The power of video is now undeniable in digital marketing, which itself has grown rapidly in recent years as internet speeds have increased and smartphones have become ever more popular. Whereas in the past it would take a significant amount of time for even basic video content to load on a computer, let alone on a mobile phone, because of rapid increases in digital technology in the last decade, you can now stream movies in HD directly on your phone.

As individuals, especially in Western countries become used to this technology it is difficult to even imagine a time before being able to do this. This has been an amazing improvement for those wishing to enjoy online content, but it also presents an excellent opportunity for your marketing team to reach these consumers, especially as they are continuing to view more videos via their smartphones year after year.

You will undoubtedly have noticed the rise of video across all forms of social media including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even other platforms like LinkedIn. In fact some predict that by 2020 up to 80% of content on the internet could be video based! While online video has become ubiquitous online, with increasing numbers of people consuming content across social media, the king of internet video remains YouTube.

According to the Alexa topsite ranking website, YouTube is the second most visited website in the world, ranked just below Google which owns the site. It therefore sits above Facebook and all the other popular social media channels such as Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. Some of the viewing figures for YouTube are staggering and the site continues to grow. When you look at some of the statistics released by YouTube you can clearly see that the company has a huge global reach:

  • YouTube has over a billion users — almost one-third of all people on the Internet — and everyday people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views. YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
  • More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.
  • YouTube has launched local versions in more than 88 countries.
  • You can navigate YouTube in a total of 76 different languages (covering 95% of the Internet population).

Clearly younger people are consuming increasing amounts of media online with many switching away from TV and preferring to watch videos via YouTube. Many people might have equated YouTube (and social media in general) as just a young person’s thing, but in fact as the figures from YouTube suggest, YouTube has become popular among almost all age brackets. It’s not just kids but also parents and even grandparents that are viewing content on YouTube. This should be a very important indicator to your marketing team that firstly your brand should have a YouTube channel if they don’t already have one, and secondly you should be investing time in producing a regular stream of quality content.

There are many factors that you may not have realised about YouTube or assumptions you might have made. One misconception is that YouTube is most popular among Americans. While of course it is hugely popular in the US, in fact the majority of YouTube traffic (80%) comes from outside the US. It is clearly a site which deserves your marketing team’s attention, because if they are neglecting YouTube then are missing out on a truly global audience.

For many brands such as resorts and hotels, Facebook is seen as hugely important which of course it is, as well as Twitter, Instagram and all of the big social media platforms. The mistake that is being made though is focusing mainly on Facebook for the majority of your content. While Facebook has a huge user base and is great for connecting with a massive audience, what has been shown recently is that video retention on the site is not nearly as impressive as many had previously imagined.

What counts as a video view on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram is merely 3 seconds and the videos all auto-play, plus they also all auto-loop (any length video on Instagram, under 30 seconds on Facebook and under 6.5 seconds on Twitter)  as shown in the recently released “Buffer Guide to Video Metrics”. While of course this is often enough time to tempt someone to watch the entirety of the video and become more interested in your brand, many of the people that view these videos are merely scrolling through their news feeds. The video autoplays and they continue scrolling with no interest in your product. It can be argued by contrast that YouTube presents a much more realistic idea of how popular your videos really are as it is different from the other sites mentioned.

While there has been much debate about what constitutes a view on YouTube with some sources showing that viewers need to have watched at least 10 seconds of a video before it becomes counted. The biggest difference is that there is no Auto-Loop function on YouTube and although there is an Auto-Play function, this can be turned off.

What this points to is that when someone watches a video on YouTube they are much more likely to have chosen to watch it due to the lack of Auto-Loop function and because Auto-Play can be disabled. It is also important to note that if someone has chosen to watch 10 seconds of your YouTube channel’s video then there is a far greater likelihood that they are actually interested in your video. The recorded viewing figures therefore more realistically display those that chose to watch your video as opposed to someone who was just scrolling through their social feed (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram).

YouTube retains its crown as the King of Video

In recent months, there had been a growing buzz online that Facebook had stolen YouTube’s crown as the king of video. That was until a report released late last year by the Wall Street Journal showed that Facebook had been ‘overestimating’ its video viewing figures by its users for the last two years, by up to 80%!

