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YouTube Really Wants You To Subscribe

YTSubscribeYouTube has hit the streets this month with advertising urging passersby to subscribe to some of its top creators. This is one of the first major physical ad campaigns pushed by the video streaming service specifically promoting channels. New Yorkers have started spotting ads like the giant one pictured left in NoHo as well as in the subway. And YouTube ads are planned to make their way to other cities as well as network TV.

So why does this matter? Well, for one thing, a major push by a mostly internet-based company like YouTube into the “real-world” is something to watch. Although the ads boast multi-million subscriber numbers, most people probably don’t know who these internet “celebrities” are. Likewise, most casual YouTube users don’t even subscribe. The majority of users still rely on the platform simply as a search-and-discover tool. And therein lies the impact of this campaign.

YouTube has been pushing the importance of subscription to both creators and users for some time now. Most recently, YouTube’s Head of Entertainment, Alex Carloss, made a compelling speech on the topic driving home the value of engaging a devoted returning fan base rather than a casual audience. The exact impact that subscribers have on views is still largely debated, but the concept points to a larger shift by YouTube. Deciding to pair a physical ad campaign with major channels and subscription has a feel more akin to network TV. Getting these brands and channels out in the open provides a new level of exposure to channels that normally rely solely on rabid internet sharing for promotion.

It’ll be interesting to see what the impact of this bold move will be on these channels and YouTube as a whole. Though it’s not exactly a complete game changer, it’s interesting to see an apparent shift in user behavior that YouTube may be looking for. This doesn’t necessarily mean you should change what you’re currently doing on YouTube, but you may want to push more focus toward subscribers to see if there’s an impact on your channel. For a quick way to rope in more subs, try enabling your channel’s In-Video Programming settings to ad subscribe links to your channel. See you on the subway ride home, YouTube!

How, Why, and When to Advertise Your Stuff

via Reddit's Ad Pitch DeckDeciding to spend money to increase awareness of your project is a big decision. You’ve probably already spent a ton of money creating your art and the idea of spending again may be anathema to you. You may have already gathered the funds for a large-scale media purchase and are ready to go. I don’t know this and have no supernatural powers. I’m just writing a blog post for The Daily Rind and trying to help.

Managing our clients’ and our internal advertising budgets, I’ve seen the gamut of situations in which advertising could be useful and have executed campaigns. I’ve found that a step-by-step thought-process prevents one from completely blowing it. Completely blowing it can mean wasted money or a project no one knows about. This is my process and the one I recommend to others.

