Understanding the True Value of Your Customers
August 15, 2012
An Introduction to Social Media Strategy
January 21, 2013

YouTube What?

Yeah I get it, no one’s really asking this question anymore. YouTube is used by people from around the globe, and in just a few short years, has become a big piece of our popular culture. That’s why it’s shocking to see so many businesses ignore this valuable marketing tool, even in 2012. To be clear, I’m not talking about paid advertisements on YouTube. I’m talking about creating videos for your business. I’ll begin by demonstrating the value YouTube can provide to your business. And if you’d like to give YouTube marketing a try, I’ve also included several simple strategies that will help increase the likelihood of your success. Let’s begin.

I’ve provided two lists below. The first one lists the 10 most watched television programs of all-time. The second one lists the 10 most viewed YouTube videos of all-time. I’d like to invite you to review both lists and make some comparisons between the two. The results will probably surprise you, but they should also help you to visualize YouTube’s popularity and its impact on our world.

Most Watched Television Programs of All-Time*

  1. Super Bowl XLVI (2012): (111,300,000 viewers)
  2. Super Bowl XLV (2011): (111,000,000 viewers)
  3. Super Bowl XLIV (2010): (106,500,000 viewers)
  4. M*A*S*H series finale (1983): (106,000,000 viewers)
  5. Super Bowl XLIII (2009): (98,700,000 viewers)
  6. Super Bowl XLII (2008): (97,500,000 viewers)
  7. Super Bowl XXX (1996): (94,100,000 viewers)
  8. Super Bowl XLI (2007): (93,200,000 viewers)
  9. Cheers series finale (1993): (93,100,000 viewers)
  10. Super Bowl XXVII (1998): (91,000,000 viewers)

Most Viewed YouTube Videos of All-Time**

  1. Justin Bieber – Baby ft. Ludacris: (781,148,744 views)
  2. Jennifer Lopez – On The Floor ft. Pitbull: (598,468,992 views)
  3. Eminem – Love The Way You Lie ft. Rihanna: (497,299,572 views)
  4. Waka Waka (This Time for Africa): (493,002,133 views)
  5. Lada Gaga – Bad Romance: (487,112,068 views)
  6. LMFAO – Party Rock Anthem ft. Lauren …: (483,878,686 views)
  7. Charlie bit my finger – again !: (482,311,920 views)
  8. Michel Telo – Ai Se Eu Te Pego – Oficial: (434,800,726 views)
  9. Don Omar – Danza Kuduro ft. Lucenzo: (387,760,470 views)
  10. Eminem – Not Afraid: (362,295,566 views)

Sources: http://www.buddytv.com/articles/the-voice/super-bowl-xlvi-is-the-most-wa-43819.aspx; http://www.youtube.com/charts

Okay, okay, I can hear you loud and clear: “Views and viewers are different Josh. You can’t just compare them side-by-side in the lists above.” Well, there is some truth to what you’re saying. Views and viewers are different metrics, but in reality, they’re not that different. Actually they’re quite similar. Here’s the main reason why. Most Super Bowl viewers only watch the Super Bowl once. Measuring only one view-per-viewer essentially turns a viewer into a view. Think about it. Now, consider the results of our comparison. It’s obvious that YouTube is immensely popular.

So YouTube is popular. Now what? Well, you’re probably well aware of the high correlation between “popularity” and “value,” particularly when it comes to advertising. To better understand this relationship, I’ve created an over simplified equation to review:

popularity = value

So I’m not really saying that YouTube is popular. What I’m really saying is that YouTube has the potential of offering a lot of value to advertisers. But this raises an important question. How much value? Let’s see if we can figure out the answer to our question using the information from above. Remember, the metrics in both lists are slightly different, so our results won’t be perfect, but we should get pretty close.

Calculating Value

According to our first list, the most watched television program of all-time was Super Bowl XLVI, with 111,300,000 viewers. Because advertisers expected such a big audience to be tuned in, a 30 second ad played during the game cost an astounding $3,500,000. By comparison, the most viewed YouTube video of all time, Justin Bieber – Baby ft. Ludacris, has received 781,148,744 views as of the end of September. That’s 7 times the viewership of Super Bowl XLVI.* All things being equal, it’s logical to expect that 7 times the viewership costs approximately 7 times the price in ad time. And that’s not all. Something else also needs to be considered. Justin Bieber’s video isn’t 30 seconds long; it’s 3 minutes and 45 seconds long. That’s 7.5 times the duration of a Super Bowl ad. And if you really want to get technical, you can even subtract out the number of television viewers that didn’t watch any Super Bowl commercials, but we won’t do that here. Now we can calculate the value this YouTube video has added to Justin Bieber’s brand.

Step 1: Calculate Price-Per-Viewer

$3,500,000/111,300,000 Super Bowl Viewers = $0.31

Step 2: Locate the Number of YouTube Views

781, 148,744

Step 3: Calculate the Time Multiple

3 minutes and 45 seconds/30 seconds = 7.5

Step 4: Put It Altogether


Wow!! Justin’s YouTube video has added an astounding $181,617,082.98 in value to his brand. Think about it. Justin is clearly not using this video to sell anything, or wait a minute…is he? Sure he is. No one is paying to watch Justin’s video on YouTube, but he’s hoping a percentage of viewers will eventually buy his CD or download his music (legally that is).

*Assumes that each YouTube view is unique and that each Super Bowl viewer watched the game once.

