a publisher and capturing your brand’s unique culture on video.

Burger King subverts pre roll advertising

A la the individualised advertising popularised by the likes of Tipp-Ex and Old Spice, Burger King produced a series of 64 spots made especially for the medium that is the YouTube pre-roll. Each was tailored to the video the user was about to watch, and made light of the fact that pre-roll is incredibly annoying when you’re trying to get to the good stuff. Great example of a brand understanding its userbase’s disdain for a particular ad genre.


Now, think carefully before you answer this, but how can you evolve your brand’s YouTube strategy? Get in touch if you want some ideas!