  1. Define your goals – What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to grow awareness, or drive those that are already aware to a place to purchase?
  2. Define your message – What is the message you want to deliver? Go through the process of creating a simple sentence “Promote the new video duh!” is not good. Your message is something like “Watch this video and learn more about this artist.”
  3. Research your fans and potential fans – Who should receive this message? You may not know who your fans are as much as you think you do. Even if you’re the label, you can lack perspective. You have no objectivity and that’s normal. Rely on data and numbers to combat your definite bias. Use tools such as Facebook Insights. Pay special attention to the “People” tab. Those are the ones who engage with your page. Some people are lazy and just Like pages they do not plan to engage with. The “People” tab shows you who the engaged fans are; the people who will buy your stuff. You may also find tools like Google AnalyticsBeluga (free), Next Big Sound, Musicmetric, and others handy. Create useful names for the different segments: “18 – 24 year old bros in Arizona who love action sports” or “Hipsters that pirate your stuff in Silverlake.” All of this is valuable if you create segments that mean something to you.
  4. Identify your targets – Who do you want to receive the message based on your research? Maybe you’ve found that your audience is “75 – 85 year old vagrants with an iPod touch and Starbucks WiFi.” This is not an audience that is worth your hard-earned, borrowed, or stolen ad dollars. If your goal is to create awareness for a video, even though most of your audience are these vagrants, you should target the small part of your audience that is of a demographic using the platform on which your video is published. If your budget is limited, you should focus first on the fans most likely to purchase and only go outside of that fan-base after you’ve given the core fan-base every opportunity to give you money. They can be best targeted through tracking pixels from third parties such as Google, Facebook, or The Trade Desk.
  5. Devise your strategies – In what voice do you want to deliver your message? What’s your angle? Are you enticing people with a free track?
  6. Decide which tactics you will use – What tactics will you employ to execute the strategy? Video? Search Ad? Retargeting Landing Page visitors with banners? Asking a question in a promoted post? Leveraging memes such as Doge (such link. so lol)?
  7. Identify the platforms / technology you will use – Where will you deploy your tactics? Facebook? Google Search? Bing Search? LinkedIn? Banner inventory on the coolest sites? Video inventory?
  8. Execute your campaign – Double-check everything. A misspelling or typo can be absolutely devastating to your cause. You don’t want that. We don’t want that. Deploy your campaign at hours of peak traffic for your audience, strategy, tactic, and platform. This may mean that you deploy each part at a different time.
  9. Optimize your campaign – Don’t just let it sit there spending your money. Constantly optimize. What’s working? What’s not? Don’t be alarmed by lower click-through-rates (CTR) on banner ads than you see on Search ads. Banners are about impressions and you are billed per impression. Search is about clicks and you are billed per click.
  10. Recap your campaign – Even if you are doing your own digital advertising, you should do this step. Create a document that is an overview of the campaign. You will find nuggets of information in this document that you will not find by just looking at numbers on the platforms.
  11. Learn from your campaign – After you have created this document ask yourself if it was a success. Go back to your goals. Did your video get more views than they would have without it? Did your Facebook page see a higher rate of engagement? What would you do differently next time?

Spending money to promote your work is a big deal and it’s worth your time to go through this process to make sure you don’t completely blow it. I’d love to answer any questions (no centaur questions) or address any feedback so do not hesitate to comment.

The Complexity of the YouTube Advertising Market

January 15, 2014 YouTube No Comments

For many artists and labels, YouTube has become a nice source of additional revenue. However, it’s very difficult to make any type of accurate revenue projections. The YouTube advertising market is complex, changes rapidly over time, and isn’t based on a per-unit cost in the same way as a Spotify or iTunes. Season, territory, content performance, and content value to advertisers all play a part.

Seasonally, the ad market across the internet, including YouTube, typically starts each quarter lower than the previous quarter ended. Revenue generally increases from January to December of each year, with the largest drop in revenue coming between December and January of the new year. Unlike the holiday gift card trend on iTunes, for instance, you can expect revenue from YouTube to drop dramatically from December to January.

Territory has an effect as well. If we were to look at two channels with similar content but audiences in two different countries–say the U.S. and Germany–we’d likely see vastly different CPMs and revenue. Channel A is focused on the U.S. where advertisers generally pay more, and Channel B is based in Germany, where they can’t even monetize their music content. So even if the channels have about the same number of videos, subscribers, and views, they’ll likely make very different earnings. Recommendation: keep an eye out for standout countries that may show surprising stats, like Belize or San Marino, and find out why and what you can do to capitalize on them.

Content performance, measured by watch time and audience retention, also plays a part. YouTube’s algorithms tend to reward quality content (i.e. high watch time) with better paying ads. The appeal of the content to advertisers is also a factor. If the content reaches a specific audience that’s of value to an advertiser, they’re likely to pay more to reach that audience. NOTE: This doesn’t mean that you should alter the type of content you produce in hopes of reaching would-be advertisers. Focus on producing quality content for your audience and the rest will fall into place.

YouTubing For Businesses

January 6, 2014 YouTube No Comments

WillItBlendYouTube isn’t just for the entertainment industry and home movie enthusiasts. Businesses are getting creative by harnessing its power to reach customers. Video for businesses can mean a lot more than advertising. Used the right way, YouTube could get a product or service in front of new customers and keep them coming back for more.

