YouTube Marketing And Analytics: A Primer For Magnificent Success

YTYouTube is magnificent. YouTube is amazing. YouTube is…. wait, let me quantify that.

YouTube Marketing and Analytics Framework for Success

According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network as of mid-2013. And rather than just being content you watch, it is content you watch, share and shape. How cool is that!

As of March 2013, one billion, (B!), people around the world watch seven billion (still B!) hours of YouTube every month. How crazy big is that!

One more thing to ponder… One hundred hours of video is uploaded into YouTube every single minute, as of May 2013. #omg

The only reason my kids know Evian or Volvo Trucks or TrueMove (Thailand), among many other brands, is because of their work on YouTube.

The only reason I know loads of new people and brands is because of my subscription to their channels on YouTube. From Hannah Hart to Emily Graslie.

On the other side of the spectrum, the only reason I think so well of Prudential Financial is because of their incredible YouTube content. From creating retirement security to helping businesses grow to the five challenges, just amazingly helpful content. [I would have never bumped into my Prudential commercial in any place other than YT because of how I consume media.] When I have a choice, I now buy Prudential. Because of YouTube.

So, lots of content combined with an engaged audience (contributing and participating in consumption), driving great branding and real world revenue. Surely every brand in the world is totally killing it on YouTube?


Nope. Not even close.

The YouTube problem: What is YouTube? Really?

Most brands have no idea what to do on YouTube. Some brands have channels with content that is rarely updated or it is just a digital repository of their TV commercials. Some use the display advertising options on YouTube, but are not sure what value those ads deliver (and how to think of them in context of web display ads or even TV). Some have experimented with virality (Pepsi Test Drive or Dove Beauty, etc.), but commitment to uniqueness is inconsistent. Some have even tried original content (a la GoPro), but originality without key integrations into the overall marketing strategy and media mix is hard to pull off/sustain.

Why is this? There are so many case studies of awesomeness out there, including those collected by the YouTube team!

I humbly believe this is because of one simple reason: Most companies don't know how to think about YouTube.

[I'm ignoring the many small companies that have done well on YouTube, building businesses and audiences from scratch. I'm also ignoring, exceptional, outliers such as AwesomenessTV or, the even more gigantic, PewDiePie.]

YouTube is three things all rolled into one. It is a social network (like Facebook). It is a pure advertising platform (like every site on the world). It is a content platform (unlike any other site in the world where you can build audiences you can own and engage them purely by the value of your content rather than some algorithm restricting reach – you suck, you lose and you don't suck, you win, that's YouTube!).

This trifecta is often confusing for Senior Leaders in many companies. They like simple things. I have TV for shouting, I have Facebook for Social, I have Vogue magazine because my wife reads it, I have Google for Search. What do do I need YouTube for? I don't have cat videos.

(I'll let that last one slide, but it irritates me so much when I hear it!)

Because they don't understand what YouTube really is, from a business/marketing/value perspective, most brands in the world don't really have a real YouTube strategy.

And I don't blame them.

YouTube defies categorization. It is many things to many people.

I also believe that every company in a different stage of their evolution when it comes to sales, marketing, and audiences. I don't think we appreciate that enough.

For example, if Slimfast is trying to reinvent it's brand and the core of its strategy is new bottles, new look, new TV and print ads strategy (all right and good). And three videos on YouTube. You have to pause and ponder that one.

And yes, finally, there is the problem of measurement. If YouTube is so many things all at one time, and so many brand don't understand what to do on it optimally, how the heck does one go about measuring success?

To that I say…

social media roi

So two problems really. What to do (participation)? How to measure (success)? We'll end with measurement (see tweet above), let's go figure out the first challenge first.

What should a brand do on YouTube? What's advertising/marketing/participation on YouTube?

What's YouTube all about? Audiences, Relationships, and You(Tube).

At its purest, YouTube is about: Reaching massive global audiences. Building platforms. Engaging aforementioned audiences on aforementioned platforms with unique content to create relationships.

Reach. Build. Engage.

Three simple things.

Depending on the size of your company, your YouTube strategy might be executed slightly differently. For this part of the post let's assume that you are running a medium-large to a large-large sized company. We will touch on small companies before we end (I have a extra special strategy recommendation for them below).

The Reach stage is an easy on-ramp. You don't have to have any videos on YouTube. You don't have to worry about creating new assets. But most importantly, you don't have to worry about changing the minds of your executives at all about all the glory and uniqueness of YouTube.

They do TV? Newspapers? Billboards? Put the company name on the stadium? Well, they are ready for YouTube!

youtube vw masthead ad-001

In the Reach stage we simply use YouTube as any other advertising platform.

#1. Reach one of the largest global audience on the planet proactively consuming content. Masthead ads are probably the simplest possible way to get your feet wet with YouTube. Big ad. On one of the most visited page on the internet. Select if you want global, local, control the size of your audience. Get your band out there, just like on TV/Print/Billboards, get the eyeballs, just like TV/Print/Billboards, create a great first impression or re-introduce yourself.

Be very careful to not over think it when you frame this step-one to your management team. Don't talk about attribution. Don't talk about how terrible TV is from a measurement perspective. Don't talk about fine grained targeting. Don't talk about… well all the things we digital people talk about and make this harder. Remember, it is the easy ramp.

Just do TV on YouTube! [See above example.]

tmobile trueview skippable ad

#2. Once you master step one… graduate to the next level, aim for the large possible global audience that is relevant for your products/services/mission. YouTube has several ad options such as Standard Pre-Roll, TrueView, Search Display, etc. You can target these ads based on types of content, relevant search keywords, demographic and psychographic choices.

