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How GE mastered YouTube (and you can too)

How GE mastered YouTube (and you can too) David Zaleski
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In 2013, General Electric decided to completely shift its video presence and enlisted the help of Fullscreen Inc., a global network of content creators and brands on YouTube, to guide the brand through this robust and complex ecosystem. GE's goal was simple: get a strong footing on gaining more earned and owned media, rather than paid. In the beginning of GE's strategy, its paid media was sitting heavy at 80 percent, while its earned and owned media were at 15 and 5 percent respectively. This strategy was proving unsustainable and prompted GE to focus on a video strategy shift that would push its channel into the millions of views without having to spend so much money on direct video marketing to achieve virality.


Katrina Craigwell, GE's global manager of digital marketing, and James Veraldi, SVP of business development and strategy for Fullscreen Inc., speak to iMedia about the genesis of their partnership and the first steps both companies took to ensure earned and owned media would rise from the ashes.


For GE, the main KPI on YouTube is not views or clicks -- it's shares. Shares are indicative of a viewer's enjoyment of a piece of video content. Shares tell GE that it has produced a video or partnered with creators who have made something funny, profound, or memorable. Fullscreen looked at that goal and enlisted the talent of various content creators on YouTube who could help. It's important to note that the company did not do this arbitrarily; it analyzed the GE audience and identified the demographic and life stages that were highly indexed to be communities that would share GE content. It matched that with creators who would resonate with that audience. Fullscreen then established a genuine relationship between GE and those creators. It didn't simply send out a brief and have the talent send back a video; Fullscreen made sure that GE actually had a relationship with its content creators that was valued, and that the creators understood the GE story. In turn it received stellar video material.


James Veraldi continues our conversation by speaking to iMedia about how Fullscreen aligned talented content creators with GE. Katrina Craigwell also discusses the internal philosophy of experimentation and risk-taking that allowed the company to partner and rely on external video assistance to achieve ambitious goals.


In the end, GE had 350 videos cumulatively reach 6.8 million earned and owned views in 2013 after this strategy took effect and original influencer content was injected in the GE voice. Paid media dropped from 80 percent to 40 percent, and earned and owned media both currently sit at 30 percent of proportion. GE was able to grow its subscriber base and earn viewership through constant optimization of content and channel. It optimized its media campaigns for shares and conversions, applying targeting at the channel and content level. And by putting native YouTube content creators at the forefront, it was able to tap into the influencers who would be most effective at reaching the demographic who would share videos, and in turn the GE brand.


Veraldi and Craigwell end our conversation by discussing the success and metrics of this partnership and GE's future platform expansion plans.



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"Man with flag" and "CIRCA MARCH 2014 - BERLIN: the logo of the brand "General Electric"." images via Shutterstock.

David Zaleski is the Media Production Manager for iMedia Communications, Inc. He graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a BA in Film & Television Production, specializing in editing, animation and television lighting.  Before...

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