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3 lousy branded YouTube channels

3 lousy branded YouTube channels Greg Jarboe

Buick, the BBC, and Intel have lousy YouTube brand channels. That's not the subjective opinion of some guy who has written a book on YouTube and video marketing. It's based on an objective analysis of the quantitative data from their branded YouTube channels and others in their categories.

So, what makes a lousy channel lousy?

3 lousy branded YouTube channels

Developing the lousy scale

Since there is no objective measure of lousy, I had to create one.

Now, there are three data points that are publicly available for developing a lousy scale for YouTube brand channels: video views, subscribers, and uploaded videos.

I quickly decided against using "video views." This seems like a more appropriate metric for comparing individual YouTube videos.

"Subscribers" is a more appropriate metric for comparing YouTube channels. Users subscribe to channels to receive updates and stay informed when something new occurs. Subscribers are consistently more engaged with a brand's content and watch a brand's videos on a regular basis.

VidStatsX provides a list of the top 2,000 most-subscribed YouTube channels. It also provides lists of the top 100 most-subscribed YouTube channels in 16 categories.

But, some YouTube brand channels were launched earlier than others, giving them a head start in adding subscribers. And is a channel lousy simply because it hasn't made it to one of these lists yet?

On May 20, 2012, the YouTube Blog said there were "tens of millions of channels on YouTube." So, even if a YouTube brand channel doesn't make it to bottom of the top 100 most-subscribed YouTube channel's list in its category, it might still be pretty good.

This is where "uploaded videos" factors into the lousy scale.

A very good YouTube brand channel should be able to generate more subscribers per uploaded video than other channels in its category. This means that a really bad -- or lousy -- channel would be one that has generated fewer subscribers per uploaded video than its competitors.

This methodology lets you calculate the equivalent of the batting average for a YouTube brand channel.

A pretty lousy branded YouTube channel in the auto and vehicle category

To take my new lousy scale out for a test drive, I started in YouTube's automotive category. To my surprise, here's what I found:

 Brand  Subscribers  Videos  Subscribers/Video
 Audi Deutschland  95,173  893  106.6
 Chevrolet  81,799  1,321  61.9
 Mercedes-Benz  72,126  112  644.0
 Ford  68,966  347  198.7
 Honda  68,018  289  235.4
 Cadillac  43,762  198  221.0
 Hyundai USA  40,256  333  120.9
 Toyota Deutschland  39,651  214  185.3
 Volkswagen USA  36,535  211  173.2
 Buick  2,059  434  4.7

Based on this data, Buick's branded YouTube channel is pretty lousy. It has the lowest number of subscribers per video in the autos and vehicles category. By comparison, the Mercedes-Benz channel has generated 137 times more subscribers per video.

Since Buick has customized its branded YouTube channel with its own logo, custom background, and other branding elements, I can only conclude that its channel sucks because most of its videos are really lousy.

"It's not my Grandfather's Buick, that's for sure"

For example, one of the newest videos uploaded to the channel is "Craig Zinser Engineering Manager, Infotainment Systems Buick Design."

I'm sure Zinser's "passion for photography" contributes to his work at Buick as an engineering group manager for infotainment systems. But watching the video doesn't make me want to subscribe to Buick's channel.

The oldest video uploaded to the channel is "Buick Regal Remix Event in Chicago Luxury Sport Sedan."

One of the people interviewed in the video says, "It's not my grandfather's Buick, that's for sure." That's not very auspicious if you consider that Oldsmobile proclaimed that it was "not your father's Oldsmobile" in the late 1980s, and that brand was phased out in 2004.

And the most popular video on the channel is "2012 Buick Verano."

This 16-second long ad has 56 likes and 367 dislikes. That's not a good ratio.

This begins to explain why Buick's branded YouTube channel has generated only 4.7 subscribers per uploaded video.

Don't bore your audience

So, what shouldn't you do when creating your brand's channel? Don't upload a bunch of boring videos.

A study conducted at the University of South Australia's Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science found videos that evoke positive emotions (exhilaration, hilarity, astonishment, happiness, and inspiration) were more likely to be shared. I suspect these emotions are also the most likely to engage your customers and prompt them to subscribe to your YouTube brand channel.

