In the world of consumerism that we live today, we are constantly bombarded with information and ads everywhere we look. The attention span of the modern human is so short, that you can hit-or-miss the message within the first 5 seconds.
Consumers are so tired of constantly being exposed to ads, that they instinctively ignore them. For example, you are trying to watch a Music Video on Youtube. The only thing you care at that moment is the song you are going to listen. An ad pops up, and is trying to convince you to buy stocks and invest in Forex. 99.9% of the times you will press skip as soon as possible and keep on watching your music video.
The viewers are so used to seeing ads, that if they catch a glimpse of an ad on TV, they immediately know that they are watching an ad instead of a show, news report or movie.
Since the introduction of Youtube, a rise in independent content has exploded around the planet! For the first time in history, anyone could become a published without any real cost or dependence on big media corporations.
During Youtube’s first years, the early publishers were posting videos mainly using their mobile phone or a cheap camera and without any actual editing, script and professional crew, gear etc.
Even so, their channels kept becoming more and more popular. Wait a minute.. I’ve seen movies that cost €10 millions to make and they only ranked 4/10 on IMDB! How could these amateur publishers become so popular? The answer is simple:
CONTENT, CONTENT, CONTENT!
“Your vibe attracts your tribe”. That’s (sort of) how the Youtube algorithm helps you to watch content that is relative to your taste.
Popular Youtubers became popular because they focused on a niche subject that they love and know about. But is not the subject of a channel itself that plays a role; it’s also the character and charisma of the Youtuber, the good video quality, the consistency on new videos, the professional shots and silky smooth editing and montage.
Many of them (if not all) did not have any earnings during their first steps as Youtubers. Their incentive was to share their passion about something and educate their fans.
Nowadays, of course, they make a few thousands per day from Youtube Ads and extra from various sponsors.
How do they manage to keep their audience engaged?
The fans are almost “addicted” and feel very familiar with them. It’s like watching an ongoing TV series with your favorite characters; with new episodes every day. Many times you are not even watching the video just because you care about the specs of a product, but it’s more about how the Youtuber delivers the information through the screen and their daily-life persona. You might sit there and listen to Lewis talking for an hour about the latest tech news and enjoy yourself better than watching a movie.
Keeping a show as real as possible while maintaining a high quality content seems to be working very well in our modern world.
This “technique” pre-existed before Youtube. A great example is the trio of Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond from the Top Gear TV show (and later The Grand Tour). While lots of their conversations were scripted, their reactions and behaviors were real. They barely focus on the specs of the cars. Instead they express their feelings and opinions while usually mocking each other and often getting into trouble.
That’s the reason that some Youtube channels and communities fail to have to gain so much popularity despite being very reputable and respectable in their fields. They lack character.
For example, GSMArena.com has been around for ages! Their channel is already 12 years old. Their information on specs, reviews and tech news are near perfect. Yet, they don’t even have 1 million subscribers. A possible explanation for that is that they focus too much on the product itself.
Mixing Content with Product Placements:
Of course, marketers around the world have already realized that content sells more than a plain-old ads and they tried to implement it in their strategies.
A great example is a collaboration between Ford Motors & Drivetribe (a platform created by Clarkson, May and Hammond). The star in this “ad” is of course Hammond and his two daughters. The Ford Ranger just comes along. Nevertheless, the viewer is more thrilled to watch this than a simple Ford Ranger walk-around video.