Buddy Media brings social marketing to YouTube

Buddy Media is bringing social marketing to YouTube in the latest sign of the video site's growing importance to brands. The integration will enable marketers to create social apps for their YouTube channel, target their content at specific audiences globally and view analytics on the video site. Speaking to StrategyEye, Buddy Media’s European MD, Luca Benini, believes that brands are increasingly turning their attention to social, with video forming a key part of advertisers’ marketing strategy as consumers look to brands for entertainment.

“One of the top reasons for people to engage with brands is entertainment, and the best entertainment content is video,” he says. “Promotion on content is the key driver and the key vehicle to delivering an engaging, comprehensive brand experience.”

Buddy Media expects the YouTube-specific social apps, which it calls ‘sapplets’, to be the most popular new function, enabling brands to include features such as a branded video player, quizzes and polls. It will also enable brands to add an RSS feed to their YouTube channel that could include content from blog posts or a Twitter feed. Buddy Media says that video-based sapplets are already among the top three most popular social apps on its marketing suite, suggesting high demand from marketers. According to Benini, YouTube makes a natural starting point for brands looking to engage with consumers through video.

“By listening to our clients we hear loud and clear that their strategy in social media passes by, or is sometimes centred around, video,” says Benini. “And we know that the home for video is YouTube.”

YouTube has experienced phenomenal growth over the past few months, with the site now powering more than 4bn video views a day, up from 3bn in May last year. But despite its success, the site has struggled to attract enough advertisers to become profitable, with brands concerned that their ads could end up next to low-quality user-generated content. However, YouTube has made a concerted effort to improve the quality of video content on its site, investing a rumoured USD100m in bringing in original TV content to the site and partnering with a range of content producers, such as Warner Bros and the BBC. YouTube also recently revamped the site to place a greater focus on channels, which launched with a raft of content partners including Reuters and the Wall Street Journal late last year. Benini suggests that it is this focus on content by YouTube that is motivating brands and advertisers to invest their money and attention on the video site.

"It's all about content," he says."It's exactly what is motivating all these choices and all these invesments, and the attention that is coming to YouTube."

Buddy Media’s decision to launch its social marketing programme on the video site suggests that this focus could be paying off, with European MD Luca Benini claiming that integration with YouTube was one of the key demands from its clients. The ability to customise channels should boost brands’ engagement with YouTube, encouraging them to advertise on and send traffic to the video site. The move by Buddy Media comes as social networks continue to play an increasingly important role for brand marketing, with businesses wanting to connect directly with their customers across a range of platforms.