For example, take a look at "The Force: Volkswagen Commercial," if you haven't already seen it. This is the most popular video on the Volkswagen USA channel with almost 53.8 million views. It also has more than 205,000 likes and less than 3,400 dislikes. That's a good ratio.

A pint-sized Darth Vader is astonished when he uses the Force on his father's new 2012 Passat in the driveway. This award-winning commercial first aired during the Super Bowl in 2011. According to the Mashable Global Ads Chart, it is also the most shared video ad of all time with more than 5.5 million shares.

Creating a laugh out loud (or a "rolling on the floor laughing") response is a key element to creating a viral video hit according to recent research conducted by the Ehrenberg-Bass Institute for Marketing Science. I think it is also more likely to turn viewers into subscribers.

Dr. Karen Nelson-Field, who conducted the research, says, "Marketers should try and up-scale the degree of arousal so if they think something is amusing, they need to get it to a point where someone will actually physically laugh out loud."

She adds, "I think the opportunity missed for marketers is they send out a video that misses the sharing opportunity but perhaps maybe worse -- bores their audience."

A pretty lousy branded YouTube channel in the entertainment category

Next, I looked at the branded YouTube channels in the entertainment category. Here are the shocking results unveiled by my new lousy scale:

 Brand  Subscribers  Videos  Subscribers/Video
 Epic Meal Time  2,604,612  100  26,046.1
 The Ellen Show  1,203,418  3,523  341.6
 Glee on Fox  623,941  154  4,051.6
 Discovery Networks  535,598  4,634  115.6
 The X Factor UK  459,771  1,331  345.4
 BBC  444,162  11,717  37.9
 Animal Planet  364,103  2,470  147.4
 Fox  223,483  2,439  91.6
 HBO  199,022  1,548  128.6
 Disney Channel  178,471  896  199.2

Based on this data, the BBC's branded YouTube channel is pretty lousy. It has the lowest number of subscribers per video in the entertainment category. By comparison, the Epic Meal Time channel has generated more than 687 times more subscribers per video.

I've watched the BBC's content, and it "informs, educates, and entertains." So, I can only conclude that BBC'schannel sucks because it suffers from an embarrassment of riches.

Suffering from an embarrassment of riches

A quick review of the BBC channel's feed tab demonstrates why the largest broadcaster in the world's batting average is so low: The content being pushed to subscribers is so high.

The feed tab shows all of the action that's happening on a channel, and the BBC channel's feed tab is pushing an average of 40 videos and two playlists a week to its subscribers. These videos and playlists include "highlights" from BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, and Radio 4 programs.

In contrast, the Epic Meal Time channel's feed tab is pushing an average of one video a week to its subscribers. These videos from the YouTube cooking show feature extremely high-calorie meals, generally created out of meat products (with particular emphasis on bacon) and alcohol (especially Jack Daniel's).

Too much of a good thing

So, what shouldn't you do when creating your brand's channel? Publishing content regularly and often is a good thing, but too much of a good thing is generally a bad thing.

A good level to aim for is a minimum of one video per week, but the right amount of content depends on your audience, your goals, and your content. One or more weekly uploads will provide new content to your audience with enough frequency to keep them coming back.

According to comScore Video Metrix, the average viewer in the U.S. watched 118.3 videos at YouTube.com for 484.4 minutes (8.1 hours) in June 2012. That's an average of 27.5 videos a week for 112.7 minutes (1.9 hours).

So, uploading an average of 40 videos and two playlists a week to your YouTube brand channel is probably counter-productive. It's more content than the average viewer will watch.

To determine that for yourself, you should use YouTube Analytics to regularly to assess your channel's performance. What you learn can help inform programming decisions for your channel.

For example, examine the dates or videos where there was a high gain or loss of subscribers to learn more about what resonates with your audience. And identify and analyze videos that drove the most subscriptions relative to how many views they received to learn what caused more viewers to become subscribers.

And if you just happen to be the marketer who is responsible for the BBC's branded YouTube channel, then you might consider using the network template on your existing channel to showcase five new channels for your BBC One, BBC Two, BBC Three, BBC Four, and Radio 4 programs.

