Earned media is quickly becoming the gold standard for brands on YouTube. In contrast to paid media — media like pre-roll ads, banners ads, etc — earned media has become a way for brands to organically reach new customers via the voice of passionate, talented fans. We see this on YouTube all the time with gaming videos. Fans want to share their content with viewers, which in turn creates new fans. The game publisher has “earned” that media simply by trusting its audience enough to create content on YouTube, and by making a product that people are generally excited to share.
An added bonus to earned media is that it comes off as generally authentic. In fact, according to research from brand management company Octoly, earned media is the overwhelming source of views on YouTube for most brands. Earned media is viewed 10 times more often than owned media — media that is published by the brand itself.
Looking at statistics from the “Call of Duty” franchise, earned media accounts for 95% of the title’s total views. These are fans posting “Let’s Play” videos, walkthroughs, and gameplay videos who are passionate about the product and are marketing it for free. Kids brand Lego sports even more impressive numbers with 99% of its 8 billion views on YouTube coming from fan-made videos.
Analyzing 1,000 brands and artists over 28 million videos across 9 million YouTube channels, Octoly found that more than 500 billion user-generated views were going unseen by marketers looking to tap into earned media on YouTube.
“User-generated YouTube product videos are now part of the buying process. 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in their purchase decisions. So it’s crucial for brands to monitor earned media to track reputation, uncover consumer insights and identify advertising opportunities,” said Thomas Owadenko, founder and CEO, Octoly.
To see the full extent of Octoly’s research, check out the infographic via the brand management company below: