Not another viral: Start creating meaningful YouTube content experiences

By on May 8, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Share On GoogleShare On FacebookShare On Twitter

The Great Western States 100

With more than 1 billion unique users visiting YouTube each month and a 100 hours of video being uploaded to the site every minute it is no wonder organisations are desperate to create engaging YouTube content.

Sadly most organisations fail miserably at capturing the imagination of viewers on YouTube. Instead they continue to pour money into “viral videos”, which they proceed to stick up on YouTube with grand expectations. Most of these invariably fail to gain any traction or create engagement and discussion. And usually little is said of it the office because no one knows how to get this right. Then 6 months down the line someone else has a great idea for a “viral video”, and the whole money burning pointless exercise starts again.

Organisations know they want engaging video content on these platforms they just don’t know how to create it and what they want it to achieve from it.

So why are we failing to connect?

To identify why so many videos are failing to capture the imagination of the YouTube audience we need to get a better of demographic of the platform. YouTube’s core demographic are young people “millennials” (18-33 year olds) they are distrustful of the media and government. They don’t tune into shows and wait for content to come to them.

They are content seekers and curators, they choose when to watch and who. They are less loyal than older generations, they go where the content is good. And they have no qualms in switching content sources to fulfil their viewing needs.

Too many agencies and organisations have failed treat the YouTube audience as unique and in need to specialised content to meet their needs. Instead they continue to treat them as a homogenous group creating content which resembles traditional TV adverts. People don’t like advertising on TV and the millennials really don’t like it on YouTube.

Recently YouTube’s global head of entertainment Alex Carloss has encouraged channel-owners to focus on building “fanbases” rather than simply audiences on Google’s video service. If you look at individuals who have hugely popular YouTube channels they don’t produce adverts. They live to serve their communities; they create the content their audiences request, they let the viewers into their lives and take them on a journey together.

We believe organisations can do this but it takes investment and meaningful partnerships with creative agencies and production companies. The one off hit just doesn’t work, simply look at the most successful YouTubers. They are producing a minimum of two videos a week they address their audience directly, the content is made for YouTube. Only if organisations properly invest in a YouTube content strategy and hire the expertise to deliver content to inspire will they see results.

We spoke to People Like You collaborator, Nick Jones, Director at Picture Imperfect and a rising star in the documentary film world. Nick believes organisations have a huge opportunity to inspire a new generation of supporters through well thought out multimedia, He says; “Online content is so important for the technologically savvy generation, major brands such as Nike are seeking out successful YouTube filmmakers such as Casey Neistat and giving them open briefs to create films that capture the imagination of young people”.

“The smart brands are recognising the unbelievable potential of high quality well produced video content. It is true that technology is cheaper than ever and anyone can make a short video. But audiences have higher production expectations of content produced by brands. They need to start creating intelligent well researched and shot content that gives the younger generation what they desire in terms of content. They need to shift the mindset from creating a ‘viral’ video to embarking on creating regular, intelligent, well shot content focusing on storytelling”.

These are several of our favourite brand channels:

Salomon Trail Running

These guys get it. They produce regular content and package it up as seasons. They make short documentary style videos with stars of the trail running world. They focus on adventure and storytelling they keep you coming back for inspiration not adverts.

Go Pro

Whether they are making films about seals receiving belly rubs or crazy snowboarding adventures Go Pro get it. Their content is a mix of the short and sharp and longer and more inspiring. But whatever the format adventure and exploring are at the centre of the content beautiful video shoots tell the stories.

North Face

North Face are prone to produce YouTube gems like this video with Dean Karnazes talking about his running journey and getting older.


PETA are well known for their attention grabbing media work. They use YouTube brilliantly to get celebrities talking about the cruelty animals endure and why people should adopt either a vegetarian or vegan diet.

What are your thoughts on video content? Why are so many brands frankly getting it all wrong? Leave your comments below or come and discuss it on Twitter @PeopleLikeYouUK.

Work with People Like You

If you would like to speak to us about helping your organisation implement a YouTube content strategy or developing high quality video content in collaboration with Picture Imperfect email us at: hello@thepeoplelikeyou.org


Leave a Reply