By Rich Raddon
The time has come. Black Friday is around the corner and the biggest shopping season of the year is upon us. Although brands and consumers are used to the traditional direct mailers and TV spots, Black Friday — and shopping in general — has gained a significant presence on YouTube.
According to our data, Black Friday-related videos on YouTube are about much more than crazy mobs of shoppers fighting over flat-screen TVs. Whether it’s a Beauty Guru doing a haul video about the amazing makeup deals she found, or a consumer-electronics influencer unboxing the latest must-have tech, YouTube is changing the way consumers understand and evaluate the year’s biggest day for holiday sales.
For retailers and brands that haven’t already considered the impact YouTube could have on their holiday sales, here are five reasons to start now:
1. YouTube Dominance
According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more 18–34 year old adults than any cable network, and it is now the second largest online search engine. For brands, that means free access to a platform that reaches some of the top shoppers — millennials — better than any TV channel or mailer.
2. The Power of Fans
Even if you are not on YouTube yet, your fans are, and they are creating content on behalf of your brand in droves. At Zefr, we discovered that an incredible 90% of a brand’s activity on YouTube is coming from fan-uploaded videos. This phenomenon is so important, we actually released an ebook called the “Anatomy of a Fan” because it is imperative that a brand finds, understands, and leverages the “earned media” it gains from these communities. A fan video can be anything from a haul video where a YouTuber reveals their favorite products from shopping at your store that day to a Sneakerhead (a massive YouTube fan community) posting about the shoes they are collecting. Because customers often trust consumer opinion more than branded content, these videos are pure gold for brands.
3. Custom Content Delivers Value
While fans are off creating content about their favorite brands, retailers should simultaneously create premium, valuable content for their customers. Zefr helps a number of brands do this correctly by helping them build, manage, and monetize their YouTube channel. For instance, Zefr helped Hasbro Studios, the production company behind My Little Pony and Transformers media, hit 83 million lifetime views and increase its channel subscribers by 135,000 in one year from inception. That’s 135,000 potential buyers who are not only aware of Hasbro’s toy products, but are engaged with them on an entirely new level.
4. A Content-Hungry Audience
More than 6 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube each month, which equates to least an hour for every person on Earth, every month. Consumers demand visually rich and valuable content from brands they love and about the brands they love. Online video is becoming shoppers’ go-to source for quick, consumable information. Video plays an especially large role in high-dollar purchases such as buying a car. Shoppers often taken weeks to research options and find the best car for their needs. According to a study conducted by Tremor Video, 66% of car shoppers use online video for research. For brands looking to leverage online video, it is also important to note that video increases customers’ understanding of a product by 74% (Mayer and Anderson).
5. Don’t Be Left Behind, Act Now
According to our research, 53% of shoppers are influenced by YouTube. If you have yet to take advantage of the offer, the holidays are the perfect time to start building your YouTube following and ultimately, drive additional sales.
Additionally, it’s likely that your competitor already has a YouTube presence and is benefitting from the increased exposure and consumer engagement opportunities. Enormous communities have been built around some of today’s most influential brands, including Lego, Go Pro, and Playstation. At Zefr we help brands understand not only their fans, but also how their competitors are participating on YouTube through our Brand ID platform.
Rich Raddon is the co-founder and co-CEO of Zefr, the leading technology company that empowers brands to discover and target their most important influencers and topics in online video. Rich started his career as a film producer and continues to engage with some of the top content providers in Hollywood and beyond.