Hopefully you found my example compelling, but many of you are still probably unconvinced. Maybe you’re saying: “Come on Josh. You’ve just shown us the top 10 most viewed YouTube videos of all-time. A typical YouTube video doesn’t get near that much attention.” Well again, you’re absolutely right. But to strengthen my case, I’ve listed 10 very compelling facts below that speak to everyone, not just the YouTube celebrities and noted personalities:

  1. Over 800 million unique visitors go to YouTube each month. This is even more shocking if you take it one step further. By dividing the number of unique visitors by the world’s total population, you’ll discover that over 10% of Earth’s population visits YouTube each month.
  2. Over 4 billion hours of YouTube video is watched every month. That’s 34 minutes and 25 seconds for each person on Earth or 5 hours for each monthly YouTube visitor.
  3. YouTube had more than 1 trillion aggregate views in 2011. For you number jockeys, that’s roughly 143 views for each person on Earth and over 2.7 billion views every day of the week.
  4. YouTube viewers subscribe to millions of YouTube channels every day. So what is a YouTube Channel? A YouTube channel is a lot like a television channel, only it exists on YouTube. YouTube channels give visitors more discretion, more information, and just about anyone can own one, or two, or three, or more.
  5. YouTube is now available on approximately 350 million devices worldwide. If you’re counting, that’s a lot of devices.
  6. YouTube’s mobile traffic tripled in 2011. That translates to more than 20% of YouTube’s total use. I wonder where this number will be in 5 years?
  7. Approximately 500 years of YouTube video is watched every day on Facebook. That’s half a millennium each and every day of the week.
  8. Over 700 YouTube videos are shared on Twitter each minute. That’s approximately 11.5 videos per second.
  9. Around 100 million people respond (i.e. like, share, comment, etc.) to a YouTube video each week. That’s nearly 10,000 responses every minute of the day.
  10. YouTube “likes” and “dislikes” are up approximately 100% since the beginning of 2011. On average, for each dislike a video receives, approximately 10 likes are given.

Source: http://www.youtube.com/t/press_statistics

These statistics blow me away, and the numbers are only going to get bigger as time goes on. Nearly every business has the ability to utilize YouTube. And the barriers to entry aren’t as big as you might think they are. At the most basic level, all you need is a camera phone and something meaningful to say. For those interested, I’ve included 10 simple promotional strategies for your YouTube video and 3 basic behaviors you’ll want to encourage in the next two sections.

10 Video Optimization Strategies

Okay, you’ve shot a video, and had time to edit it. Now it’s time to optimize it. These 10 strategies will help you stay relevant to your targeted keywords and viewers both.

  1. Content: As they say in SEO, “content is king.” The same can be said for video. Make sure you have an awesome video with awesome content. You can test this by asking yourself this question: “By uploading this video to YouTube, am I providing unique value to the web?” If your answer is yes, you’ve got an awesome video. Be careful not to turn it into a sales presentation. YouTubers are too smart for that. Instead of pitching your products in your video, focus on building your brand.
  2. Raw Video: Name your raw video file either a keyword or your brand name before you upload it to YouTube (i.e. netmark-intro.mov)
  3. Video Settings:
    1. Select an appropriate category that best describes the content and nature of your video
    2. Privacy Setting: Public (This allows YouTube visitors to search and view your video)
    3. License and Rights Ownership: Standard YouTube License (your other option, creative commons, allows others to reuse your video—this is really up to you)
    4. Syndication: Everywhere (Why limit your potential audience?)
    5. If you want viewers to engage with your video, then allow users to: Comment, Vote on Comments, View Ratings
    6. Enable Embedding (Allows others to embed your video on 3rd party websites)
    7. Add a Video Date and Location (If possible, use your business address)
  4. Video Title: Create a clever title for your video. Make sure to include keywords and your brand if there’s room. Your video’s title should be written for your targeted audience, not everyone, and especially not for the search engines. REMEMBER: If you don’t have a compelling title, very few people will click on your video listing.
  5. Video Description: Create a detailed description for your video. Again, don’t forget to mention your keywords and brand in your description. This is also a good place to add links to your website, Google+ profile, Facebook profile, Twitter profile, etc.
  6. Video Tags: Add relevant tags to your video. Again, make sure to include your keywords and brand here, but don’t over do it. Too many tags look spammy. You may want to include common derivatives of your keywords here.
  7. Video Transcription: It’s always best if you can upload your own transcript. If you let YouTube do it, there’s a chance they’ll get it wrong. It’s also preferable that you mention your keywords and brand in your video for added relevance.
  8. Video Annotations: Annotations are another great place for your keywords and brand, and if you’re like me, it’s also a great place to correct content errors or provide additional clarification.
  9. Video Thumbnail: Pick the thumbnail you think is best with your video, your brand, and your message. YouTube users will see your video’s thumbnail to the left of the title and description in YouTube’s video search results.
  10. Basic Promotion:
    1. Embed your video on your website or blog
    2. Scour the web for potential linking partners
    3. Distribute your video to 3rd party websites
    4. Tell all your family and friends about your video (use email, social media, telephone, etc.)

3 Behaviors You’ll Want to Encourage

Engagement is the lifeblood of your video. If possible, encourage your viewers to engage with your video or channel in the following ways:

  1. Direct Responses: Likes, Comments, Video Responses, Add to Playlists, Add to Favorites, Email Shares, Subscriptions
  2. Social Shares: Similar to “direct responses,” 3rd party social shares (i.e. through Facebook, Twitter, etc.) helps YouTube gage the quality of your video. You should be the one kicking off the social sharing.
  3. Video Backlinks: External backlinks pass PageRank to your video. PageRank has a strong correlation with search engine rankings. Encourage viewers to link to your video.

Thanks for reading. If you’re feeling brave enough to try some YouTube marketing, remember the basic strategies discussed above. And let me know how you do, I’d love to hear about your experience. Best of luck!

Written by:
Josh Dalton
CEO, Netmark.com