By Sahil Patel
YouTube analytics company Outrigger Media has released its second annual “Top 500 Brands on YouTube” report, which covers the channel and video performances of the top non-entertainment brands on the world’s biggest video site.
(Last fall the company did a separate report on the top entertainment brands on YouTube, partly due to the fact that the entertainment category is its own beast on YouTube.)
“These are marketers who aren’t typically required to be in the content creation business by nature, but have chosen to do so largely based on the ‘earned media’ opportunity offered by YouTube and its monthly US audience base of more than 120 million,” Outrigger says in the report.
By investing in YouTube content, Outrigger continues, including employing the tried-and-true strategies of being consistent and engaging with fans, the top 500 brands have seen their average subscriber numbers increase sharply in the past 12 months: from 37,000 a year ago to 82,000 today.
Here are some of the most interesting things uncovered by Outrigger, which tracked view, subscriber, and various year-over-year data across categories like autos, retail, CPG, tech, and food/beverage:
1. Altogether, the top 500 brands generate more than 720 million views per month, with each brand averaging roughly 1.4 million views.
2. The average view-count per video of the top 500 brands sits around 136,000.
3. Tech, auto, and retail brands account for nearly two-thirds of the top 500 non-entertainment brand channels on YouTube.
4. There are 131 tech channels, with Google alone accounting for 24 of them.
5. Samsung’s not far behind, though, with 17 channels in the top 500.
6. The top five brands in each category “typically account for 50% of the measured category,” says Outrigger. Here’s a snapshot of the top five brands across all the major categories:
7. Education channels (only 10 of the top 500) averaged the highest number of subscribers per channel.
8. Food/beverage dominated view counts in early 2014, led by Red Bull’s continued success on YouTube as well as the viral successes of campaigns like PepsiMax’s Jeff Gordon prank videos and Lipton Tea’s videos with The Muppets.
9. In a survey of 313 online media planners, 208 had planned or bought media on YouTube in the past 12 months. Of those 208, 41% plan to increase spend over the next 12 months.
10. On average, it takes a brand roughly 750 views to gain one subscriber. That’s far above the average for the top content channels on YouTube, which see a conversion rate of 200 views for every new subscriber. “There are many factors working against brands in this regard,” says Outrigger, “including an inconsistent content and publishing strategy and the likely impression by a viewer that whatever drew them to the brand’s content in the first place will not be repeated.”
11. Another issue, according to Outrigger, is the relative lack of utility when it comes to YouTube subscribers. “Compared to a Facebook friend or a Twitter follower, YouTube channels are offered no direct or targeted connection to their subscribers. Since brands are concerned with selling a product or service, and not ads on their YouTube channel, there’s a completely different value proposition at work on this front.”
12. That said, the education category does really well when it comes to converting viewers into subscribers. Alcohol brands? Not as much:
13. Only 13% of online media buyers surveyed by Outrigger work for brands that “often” create content specifically for YouTube campaigns.
14. 33.2% of surveyed buyers “always” repurpose TV spots in their YouTube media buys. Unsurprisingly, these ads often represent a significant amount of the overall content on a brand’s channel page.
15. Restaurants are the most aggressive when it comes to repurposing TV ads:
16. The top five brand channels when measured by Outrigger Media’s proprietary SlateScore: Red Bull (781), TED Talks (737), GoPro (728), Luxy Hair (692), and Samsung Mobile (683).