YouTube Is Trying to Rival Cable. Is This Great News for Brands?

YouTube is making a big push to turn itself into a first-rate, mainstream network—all for a slice of that lucrative cable TV pie.

How will they do it? By taking the hottest YouTube stars—such as Michelle Phan, Bethany Mota, and Rosanna Pansino—and using major ad money to get their faces on billboards, subway ads, and TV spots at rates that rival those of traditional TV networks.

While this new campaign is huge news for YouTube celebrities, it also presents new opportunities for brands.

First of all, the advertisements give brands a greater incentive to partner with these Web stars. Fanbridge, the OkCupid of video marketing, is set up to connect brands with the online personalities who can best be a mouthpiece for their products and messages. Ford, Visa, and Taco Bell have all worked with stars this way.

Brands are also in a better position to take advantage of pre-roll ads that link to extended video content on their own channels. These ads will have greater visibility thanks to YouTube’s big marketing push. If the campaigns are successful, YouTube should draw in an attractive demographic—young urban professionals as well as baby boomers. Both audiences might spend more time with content that is perceived as YouTube premium. After all, there’s already a rich history of successful pre-roll ads leading to high YouTube view rates.

As YouTube becomes more diverse, brands will have more opportunities to experiment with engaging content that amplifies their brand’s voice. Brands looking to provide real value for users will also recognize that this kind of engagement creates more opportunities to display targeted content to an audience.

Still, the major win for brands here is that they have an opportunity to own their content and reach their audiences without having to be pigeonholed into time slots, display sizes, or print and newspaper ad dimensions.

You want to create a 90-minute video of extreme snowboarding and link it back to health information synthesized from data from your latest fitness products? Go for it. That’s not a bad content strategy, by the way.

Contently arms brands with the tools and talent to become great content creators. Learn more.

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