This had already massively diminished the belief that YouTube had been superseded by Facebook. Because of the previous revelation of massive viewing over inflation, Nielsen, “a leading global information & measurement company, provides market research, insights & data about what people watch, listen to & buy” has now gone back and significantly revised statistics it had previously recorded about Facebook live streaming. Nielsen has now decided to change the way that it records views on Facebook to give a more accurate display of actual viewing figures, rather than views based on short auto-looping/playing figures.

This has produced a dramatic change in Nielsen’s Facebook statistics. For example for the Australian market: “the revelations that Australian video streams had dropped by 94% over the course of a single month are far worse than many predicted. This has already had a dramatic effect on advertising spending on Facebook: “Media buying agencies appear to have reacted immediately to the changes in Facebook’s numbers, with data from Standard Media Index (SMI) revealing spending targeted specifically at video on Facebook dropped 32.4% in the past three months of 2016 compared with the same period in 2015, while spending on YouTube grew 11.9% during the same period.”

This adds to what has been discussed earlier in this article, that YouTube viewing statistics are more realistic than those found on Facebook. Many brands have been massively over-focusing on Facebook as sometimes their sole focus on digital marketing spending. What has been shown is that advertisers have immediately begun to wise up to these revelations and started to switch focus and money back to YouTube which remains undoubtedly the king of online video content. Facebook has also taken this onboard and realised that it needs to change its tactics to remain relevant in terms of digital marketing spending and will be encouraging users to create higher quality and longer videos.

YouTube will soon be offering ability to Go-Live via Mobile

On top of the fact that YouTube remains the king of online video and the second most visited website in the world, it will also be rolling out live mobile video broadcasts later this year to all users. With this function any creator will easily be able to go live via the mobile app which will alert their subscribers to watch. In the same way that creators earn money from YouTube if they decide to monetize their pre-recorded videos with ads, this will also be the case with their live streams.

While many casual video creators will stick with Facebook, Instagram or Periscope for their Live Video broadcasts which are often intended just for friends, many creators who already have significant YouTube subscriber bases are likely to switch their live video efforts to YouTube. This could further dent Facebook’s growing desire to take over the online video market as it’s live video function will face a huge competitor.

Live video also offers another opportunity for brands to connect with audiences by adding an immediacy to their broadcasts. Using live video brands can announce competitions, promote products and start conversations with their customers which is an exciting new feature to use on YouTube.

YouTube is the perfect advertising platform<

Despite competition from a variety of competitors such as social media platforms, and other online streaming services like Netflix, YouTube is showing little sign of old age. In fact ad revenue continues to grow with eMarketer predicting a rise of 20% ad revenue growth for the company in 2017.

Without a doubt online video content is becoming increasingly important in any brand’s digital marketing strategy, with growing numbers of people watching videos on the internet rather than watching television. This is the case across social media, but as shown YouTube remains the most popular platform for viewing videos on the internet. It is not just a platform for funny cats or music, but has content for practically anyone including a lot of travel content. This means it is the perfect medium for brands to advertise their resort or hotel, the location it is located and the experiences that can be enjoyed when guests decide to stay there.

People are increasingly search online sources for travel ideas in terms of where to stay and what they can do in a location they are looking at. Often it is not only the resort that people are looking at but also the experiences they can enjoy when they stay there. Using YouTube a brand can brilliantly showcase the facilities in their resort and an idea of what can be enjoyed in the local area.

An excellent example is this short video of the Oyster Bay Beach Resort in St. Maarten & St. Martin on the Interval International YouTube channel which has been viewed almost 47,000 times:

While videos on other platforms such as Facebook and Twitter get lost in the news feed, thus resulting in a significantly lower value over time, content on YouTube is searched for and stays relevant for longer. Even videos which are years old are still being viewed which could include those related to a destination. This is even more likely to be the case if your marketing team invests in producing quality video content. In a similar way to a well written blog post, high quality YouTube videos will gain excellent exposure for months or years after they have been posted as they rank highly in both YouTube and search engine results.

Ultimately it is important for your marketing team to invest heavily in YouTube this year and produce quality content on a regular basis. YouTube has grown massively since it was first started and is the go to place for over a billion people to view video content online. If you are not investing time in producing content then you are missing out significantly in an amazing source of advertising for your brand!

Let us know in the comment section below or via our social media using #RDOdigital if your timeshare resort will be investing more time in your YouTube channel this year.