Again, for your management team you don't have to over think it. This is just like buying ads in Time, Fortune or Puppy Chow magazines simply based on who you believe reads those magazines. You do the same thing.

Do not tell them that the targeting is much better than all of those aforementioned options, and that you don't pay when you ad is printed in the magazine or when it is aired, you pay when it is *completely* seen. It just complicates the discussion.

amex unstaged sponsorship youtube

#3. The next manifestation of our physical world awesomized on YouTube is sponsorships. You sponsor the latest concert tour by the lovely Miley Cyrus or a sticker on a Nascar series driver/car or a program on ESPN. Great. You can do exactly the same to a 50x more relevant audience. Coldplay was sponsored by Amex Unstaged. In the stadium they could get the brand in front of, say, 10,000 fans. On YouTube they can reach 100,000 fans at the same time as the concert!, and thousands upon thousands more after the live concert. Your brand impressions continue (eternal!) way after your physical world concert/race/thing is over. Everyone wins.

Likewise there are tons of channels or individual bits of content that you can sponsor, have long-term relationships with, just as you would on real-word media platforms. Why is your company not the corporate sponsor for Vsauce or Veritasium? Both have a gigantic audience of the smartest people in your preferred demographic!

Remember, don't over think it. Just sell sponsorships on YouTube exactly as you would any other place in the physical world. We are tying to gradually ramp up to complexity. Be patient. :)

Very simply put, with the Reach strategy we are using YouTube as an advertising platform. Nothing more. Nothing less.

Now that we have step-by-step mastered the simplest possible things to reach the largest audiences on the planet, it is time to take our game to the next level. Now that our management team is bought into one facet of YouTube, is time to dip our toe into a content strategy.


In the Build stage we use YouTube as an media platform.

#4. Owned Brand Channel.

Build your very first amazing owned brand channel. Create an outpost, (see: own vs. rent ), on YouTube that you control completely. Give it a beautiful skin. Have the colors and branding match your corporate identity.

In order to win your management's approval, and assuage your agency, underscore how much you control everything about this channel. the look, the feel, whether there are comments or not, do you want to have store-locators, coupon downloads, and a whole slew of other things you can have in there.

Your beautiful magnificent outpost.

#5. Leveraging Existing Content.

You have a home you are proud of, time to do the simple things to take the next step. Normally this step is scary to many management teams because they get told you have to figure out how to beat Michelle Phan on day one or do better than Dollar Shave Club or the Mentos Coke. And because that is hard to do, they do nothing or wait a million years until they can have a shiny object.

Don't do that.

In this step, grab your existing content and get into your new pretty and functional brand channel. Get your latest TV ads in there. (Or get your historical TV ads in there like Tide, they are so awesome!) Take your existing help videos from your support site or trainings or the CD you bundle with your product, and put them on YouTube. Take your existing customer testimonials and put them on your brand channel. Let Tableau show you how.

All of it is your existing content, so very low cost to your company in this step. And all super positive, so low risk. If that was not enough, you can get it all done quickly. #hurray

#6. Extend TV, Start Relationships.

The very first time you'll create original content just for YouTube!

You are already producing content for TV (like Air New Zealand above), why not extend the conversation in the commercials with videos on YouTube. When you see the Evian ad on TV it ends with "More on YouTube." Simply because if your commercial was any good (or your offer or your product or service) people are going to Google it and look for it on YouTube. Why not extend the conversation there?

All you would need to do is keep the same crew and resources for a little bit more and maybe shoot out-takes or longer versions of the commercial or create a making-of with behind the scenes footage etc. Give people who are looking for your commercials more ways to engage with you .

For your leadership team, this is a small step into original content and into building relationships. At a low cost.

Oh and speaking of starting relationships… why not create great commercials, like Seventh Generation's Campaign for a Toxic Free Generation, and benefit from thousands of more views and the social amplification already built into YouTube?

PS: Did you notice you can even search for flights on Air New Zealand's YouTube channel?

Here's the really cool part: With every step that you rock with Build, your ability to do every element of Reach gets better and better, and the business value you derive from YouTube keeps increasing with every little progress!

Now it's time to kick things up a million notches when it comes to YouTube marketing. I mean real, amazing, beautiful, long-term, truly building deeper relationships, type of work.

tresemme amazing youtube channel

In the Engage stage we are going to use YouTube as a true relationship building platform, a strategy that will allow us to convert YouTube from simply being about shout marketing to being about conversational marketing .

#7. YouTube Short-Form Audience Specific Content.

Small, initial efforts are ok.

The unique thing about these efforts is not only that they will be for YouTube primarily (though you can syndicate them all over the place), the differentiator will be that you'll create them with your specific YouTube audience in mind. For example, on other platforms your audience could be 18 yr old technology lovers. But if your YouTube audience is 90 yr old lovers of Shakira, create content for them.

Your efforts could include short form brand value stories. Method does this really well, for example the Clean Happy Anthem is such a fantastic way to express what their brand stands for.

You run magazine ads, you run tv ads, you print posters in supermarkets, your radio jingle promotions… what's your plan to control what your brand stands for on one of the world's largest proactively engaged audience platforms?

Another small effort… create videos about your company charity efforts, your community/social responsibility efforts. Share with the world the good work that your company is doing (that should be an easy sell to your management team). jetBlue shares its efforts building playgrounds, fund raising, and autism. PetSmart has videos about how it gives back. Liberty Mutual Insurance has videos about The Responsibility Project. If you are a B2B company, checkout Cisco's social efforts .

Why not tell the world about the good work you do?

#8. Invest in How-to Content, Existing Customer Joy.

Our effort above was about our brand and social efforts, now it is time to do something for our customers.

