Why You Need To Take YouTube Seriously In 2013

Why you need to take YouTube seriously in 2013

If you do a fair amount of reading around social media and online marketing blogs, you’ve probably noticed a lot of people are calling 2013 “the year of the video.”

But let me ask you something first, how do you perceive YouTube? Do you see it as a social network? maybe a search engine?

In case you didn’t know, the #2 search engine in the world is not Bing and it’s not Yahoo. It’s YouTube.

Let’s talk about “Discovery” for a second…

Part of what you do for your business marketing online is trying to increase your digital footprint. You want people to find you. You need to be discovered before people can fall in love with you or your brand.

Still YouTube seems to be underestimated by many both as a search engine and as a social network.

Quick story

I’m currently involved in a project with a website that requires the integration of a couple of third-party services. As you’d expect when dealing with tools that are a bit technical to deal with, you need to rely on some type of training/documentation. One of these services completely fails on educating the user on how to integrate its own platform, the other provides very heavy documentation that is really hard to understand.

I immediately head to YouTube to see if I can find something there and, to my surprise, there are tons of tutorials on how to install, configure and integrate these platforms. Here are my findings:

  • Most of these tutorials are from people that had no relationship with the companies other than having used them
  • I found a guy I can hire to do the work for me, again, no official association
  • For one of the services, I found a way to avoid all this work by installing a simple WordPress plugin
  • For the other, I found a competitor that might even be a better solution

To be honest, I’d rather get this information directly from the company I’m dealing with but, it’s simply not available. And YouTube helped me find the solutions I needed.

The problem

The problem, for these companies anyway… is that they’re failing to leverage YouTube to be discovered and possibly generate new business. Of course the fact that they’re failing to educate their existing clientele is an epic mistake but that’s material for a whole different post.

For others, this is a great opportunity, they get discovered by solving the problem and answering the questions these companies are not. My YouTube search resulted in a guy from outside the company that’s about to get hired and a competitor that I wasn’t even aware of and just became an option.

Forget SEO

The reason we worry about SEO so much is because we want our websites to rank high in search engines so they can be found. The same reason we are present on social media.

But the work you can do on SEO yourself is limited and, as a small business, hiring an SEO company is usually out of the question.

Chances are you are already doing all you can about optimizing for Google.

So what do you do?

Many companies of all sizes adopted blogging instead as a marketing vehicle in the recent years to use content to be discovered in specific niches.

Now you have to take the same approach with YouTube.

YouTube in your content strategy

So here are 11 quick reasons (what do you want… I had 10 reasons and I thought of one more) why you need to consider adding video to your online marketing strategy:

  1. Again, YouTube is the #2 search engine in the world. Why aren’t you there?
  2. Not everybody reads blogs, on YouTube you’re tapping into a possible new audience
  3. YouTube videos are shown on Google results
  4. Video is the best next thing to actual face-to-face interaction and it’s much better to humanize your business than written content
  5. People search YouTube to learn about products and services more than any other social network
  6. Video is easier to communicate and educate your prospects and existing clients around your products
  7. Video is easier to consume than written content
  8. Many of your competitors have no presence on YouTube, but they do on Facebook and Twitter
  9. The opportunities to produce great video quality are reachable to any size budget (even your iPhone can be enough)
  10. Videos, specially YouTube, are widely viewed on all kinds of screens (PC, mobile, tablet)
  11. YouTube videos are super easy to distribute to other social networks and to embed on websites and blogs

Online Video Stats

Comscore published this presentation on Online Video Stats last week.

These numbers are huge. Here are some of the main points you might be interested to know:

  • Online video reaches 85% of the US Internet population. It is the most consumed content format online
  • The number of videos watched online has increased by 800% in the last 6 years
  • YouTube has 153 million unique viewers, that’s almost 100 million more than Facebook
  • YouTube own 48% of the share of content (video views), The second platform is AOL with only 2%
  • Men and women are equally likely to watch videos online

The State of YouTube in 2013 [Infographic]

Lastly, I want to share this infographic with you, ShortyMedia is taking us back to look at the brief history of YouTube. Actually, this February 14 the video platform will be 8 years-old.

