Google @ MEC Day 1 – How to win with content on YouTube


Today was a very special day here at MEC UK. It marked the start of a week long event we’re hosting in partnership with Google. This week our offices have been transformed into a Google wonderland and the schedule packed with presentations, workshops, demos, and hacks. The focus of the week will be content, data, connectivity and innovation! There will be keynotes from Google chiefs including Eileen Naughton, MD, Google UK, Mark Howe, MD Agency, Google UK and Derek Scobie, Head of Brand Proposition, YouTube (Google UK),to name but a few.

Today (Monday the 6th) we focused on content. Specifically we explored how to win with content and what brands need to do to build a meaningful and lasting presence on YouTube and beyond. In the morning YouTube’s head of brand propositions spoke about the evolution of the platform and where they want to take things, in the afternoon Google’s senior content strategist discussed how to win with content and in the evening there was a panel discussion with some of the biggest and most influential YouTubers in the UK including DJ BBQ and Eylar Fox.

For this blog post we wanted to focus on some of the biggest takeouts that emerged from today. Some you’ll know and some you won’t but it’s all great food for thought and no doubt you’ll get some good inspiration you can take back to your clients. Read on…

1. This is just the beginning
This was the opening line from Derek Scobie in the morning. This was pretty surprising given that YouTube had it’s ninth birthday a few weeks ago and was acquired by Google seven and a half years ago. However his point here was this – we’ve only scratched the surface in terms internet accessibility.  At present roughly one billion people have access to the internet but in five to seven years it’s predicted that everyone who wants to be online will have access. This is the future we should be planning for.

2. YouTube democratises content
There was a lot of talk today about democratising content. YouTube has evened the playing field. Gone are the days when you needed Tom Cruise to get noticed online. YouTube has allowed anybody with something to say to create a channel a build an audience. We are also starting to see a trend of ‘fans becoming talent’. What we mean here is that celebrities, for example Jamie Oliver are beginning to hero and work with their most engaged fans. One of his biggest advocates Cupcake Jemma now has her own channel with nearly 140,000 subscribers!

3. YouTuber’s don’t compete, they collaborate
Traditionally when we think of TV buying, advertising placements or things like share of voice for our clients we get fiercely protective and competitive. YouTube has bucked the trend here. YouTube is about collaboration not competition. By their own admission this wasn’t by design but something they noticed their users advocating. There’s a great sense of community within the YouTube world and talent tend to work with each other for mutual benefit.

4. The meaning of celebrity has changed
When we think of celebrity we think of the biggest names in music or cinema, but how many of us think of PewDiePie or Zoella? Personally I’d never heard of them but they have 31 million and six million subscribers respectively.  That means that 37 million people have signed up to get regular updates from those new age celebrities and others. Compare that with a TV ad starring local talent and the potential for exposure is minuscule in comparison. From a brand perspective this is a massive opportunity that too few of us are leveraging.

5. How brands win on YouTube
To sum up we’ve put together a short list of the most important things for brands and agencies to consider when creating a content strategy.

  • You don’t have to be all things to all people. With seven billion people predicted to be online in the seven years you can be niche and still reach a huge, relevant audience.
  • Think of your audience as broadly as you can. It’s not geography that connects it’s interests and passions.
  • YouTube is 50% creating content, 50% getting people to watch it. Paid is still a huge factor here.
  • Collaboration is key. Work with YouTube talent to get your message out. Don’t beat people over the head with your brand, show them why it’s right for them.
  • It’s not about that hero moment. Subscribers/viewers want regular content. It’s much more important to have an always on approach than to create that one piece of video that will go ‘viral’.
  • YouTube is an engagement channel, not a viewing platform. Take heed of your audience feedback. Work with them to create content that resonates with them. Build brand champions.
  • It’s important to have a long term plan.
  • Brands need to change their measure of success. It’s no longer just about views, it’s about keeping your brand front of mind so when consumers are in the consideration phase of the purchase funnel they think of you.

We’re very grateful to everybody who took part in the presentations and discussions today for being so generous with their time and expertise. There will be more posts throughout the week. As ever leave your comments below.