I know – you were thinking about Coleridge when you woke up this morning. Hey – me too! In particular, the line from the Rime Of The Ancient Mariner about “water, water everywhere but nary a drop to drink.”
OK, I didn’t wake up thinking that but I was reminded of it when I read some data put out by the folks at Outrigger Media. They measure how brands use YouTube. The top 500 brands generate 442 million views every month – a bit less than a million each on average, which is pretty good. But there are some other data which are a little concerning that I thought you might find interesting.
If you’ve spent any time on YouTube (go ahead, admit it!) you’ve probably noticed that much of the branded material is just repurposed TV ads. In fact, in some brands’ categories (food & beverage), 15% of the videos are just that. The technology, automotive, and apparel brands (who seem to do a lot of original content – demos, mini-movies, etc.) on YouTube are attracting the largest audience, more than half of the Top 500 brands’ monthly views. However, the top brands channels are averaging just 35,000 subscribers, which is way less than their number of Twitter followers (more than 200,000).
Many clients have mentioned “going viral” as a goal with some video content. I caution them that it’s a lot easier to capture lightning in a bottle. Basically, there’s research that shows you’ve got about three days to make that happen, and if the content hasn’t been shared a lot by then it’s probably not going to happen (even though it can keep growing for a few months). That said, the Outrigger data shows that we have a fertile field – YouTube – that’s one of the biggest audience areas on the internet and yet brands can’t seem to make anything grow there on a consistent basis. If consumers had a strong interest in what the brands were planting, why wouldn’t they be asking to be updated regularly by subscribing? Apparently, not enough fear of missing out in this case.
YouTube is the ocean – there’s water everywhere in the form of consumers from which thirsty brands are trying to drink. Look like Coleridge was right.