It’s cool to look back at some of these events, for example how Google acquired it for $1.65 billion in 2006. Imagine how much YouTube would be worth right now, considering Instagram was sold for a cool billion…

But I want you to take a look at where the platform is today, so you can see the potential for exposing your business to a whole new audience:

  • 800 million monthly unique visitors (Try naming a few websites with that kind of traffic)
  • 72 hours of video are uploaded every minute
  • 4 billion hours of video are viewed every month

The State of YouTube in 2013

How about you?

Are you using video as a way of increasing brand awareness? or to entertain and educate your prospects or existing customers? Or are you planning on doing so in 2013?

I’m sure your business has a Facebook Page and, taking in consideration how hard is becoming to actually reach your own audience, maybe is time to entertain the idea of putting some of that energy and time into a YouTube Channel instead.

Share your thoughts in the comments section!

  • Ari Oliveira

    Another interesting point to think about is that more and more people are watching YouTube videos on mobile devices. Users are going mobile so, it’s getting more important than ever to be there.

  • You’re absolutely right Ari, it would be interesting to see the percentage of mobile views.

    Thanks for your comment.

  • Great article, I’ve found myself constantly using YouTube as a search engine. I remember buying a vacuum recently and during search went immediately to the video results. Seems many brands neglect this area, when simple solutions as you mentioned can be used.

    I also remember a Darren Rowse post about having a conversational tone in content marketing and what better way for a brand to achieve this by actually speaking.

    Your “YouTube In Your Content Strategy” section was well noted. Time to implement more for myself as well.

  • Hey Mario, I’m sure if you do a little research to see how many of your competitors are producing video, you’ll find a nice space there to build a presence.

    I agree with you about the conversational tone, even body language can help communicate better with your audience.

    Thanks for your comment!

  • I get all jazzed about YouTube and then I get distracted on a crazy cat video and then I don’t go back for a month..

  • Andrew Kobylarz

    Agreed, I’m going to start using this tactics with my website. After you had brought up all these statistics about YouTube as the #2 search engine – that was a crazy perspective. Will keep you updating on mow much more traction I can gain by using it Fransisco – great article

  • Daria

    Well done!This article really was eye opening. I may not be on Youtube ( been busy building my site and creating content) but I see everyone else in the world is. The statistics have me wanting to drop everything and head straight to the store to spend money I shouldn’t be spending on a Flip. My niche ethnic hair care is flooded with really bad but popular videos by amateurs. I am so late to the game when it comes to video content, how can I compete? http://www.hairdodaily.com

  • Hey Andrew, it would be great if you come back and share your experience.

    Thanks for stopping by and for your comment. I wish you good luck with the videos!

  • Hey Daria, great comment. Couple of points:

    > Not everybody is on YouTube, the fact that your niche is full of low quality content tells me you have a great opening there if you can bring that value. Maybe your real competitors, the ones with the same possibilities to deliver that content are not there yet

    > If you see these videos are popular is because people are viewing them AND liking them. You compete delivering out-of-this-world value

    > Flip is not a good option, they don’t make them anymore, which means you probably won’t get support if you find one you can buy. I rather use an iPhone than a Flip, believe me, I have both

    > One thing is for sure, you need to explore this possibility, maybe there is an untapped audience for you there

    Thank you and good luck!

  • Patricia Troyer

    Wow! Quite an eye opener and definitely going in my thinking mix. Great article. Shared it on LI, FB. Thanks for the time and energy involved. troyerpatricia@gmail.com

  • We have a channel on youtube which has become a huge part of our business. It has gotten so sophisticated with great analytics that let us know how much of our content is being consumed by mobile users. We love being able to embed playlists on our facebook tabs. Great content that updates itself. Check out our “Indie Rights Learning” tab at http://www.facebook. com/nelsonmadisonfilms.

  • Georgie K

    It’s never too late, you just have to get creative. Be a guerilla!

  • sandeep dubey

    Hey..Thanks a lot for bringing this to our notice

  • sandeep dubey

    I have been associated with this company since a considerable amount of time
    http://www.techspica.co.uk/ looking out for such information for long.

  • Marie Sardalla-Davis

    Thanks for your informative article, Francisco. I sent my boss a link to it to persuade her to let me use our company’s YouTube account to its fullest potential. We’re a ballroom and Latin dance studio, and you’d think it would’ve occurred to us much sooner just what a perfect fit YouTube is for our marketing strategy!

