Discover the backdrop behind YouTube’s strategy shift in this article, from the retail affiliate program to who its real rivals are.
This year, I went to Google’s Pier 57 in New York City for the yearly YouTube NewFront event.
I attended the event back in May with the intention of learning more about YouTube’s strategic approach. With a few notable exceptions, the most of what I heard, however, was a tactical conversation that gave the sense that YouTube and TikTok are identical.
I guess I was too eager to complain. In the end, YouTube did make its strategic intent known during three significant events at NewFront, Brandcast, and VidCon Anaheim.
This paper emphasizes YouTube’s multifaceted strategy and provides a recap of the lessons I learned from the events.
YouTube NewFront 2023
YouTube NewFront 2023 Showcased Shorts To Reach Gen Z was the first, which I already covered in “YouTube NewFront 2023 Showcased Shorts To Reach Gen Z.”
It’s true that YouTube highlighted the fact that “YouTube Shorts is now averaging more than 50 billion daily views.” Back at the initial occasion, it was also said that 1.5 billion of YouTube’s billions of logged-in monthly users are viewing Shorts.
In the subsequent update, Google stated that more than 2 billion logged-in monthly viewers are now viewing YouTube Shorts during Alphabet’s Q2 2023 financial results.
This offers the social video platform’s short-form component an advantage over rivals like TikTok and Instagram Reels.
Now, extended form, live streaming, and podcasts are just a few of the types available on YouTube.
Out of this total, 42.8 million videos with a duration of under 60 seconds were posted by 4.5 million accounts. With 850 billion views and 11.0 billion interactions, this short-form material has a 1.1% engagement rate.
That was before to YouTube releasing the beta version of Shorts on September 14, 2020 in India, March 18, 2021 in the US, and July 20, 2021 in all other countries.
In contrast, between August 1, 2022, and July 31, 2023, 23.1 million accounts posted 732 million videos to YouTube. And these videos received 22.9 trillion views and 734 billion interactions, yielding a 3.2% engagement rate.
Of this total, 362 million videos with a duration of under 60 seconds were submitted by 16.5 million accounts.
The strategic environment has undergone a seismic upheaval as a result.
The number of YouTube producers, videos, total views, and engagements have all drastically expanded over the last three years. Additionally, their engagement rate has greatly increased. And the majority of the praise for YouTube’s overall success should go to Shorts.
I regret that I first brushed off the focus on YouTube Shorts as “a tactical discussion.”
In hindsight, the second essential point of the NewFront event—”Gen Z and YouTube go way back”—is what ultimately caused my reaction.
Yes, using age cohorts or generations as audience segments is one method. And indeed, the generation born after 1996 is referred to as Gen Z.
But as Michael Dimock, the president of Pew Research Center, wrote recently,
“It’s hard not to run into eye-catching headlines about generations these days. And it’s easy to feel like many of these headlines are just clickbait, all fluff, and no substance.”
He listed five important considerations to keep in mind whenever you come across a news story or research about generations. This includes:
The boundaries between generations “are not precise, definitive or universally agreed on.”
All members of Gen Z, Millennials, or Baby Boomers are not the same, “just as all Southerners, all Catholics, or all Black Americans are not the same.”
Research on generations and news articles frequently emphasize “differences instead of similarities.”
The conventional thinking regarding generations may be biased in favor of the upper class.As they age, pursue careers, and start children, people can and do change.
Therefore, when I indicated that using Shorts to reach Gen Z was “a tactical discussion,” I may have confused my ideas about producing short-form material with my views about focusing on a generation that is younger than both my children, who are Millennials, and both Boomers like me.
I hope I’ve finally made everything clear.
YouTube Brandcast 2023
The second event was Brandcast, the 12th annual presentation of YouTube’s advertisers, which took place on May 17, 2023 in New York City’s David Geffen Hall at Lincoln Center.
The newly appointed YouTube executive bench, which includes CEO Neal Mohan, CBO Mary Ellen Coe, and Google President Sean Downey, took the podium to discuss their goals, content, and user success.
Because Brandcast was part of the Upfronts, YouTube tackled a topic that was only mentioned in passing at its NewFront event a couple of weeks earlier: connected TV (CTV).
Among the things that YouTube told advertisers who attended Brandcast were:
- YouTube is the leader in streaming watch time, ahead of Netflix, according to Nielsen’s total TV and streaming report for the US in December 2022.
- YouTube reached over 150 million people on connected TVs in the United States, according to Nielsen data.
- YouTube CTV accounts for over 52% of ad-supported streaming watch time on connected TVs among people aged 18+, according to data from Nielsen SPR.
- Over 30% of YouTube viewers in the US aged P18+ could not be reached by other ad-supported streaming services in October 2022, according to data from Nielsen NMI.
