How finance brands can master YouTube

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Shake the status quo
By Susan Burchill, staffer. 21 September, 2017
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Google UK's banking industry manager Natalie Invernizzi works with brands on YouTube every day. In this Q&A she discusses the strategies and content that work best for finance brands.

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Based on the latest YouTube research, what types or mix of videos works best for financial services brands? And where should brands be focusing their attention to connect with their audience?

"More than 1.5 billion people access YouTube every month, so its influence is greater than ever, shaping what matters in content and culture. YouTube creators build meaningful connections with their fans by sharing relatable life experiences and having a two-way conversation, so one of the ways in which brands can most effectively connect with their audiences is by teaming up with creators.

"Nationwide Building Society has seen the positive impact of such a partnership. Their Money Stuff channel partnership with a range of creators drove a 99% increase in positive sentiment towards their brand. From an advertising perspective, marketers using YouTube to its fullest capabilities are utilising a range of different formats and creatives, depending on the desired impact and outcome.

"With TrueView skippable ads, brands have a longer creative format that they only pay for when a consumer chooses to watch. These are complemented by snappy 6-second bumpers, which deliver a less intrusive tease or echo message to mobile-first consumers. Other products like Google Preferred provide an easy way to access the top 5% of content on YouTube, ensuring brands are appearing alongside the videos consumers love most.

"With the range of organic and paid video opportunities across YouTube there is no “one size fits all” approach for brands. We work closely with financial services brands to build effective strategies that make the most of the platform, and publicly available resources like the Creator Playbook for Brands mean that anyone can access best practices and follow research-based guidelines for success."

How important is an overarching YouTube video strategy for a finance brand?

"Crucial! YouTube consumers watch over one billion hours of content every day and over 400 hours of content is uploaded every minute. If finance brands don’t have a clearly defined strategy on how they’re going to make their content discoverable and reach the people who are important to them, they won’t be able to achieve their full potential on the platform.

"Strategies that we’ve seen work well include elements such as “always on” content surfaced to answer top questions and searches around a brand and its relevant products and services, complemented by flagship ATL marketing campaign content that considers the unique capabilities of YouTube as a platform, the brand and its target audience."

YouTube consumers watch over one billion hours of content every day and over 400 hours of content is uploaded every minute.

What are finance brands most often doing wrong, or not doing enough of on YouTube?

"Creative is a key driver of success on YouTube. Uploading a 30-second TV spot onto your brand channel can certainly deliver extra attentive reach, particularly for light TV viewers, but we see the best performance when there has been some consideration for YouTube being a different entity to TV.

"The strongest ads that resonate best with consumers are often longer form, more emotive examples of creative storytelling (see the YouTube leaderboard for full year 2016, where all the ads are over a minute, with the #1 spot being 3:35 mins long).

"Another common pitfall is underinvestment. Look at any finance brand channel and the odds are you’ll find several pieces of great video content with less than 1000 views. It’s such a waste to create strong content then leave it languishing on a brand channel, without the proper metadata to make it discoverable organically or paid support to promote it to a relevant target audience."

If a finance brand really wanted to attract some attention – really stand out, what would you recommend?

"The finance industry is experiencing a period of great disruption, with changes in consumer behaviour, regulation (such as PSD2 and GDPR coming in 2018), and nimble fintech startups challenging the ways in which people think about managing their money and financial requirements. However, a lot of the creative messaging and advertising we see from the finance industry is a variation on the same theme.

"To really attract some attention a brand could look to challenge the status quo and ride this wave of change by doing things differently. We’ve seen this in FMCG with brands like Lynx and Always achieving great success in breaking away from traditional ways of advertising their products. It would be great to see some of this boldness in approach from the financial services sector."

What do finance brands stand to gain by using YouTube to its best effect?

"There are significant potential gains for advertisers who make the most of YouTube. Research has highlighted that online video can drive a range of metrics, from awareness to favourability, to consideration and purchase intent. A 2016 study of TrueView campaigns showed that the format often drove increases in the aforementioned metrics, but that when a viewer chose to watch the full duration of the ad rather than skip, the impact was up to 26% more.

"Recent results from the YouTube Works for Brands Awards has also shown that brands using YouTube effectively can enjoy dramatic uplifts in product sales, website traffic, market share, earned media exposure and marketing ROI."

YouTube research has highlighted that online video can drive a range of metrics, from awareness to favourability, to consideration and purchase intent.

What sort of metrics should be most meaningful for a financial brand on YouTube – the best gauges for success?

"This is something that will vary depending on the brand. For some brands, YouTube is all about driving attentive reach, so core metrics will be view count totals for videos and unique reach numbers for ad campaigns.

"For others it might be about engagement, so metrics like watch time and viewer retention are more important. For brands more focused on lower funnel actions, it’s possible to look at what videos have driven the strongest increases in consumer purchase intent and consideration.

"Each brand needs to be clear on what success looks like for them, then ensure their strategy focuses on that and measures results effectively."

How can these kinds of brands encourage users to subscribe? Does this require a shift in thinking for these marketers?

"Subscribers are a core metric on YouTube because research has shown that subscribers tend to deliver twice as much watch time as non-subscribers. Despite this, for a finance brand it’s important to decide if subscriber numbers should be an area of focus.

"For a consumer to subscribe, there needs to be regularly-updated content that appeals, either through providing entertainment or utility. If brands are able to commit to that, then the YouTube Creator Playbook for Brands is packed full of tips and advice on how to build channel subscribers.

"For brands that aren’t able to commit the necessary time and investment, then subscriber numbers might not be the best goal. Instead, brands could focus on other areas, like creating content that drives engagement and viewer retention. Tools like YouTube Analytics are free to use and can help brands identify their top performing videos so they can test and learn what works best for them."

How could a finance brand advertise on YouTube to best effect?

"YouTube does not have to be one thing only for a brand, but to get the most out of YouTube, brands need to be clear on what they’re using the platform for. Is it about reach for marketing campaigns? Is it about engagement? Is it about time spent with brand? Financial services marketers will see the strongest success with a layered strategy that adopts a different approach based on the objectives.

"The brands that we see having the most impact are the ones that have taken the time to understand the platform and map out an appropriate plan for a range of content, advertising and measurement."

Are there any specific finance brands that you’d give as a good example of using YouTube to its full potential?

"The recent winners of the YouTube Works for Brands initiative highlight the sophisticated way in which some brands outside financial services are using YouTube.

"In the US there are some strong financial services brand channels, such as American Express and Geico, which really give consumers a sense of what the brand is about and deliver informative, entertaining, sometimes even inspirational content.

"We’ve seen some great campaigns and videos in the UK too, like Jargon Busters by Halifax, HSBC’s Rugby Sevens, and successful channel launches like Money Stuff by Nationwide. However, for most of the financial services industry, there’s still a great deal of untapped potential and increased opportunities to connect with consumers."

Which of YouTube’s online resources should people use for further advice on the topic?

"There are numerous resources available online for brands looking to improve their presence on YouTube. The YouTube Playbook for Creative Advertising, YouTube Advertisers Channel, YouTube Creator Academy and the Video Section of Think with Google are all fantastic resources for everything related to building a successful presence on YouTube, including all the latest research, tips, best practices, insights, case studies and more."

Image: HSBC

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When Susan was a youngster she didn't know what she wanted to be, but somehow she fell into advertising; then digital was invented so she worked on websites for a while. From there it was a small leap over to TV producing, scriptwriting, promo writing, and some copywriting.... Then when content marketing became a 'thing', she somehow fell into that. It's worked out ok so far - luckily she's always landed on soft things.