Now, I realize that a Brit isn't likely to take advice from a Yank who wouldn't know "a wicked googly" if he saw one. But you should still choose the right template for your channel to create the best experience for your subscribers.

A pretty lousy branded YouTube channel in the science and tech category

Next, I examined the branded YouTube channels in the science and tech category. Here's what my new lousy scale discovered:

 Brand  Subscribers  Videos  Subscribers/Video
 Google  672,147  1,501  447.8
 Apple  498,429  65  7,668.1
 Google Chrome  254,501  237  1,073.8
 Google Developers  186,321  1,270  146.7
 HTC  129,214  265  487.6
 Google Tech Talks  99,226  1,688  58.8
 Android Developers  94,701  123  769.9
 Nokia  94,976  627  151.5
 BlackBerry  78,510  1,635  48.0
 Intel  33,866  3,784  8.9

Based on this data, Intel's branded YouTube channel is pretty lousy. It has the lowest number of subscribers per video in the science and tech category. By comparison, the Apple channel has generated almost 862 times more subscribers per video.

But even if it sucks, Intel's channel isn't the elephant in the room.

The elephant in the room

I'm sure you noticed that half of the branded YouTube channels in the tech category belong to Google. As a matter of fact, there are more than 100 official Google YouTube channels.

Now, Google acquired YouTube in November 2006 for $1.65 billion. So, maybe it isn't surprising that the company has more YouTube brand channels than you can shake a stick at. But, is this a smart strategy that you should adopt? It depends. It's "wicked smart," as we'd say in Boston, if each channel is targeted at an ideal market segment that meets all of the following criteria:

  • It's possible to measure.

  • It's large enough to earn profit.

  • It's stable enough that it doesn't vanish after a short time.

  • It's possible to reach potential customers via promotion and distribution channels.

  • It's internally homogeneous (potential customers in the same segment prefer the same product qualities).

  • It's externally heterogeneous (potential customers from different segments have basically different quality preferences).

  • It responds similarly to a market stimulus.

  • It can be cost-efficiently reached by market intervention.

  • It's useful in deciding on marketing mix.

Market segmentation 101

Google has more than 101 ideal market segments worldwide. So, creating more than 101 YouTube channels that feature videos on a wide range of topics, from product demos to visiting speakers to Google's offices, is a wicked smart strategy.

If you look at Google's YouTube directory, you'll see that 42 channels are focused on users and advertisers in 36 different countries and regions. That's wicked smart. Why would you create just one channel for users and advertisers who speak 27 different languages?

Another 30 of Google's YouTube channels are focused on users of different products, and four more are focused on developers. That's also wicked smart. If you want information on Google Chrome, just go to the Google Chrome channel. Why force users to search through videos on other products?

Finally, 20 of the official Google YouTube channels are company-wide. That's probably smart, too. If a user wants to subscribe to Google Search Stories to be informed as soon as a new one is released, why make them receive updates about other topics they're not interested in watching?

Unless your company has only one ideal market segment, then it makes little sense to have just one YouTube brand channel.

Improving the batting average of your branded YouTube channel

Hopefully this article has helped you to take your channel to the next level. If nothing else, I hope my new lousy scale has demonstrated what not to do when creating your brand's channel.

If we've learned anything from these three lousy branded YouTube channels, it's this: Don't jump to conclusions.

When YouTube launched its new channel layouts in December 2011, it made it easier for all channel creators to organize and showcase exactly what they wanted. This included a more streamlined and consistent design as well as new, more flexible layouts for featured content.

So, incorporating banners and background images to match your brand's look and adding links to other sites is necessary but not sufficient to creating a very good YouTube brand channel. To avoid ending up with a lousy channel, you also need to generate more subscribers per uploaded video than other channels in your category.

This means you need to improve the batting average for your branded YouTube channel. And it's worth nothing that "batting average" is a statistic that measures the performance of batsmen in cricket as well as hitters in baseball.

Greg Jarboe is the president of SEO-PR.

On Twitter? Follow iMedia Connection at @iMediaTweet.


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