The simplest thing to do here is to create simply an incredible amount of how-to content, one of the highest cluster of queries on YouTube. Follow Liberty Mutual's lead and share life improvement tips (and make sure you use techniques #1, #2, #3 above to amplify these videos!). Find inspiration from Bank of America's efforts to upgrade the financial savvy of your customers. Google Glass provides another excellent example to follow with Glass Tips.

A different flavor of the how-to is content that allows your customers to extend what they do with your products and services, in a way to empower them to live their life better. A small example of it is Sennheiser and their videos on better audio experience in your video production. Another example of it is what CVS Pharmacy was doing with their Seen on the Doctors collection of videos, or their more recent Minute Clinic videos.

Speaking of existing customer joy, why not take them and make them into super heroes. Boeing does this very well with their Customer Stories.

There are so many amazing examples of companies deepening relationships with existing customers and creating new ones.

new york life customer engagement youtube

#9. Tap into YouTube Community / Media Platform.

This is when you get to do the most glorious things you can with YouTube.

Budget YouTube initiatives to get your YouTube (and other social channels!) to contribute content to your YouTube channel. Contests. Challenges. Soliciting love, assistance, ideas, and more. Have your brand control it, let your massive bureaucracy filter it (with a light touch if you can please). Let your viewers, customers, be their most authentic self, and through that be your most authentic self.

Why not take that to the next level and engage in a two-way conversation with your audience? My favorite example of this, a non-business example, is Conan's Video Responses. With this strategy you shift from simply buying time to earning time when it comes to attention!

Why not let your community, if you build a largish regularly engaged one (by doing 1 through 8 exceptionally well), help you provide real testimonials (and I'm only slightly implying that that is better than our normal polished ones), and why not partner with them to evangelize your content? The beauty brands are particularly amazing at partnering with the power house beauty community to create and in evangelism efforts.

Why not bring your entire digital strategy into YouTube? Across See-Think-Do outcomes. My favorite example is TRESemme.

tresemme youtube see-think-do

Their channel has a wealth of unique content they want the brand to be associated with. For example, Fashion Week content. You want front row seats to Rebecca Minkoff and Vivienne Tam? They have it.

Additionally they have a ton of how-to content. Want a faux bob or side bun or a headband braid? They have them all. Great content that helps you improve your look, and perhaps how you feel (about yourself, and the brand!). [Check out the innovative "Web Cam Mirror" feature, why is everyone not using this!]

So far, great execution of the normal type things very good companies do on YouTube. What makes TRESemme amazing is what they do beyond this.

You can see the products used in the how-to videos right next to the video. You are welcome to add reviews about those products from right there. You can also choose to buy any of those products if you would like to. You simply click Buy Now, TRESemme will open a new panel where they will display a list of online retailers and if they have the product in stock right now AND the price at each retailer!!

You can engage with the fashion content (branding play), you can engage with the how-to content (relationship play), and you can engage with the products (ecommerce play). All on YouTube.

Remember through it all, the customer is in-charge. How amazing is that?

One last example of tapping into the YouTube community.

Perhaps the pinnacle of leveraging YouTube is to convert it into a place that becomes your media platform. It transforms you from just a seller of servers, software, shoes or soft-drinks to a media company. A true, magnificent example of earning time rather than buying time. I give you… Red Bull!

redbull brand channel youtube

Red Bull does not pimp its delightful energy drink (love it!) in obvious ways. It's YouTube channel is the front end of Red Bull the media company. An incredible avalanche of content (immersed in their brand) that is exquisitely crafted for their target audience.

If a large part of your current audience, and almost all of it in the future, is migrating away from a television type experience, why not convert yourself from a creator of television commercials to a creator of content that you own, dictate and build an audience around it.

By doing it on platforms like YouTube these initiatives have social, engagement, amplification, built into them from scratch. Audiences grow, and grow, and grow.

But you have to have the courage. Think about it. AT&T's annual budget is $3 billion dollars. Three followed by nine zeros! Nine. All engaged in shouting at you from every TV, radio, bus stop, magazine, and newspaper. Relentlessly. Think of how much incredible, engaging content AT&T the media company could create if it thought like Red Bull (or others like Red Bull on YT). Even with a part of its three billion shouting budget. I don't think it will happen, way too many entrenched minds. But it is incredible to think about it, is it not?

Reach. Build. Engage. Three simple, step-by-step, strategies that help you start from scratch, catch up to the present, be the best today and be ready for whatever the future brings.

I've not talked about Khan Academy, I've not mentioned TED talks, I've not discussed a million other ways in which YouTube is an incredible platform. The way in which we the consumers think about it.

This post was not about that. It was to think selfishly as a business and see how a business can and should use YouTube.

Here's a summary of our nine-point reach, build and engage strategy…

youtube reach build engage

If you are a large business, you should execute the strategy outlined above in the exact order outlined above. I recommend starting at step one, top left, and then going down and then up to build and then down and then up to engage and end at step nine, bottom right.

But not every business will be a large business. What if you are a small business?

You don't have to start with spending money on advertising. You can start with something you can easily start with, content.

youtube strategy small business

Create your outpost, migrate your existing content and then jump to step eight and focus on how-to content that engages current customers and adds new audiences.

Once you get good at this, you can move to step two (Display) and start to get your content viewed.

A mistake small businesses make is that they simply create the content and wait for the hordes to show up. Sadly that does not happen on YouTube any more (remember, one hundred hours of content being uploaded every minute!). First create the content. Get your initial audience. Figure out which content is resonating with them. Now shift to spending money on advertising and get larger audiences.

You can follow a similar common-sense strategy if you are a medium-sized business. Here's a pictorial representation…

youtube strategy medium business

Now that you have a framework (you're welcome!) you can apply it to your unique business/management reality.

