Rediscovering brand publishing: the promise of branded entertainment on YouTube
Why your brand can benefit from thinking like a brand publisher on YouTube
It is a well-known content challenge nowadays. You are given a few objectives as a marketeer, which you have to distribute across dozens of channels. On these channels you can choose hundreds of forms and measure thousands of metrics. And then you have to compete against popular influencers and established publishers. How to do it?! Learn to think like a brand publisher! With the right branded entertainment on YouTube, you can generate hours of qualitative attention for your brand.
YOUTUBE AS A PLATFORM OF QUALITATIVE ATTENTION
Start with qualitative attention and the rest will start moving on its own. But when do you speak about qualitative attention? When we talk about qualitative attention, we are talking about brands that not only manage to attract the attention of their viewers, but also manage to retain it. People watch your content consciously and carefully. If you translate this into a quantifiable KPI, then we are talking about: watch time. But why is YouTube the platform to achieve this?
- Your target audience is on YouTube
Worldwide more than 2.6 billion people use YouTube every month. Despite this popularity, (too) many marketing managers think that their target audience does not use the video platform. That is a shame. Because nothing is less true. YouTube is used in every age category, regardless of gender. And that is reflected in the type of content that is popular on the platform. Read more about it in this blog.
- YouTube is inextricably linked to quality attention
YouTube wants to keep their users on the platform as long as possible. The most important predictor of the YouTube algorithm today is therefore: watch time. The longer someone watches your video, the more your video will be recommended to other viewers. YouTube is competing with other social channels on this. If you are in an elevator, you might grab your Instagram or TikTok. You scroll and scroll. And often you don’t stay longer than a few seconds on an IG Story. Does someone use YouTube? Then that is often a conscious choice. The chance that someone will watch your content for four minutes is not uncommon on YouTube and it is achievable.
And if platform users consciously choose to watch your content for minutes rather than seconds, this is the perfect starting point to positively influence brand preference.
WHAT IS BRAND PUBLISHING?
But the battle for qualitative attention is fierce. And in order to win, you should not think as an advertising agency or content agency but as a brand publisher! But I can hear you thinking: what exactly is brand publishing?
A brand publisher is a brand that works from a publisher’s point of view. This means that you create content from an editorial formula. This is a central theme or topic that gives direction to your content. It describes what your content is about and for whom you are creating it. From there, you build recognizable and consistent formats. This is different from a campaign idea or concept. These are often short-term and relevant for a certain period of time. An editorial formula contains a central theme, which is sustainable. Compare it, for example, to a TV channel like RTL 4. It often has a clear idea of who it wants to be as a broadcaster and what programmes are needed to bring this to life. This is how RTL Boulevard or EditieNL is created.
But don’t worry, thinking like a brand publisher doesn’t mean you have to become the new RTL4 of YouTube. You don’t have to create content 24/7 and 365 days a year. It’s about making sure that when you (briefly) send a message, as many people as possible watch your video for as long as possible. And come back when the next one is online.
So now the definition of an editorial formula and a brand publisher on YouTube is a bit more clear. Altogether, a pretty understandable definition, familiar to many marketing agencies. However, its implementation on YouTube requires a different kind of thinking. At YouTube Agency Team5pm, our roots lie in the world of TV and publishing. Making programmes is in our blood. This combined with our platform knowledge of YouTube, has resulted in some great success stories. We know what people like to watch and what works. However, even we do not know the ins and outs of each specific niche or target group based on our own experience. Fortunately, there is data!
DATA AS THE FOUNDATION
At YouTube Agency Team5pm, we believe that every successful brand publishing strategy should have data as its foundation. This ensures that your long-term strategy is not built on personal opinion or a creative direction based on a gut feeling. But what exactly does that mean: ‘data as the foundation‘?
It means that we use data about your target group, to get to know them as well as possible. Then, we can respond to that. We use this valuable data about a specific target group at four moments before the content goes live:
- What is the search behaviour of the target group?
Data to find out what people are searching for and which domains are relevant.
- Which formats are popular within the target group and what can we learn from this?
Data that shows us which formats score well and thus serve as inspiration for your future format.
- At which moments within the video does the viewer leave?
Data that shows us at what point people stop watching. We also use data to produce more content in smart ways.
- How can we reach the target group as effectively as possible, both paid and organic?
Data to determine how we ensure that as many people as possible see your content. Data is also used to further optimize your current content.
Next, we can use data to pre-test the effectiveness of your videos. Pre-testing enables you to influence the success of your video before it goes live. Thanks to data, your brand publishing strategy is more than a ‘nice idea’. It is solid like a rock.
EXAMPLE OF A SUCCESSFUL BRAND PUBLISHING STRATEGY
KPN is the ultimate example of a brand that successfully creates branded entertainment and, by doing so, commits a loyal audience to it. Based on data, we saw an enormous growth in the search behavior for gaming content on YouTube. As an internet provider, KPN plays an important role during gaming: providing the perfect connection. And Gen Zs and Millennials are gaming enthusiasts in heart and soul. Match made in heaven? It certainly is! Together with KPN, Team5pm thought like a real brand publisher. Based on an editorial formula, original branded gaming content was created. This was distributed via the largest online gaming channel in the Netherlands: Legends of Gaming (LOG). With recurring branded formats, such as annual tournament seasons and specials, where the emphasis is on fun rather than winning. As LOG’s ‘Founding Father’, KPN promotes the informative USPs of its products and services through entertaining branded gaming content. Examples are custom formats such as ‘Next Level Game Room‘ and the ‘KPN Ultimate Speedtest‘, in which the KPN proposition concerning KPN fibre Internet and the Xbox Game Pass Ultimate are flawlessly integrated. LOG currently has over 1 billion minutes of watch time, 150 million views and 540 thousand subscribers. And all that 100% organically achieved, with KPN as a proud partner from day one. LOG’s success story resulted in a success story for KPN, with exceptional increases in brand values and preferences in the critical gamer target group.
READY FOR QUALITATIVE ATTENTION?
Watch time and the accompanying qualitative attention can be increased by organizing your content differently. As a brand publisher. This ensures that the desired target group stays in contact with your content for as long as possible. With a strong editorial formula based on data, you generate qualitative attention for your brand. A successful brand publishing strategy and implementation provides an ideal springboard: do you create content that your target group likes to watch? Then you can focus on branding, without causing irritation amongst your viewers.
Want to know more about how you can create successful branded entertainment on YouTube? Several content experts talked about this during our free webinar ‘The Power of Branded Entertainment’. You can re-watch it here.