  • I’ve noticed that when I view mobile video that people have posted directly onto Facebook as opposed to a link on YouTube, there is a significant lag in buffering. As a result I am starting to skip a lot of the direct uploads on Facebook (when on the phone).
    What can I say… YouTube has a nice back-end?

  • Great post! I am not too familiar with YouTube, but I will look into it for sure!

  • Thank you Adam, great point and I absolutely agree with you, I’ve noticed the same thing.

  • Hey Marie, Yes! what a great opportunity. You know, sometimes I talk to businesses where it’s kind of hard to find the right angle to make a connection between the audience and the products/services, how can you be sustainable entertaining and educational? But it feels like in your case it’s the perfect fit.

    I hope your boss gives you the green light =)

    Thanks for your comment!

  • Thanks for sharing your experience Linda, I promise to check it out.

  • This is a great article, but I disagree with one thing you said. You are saying that you’d “rather get this information directly from the company I’m dealing with but, it’s simply not available” when talking about what companies and information you can find on YouTube. However, I’d seriously doubt that you’d find “a competitor that might even be a better solution” directly from the company you are dealing with. Don’t you think?

  • Jo Moffatt

    What are your thoughts on professionally produced videos opposed to ‘homemade’ videos? We are a veterinary hospital and I am thinking of having a professional company to shoot a 60 second promotional video and buying a camera for in-house everyday videos. Any recommendations for cameras?

  • Hey Jo,

    I love your question and here is why. We often advice people to get started and don’t get hung up on perfectionism, that serves its purpose in some cases. It’s the same thing for starting a blog but, the truth is that design is important, images are important, the font you use, how you position elements, your calls to action… you get the point.

    By making a little investment to get a decent camera and a set of lights, you will be able to produce much better video, of course there are other aspects of video like optimizing for SEO, editing and other things but the point is this: Do everything you can to increase your chances for better performance, whatever your goal is. Better video does make a difference, just like good design makes a difference on a website.

    I’m not talking about something crazy, I have a Nikon D5100 (decent) and a set of lights I purchased for about $179 (I’ll add the link at the bottom). I’m by no means a professional in the subject and is not my intention to become one but that equipment and some basic knowledge is enough to put out nice HD video.

    Also, don’t underestimate the iPhone, with the right settings and light you might be surprised with the results.

    I hope this helps, feel free to ask other stuff if you want and, most importantly, do come back to share your experience. Good luck!

    Here is the link for the lights:

  • Thank you Patricia, I’m glad it was helpful.

  • Wow! I so needed to read this post today. I have a YouTube Channel that I post to once every week or two. Given how difficult it is to increase one’s audience size on Facebook, I think I need to be re-directing my FB time to more video production… Thanks for the eye opener!

  • I adore YouTube and have been posting videos for the past year. While my views/traffic is starting to pick up, I still cannot master it – I really want my videos to go “viral” (or at least some what) but it’s so hard!!! 🙁

  • Just saying… EdgeRank is getting harder and harder to beat, if you pay attention to how many people you reach compared to your actual fans, it’s pretty crazy.

    How are you currently doing on YouTube?

    Thanks for your comment Tamara, I’m glad you’re here =)

  • Social media specialist

    I love youtube, each time a post a video and put the tags in place within three days I am on page one of google, more and more people should be considering youtube… and dont worry about it being perfect, get out there and just do it

  • Thanks for sharing your experience =)

  • GiGi,

    Trying to get your videos to go viral is probably not the right goal to aim for, getting your video in front of the right audience should be key for your business. Any business.

  • mrk1011

    Although posting a video through YouTube does seem like a great and innovative way to establish your brand and connect with different consumers, is there any suggestion on what type of videos companies should be posting? Should different companies/businesses/brands resort to different types of YouTube videos (i.e. instructional, interview, music, etc.) to create their brand, or is there a common type, or does it even matter at all?

  • mrk1011

    Although posting a video through YouTube does seem like a great and innovative way to establish your brand and connect with different consumers, is there any suggestion on what type of videos companies should be posting? Should different companies/businesses/brands resort to different types of YouTube videos (i.e. instructional, interview, music, etc.) to create their brand, or is there a common type, or does it even matter at all?

    Mary Rose K., Freeman School of Business

  • santosh sharma

    great article…..

