Tuesday, 11 November 2014

YouTube Wants You to Hit Play on Possibility

I’ve spoken about YouTube on this blog in the past, but from the perspective of the people creating content, those managing it, as well as the brands that are involved in leveraging the reach and likability of talent on this platform. Having already discussed all these elements, I thought it was time to actually look at the YouTube brand itself, and discuss where the world’s second largest search engine seems to be heading.

(Source: Tumblr)

What really got me thinking about the future of YouTube was the almost extravagant advertising campaign that has spanned the streets of Sydney and Melbourne in the past few weeks. The campaign, also known as ‘Hit Play on Possibility’, features Australian Actor, Singer and YouTube star Troye Sivan (as seen above), as well as American Fashion and Beauty Guru, Bethany Mota. As someone who has watched both Troye and Bethany on a tiny screen on my laptop, it was a real shock to see their faces printed all over public transport in Sydney, on big billboards at Central Station, as well as on the banner ads of my Internet Browser.

Considering that this is possibly one of the most ‘mainstream’ advertising efforts by YouTube to date, I couldn’t help but wonder what prompted the campaign, and why it had hit the streets of Australia in such a big way. This campaign also shortly followed a similar one in the UK, where YouTube had commissioned TV adverts for British YouTube talent Zoella (Zoe Sugg), the Slo Mo Guys and Vice News. However, after reading an article about Facebook’s upcoming video strategy, it suddenly dawned on me as to why YouTube may have been giving its best talent a promotional push.  

As most Facebook users would have observed by now, the video function on the social media site has been slowly evolving; videos automatically play as you scroll past, and you can also track views on videos uploaded to the site. These advancements naturally pose a threat to YouTube in that there is growing opportunity for users to create content exclusively on Facebook, as opposed to YouTube. However, where YouTube remains ahead in the game, is in its extensive monetisation program, through which content creators can generate advertising revenue with each unique video view (something Facebook has yet to develop).

So in the context of YouTube’s recent advertising efforts in Australia and abroad, it makes great sense that the social media platform is putting a greater focus on fostering and promoting it’s own talent. In doing so, not only can they ensure that people like Troye and Bethany stay loyal to YouTube, but it also serves the purpose of positioning the video-sharing platform as the founder of this talent, and also the only place you can go and watch them.

As excited as I am about this campaign, I hope really hope that it isn’t a one off, and that YouTube continue to support the people that have made it a genuinely entertaining place to be. For more insight into the campaign, see Troye Sivan’s promotional video for Google Australia below:

Salil Kumar
Current student in the Master of Marketing program at the University of Sydney Business School

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