AdNews: Google – Forget about Gen Z, it’s all about Gen C

23 Aug 2013 – Frank Chung

boomAustralia’s first ever ‘YouTube convention’, VIDinc, saw thousands of youngsters descend on Sydney’s Darling Harbour last Sunday to meet their online heroes face to face. But this wasn’t the played-out Gen Z crowd. According to Google, we’re now talkin’ about Gen C – creation, curation, connection and community. You can add to that, the other big C.

The thousands of screaming fans, some of whom stood in line for up to four hours, were a testament to the power of content, and the ability of the online, always-on, multi-screening masses to elevate bedroom vloggers, amateur comedians and budding musicians to the kind of status once reserved for movie stars.

Brands are quickly catching on to the opportunities – Boom Video, YouTube partner network and sponsor of the event, announced this week it was opening its own production and content arm, Boom Natives, to help brands connect with local producers – and experts from Google and Reprise Media were on hand to explain what it all meant.

Christopher Mulcahy, business acquisition manager at Google, said nearly half of all Australians on YouTube could be characterised as Gen C. “They’re a vibrant, very different audience than the one we used to know, which used to be all about push and pull media. These days we’re creating engaging content.

“They’re more than twice as likely to send YouTube links to people they know, more than 40% more likely to talk about videos they’ve watched with a friend, and more than three times more likely to visit a website that is mentioned in a video.”

Mulcahy said “back in the day” in 2007, the top 100 global brands were using YouTube infrequently, with less than 1,000 videos shared per month – today it’s 10 times that and the growth is “exponential”. “Global brands are no longer thinking of themselves as advertisers, they’re thinking of themselves as content creators and publishers. We’re expecting it to increase dramatically over the next year or two.”

He offered three tips for YouTube success: express your brand in a compelling way, or “find a connection between what it is they’re after and what it is you can provide”, à la Thankyou Water; think like a publisher, aim for a “water-cooler moment” by creating content that “encourages engagement rather than trying to tie down and captivate your audience by shouting the loudest”; and find an emotional platform, as with Dove and its ‘Real Beauty Sketches’.

The big ‘but’, however, came from Reprise Media SEO director David Coats: if conversion is your goal, YouTube isn’t the answer – go with a self-hosting service such as Brightcove or Wistia. “A user who watches a conversion video talking about the product is twice as likely to convert, and they spend 9.1% more money.

“But looking at our top 10 Australian clients, they had 6.4 million views in the last month – just 0.43% clicked through to the client site. That can be quite good if you look at how low it is on banners, but ideally we want a much higher click-through rate if you’re looking to target someone specifically for conversion.”

The bottom line: YouTube is “phenomenal” for reach and brand awareness, not so great for hard sales. Pick the platform based on your strategy. Don’t confuse strategy with tactics. Think about your goals, think about your audience, think about your data.

And above all, try to have fun.

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