Possibly the most entertaining example of this is Blendtec’s YouTube series, Will it Blend?. As the name suggests, episodes test the power of Blendtec’s products by blending various objects. The genius of this series is in their choice of objects to blend. Each time a major device comes to market (for example, a new iPhone), Blendtec is the first to get its hands on it and blend it to bits. Imogen Heap even enlisted the help of Blendtec to blend together meaningful objects tied to the recording and promotion of her new album. This brilliant use of tent-pole programming appeals to what viewers are already searching for and gets the company’s product in front of a huge audience. Even if viewers might not particularly be in the market for a new blender, they’re certainly going to think of Blendtec when they are.

Maybe less entertaining but equally as effective is Williams-Sonoma’s appetizing YouTube channel. The kitchenware company sells a huge variety of top-of-the-line kitchen appliances and gadgets. Using their YouTube channel to showcase featured items has given Williams-Sonoma a great opportunity to show their products in action. Let’s say I’ve stumbled upon a video featuring their new waffle maker. Not only do they show the product, but they also show you how to use it and how to make a delicious food item at the same time. So now that I’m dying for a waffle maker, I’ve got a head start and know just where to buy one.

YouTubing for businesses isn’t only limited to kitchen items. Companies like Troy Lee Designs have come up with creative ways to include the physical space of their store, showing off cool products at the same time. The motocross race shop sells everything from helmets to hardware and has a facility that begs a visit. To show it all off, they decided to have InsiderMX swing by and fly a GoPro strapped to an RC helicopter through the shop. This point-of-view perspective gives viewers a glimpse of what the shop is about and urges them to swing by to see it for themselves.

Thinking out of the box can really give businesses an edge. A creative YouTube channel can help level with potential customers and give them an honest view into what a company is about. Whether it’s a sense of humor with any given product or a hands-on demonstration, incorporating YouTube can help businesses reach a potentially huge audience. Entertaining viewers this way gives them something to remember — without having to beg for a sale.

YouTube Ads Your Way with Fan Finder

November 19, 2013 YouTube No Comments

FanFinderYouTube made big strides this week in its efforts to drive subscribers to channels. With its new Fan Finder, YouTube is empowering creators to expand their audience while helping viewers find new content to enjoy. The tool allows channel owners to create an ad to represent their brand and channel. YouTube will show the video as a TrueView pre-roll ad to viewers who’s viewing behavior indicate they may be interested in that channel. A big win-win for both creators and viewers.

Fan Finder should prove to be a valuable asset for both newly launched channels as well as those looking to reach more fans. By matching channel ads with similar content, YouTube is giving channels an opportunity to reach a larger audience at no cost to them, allowing creators to showcase their brand in a unique way. Remember that these ads are skippable after five seconds, so make sure the video you use will have an impact in that timeframe. Check out YouTube’s best practices for Fan Finder to get some tips. You can also track your efforts by visiting Fan Finder under Channel Settings and clicking the “Analytics” button for your ads. Pay close attention to subscriber growth once your ad goes live — those are your most engaged viewers!

This type of advertising also introduces an interesting dynamic in viewer behavior and engagement. Instead of watching advertising for products and services, viewers will now start to see ads directing them toward more YouTube content. As a viewer, you may be more likely to discover new content and come back for more. For YouTube, this means more viewers using the platform for longer amounts of time. Extending the reach of its channels ultimately means more opportunity to grow viewership network-wide. Fans may start exploring more of the platform as Fan Finder ads guide them from channel to channel.

The most exciting part may just be what types of ads YouTube creators will come up with. Have a cool idea? Try it out on your own channel! Follow these steps to get started:

  1. Head over to YouTube.com/Fan_Finder
  2. Make sure you’re logged into your channel
  3. Click “Select Your Channel Ad”
  4. You’ll be asked to accept the terms of the program (don’t worry, YouTube won’t take your first-born)
  5. Select any public video from your channel as your ad — it should take about a week to run following YouTube’s reviewal process

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