You are a large company. But your management is freaked out about the YouTube community. They are scared about real people talking to them. They have zero desire to have a two-way discussion.

But they are smart enough to know that ignoring YouTube's one billion monthly engaged audience is foolish.

So, what do you do? Here…

youtube strategy large scared company

See what I did there? Management no scared any more. : )

Consider the YouTube marketing framework to be a inter-connected yet adaptable cluster of strategies. Take it to your unique situation, make it your own. Win.

The YouTube Measurement Framework.

On this blog I'm sure you did not think I would simply share a marketing framework with you and leave you hanging when it comes to accountability.

Your faith in this blog is well placed! I can never get too far away from measurement, even if I am the digital marketing evangelist.

Here are the key performance indicators you would use to measure the success of every single effort outlined in the nine step reach, build and engage marketing framework for YouTube…

youtube measurement framework

For mastheads ads we are simply doing TV. So all we need to measure are Impressions. That is all you are getting with GRPs from your TV network. But let's do one better, why not, we are the cool digital people. But if the masthead ad contains a video, let's throw in Views and % Completed Views (every advertiser would kill to have this from TV!).

You can likely measure a hundred other things. Resist that temptation. Keep things simple. See top of this post for why.

For display ads, standard web analytics metrics apply: Click-through rate, % Assists (this is glorious!), and of course our absolute favorite metric, Economic Value (macro plus micro outcomes delivered on your digital presence – mobile, desktop).

For sponsorships, the number of Live Streams is nice, measuring the Retained Audience is awesome (the number of viewers you were able to retain for x period, you determine x upfront). If your sponsorship comes with ads, CTR (but nothing else, keep it simple!).

Once we hit the Build stage you know what to do, much more standard metrics. Let me introduce Engagement Score to you.

I'm not a fan of compound metrics. In this case my hypothesis is that that is irrelevant. Your management team is going to love it. So I've surrounded it with metrics that do matter so you'll get some insight, while you tantalize your management team with Engagement Score. :)

Engagement Score is computed using Watch Time (a function of total views and percentage the video was viewed completely) and Interactions (a composite of likes, favorites and comments). If you have an account manager for your Google Account, you can ask them to share this number for your videos and judge success. Because I don't want to start a compound metric'ing madness, I'm refraining from sharing the formula.

The other metrics you know, Amplification, Applause and Conversation Rate are my best social media metrics. Use them to ensure you are creating content in Build that is delivering value.

And now you know what all the metrics are in the Engage stage. Except perhaps Unaided Brand Recall, checkout that link.

Closing Thoughts.

YouTube presents an incredible opportunity to reach an incredibly valuable audience, to build a true owned platform for our company, which we can use to create the type of engagement that shifts our company's media strategy from simply being about buying time to earning time.

It is not without risk. A massive part of that risk is not knowing what you are doing, which is fixed above, not knowing which order to execute your strategy, also fixed above, and finally not knowing how to measure the success of every single step, clearly outlined above.

I wish you all the very best.

Carpe diem!

As always, it is your turn now.

What is your company's current YouTube strategy? What are the reasons they are not all in? If your company, or client, is not in stage nine, what stage are they in? If they are in stage nine, which stage was the hardest to overcome? What are the challenges you've faced in measuring success of your efforts on YouTube? Finally, how can I resist this, would you please share other examples of companies doing any of the above stages really well?

I look forward to your comments. Thank you.


  1. 1

    This article is brilliant.

    Thanks for the deep-dive!

  2. 3

    Thanks Avinash,

    Most of our clients have nothing to do with Youtube and even after trying to convince them, they still don't want it.

    Great detailed post, it will be very helpful.



  3. 5

    Hi Avinash, incredibly detailed and valuable post, as always.

    So glad you mentioned Red Bull as I absolutely love how they use video content on YouTube. Red Bull is this generation's Nike, they focus their content not on the energy drink, but what happens AFTER you drink it! They focus their content on the amazing athletes that they are associated with and the amazing feats and stunts they can perform.

    THAT is the content that Red Bull's market wants, not strictly promotional content on the drink itself. But rather, content that focuses on 'the bigger, cooler thing' that relates to the Red Bull brand, which is extreme sports.

    If more brands would follow Red Bull's lead with their content marketing strategy, they would see much higher levels of engagement.

  4. 6

    This is so timely.

    We're working on a YouTube ad campaign right now.

    Do you have any thoughts about differentiating messaging in YouTube video ads for brands who don't already have TV campaigns?

    • 7

      Abigail: I think awesome lies, in this case, at the intersection of back to basics and understanding the audience on YouTube.

      Funny works. Deeply authentic works really well. Human stories work gloriously well. These three things make you stand out from others. Less in terms of social amplification, but how-to also work really well.

      I hope this gets you going. One of the cool things is that the audience does not expect completely polished and expensive commercials, so it is easy for us to do A/B tests. :)


  5. 8

    I think there's a few areas people don't explore enough, the first is using YouTube to grow other areas of their business like mailing lists. But also the reverse, using Mailing Lists and their website to grow their YouTube channel.

    There's a little know tip to increase your subscribers on YouTube when sending them via your own site to use ?sub_confirmation=1 on the end of your channel URL. Try it out to see what it does :)


  6. 9

    If only I had the budget to shoot some videos with Jean-Claude Van Damme!

    I think most competent marketers see the value in YouTube, but they're paralyzed at the concept of creating GOOD content, because let's face it, it's not easy.

    Following a framework like the one provided by Avinash is a great way to take those first steps though!

    • 10

      James: That is one big problem. We see others doing insanely cool things, and we either get paralyzed or waste too much money doing things we are incapable of.

      I genuinely believe that the best strategy is to be our true authentic selves (while of course following the Reach-Build-Engage framework!).


