YouTube, Speaking the Language of TV, Wins Big Brands Like Kia - eMarketer

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YouTube, Speaking the Language of TV, Wins Big Brands Like Kia

October 10, 2014

David Schoonover
National Manager, CRM and Digital Marketing
Kia Motors America

Kia’s David Schoonover says that YouTube has changed its tune this year, a move that could grow the platform’s advertiser roster and earn more television dollars. The national manager of CRM and digital marketing for Kia Motors America spoke with eMarketer’s Danielle Drolet about YouTube’s recent paradigm shift and the implications for marketers’ video ad campaigns.

eMarketer: Why has YouTube become more attractive to advertisers?

David Schoonover: In the past, YouTube would try to earn TV ad dollars by using digital language—cost per clicks and impressions, etc. They wouldn’t show up at the annual video upfront. They wouldn’t talk in television buyer language. From an advertising dollar standpoint, digital keeps going up and taking share from radio, print, etc. But not from television.

This year, YouTube did something that was quite brilliant yet humble at the same time. They showed up at the video upfronts. And instead of selling the digital way, they started selling the TV way. Lo and behold, they started earning TV ad dollars. They’ve changed their language, and it’s going to work for them.

We recognize that YouTube as a video consumption platform is certainly unique, but not dissimilar from cable television. We look at it in some ways as another cable channel. It’s really still the TV buyers out there, and so because they’ve changed how they sell their product, that has begun to earn them some of the traditional TV ad dollars.

eMarketer: What are the key benefits of advertising on YouTube?

Schoonover: Kia believes strongly in an “influence the influencer” strategy. Because millennials are so socially connected, if you have a message that resonates, they will embrace it, and they will share it. The amplification effect is very powerful.

“Because millennials are so socially connected, if you have a message that resonates, they will embrace it, and they will share it.”

The other part that people sometimes miss is that millennials influence boomers. They don’t influence Generation X as much, since they see the world a different way. But interestingly enough, millennials and boomers actually get along pretty well.

Boomers, who are still young enough in many cases to be working or just recently retired, certainly see everything that’s going on with technology. It’s not native to them, so they don’t quite understand it. They typically look to their millennial—call it grandchildren—for information. What happens subsequently is influence.

eMarketer: Does this mean YouTube video ads are no longer just best for reaching millennials, but also older consumers—boomers?

Schoonover: That’s a good question. This is where marketers have to understand what YouTube is and its different parts. Use the right parts for the right audiences. Understandably, the default is it’s a youth audience platform.

For a general market, YouTube also works well, but it is absolutely wrong to say you cannot reach a 45-to-54-year-old audience with YouTube. And that’s where targeted banner advertising comes in. With the 45- to 54-year-olds, for example, they are absolutely consuming content on YouTube. It’s that the content that they are consuming is destination content. It’s the instructional videos, the cat videos or the how-tos—DIY. As long as you are targeting properly, you can absolutely reach any audience you want.

eMarketer: What are the drawbacks?

Schoonover: YouTube’s targeting capabilities can still be better. Their platform, in terms of advertising products, has evolved slowly. Meanwhile, Facebook has been going through massive trial and error to try and get it right to meet the needs of advertisers and not alienate their audiences.

I’m also surprised YouTube hasn’t done more integration with Google search. Look at Microsoft’s Bing. They do video and search units, and started that roughly back in 2011. They went dark for a while, and then they lit back up. Whenever we’ve done video units and search on Bing, they’ve performed pretty well. And again, that probably works more for the how-to videos or specific pieces of information vs. discovery content.

“With the 45- to 54-year-olds, for example, they are absolutely consuming content on YouTube. It’s that the content that they are consuming is destination content.”

But for marketers, it’s the old, “Be clear on your objectives and what you’re trying to do.” Don’t just throw video up on YouTube and expect it to perform. Do what you should be doing anywhere else in business. Think about what you’re doing first and set objectives.

eMarketer: What type of content works best for advertisers to associate with on YouTube?

Schoonover: Though contextually relevant is a buzzword that’s several years old now, it [still makes sense], yet people seem to forget it. The type of content is content that is contextually relevant to whomever you’re speaking to.

In the case of a youth audience, they see right through fake advertising. It’s a real challenge. The best type of content that we’ve been successful with is partnering with those YouTube content creators to integrate our product and our message in a way that’s organic to what their subscriber base enjoys.

eMarketer: What are some best practices for marketers who are placing video ads on YouTube?

Schoonover: The first that comes to mind is a YouTube paid search. YouTube SEO [search engine optimization] does not work well. A brand can put their ad out, and it invariably happens that someone scrapes it and reposts it because the majority of the world doesn’t understand copyright. Google Preferred channels will help this. But you’ll have the big, popular video buried under five or six videos with 468 views on their SEO results. YouTube SEO does not work that well. Marketers have to use their paid search to round out their campaign.

Second, make sure your creative is designed correctly for the type of creative unit that you’re running.

Lastly, remember that the YouTube audience is highly contextually relevant. Either they came to the platform looking for something, or they arrived at the platform having come from doing something else. I wouldn’t call it a lean-back experience. It’s contextual relevance. What are these people doing? Where are they coming from?

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