How To Make YouTube Work For You

In License Global's guest column, Jon Gisby, our EVP & MD, shares insight into the opportunities YouTube offers, including how to harness valuable data to understand your audience, and create content to build digital-first brands. 

Video platforms have cemented their place in the viewing habits of families all around the world, bringing significant opportunities for the content and licensing business. Young audiences today expect content to be accessible across multiple platforms and devices via the quick touch of a button. Arguably, no platform is more important than YouTube when it comes to offering brand owners the opportunity to directly connect with audiences.

For IP owners, great merchandise itself is just one part of the equation when it comes to building and sustaining your brand for the long-term. Investing in digital content and understanding how your audience reacts to it can be a hugely powerful way of informing your consumer products strategy, helping to create multiple and added value touchpoints for your audience.

Harnessing Valuable Data:

To build your brand, you need to consistently engage with your audience on the platforms they’re on and devices they use, in a brand-safe environment. As a result, leveraging ad-supported video-on-demand platforms – AVODs – such as YouTube and YouTube Kids is becoming integral to distribution strategies for both new and established series and consumer products brands.

These platforms also house an enormous amount of data, which you can use to gather rich insights into where your audience is and how to effectively engage with them.

For example, when you launch a YouTube channel and people start watching your content, you’re quickly able to source immensely detailed and valuable data, often in real time, on audience type and their interests. You can also see how they engage with your brand and how it sits alongside the other brands they interact with – that’s just from one platform.

As one of the largest COPPA-compliant networks, we know the importance of brand safe content and this is always at the heart of everything we do. Our kids’ programming is classified as ‘Made for Kids’ within YouTube and YouTube Kids to guarantee brand-safe and appropriate family advertising.

A Vast and Responsive Audience Awaits:

Once you start combining this with all the other information you can collect from sources such as NPD or TV ratings, you generate an enormously rich picture about your audience. Most content companies and brand owners have simply never had this level of information before.

And importantly, by understanding the connections between this data, you’re able to build very sophisticated and cost-effective media plans. You can know exactly when and where to target your messages by using the insights into your audiences’ viewing habits and favourite brands.  

A Deeper Understanding of Your Content Strategy:

The opportunities go beyond clever media planning, targeting and finding audiences online – they go into creating the content itself. Product demo videos are one thing: however, there’s nothing stopping companies going the extra step and creating real stories and characters for their brands. We do this very successfully at WildBrain Spark with some of our partners, particularly those creating new toy lines, for example. You can also create cost-effective content combined with a real understanding of the target audience, to build digital-first brands that inspire consumer products in their own right.

A sustained investment over time can build a base of viewers of your content that you can then advertise to directly, and in turn audiences can be encouraged to create content that aligns with your brand strategy.  We work closely with many of our partners to develop and distribute the content that brings their brands to life, while ensuring it will also get recommended by the platform and meet the expectations of a digital audience.

The Benefits of Being “Always On”:

In summary, understanding your audience, what platforms they’re on and how they’re viewing content, gives enormous amounts of data and insights, and creates new marketing opportunities. A generation ago, connecting a brand with an audience relied on the constrained formats of print adverts or commercial breaks in TV schedules. Now, platforms like YouTube enable brands to engage directly with their customers with content that is relevant, cost-effective and ensures that the brands are an ever-present part of their lives. This means you can engage that audience as never before, quickly and economically, and ensure that your digital strategy is an integrated part of your overall marketing plans. It’s important to not be afraid of the digital space, embrace the data and insights you can generate, and use them to engage with your audience. It’s a really fascinating time in a very exciting space!