- Over 70% of YouTube Select campaign impressions landed on TV Screens in the US in December 2022, according to YouTube internal data.
YouTube revealed earlier this year that it has taken over as the new home of NFL Sunday Ticket.
Coe discussed YouTube’s collaboration with the NFL Sunday Ticket at Brandcast, as well as the distinctive chances it is giving sports fans to watch sports on YouTube and YouTube TV.
According to Coe, there will be even more unique programming as a result of YouTube’s agreement with the NFL, such as Game Day All Access, which allows fans to see athletes with microphones on take viewers onto the sidelines during a match.
She also disclosed that at the start of the football season this year, YouTube would debut “NFL Creator of the Week,” a new original Shorts series on the NFL’s YouTube channel.
This means that advertisers can reach football fans across the complete library of NFL content on YouTube, whether they’re watching highlights, post-game analysis, or other related material on YouTube or watching live games on YouTube TV and Primetime Channels.
Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League (NFL), and Donald De La Haye Jr., a YouTuber known online as Deestroying, were featured on Brandcast to demonstrate how this cooperation might proceed.
They teamed up to share the highlights of YouTube football culture as well as how marketers may participate.
For instance, Goodell disclosed that YouTube’s NFL video garnered 1.9 billion views and a 27% year-over-year increase in watch time.
Since then, we’ve heard that, according to Tinuiti, CTV ad expenditure on YouTube increased significantly in Q2 2023, much outpacing that of its streaming rivals.
YouTube will earn $2.89 billion in US CTV ad revenue this year, second only to Hulu, according to Insider Intelligence, formerly known as eMarketer.
So, Netflix and Hulu, not TikTok and Instagram, are YouTube’s rivals on this second front.
On July 28, 2023, Daniel Konstantinovic of Insider Intelligence added,
“YouTube’s strong TV viewership and content model gives it an advantage over streaming services and other CTV platforms just entering the fray.”
VidCon Anaheim 2023
VidCon Anaheim, the third competition in this triathlon, was held at the Anaheim Convention Center from June 21 to 24, 2023. The sole broadcast sponsor and title sponsor was YouTube.
Amber Scholl, Colin and Samir, LARRAY, and SSSniperWolf, some of today’s top breakthrough creators, participated in a discussion on YouTube and the creator landscape with Amjad Hanif, vice president of product management at YouTube, during the industry keynote.
The main takeaway from this event is that over the last three years, YouTube has paid out $50 billion to media companies, creators, and artists.
Why? This provides YouTube a competitive edge over its rivals in social video and streaming TV when it comes to luring and keeping artists.
And it’s worth noting that YouTube didn’t start sharing ad revenue for YouTube Shorts until Feb. 1, 2023. (This new revenue-sharing model replaced the YouTube Shorts Fund.)
As a result, the YouTube Partners Program’s producers have only had six months to make money from the commercials that are seen in-between videos on the Shorts feed. YouTube pays up to $3 per 1,000 views for the Shorts feature, depending on elements including the video’s subject matter and the audience’s place of origin.
Only a few producers will be able to profit from the YouTube Shorts Fund in 2021 and 2022, with earnings ranging from $100 to $10,000 per month. Now, the options are endless.
As a result, YouTube has a distinct tactical edge over TikTok, Instagram, Netflix, and Hulu in terms of luring and keeping the most and finest artists.
But wait, there’s more!
The week before VidCon Anaheim, Hanif announced more ways for creators to earn money on YouTube, from fan funding to shopping.
YouTube has opened access to fan funding features like channel memberships, Super Chat, and Super Thanks.
And YouTube has also introduced an update to the platform’s Shopping affiliate program for creators.
Hanif wrote the following on the YouTube Official Blog:
The number of channels in the US that received the majority of their income from Fan Funding products increased by more than 20% in December 2022 compared to the previous month.
According to Hanif, “We’re expanding our YouTube Shopping affiliate program to all eligible US-based creators who are in (the YouTube Partner Program) with over 20,000 subscribers.”
With the advent of the Shopping affiliate program, content producers will be able to include goods from other companies in their offerings and yet qualify for attractive commission rates on those goods’ purchases.
With products spanning beauty, electronics, home, and clothes, YouTube has already worked with over 50 brands, including Nordstrom, Sephora, Ulta Beauty, and Wayfair. These products can be featured and tagged on videos and Shorts.
YouTube has announced its strategic vision, even though it took two months and three events. And because it has so many facets, my earlier complaints appear downright silly.
YouTube isn’t only attempting to imitate TikTok’s popularity.
Instead, the business is doubling efforts in a few key areas, like short-form video, connected TV, and the creator economy, in an effort to surpass its rivals.
And it appears to be working so far.
So, I apologize again, again, and again.
All numbers that aren’t linked are from a gated Tubular Labs report, as stated.
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