  7. 11

    This article is too awesome to resist

  8. 12

    Great framework for YouTube Marketing.

    So this is Youtube, you did Facebook previously. While I've known of Pinterest from the beginning, I hadn't realized it was relevant to my area until recently.

    Do you have a Pinterest marketing / analysis framework planned?

    • 13

      Jack: I try really hard to only talk about things I know something about. : ) Sadly I don't know enough about Pinterest.

      It is a great platform, but I'm still trying to figure out what it is from a business perspective and how best to deliver something of value to its audience that in turn returns long term value to the business (or even short term).

      As soon as I feel comfortable, I'll be sure to talk about it!

      Thank you for the idea.


  9. 14

    Hi Avinash,

    This was great. It is like the continuation of your prez at superweek.

    The missing piece. :)

  10. 15
    Denis, W3B says

    I think YouTube is a great marketing tool but not so much for general (broad) audience.

    In our country for example, it is still mainly used by teenagers.

    • 16

      Denis:I'm sorry our experience is not the same in terms of breadth and depth.

      But even if it is only teenagers, is that not the future customers of your company? Perhaps it might make sense to connect with them on a platform they are on already?

      I'm sure it is not easy but might be worth it for so many companies.


      • 17

        I agree that in the other markets you have better data. I think with time we will have it also. But for now it is a "long term investment".


  11. 18

    Hi Avinash,

    Great article!

    I have been eying YouTube as a marketing tool for our small company for a long time to reach and engage with our audience. We see the value that YouTube could bring.

    But developing and producing good content is really difficult and being a small company, we don't have much resources in terms of producing content for our channel.

    • 19

      Patrick: It is difficult for sure. But my hope is that if you think of existing content for your existing customers, perhaps that makes for an easier start.

      How-to videos you have on your support site, your company's charity efforts, or even simple tutorials to help your existing or new customers get more out of your products and services. All you might have or could create very simply. Then go from there if you feel it is working.


  12. 20
    Nikhil Chandra says

    This is a gem of article especially when I myself often wondered how to leverage Youtube for online marketing mix. Your thoughts and guidelines has unraveled the mystery of How does Youtube work for business.

    However I would have loved it had you explained a bit more on how a small business with very limited (Or no) budget and not so Social Media friendly management (as you put it "way too many entrenched minds") could leverage the immense potential and reach that Youtube as a marketing channel offers.

    As always talk about – as Patrick has observed above – about developing and producing good content and so does Matt Cutts and Google all the time. But when It comes to Youtube if a small business is a reseller or travel agency, how do you propose is the way forward when they are obviously selling other big brands who are already spending heavily on producing content and marketing it across the channels.

  13. 21

    Two video creation tactics that I think are extremely under-utilized are Google+ Hangouts on Air and the new Google+ Auto-Awesome movies.

    G+ HOAs are easy to use, have great production value when you add in a few minor things like an HD webcam and lower thirds. We've been doing an interview series and a speaker presentation series for over a year now, both of which have been well received.

    The Auto-Awesome movies are something I'm just starting to create more of lately thanks to Google Glass. Using auto-backup, Google stitches together a video from all of my recently-shot clips and photos and puts Instagram-like filters and music to the resulting creation. You can create your own Auto-Awesome videos too. It's really quite intuitive and impressive for the amount of effort that is required.

    I don't think anyone should be at a loss for YouTube content that's easy to make and won't break the bank. Great post–thanks for sharing all the tips!

  14. 22

    Well, for me the only type of metrics on YouTube are the green thumbs.

    People watching your content is not enough. Even comments can be misleading.

    Green thumbs are the only way to correctly assess if the community really digs your effort.

    Chase them like honey.


    • 23

      Michael: I believe by "green thumbs" you mean clicks on the thumbs-up icon on your videos. I agree that metric, "applause rate", is important.

      But I'm afraid I do not believe that that is sufficient. We also need to measure Amplification Rate, Conversation Rate and Economic Value. You'll those metrics defined in the link in the post to the Best Social Media Metrics.


  15. 24

    One of the things I love about the internet is the unlimited amount of knowledge you can take in, absorb and bring back into your work.

    This blog is one of those places.

    Thanks for the great post Avinash.

  16. 25

    Thanks Avinash.

    I'm definitely going to be coming back to this article again at a later time to revisit some of the finer points. But for now I like point #5; it doesn't need to be perfect, just do something.

    Will aim to add some fresh new content to my SportsVirtuoso channel in the coming weeks.

  17. 26

    Hi Avinash the master!

    Your pdf downloads work likes charm and has been very helpful in killing my boredom on the road..

    Thanks a lot!

  18. 27

    I'm a huge fan of YouTube!

    Red Bull is indeed a perfect example of a brand that GETS multi-channel content creation/distribution – it's storytelling and branded entertainment at its best. I use YT almost daily to access How-to content and am so grateful the platform exists.

    I'm visual, so a quality How-to video on YT trumps reading something in print for me. I learned how to code entirely thanks to YT and a few MOOCs. Too bad I can't get a refund from college. ;)

    There's a huge opportunity for brands to create "youtility" (as Jay Baer describes in his book of that name) on YouTube. Also, I suspect we'll be seeing more of Extend TV to drive engagement and extend the shelf-life of an ad. Seems like a no-brainer given YT's global reach and relatively cheap economics but I haven't noticed TV ads saying "More on YouTube" yet. Will keep an eye on that.

    Thanks Avinash for a great post! 

  19. 28

    Hey Avinash, this is the first article I've read of yours and I'm blown away! Thanks for the great primer.

    I've seen the power of audience building through YouTube first hand because I created content and built my audience on there before even setting up my own website.

