Does the impact of YouTube go beyond views, watch time and subscribers?

A scientific research into the effect of YouTube on key brand KPI’s


Yannick Abrahams
Managing Director of Labs

YouTube has become an integral part of the lives of today’s consumers. More than 2 billion people worldwide use the video platform every month. YouTube has the second largest reach of all websites after Google and is therefore larger than Facebook. In our country, too, the reach is gigantic and continues to grow steadily. More than 12 million Dutch people now use YouTube on a monthly basis.


No wonder more and more brands are embracing YouTube as one of the regular channels within their media mix. YouTube is in fact very suitable for spreading your marketing message and generating a high reach (views), a lot of attention (viewing time) and an ongoing stream of new subscribers. However, this says little about whether your message actually gets across, how it is received by your target audience and what the effects of this are on your brand.

In other words: YouTube statistics alone, such as reach, attention and subscribers, are not a good measure to determine the impact of YouTube on your brand. But how do you determine YouTube’s impact? And what is that impact?


To determine the impact and effectiveness of YouTube on key brand KPIs, such as brand awareness, brand preference and purchase intent, we (Team5pm Labs) conducted a large-scale brand impact measurement in collaboration with Erik Kostelijk, Associate Professor of Marketing at the Hogeschool van Amsterdam and author of several market research and marketing books.

We conducted research on various types of video content from national and international brands, publishers and advertisers, such as GAMMA, ANWB, HP OMEN, PokerStars, De Telegraaf, Hyundai and Volkswagen.


To measure brand effects on YouTube, we use the Mind-Heart-Market share model. This model is based on the branding theory from the book Brand Positioning (Alsem & Kostelijk, 2016). The model represents the online marketing funnel: it describes the different stages that customers go through during their customer journey, and shows how the YouTube strategy impacts this customer journey.

  • MIND is about the knowledge that potential customers have of your brand, measured by awareness measures such as brand recall and brand recognition. In this phase, the goal is to increase the knowledge and awareness of the brand.
  • HEART is about the feeling that (potential) customers develop for the brand, think about brand preference and perception of your brand values. In the phase, the goal is to get (potential) customers to develop a positive attitude towards your brand.
  • MARKET is about the behavior of (potential) customers, such as purchase intention, inclusion of the brand in the consideration set, or wanting to recommend your brand to others (measured with the well-known Net Promoter Score). In this phase the goal is to get (potential) customers to buy and to stimulate customer loyalty.

In each phase of the funnel we determine the relevant brand KPIs to measure the effect of the YouTube strategy.


The research shows that YouTube has a positive effect on brand KPIs at every stage of the marketing funnel.

  • In the MIND-share phase, the goal is to increase knowledge and awareness of the brand. The results underscore the importance of YouTube for brand recall: we see on average 195% more brand awareness among YouTube campaign viewers.
  • In the HEART-share phase, the goal is to get (potential) customers to have a positive attitude towards your brand. YouTube plays an important role here. Among respondents who have seen one or more videos from the YouTube campaign, brand preference is on average no less than 297% higher than among non-viewers.
  • In the MARKET-share phase, the goal is to get (potential) customers to buy and to stimulate customer loyalty. The average purchase intention is 349% higher among YouTube campaign viewers. In the test group, i.e. among the YouTube campaign viewers, there are on average 220% more brand ambassadors than in the control group (the non-viewers).


This research also looked at possible differences in brand effects between brand users and non-users. It makes sense in itself that people who enjoy buying a particular brand are also more likely to watch that brand’s YouTube videos, but the research shows that YouTube also has an impact among non-customers. Two key conclusions are:

#1) YouTube confirms and encourages customer loyalty.

In general, YouTube videos are watched more often by brand users than by non-users. This means that YouTube can play an important role in encouraging and promoting customer loyalty.

#2) YouTube is useful for acquisition

Non-users who watch branded YouTube videos, however, do score significantly higher on brand recall, brand preference and purchase intent. YouTube thus stimulates (hot) prospects and that makes YouTube also important for acquisition.

Conclusion: YouTube has a positive effect on brand KPIs

Our research shows that YouTube has a significant positive effect on brand KPIs, such as brand awareness, brand preference and purchase intent, at every stage of the online customer journey. In addition, YouTube is important for new customer acquisition and can play an important role in driving customer loyalty.

Want to know more about YouTube brand effect measurements? Then get in touch with us.


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