Retail in Asia

In Trends

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW : the rise of YouTube and video content

Ben, YouTube

Social media have changed the way we search for things, we purchase goods, we live our daily life. Just when it seems we got a sense of the tolls we have at our disposal, here it comes up a new platform with its own features.

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Today’s most discussed topic in relation to social media is the type of content, which new generations consume the most, as they represent the future consumers for brands across sectors. Browsing different platforms, videos appear as very popular content shared and reshared across channels. Therefore, Retail in Asia went straight to the source, where all this began : YouTube.

We engaged in an interesting conversation with Ben Wong, Chief Marketing Officer, Google Greater China, about YouTube and the rise of video content, in Hong Kong specifically.

Ben has extensive insights and experience in consumer marketing and businesses in Asia and US market. He has led many marketing innovations and large-scale campaigns for renowned multinational brands.  He managed global brands including brands from Procter & Gamble (Olay, Pampers), Johnson & Johnson (Neutrogena, Clean and Clear, Johnson’s Baby, Stayfree/Carefree), Beiersdorf (Nivea, Eucerin), Mars/Wrigley (Extra, Doublemint, 5, Skittles), Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Starbucks China.

Currently, data confirm that the number of hours of content uploaded to YouTube from Hong Kong channels grew over 55% between 2016 and 2017, proving that Hong Kong creators are actively embracing YouTube. At the same time, viewers are making YouTube their top choice for video content, as over 49% of Hong Kongers prefer YouTube for online video.

We asked Ben what he thinks could be the reason for such growth. He said : “Globally, there are 1.9 billion logged-in users coming to YouTube each month. More and more creators are building their businesses and discovering that they can shape the global conversation with just a phone and an internet connection. While mobile is one of the most popular ways fans enjoy content, more and more people are using their living room screens to watch their favorite creators. On average, users now watch over 180 million hours of YouTube on TV screens every day”.

Additionally, he shared with us that data for Asia specifically, rank among the most popular genres on YouTube : entertainment (music, shows, movies, stand-up comedy), lifestyle (beauty tips, food, hobbies, cars, technology, and many more), gaming, and infotainment (news, documentary).

“The “How to” videos by YouTube creators,” he explains, “have become popular, as 49% of Hong Kong users go to YouTube to learn something new. For example, people learn how to stay fit and healthy with Emi Wong; how to cook with Mama Cheung; hairstyling and makeup with Ricky; and how to improve their basketball skills with Coach Fui.”

“For brands, it is important to note that audiences perceive creator content to be much more trustworthy than any celebrity endorsements or ads. Creators are the real tastemakers of today. They are the new class of diverse, authentic voices,” he adds.

This is in line with the current discussion about influencer marketing and authenticity. Therefore, brands and retailers should take this into consideration while designing their own digital marketing strategy.

Consumers nowadays search for product information and reviews on YouTube. People go to YouTube for genuinely helpful tips, from shopping for gifts and putting on makeup to fixing a bike.

People also love “unboxing videos” with the latest toys and gadgets. Ben also shares with us that data confirm that YouTube impacts over 80% of purchasing decisions for Hong Kongers, who watch videos during their purchase journey, especially for luxury, travel, and beauty products.

According to YouTube’s previous study with Nielsen and Carat, it was found that collaborations with YouTube creators are 4-times more effective at driving a lift in brand familiarity compared to those with celebrities.

To summarize, Ben explains: “brands can find engaged audiences on YouTube because of (1) Diverse content, (2) Ability to capture intent (learn new things), and (3) Creators are liked and trusted by Hong Kong people”.

Marketers should then focus on “seamless storytelling” and capitalize on the video content on YouTube to orchestrate their message across platforms on Google, and tailor the best experience for the given environment and viewer to be relevant across the customer journey.

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One of the new YouTube ad formats marketers are aware of is the bumper ad, which is a six-second video format ideal for driving brand reach and frequency. This new ad format is great for reaching on-the-go users who appreciate the succinct message, for creatives who appreciate the format’s constraints, and for brands who value consistent results.

To conclude, we asked Ben for some tips and he said: “you should know two things when advertising on YouTube, and working with creators: your objective and your boundaries. Everything else is creative space”.