    Thanks again and looking forward to read more great stuff from you!


  20. 29

    Great article, thanks a lot!

    Just one thought on the metrics: wouldn't you consider channel subscriptions as a key metric for your own brand channel?

    After all these people like you so much that they practically sign up to see more of your content as soon as it becomes available plus they are likely to consume more of your existing content than a non-subscriber, right?


    • 30

      Julian: You are absolutely right, getting subscribers is a key metric and we would measure it for our brand channel.

      I've been trying to figure out how to get repeated behavior by subscribers, hence it slipped my mind. But it is a valuable addition.

      Thank you,


      • 31
        Nicola J. Strand says

        Agree that measuring subscribers is important, however if the video is watched directly in Facebook do you agree it's a bit trickier nowadays as one cannot subscribe to a channel via a Facebook view?

        • 32

          Nicola: Needing an extra click on the video certainly is a hurdle, and embedding videos on other sites is also a hurdle (including on FB).

          The bottom-line though is that if your video is any good (passes Inform, Entertain, Provide Utility), you are going to get subs and the exposure on FB is an icing on the cake.


  21. 33

    Thanks for the small and medium company breakdowns. Appreciate you taking the time to give us something useful to build toward.

  22. 34

    Nice post and brilliant examples!

  23. 35

    YouTube is an important part of the plan but we never thought about it the way you put it in this post. This is so great.

    Most commonly YT is more targeted for Video/Channel targeted ads (in-display etc) or the regular Masthead and others. Growing on YT and creating your own content is a bit costly and I can't back it with facts but I think that people respond differently to the same commercial seen on TV or YT.

    Will see if can make a point to own content on YT or at least leverage the existing one :)

  24. 36

    Hi Avinash,

    Again an interesting and insightful post. It does give a good understanding of the process that large cos. should follow. The coverage for small cos. like us, leaves us high and dry to say the least ;)

    I would have ideally liked if you could give more insights into maybe the see –> think –> do –> cuddle framework for content creation on youtube. Maybe what could also have helped is if there were "hacks and techniques" to reach a larger audience instead of spending marketing $s, which seem to be quite expensive for small businesses!

    Useful post nonetheless.

  25. 37

    What analytics software would you recommend? Besides Google. I use RJMetrics software right now but am open for suggestions as I want to see my company grow.

    YouTube is a fantastic medium but need a sufficient software in order to track the ROI on my videos and posts.


  26. 38

    Thanks for compiling all this. A lot to digest here.

    I think YouTube works better in some market segments than others. I don't have the patience to watch much video, unless the production value is high, or if I'm trying to learn how to install a light switch. I would rather read than watch and listen.

    Its a generational thing I'm sure.

  27. 39

    Thanks Avinash!

  28. 40

    Thorughly enjoyed the article, as always.

    I was very interested in the measurement framework, working as an analyst, and I think YouTube as a channel particularly showcases how deceiving and outright unnecessary compound metrics are. The reason for this is that we try to standardize the engagement metric across all social media channels – Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc. without taking into account how different the mechanics of each network really are.

    Take this for example. On YouTube, just like on Facebook, you can sponsor your post/video and what not. However, unlike on Facebook, if your videos is a pre-roll ad, the user has no ability to engage with the videos (aside from the actual view). There is no option to like, dislike, comment or something else, so you may end up with an extremely disproportionate number of views but low engagement. If you think about it, this is different from Facebook, where regardless of the post having a media push behind it or not, the platform leaves the same possibility of people actively engaging with it. All this makes compound metric for eng. score very hard to calculate and standardize.

    Another 'issue' with YouTube is mobile. I know FB was/is being criticized for not going mobile quickly enough, however even with so many videos being viewed on mobile, calls to action are not clickable on the mobile, leaving little room for the marketer to drive people elsewhere.

    Any thoughts on these Avinash?

    Kind regards

    • 41

      Vladimir: Thank you for your comment. I love it.

      You are right, we have to be careful with compound metrics. I worry about this a lot. Sometimes you can't get away with it (above), but as much as you can you should stay away. My approach is to use individual valuable metrics [Best Social Metrics], and then to focus on the ones, by platform that are more applicable to each. So place more emphasis on Conversation Rate on Facebook and Applause and Amplification on YouTube.

      On mobile… a massive amount of YouTube content is being consumed on mobile platforms. What we need to be clear is that it is a See and Think game and not a Do game, at least for now. [] And if you internalize that then you will have a different measurement strategy than conversion rate/economic value. Pick See and Think metrics for YouTube.


  29. 42

    This is probably overall the most compelling, comprehensive article I have ever seen in supporting YouTube as a marketing and branding weapon.

    So incredible in fact, it upsets me a little that many secrets I have spent months and years uncovering were just blown wide open in one article. I could have spent all those hours watching cat videos and then just read this.

    But of course, experience over theory, so perhaps I'm glad I didn't supplant my studies with cats. My applause and admiration Avinash.

  30. 43

    Brilliant article, thanks for the wisdom (and humour).

    Have you any thoughts in the case where the actual Youtuber is the brand? ie. Vertasium, michelle phan or my wife's channel, Howtocookthat … is it a case of just faithfully posting quality content & trusting the algorithm to bring more traffic & subscribers to us.

    Or should we be thinking bigger/risker/more proactive when it comes to marketing the 'show'?

    • 44

      Doc: Congratulations to your wife for creating a great channel. And indeed there are lots of people, including the ones you mention, who have build amazing brands for themselves, or their company, on Youtube.

      With regards to your question… with seven billion hours of video being watched on Youtube each month, waiting for the algorithm to work its magic might not be optimal. You have to avail yourself of the paid and non-paid options to get more visibility to your channel.

