One of marketers’ latest demands is brand safety. Who wants their advertising next to inappropriate videos or user comments online?
Brand safety is one of the factors driving the emerging trend of keeping your content in an application or your own social video site instead of ceding control to YouTube.
Ellen DeGeneres’ daytime chat show has done just this with the launch of ellentube, a web site and app. It features extra show content and is designed to encourage fans to upload their own user-generated content. The daytime TV show averages three million viewers. But this pales into insignificance compared with the show’s 34 million Twitter followers and 3 billion video views on YouTube to date.
Capitalising on this huge reach, ellentube can now attract advertisers and sponsors who want guarantees that their family-friendly advertising accompanies appropriate content.
One of the risks with YouTube and other similar sites with such volumes of content is that although adult videos are in theory only available to those 18 and over, any child can claim to be over 18. And even content that appears family-friendly might be a troll that leads viewers to external sites or feature user comments spewing bile.
To quote Ellen when launching the site on the show “If you accidentally type in a word wrong, you are not going to stumble upon something that’s… bad or mean or… you know how that can happen. Everything on the site is fun, nothing is mean spirited.”
Another compelling argument for a brand to offer its own social video site, in addition to its YouTube channel, is the ability to keep creative control, not to mention the ability to save on the 45% cut that YouTube takes on advertisements.
Social Video Portals – a look to the future
A social video portal gives a consumer brand access to a wealth of user-generated content. The selfie generation is confident using smartphone apps to upload and share – sometimes overshare – content. The beauty of a brand owning its own mobile application and social video portal is that it is easy for fans to manage their videos and review content in ways that are almost impossible with YouTube.
When fans or users visit a social video community, they can spend hours browsing content, presenting the brand owner with a new way to engage with its viewers and offer them premium content and other merchandise. You can’t ask for your audience’s contact details on YouTube but you can with your own video community.
This gives brands and celebrities a real-time focus group to test new content and trends. Suddenly advertising focus groups with one-way mirrors seem as dated as the 1960s scenes in Mad Men.
The stumbling block until recently was that the technology was too complex for many brands to countenance. But now there are tools that make the creation and running of a social video and companion mobile applications a viable option.
If you are a celebrity, creating your own video site or gaming app still requires investment, time and expertise. But if you team up with the right people, the potential upside is enormous and you can fully own the content and the relationship with the viewer.
Beyond celebrities and consumer brands
These same benefits also apply to enterprises and educational institutions who want to create, upload, share, search, browse, and watch live and on demand videos, video presentations, screencasts, and other rich media content.
By wrestling control back from YouTube and using a YouTube channel as a supplemental distribution channel only, brands can connect with their audiences in new ways. This is the essence of social TV and will be the focal point for many effective marketing campaigns in the future.
Celebrities, universities and businesses alike know their audiences better than any video or gaming experts. With this new-found independence to create their own online experience and have a direct channel to their audience, the possibilities in the digital space are endless.