YouTube is a startup (funded by Sequoia Capital) that allows upload of videos to their site.
There are 2.4 billion videos viewed on YouTube each month, which puts in at the top of viral marketing hubs.
The challenge for YouTube is to turn the online social networking community into a profitable enterprise.
YouTube is trying to turn advertising interest into profit.
The tricky part is how to reach the target audience among the millions of consumers using the site.
YouTube has tested the marketing waters with Yahoo! and Google text-based ads as well as a banner campaign for Disney’s “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.”
Without any doubt, the marketing reach is massive.
It needs a carefully crafted marketing strategy to ensure correct ads placement of ads – not in the least due to the wide range of video subject matter.
Keeping the YouTube website up is not an easy thing to do.
According to insiders’ estimations; it takes at least $300,000 and $400,000 per month to run such a huge bandwidth-size website.
If done properly, using YouTube for advertising will be a nice addition to the marketing and promotion mix.
"From a brand standpoint, it's become another way to reach consumers," says Barry Lowenthal, president of ad buying company Media Kitchen.
Viral marketing is a strong part of it.
Nike's Ronaldinho clip was e-mailed by consumers to their friends and embedded it in their profiles on social networking sites.
As a result, it has been viewed more than 3 million times.
The investment on Nike’s side was producing the digital video.
The uploading and distribution was free.
Some companies already engage YouTube as a marketing partner.
E Networks is featuring various E program clips on the site.
Deep Focus, a marketing firm representing studios such as The Weinstein Co., and MTV2 use YouTube for promotion, such as running the trailer for Scary Movie 4.
The trailer was seen 250,000 viewers within 24 hours and by 1 million within a week.
You Tube runs video clips based on formal agreements with the logo of the firm that placed them. It is also their way of letting viewers know that they are commercial.
Some companies prefer not the work officially, but just upload their videos on their own.
Warner Bros. posted video blogs from the Superman Returns director to promote the movie.
Copyright is an issue with viral marketing the YouTube way, and some companies are not amused.
NBC asked the site to pull down pirated clips of a Saturday Night Live skit due to complains from the rights-holders.
Since everything goes on YouTube, is does come with some unexpected “dangers”.
General Motor's Chevrolet launched a contest, inviting consumers to use Chevy-provided images and music to make their own Tahoe commercial.
Some people created harsh, anti-SUV messages about global warming, and posted the end result on YouTube.
Jessica Rose, a 20 something graduate of The New York Film Academy, used YouTube to launch her acting career.
For nearly 4 months, she played an innocent, home-schooled 16-year-old, pouring her heart out for the video camera in (what seemed to be) the privacy of her bedroom.
Calling herself Lonelygirl15, her first person video accounts became one of the most viewed on YouTube.
She built a fan base of millions, that couldn’t get enough of the “fresh faced teenager”.
In the end, it was revealed that her carefully and professionally crafted videos were part of a stunt for the purpose of catching a movie deal.
But how successful will YouTube be as a marketing tool?
"It's fantastic from a consumer research standpoint," says Lowenthal.
"You can type in a search for 'shopping' and then see (videos) of people showing their shopping habits. It's almost like a global focus group — all for free."
It’s a cost effective way to make a corporate or product video – all you need is a
iMovie or MiniDV camera to match the production quality.
Distribution is free – courtesy of the YouTube viewers.
When going for a YouTube video, keep the following in mind:
- Make it entertaining - funny works better than serious.
- Be aware that it has a short life span.
- Sex sells, and you can get away with racy materials.
- Keep it short – under three minutes.
- Be aware of your target audience – violent and weird stuff appeals to young males only.