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It’s been 7 years since Forrester claimed that a minute of video is worth 1.8 million words.Since then, the importance of video has only grown: pioneer brands have continued to wow us with innovative creative ideas borne from the marriage of video and technology; behavior studies have proven time and again that video is the most engaging format; while social channels, even those which – like Pinterest – are predominantly image-based, have all migrated towards an increased use of video: so much so that, last August, Facebook overtook YouTube in numbers of desktop video views. As Mark Zuckerberg points out: “It turns out that most of the Internet consumed is rich media, especially videos”.
So the question for marketers is no longer whether to use video, but, increasingly, where to put it. Recent changes to custom gadgets on YouTube have made this question more pertinent, demonstrating how little influence brands often have over their content and the way it’s presented on earned and paid-for platforms.
Of course, no one is advocating removing content wholesale from third party sites. YouTube in particular, as the world’s second largest search engine, is a critical satellite presence for brands, deeply embedded in their target audiences’ daily culture consumption. But it is often more effective for brands to strategically use YouTube and other social channels as traffic drivers to owned parts of their content ecosystems – rather than trying to build their houses on this rented land.
Why? Well, the issue at stake here is one of control: of consumer experience, of data, and of brand expression. And for every brand espousing the benefits of a devolved brand presence, others, like Apple, demonstrate the importance of control. And with blanket coverage for the Apple Watch, and off-the-chart quarterly profits, it doesn’t seem to be hurting them, does it?