      The paid options are already discussed in this post, I'll just add they are less expensive then you might imagine.

      The non-paid options include using your other platforms: Blog, sites, social channels, putting up posters in the neighborhood, getting in front of an industry group, asking friends, family and ex-lovers to pitch in and share your channel, etc. etc. The other key thing we would do would be to build social right into the videos you post (see many examples of this on the popular channels, they include ending the video with an ask, doing special videos to engage current audience/commentators, and so on and so forth).

      But we have to go out and, to use an overused phrase, hustle. :)


      • 45

        Yes HUSSLE… it's something that we've been realising. It's hilarious that when we started the channel & associated website that smart people told us: "60,000 visits a month is the magic number, after that businesses will start approaching you to sponsor". Not quite! I guess the whole YT universe is expanding so fast that no one is quite sure what viral is anymore (and sponsors are often unsure what constitutes good value in a sponsor).

        Interesting week for us though … I feel at the moment like we are in the middle of a study into the power of traditional media vs online media.

        I've been hussling traditional media for the past few weeks since we put out our app (augmented reality fireworks for birthday cakes, cool!)

        Anyway, it's been a good week with 4 of the big Australian newspapers + the biggest radio network + some TV coverage for Ann's channel.

        At the end of the month, i'm going to compare all this traditional coverage to the shout-out we got back in November from Mashable & Huffington Post. I suspect I already know the answer, Huff & Mashable probably contributed to 100,000 subs & a couple of million views. Traditional media doesn't get the hits, but it might just stir up some sponsors (who read newspapers).

        It's not quite science, but it is fascinating,

  31. 46

    Hi Avinash,

    This is a helpful article for me, I really appreciate you efforts :)

  32. 47

    Thanks Avinash for this detailed article,

    This gives a very good direction and measurement framework.. for many who only think of growing subscribers and not engaging with the ones who are already there..

  33. 48

    Its pleasure to read your blog post about YouTube marketing which is the biggest video website around the world.

    Nowadays if you want to know about anything you just need to research it on YouTube and watch the video. On the other hand the videos of your products allow people to understand its use in our routine life and difference from other brands.

    I like your post about and thumbs up :)

  34. 49

    A friend shared this post with me and I was wowed by the depth of content.

    I had to comment and tell you THANK YOU!

  35. 50

    Hi Avinash,

    Awesome stuff, as always.

    A CFO point you might want to explore is ROI on content investment. Yes it only takes incremental expenditure to make content web ready and 100,000 hits ain't small potatoes but I think, for many, the real time nature of social just makes them suspect that 1 hit = 1 impression – wheres the frequency? Apparently, it's definitely not cool to flog the same content over and over again on the web.

    Unfortunately (fortunately), people in these roles need to justify the pennies. Cause, if you really want to achieve, pennies grow into dollars . You have to maximize the life span of everything you invest in.

    Media has different inherent values and video has one major Toffler attribute – information density. Its got the product (or something that reflects brand values -re:Red Bull ) but more importantly, its got situations (scenes), its got people (people love people), its got opinion (or conflict), its got interests, its got more than one perspective.

    Love to read your thoughts.


  36. 51
    Beatrice Burrows says

    Thanks Avinash, really interesting article!

    I'm currently running into a big wall with Youtube tracking/analysis. Because my Youtube ads link to my Youtube videos, and my customers then need to click through to my website using annotations on these videos, I can't see which ads have lead to conversions.

    So if I create multiple ads for one video, each targeting different audiences, I have no way of knowing which audience is then converting. Do you know if there is any way round this? It is make it hard to growing advertising spend on Youtube!

  37. 53

    PewDiePie I love it :)

    His YouTube thumbnail are just hilarious :)

  38. 54

    Always concerned about taking one social media channel at a time and talking up how to use them. So somewhat in overall isolation. Yes, Youtube can be a fantastic medium but then so too can twitter, linkedin (B2B), facebook, etc.

    So many Inbound marketing companies love to talk about Inbound growing and knocking 'interruption' based marketing like eMail, yet eMail drives individually greater engagement and business. Where would you place Youtube relative to the other forms of Social Media in terms of a) impact b) effort – assuming a small business?

  39. 56

    Some of the YouTube channel is more popular than TV channel. Unlike television YouTube has verities, people can directly relates or interact with the actor of the particular channel. Thought comments they can express their views and ideas. You can pause and play anytime you want and it you like it too much you can also download it.

    You might be thinking that I’m being little bit unrealistic comparing YouTube with Television but believe me guys, it’s popularity is at peak to compare. YouTube channels are new world’s Video Channel.

  40. 57

    We are at Step 3. The problem was getting the partners to grasp Youtube as not merely beneficial, but NECESSARY. I started on that bandwagon 2 1/2 years ago and just now got the go ahead for Youtube.

    My favorite (heavy sarcasm) moment was 6 months ago when I had video shoots lined up for my people and – at literally the last minute, they flaked out on the cost and killed the project, purchased a professional quality video camera and said "here, you do it". I hate video equipment. I don't understand it, I don't want to and I refuse to learn editing.

    My husband kindly enough agreed to help me shoot the first videos and I found a low cost good local editor. Our first postings have been OK, painful to get done, but inexpensive. The boost to the brand is there for my smaller firm. On my other firm, we only have canned professionally done videos (by a retired weatherman), which sucks because the lead attorney is right handsome and engaging in person, but freezes like a little fuzzy bunny in headlights while dropping the F-bomb when you turn the camera on.

    This is my least favorite but still most necessary project for 2014!

    • 58

      Jennifer: Managing the balance between quality, authenticity and relatability is so difficult to get right.

      Quality in production on YouTube is often appreciated, but there are tons of example of just under professionally created content that does so well.

