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YouTube's Online Video Best Practices

YouTube's Online Video Best Practices Brad Berens

Brad Berens: Recently YouTube announced that it would let advertisers create channels of content and rolled out a "Participatory Video" space on the upper-right hand corner of its home page. How -- beyond uploading :30s -- should advertisers take advantage of this new space? 

Tony Nethercut: We encourage advertisers to give our users access to creative that is engaging and different than what can be seen on TV. The length of the video can be anything under 10 minutes. We suggest from experience, that somewhere in the two to five minute range is a best practice.

Berens: What new opportunities for advertising might YouTube be launching soon?

Nethercut: We continue to look for opportunities that work for both our community and our advertisers. You will see enhanced functionality in our brand channels and more video opportunities in the near future. 

Berens: Right now, YouTube is avoiding pre-roll video ads and interstitials: will that always be the case?

Nethercut: We are about experiences that work for our community and our advertisers. We will continue to look at models that respect the user experience.  

Berens: YouTube is rightfully and successfully protective of the user experience. Both on YouTube and elsewhere on the web, how would you articulate a set of three to fivebest practices for online video advertising?

Nethercut: Respect the user experience:

  • Understand that users are talking back; make sure you are listening

  • Create video ads that are built for the audience that is viewing it; make it as unique and engaging as possible. Avoid the interruption model.

  • Don't expect all work to go viral; have a plan to seed the experience and support the campaign.

Berens: One of the big advertising buzzwords right now is "engagement." How does YouTube promote engagement? So many of the comments attached to videos -- which can number in the hundreds -- are quite terse. Do comments and ratings constitute engagement?

Chad Hurley: The entire platform is about engagement. Our users both celebrate what they consider to be good advertisements and promotions and feel obligated to voice their views about those they do not like. We have democratized the entertainment process allowing the community to decide what rises up and to interact with the content they are viewing. It is this active engagement that many brands and advertisers seek in order to communicate and reach new consumers.

Berens: How does YouTube compare/contrast with MySpace? Does YouTube enable the sort of relationship building among users and between users and advertisers in the way that MySpace and other social networks claim to do so?

Nethercut: We are about connections around video content. YouTube ads and brand channels can be well targeted to reach a certain part of our community. The videos being viewed are engaging for a long period of or time, both users and advertisers benefit.    

Brad Berens is executive editor at iMedia Communications. .

A trusted advisor to companies of all sizes and a respected voice within the interactive media industry, Dr. Brad Berens has enjoyed a wide-ranging career that features storytelling as an organizing theme. These days, he divides his time among...

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