Picture: ISTOCK
Picture: ISTOCK

The growth of digital and the subsequent popularity of media on demand, made increasingly accessible through platforms like YouTube, is driven by a young audience that is not only picky about what it chooses to view, but also does not want to watch brands.

Special Effects Media SA (SEM SA) is a recently launched company that aims to bring together brands and content creators, helping them make the most of the opportunities brought about by video content on YouTube. The company helps brands to adapt content and incorporate the work of content creators in a way that is relevant and authentic.

Honesty is the most powerful weapon for video content, says CEO Danilo Acquisto. “Viewers will engage only with a brand they trust and like, which means that simply adapting content that was developed for a TV commercial and putting it on YouTube is a huge mistake, and really won’t resonate with audiences,” he says.

The big take-out: YouTube provides brands with an authentic, measurable platform to reach a younger consumer market. However, only honest, engaging content gains traction.

YouTube, unlike television, is not about passive consumption, he points out. Branded content should tell a story – something to engage a young consumer – as opposed to giving product information that can easily be found online.

Brands that remain authentic and use creators to tell genuine stories are those that win on YouTube. However, it’s important for brands to trust creators to drive their messaging; they know their followers and what will and will not work. “It’s a constant fight between brands and agencies – it’s not easy for brands to give that trust,” says Acquisto, adding that this is where it helps to have a company that can work alongside the creators, ensuring that all parties are happy and the result is authentic. “Brands using YouTube need to see the process as a partnership as opposed to one where they have all the control,” he advises.

While this may be a change in head space from traditional advertising, the benefits for brands are plain to see. “Brands are able to engage with a younger demographic, and this is the market that determines the future sustainability of any brand,” says Acquisto.

He points out that as digital grows, YouTube will increase its popularity, as it is the only free viewing platform. In addition, it allows brands to obtain insights about who likes or dislikes their content, and what their comments are. It also enables more targeted communication, which is vital for getting the information into the right hands.

YouTube offers a not-to-be-missed opportunity for brands to gain access to a younger generation, but it has to be handled properly, says Acquisto – you cannot simply post video content and hope it works for you. Metadata is vital in this regard: the right thumbnails, titles, tagging and keywords all help to ensure that your content is easily identifiable and accessible to the right people.

With the growing trend of more eyes on YouTube than on television, YouTube offers marketers a 360 ° platform from which to gain access to almost every audience, not to mention providing a measurable way to monitor online brand presence.

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