      Authenticity is critical. People on YouTube (you and I!) can smell a fake a million miles away. And on TV we have no recourse. On YT we have the dislike icon and comments! :)

      Relatability is perhaps the most important. Can I relate to this situation? Can I relate to this person? Can I relate to their value proposition? Can I relate to the content? Insanely difficult to get right, could not be more important.

      On that last one, it might not be a bad idea to put Mr. Handsome F-bomb on the camera. Let him be who he is, he'll find an audience. :)


  41. 59

    Thanks for this article Avinash,

    I'm right at the start of the process with a new UK company and no social strategy in place. This post will prove to be a valuable resource I'm sure.

    Thanks again.

  42. 60

    Hi Avinash, just wanted to say thanks for such a detailed article and particularly for including small business examples.

    Found this so helpful and encouraging as a newbie to the world of social media aspiring to set up my own little business.

    Great work, thanks!

  43. 61

    Thanks for this wonderful post Avinash. i recently started my own blog and was planning to start my youtube channel as well. This article comes handy for appropriate way of planning and marketing my channel.


  44. 62

    Ironic that this is not on YouTube.

  45. 63

    Thanks Avinash for this very informative post.

    I worked on Youtube for couple of my clients though this is not my forte. I am into search engine and social media marketing domain but due to on-demand requirements I worked on couple of projects, mostly product & service demonstration videos (explainer).

    Now this article is going to be a very helpful resource for me as I am seriously thinking of working on Youtube more seriously for my startup. I believe Youtube is one of the best medium to interact with our targeted audience in a more creative manner when solving their problems or offering a service.

    Looking forward for more such articles on Youtube from you.

    Soumya Roy

  46. 64
    Samuel Sofunde says

    Indeed, the reach of Youtube and other social media has taken the world by the storm positively. I mean when put into effective use, it can change businesses and lives dramatically.

    Thanks for this post.

  47. 65

    I guess it's more than hard to implement YouTube into internet business. If you're not at least a famous car company of corporation it's almost impossible to get any attention.

    YouTube has become no more than a proper platform for artists and standupers. Business content is regarded as sales and oppressive.

    Is just a good addition to business, but sadly though no more than that.

    • 66

      Adrian: With every passing day, it is undeniably harder to stand out from the crowd. The standard for what is great rises. If we only chase short term success, it is a path, even with that short term success, to zero long term value.

      There is new content and new stars on YouTube every day. I believe it is great for human brands, not just businesses (most of whom have stinky channels). One just has to hit a much higher standard.


  48. 67
    Sophia Andres says

    Does YouTube marketing is good for the products like RFID ?

  49. 69
    Krystelle says

    I'd never thought of YouTube with this evolutionary type mental framing. This makes things simpler for me to understand, and evaluate how best to deal with the needs of our clients.

    Thank you for such a steller blog, and all the free advice!

  50. 70

    Hi Avinash,

    Read the entire insightful Blog and thanks for the PDF. In today's world building a brand name for yourself is damn difficult. Getting subscribers is one thing but sustaining them is another. It is a competitive world for sure!!


  1. […] YouTube Marketing And Analytics: A Primer For Magnificient Success, […]

  2. […]
    One of the main reasons why KPIs don’t get set is that, as Avinash Kaushik aptly put in a post early this month, most companies don’t understand how to think about YouTube, and therefore fail to tie YouTube marketing campaigns to tangible business goals.

  3. […]
    Avinash Kaushik goes into this topic in great detail and breaks down how you and your company can utilize the tools available to create your own YouTube presence. Here is a link to his blog post:

  4. […]
    YouTube Marketing and Analytics: A Primer For Magnificent Success, by Avinash Kaushik – It's the 2nd largest search engine in the world.  Yet, most businesses use it sub-optimally.  What should a brand do on YouTube?  Avinash breaks it down into 3 simple steps.  Reach.  Build.  Engage.

  5. […]
    2. YouTube Marketing And Analytics: A Primer For Magnificent Success

  6. […]
    YouTube is a way to connect information rich content (video) with a global audience, instantly, perpetually, and for free. Pretty incredible. You know this, as a viewer. But defining YouTube as a platform for brands is more confusing. It’s not just a social platform like facebook. It’s also a content and advertising platform all rolled into one.
    “Most brands have no idea what to do on YouTube.”

  7. […]
    Ruth shared a number of excellent resources with us – just two here for you: YouTube Marketing And Analytics: A Primer For Magnificent Success on that very useful website Occam’s Razor by Google’s Digital Marketing Evangelist Avinash Kaushik

  8. […]
    Part of this is down to the (currently sub-par) quality of YouTube analytics data, but a wider problem is that businesses often fail to set KPIs before beginning the process of creating and promoting content on YouTube. One of the main reasons why KPIs don’t get set is that, most companies don’t understand how to think about YouTube, and therefore fail to tie YouTube marketing campaigns to tangible business goals.

  9. […]
    YouTube Marketing And Analytics: A Primer For … – 3/2/2014 · Reach, Build, Engage outlines a nine-step marketing and analytics framework to truly monetize YouTube's three benefits: Social, Advertising, Media Platform….

  10. […]
    Based on an article by Avinash Kaushik

  11. […]
    When trying to optimize your lead generation efforts, it’s important to remember that visitors can happen upon any page of your site. Therefore, placing complete contact information and sales info on every page should be a top priority! If you consider every page a potential landing page, you understand what the visitor needs to see there.

  12. […]
    Consider local garage sales if your business is focused locally. For example, if you run a garage you could host a table at a neighborhood sale selling tools or first aid kits. You can let people know about how honest and reliable you are face to face, increasing your reputation and generating leads.

Add your Perspective