  • It’s a good question, and of course the answer is that it depends on the kind of service you offer…

    That being said, I think the most effective content, not just for YouTube but in general is to provide education around the problem you solve in the industry. For example, if you were a surf board manufacturer, you will provide education and quick tricks for surfing as the core and then showcase your products and cool events happening in the industry.

    Then I would even get out a little, like adding music to the mix.

  • Thank you!

  • Thank you for that, it’s very true. Of course that’s what I want, but I also want to entertain as many people as humanly possible 😉

  • Carlin Haidinger

    I think this is such an important platform that businesses should be focused on and integrate into their content strategy this year. Consumers love how-to videos and tutorials about projects and if businesses took advantage of this platform, the numbers alone show that YouTube would be beneficial for their business. Great post!

  • Rebecca Hennelly

    I know as a college student YouTube is a constant part of my
    day, whether it is for music, tutorials on subjects I don’t understand in
    class, or projects I have to do for
    courses. The amount that a brand can do with YouTube is unlimited, whether it
    is interactive competitions with the audience or viral video ads.

    Rebecca Hennelly
    Tulane University Student

  • Kangkang Huang

    I totally agree with your ideas. I did not use Youtube that much until I realized that Youtube was really helpful. I now use it for classes and products’ informations. It’s just so easy to understand! I then started thinking on the marketing side. I guess more companies will use it if there is a cost&benefit analysis showing the benefits Youtube brings outweigh the cost of making videos.

    Kangkang Huang
    Tulane University Student

  • Chelsea Adams

    I would have never thought of Youtube as a search engine before. The part about the video tutorials really stood out to me. If I ever google how to use or how to do something, the first thing I click on is the Youtube video tutorials that pop up. Like you said, no one wants to read the blogs that companies post, or those long lists of instructions when there is a short tutorial video right in front of you that will be just as helpful. I think that companies should start taking advantage of this. Since most companies are hiring people to be in charge of their social media sources, using Youtube could be another task added to that job description.

  • Because I use YouTube so much, I know how important it is. But I’m having that age-old problem… waiting for the right time to get started. For now, a lot of ideas just stay put in my note-taking app.

    The reasons you listed are definitely motivation though. I’m not a big fan of cameras. But once I get over that, I think YouTube will be very beneficial to both me and my blog readers. The topics I want to discuss just aren’t subjects young adults (my audience) would want to read about. But it’s important that they know these things in the “real world.” So video is the simple-but-not-so-simple solution.

    I’m on board to make 2013 the year I get going with my blog’s channel on YouTube !

  • Great post, thanks Francisco. But do you have any insights or advice on how to tackle tags or keywords for your videos?

  • Great infographic and totally agree about YouTube. Thanks.

  • Daniela Jones

    I favor YouTube as a search engine. The way the YouTube
    viewing page is set up, with a column of videos related to the one being
    watched, you barely have to do any searching, the information comes to you. The
    great thing about video is that it educates and entertains. Twitter is proof
    that our society values information that is easily attained. I see the future
    value of a business transitioning from blogs to videos.

    Daniela Jones
    Tulane University Student

  • Great article. Love your infographics. Any thoughts on channel content. I think related content sharing important as well. What do you think?

  • I agree that good lighting will be your best investment.

    Be careful about getting too hung up on perfection though, as something that looks too polished will be easily brushed over by the reader as “just another piece of marketing material” and bypassed for a review that seems “more authentic” ie. a viewpoint more similar to their own. That said, I don’t think you should ever be sloppy, but just make sure you have a human element / personality in it that can be identified with by the people you are reaching out to.

  • This is a great article, thanks!

  • We started a channel on YouTube called the Party Ideas Incubator and it is viewed by our target customers which generates new enquiries. This proves the effectiveness of YouTube for business. BTW, the infographics (as mentioned below) are more useful than paragraphs of text.

  • Melanieais

    Great article, thank you … Lots of work to do!

  • Karsten Wolf

    Hi Francisco, do you have any source for the “YouTube is the second largest search engine” quote? I searched for this, but I could not find any reference on the net but some presentations, where people claim without backing data, that YouTube ist the second largest search engine. Granted, by Alexa unique monthly visitors, YouTube is the second most visited website behind Google itself (900 mio users vs. 1 billion, Facebook at 800 mio).

  • Francisco you really need to rename this post. Just remove 2013. 🙂 It’s still relevant and i want to share it. 🙂

  • I think you’re right, good call. Thanks!