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YouTube is so big for brands. Nearly 56 of the world’s top 100 brands have 10 YouTube channels or even more. 99% of all top brands do YouTube marketing. Yet a majority of these brands fail to reach the 2 billion people that watch YouTube every month. Almost 50% of the content produced by the Top 100 global brands has less than 1k views! This is because they pay more attention to video production or ads. And less on video marketing powered by a proper strategy. So let’s take a look at the groundwork. An ideal global YouTube channel strategy takes into account two things:
In this blog, I’ll elaborate on the YouTube strategies that big global brands follow regarding languages and help you decide which one is best for your brand.
First, let’s understand the content marketing approaches that big global brands are following. Video content on YouTube should follow the same principles as all other types of branded content – no matter if it’s on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media channel.
Global brands here follow two different approaches: a centralised and decentralised content marketing approach.
First, how different languages are managed, and second, who is the content strategy head: the corporate headquarters or rather the local marketing managers.
A centralised approach toward YouTube features these main characteristics:
This way it’s easy to make videos. The corporate headquarters is in charge and publishes them on one main YouTube channel. People around the globe can turn to this channel or search its video content when searching in English.
With English as your language on the channel, you reach a global community of over two billion people who speak or understand English – at least as a second language. In this way, you save your time on translating video content which costs a lot of money.
Following the centralised approach, you can adopt between two different setups.
The first setup features only one English-language channel. This will be your main brand hub. The second setup also features an English language brand hub, yet this main brand hub gets supported by supplementary English channels.
Let’s explain the setup with the one channel first since it’s the easiest to understand.
This setup is widely used by global entertainment brands or companies having a startup background. Brands that follow this strategy are for instance Canva, Disney’s Mickey Mouse, Nobel Prize, Airbnb global sports associations like Olympic Games, ATP and FIFA, or the cosmetics brand Dr. Squatch, which is known for its funny (and utmost successful) YouTube ads. With their YouTube videos, all these brands reach a global audience right from the start. And they achieve the greatest common multiple with the least possible effort.
Some of these brands probably chose this One Size fits all strategy because, in the start, they didn’t even have regional subsidiaries in different countries supporting clients in different languages. They just needed to start small. Although also established companies sometimes feature one English channel only: like Lavazza or Swiss bank Julius Baer. And they do have offices all across the world.
So what are the benefits of this one-channel strategy:
The cons of the one-channel strategy are that your content isn’t understood by each and everybody. English-only channels may turn off users who don’t understand English. YouTube’s translation tools help with this. But they aren’t precise, so not reliable. Your video’s voice-over remains in English – even if CC, title, and description can be translated. Also, you can’t adapt to cultural differences and differences in content activity (e.g. different types of products might attract different types of clients who might again need different content).
To better address the above-mentioned need of delivering different types of customers different types of content, you can add supplementary channels to your main YouTube channel.
These additional YouTube channels can be tailored to a specific audience – one YouTube channel for each target group. Or customise to company divisions, i.e. one YouTube channel for each division or product.
The best example is Red Bull, the energy drink brand. Red Bull has the biggest YouTube brand channel in the world with around 10 million subscribers from all around the globe. The channel grew this strong mainly with YouTube videos on extreme sports. Yet Red Bull knows that the interests of its target audience are so diverse. That’s why they made dedicated channels for bike fans, motorsports, skateboarding, winter sports but also dance. and gaming. Each of them features massive subscriber counts and follows a content strategy that’s specifically made according to the interests of the targeted audience.
Pros of this YouTube channel setup is that it’s tailored to the interests of different targeted groups.
However, there are certain Cons of this strategy as well:
So much for the 2 ways to reach a global audience with a centralised approach – handles by the headquarters. With the English language only. But of course, there’s also another approach: a decentralised strategy for your global YouTube channel. And this way you go for multiple languages.
In this approach, both the headquarters and local marketing managers work together to make content. To make this setup work you need guidance, trust, and support from your headquarters and the market knowledge from the entire marketing departments in the different states or even countries your company is operating in.
This market knowledge mainly refers to unique cultural characteristics, language specifics, or other market needs that are typical for the region. The high prioritization of local markets can also be seen in the YouTube channel setup: the brand hub channel, which is also held in English, gets accompanied and supported by a wide range of YouTube channels that are run in the language of the region or local market.
Let’s explain the core characteristics of this Think Global. Act Local setup:
The supporting channels aren’t focused on target groups. That’s important to mention. So this setup is not user-centred but rather reflects the internal architecture of the organisation. With all its disadvantages. This approach often gets used by brands that want to reach a global audience yet also want to take into account regional differences.
Find below a list of big FMCG and B2B brands that fall into this category.
Examples include Apple, Samsung, IKEA, cosmetics giant L’Oréal,Coca-Cola, Allianz, Paypal, Starbucks automotive brands like Mercedes-Benz or Toyota, B2B brands like Siemens, or the entertainment brand Star Wars.
Video production is mostly done at both headquarters corporate and country levels. The headquarters creates videos, mostly on generic topics that are relevant to a global audience.
