Using Youtube to increase brand awareness for e-commerce

Youtube is fast becoming the modern day television, with viewing figures in their billions, it is the first port of call for many individuals who want to visualise a new brand, watch celebrity interviews and even catch up on the latest news and sport. When particular clips go viral there is nothing more advantageous to a marketer- the exposure is huge. So, how can YouTube be fully utilised by marketers of eCommerce sites? Which brands are currently doing a great job and how can we borrow from their game plans?


Currently, YouTube allows brands to capitalise on the huge amounts of traffic that the platform receives, through TrueView advertising, i.e. short adverts that play at the start of certain videos. Now however, there is a new dimension to this set-up, whereby click to shop buttons can now be built into video ads through the pairing of TrueView and Google shopping. The new function will allow eCommerce brands to funnel buyers straight from an ad to their online store with one click.


The function is not without it’s downside though. Despite the high amount of content on Youtube (last year YouTube added 300 hours of video per minute), many viewers as a rule skip past the TrueView ads to get to their chosen videos faster. However, the pairing of TrueView and Google shopping is another example of the gap between content and transaction further reducing in size and there is a clear link between online window shopping and intent to buy.


So let’s take a look at how current brands are taking YouTube further than just TrueView ads:


The first brand we’re going to look at is Argos. Argos, has put a concerted effort into generating YouTube videos with the emphasis strongly being on content. Many of the videos are aimed at children, which makes sense considering Argos’s average customer tends to be under the age of 18. The videos feature the opening of toys and games, ripped excitedly from beautifully packaged gift boxes. These videos obviously engage with the bulk of Argos’s customers, a group who are also avid YouTube watchers. Capturing the attention of the older, less YouTube savvy generation can be more difficult. However, Argos have cleverly tailored some of their content to reach out to this group, through the use of informative videos. They have produced product information videos, that act as alternatives to old-fashioned manuals, so consumers can understand how to operate, for example their new lawnmower or drill. These types of videos are popular amongst older consumers.


House of Fraser have also been very innovative in the types of video content that they put out. The brand recently sponsored the BAFTAs which gave it the unique opportunity to put out mass amounts of content relating to the awards ceremony, that would generate hits based on interest in BAFTA alone. The content featured a host of big name celebs and tied in some careful product placement also. The advantage of a brand like House of Fraser joining forces with BAFTA is that traffic will come to House of Fraser’s YouTube channel from two different sources. Firstly, there will be the traffic generated by the interest in BAFTA and also the traffic that comes from those keen to explore all things House of Fraser online. The videos can be shared across Social Media and websites with the relevant BAFTA hashtags to promote the content even further. Once viewers are engaged, there is then the clear opportunity to include links in the videos of where to buy the products on the House of Fraser site. The most effective links being the ones that take the viewer directly through to the page of the site where the item can be purchased, straight away.


Marks and Spencers have been extremely clever in the types of content that they have produced for YouTube in order to engage viewers with their brand and increase their online sales. They have been clever enough to recognise that their TV advertising campaigns are incredibly effective and resonate widely with the general public and therefore have duplicated much of this content and used it on YouTube, generating the same success and engagement. They have also created some very cool behind the scenes content, showing viewers where the bulk of their produce comes from, offering tours of micro-breweries and dairy farms. This emphasis on transparency and openness, helps Marks and Spencers foster a more intimate relationship with their customers. Research shows that customers are much more likely to buy from brands that they feel offer honesty and no hidden catches.


Lastly, brands can also capitalise on seasonal trends when creating YouTube content. The likes of John Lewis have shown brilliantly how Christmas themed videos that sum up the sentiments of the holiday can generate huge amounts of shares, which will increase the brands online profile and consumer reach. When it comes to selling via YouTube it is all about capturing a viewer’s attention and then inserting links to the relevant product pages, where items can be bought.


From what we have seen, the videos that get the most traction on YouTube, for eCommerce retailers are the ones featuring tips and advice. Youtube is the main port of call for gathering information and instructions for a majority of consumers. To engage consumers via YouTube, brands need their content to focus partly on product tutorials, with a healthy selection of other videos, including some of the examples shown above. YouTube allows you to stay prominent in the minds of consumers and the increased traffic levels will improve your SEO. There is always the opportunity to include links in the videos to where consumers can shop to buy the products you feature. This will of course increase the likelihood that you will bring in those all-important sales.