These videos then get published on the main YouTube channel, the global brand hub. But some videos coming from headquarters might also get translated and published on the supporting country channels. This is mostly true for product videos that get launched across the globe. So, for instance, if Apple or Samsung launch new devices, the original English video gets translated into German, Japanese, Spanish, etc. And then it’s published on the language-specific YouTube Channels.
Dutch bank ING is a good example of decentralised approach. The English brand hub features financial results and the overall strategy. Local markets run their own YouTube channel – mostly powered by ads.
Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of this decentralised approach. The Pros are:
Yet there are also disadvantages. And they are severe:
By focusing your videos on a theme each month it’s easier to plan out your content, and easier to convince people to subscribe that month.
Keeping content focused is one of the biggest struggles for Small YouTubers who haven’t found their voice yet. If you pick a theme for each month and you at least choose one for the first 3 months (or the next 3 months if you’ve already started) you can make sure that your videos are related, consistent and attract the same type of viewers and keep their attention.
A YouTube Channel with a clear focus is easier to subscribe to.
Don’t stop reading and click off the article, this one actually is a secret growth hack. One of the things that crush Small YouTubers is being discouraged about their growth. Becoming discouraged BEFORE you’ve established GOOD HABITS will hurt you more than anything else.
You learned to walk because falling down 1,000 times didn’t discourage you as a baby. You’ve lost that as you’ve gotten older. You have to keep making videos even if they aren’t getting views or subscribers or even monetization. YOU HAVE TO, because it’s the only way you will get any better.
If you ignore your subscriber count and view count for the next 90 DAYS and ONLY focus on how to make better content more consistently for those 90 days, you will have better habits than when you started, and probably better results too!
Tags/Keywords are confusing on YouTube, but ONE SIMPLE RULE can completely change your ability to rank on YouTube even if you have a Small YouTube Channel. YouTube doesn’t rank videos based purely on their subscriber count or view count (despite misinformation in the YouTube community).
Use Tubebuddy and create “search phrases” as your keywords/tags. Think about what someone would type into YouTube or Google Search if they were really looking for this video.
This tip is a bit tricky. You have to understand that established YouTubers with Millions of Subscribers, already have an audience, and they only really have to make videos that the audience will love. Those creators have found their voice, they are already confident, and they have a lot of data that is specific to their channel and personality.
Copying what works for them right now, may not work for you, in fact, there is a really good chance it absolutely won’t work for you. It’d be like an average person, starting the workout routine of an Olympic athlete in their prime… bad idea.
What you can look at is larger creators in your niche and start thinking about the tools they use to make their videos, and what their production and editing looks like, for ideas to improve your own “technical quality”.
Your on-camera presence and presentation skills, are something you’ll develop over time with practice and a few pointers.
You can’t rely on YouTube to do all the work and promote your video for you. It’s important to use social media to your advantage and build a following on other platforms around your channel niche and interest.
One of the key reasons this is important is because the YouTube Algorithm favors outside traffic. This is something people familiar with ranking websites in Google have always known, you have to get external traffic. Get those views and watch time up in the first 24 hours!
If you can create a traffic spike the first day a video is published, it will perform better in YouTube. If you can also get more engagement within that time, or get people to watch videos in a playlist, that will help YouTube understand this is a video worth promoting to more people.
Clickbait is a problem on YouTube because people are desperate to compete for views and attention. The problem is that Clickbait is tricking a viewer selfishly, it’s breaking a promise.
You can get clicks without resorting to clickbait. Click-worthy thumbnails take advantage of good design, good photography, text you can actually read, and image that makes you curious to find out more or what’s going to happen next.
Imagine you’re walking into the lunch room back in school, and you sit down in a random group and start talking about yourself… that is what most people do with their first few videos on YouTube and wonder why nobody is watching them when they “worked so hard”.
It’s so simple of a mistake to avoid, so why do so many people do this?
Because they are just emulating their heroes on YouTube and people they look up to who are larger creators.
But if they went back to the early videos of those creators, most never started out that way (the exception being creators who had a big following in Vine or Snapchat or Instagram first).
Make content around things you’re interested in, like sports, or your favorite book series. Your channel will grow as you find your voice and find your focus, but the important thing is to get comfortable by talking about things that you’re passionate about and excite you and show off your personality without you talking about yourself too much.
When you ask your audience questions, even when it’s a small audience they are more likely to engage. It’s a fact that someone who comments (positively) on a YouTube video, is more likely to eventually become a subscriber.
In YouTube Analytics, I’ve seen a direct link between growth in comments correlating with growth in subscribers
You also have a better chance of getting people to subscribe if you ask them to, but you have to give them a reason. If you’re a vegan cooking channel your ask would go something like this:
“Each week, we’re sharing healthy hacks and healthy snacks we know you’re going to love. If you want don’t want to miss out, subscribe and we’ll keep you healthy and hungry for more!”
It’s up to you to come up with a compelling reason for your audience to become subscribers and not just viewers. Helping you grow and become YouTube Famous is not a compelling reason for a viewer to become a subscriber.