How to use YouTube as a marketing tool for brands


Content on YouTube should resonate with the users on a brand’s channel and with why they are there, Noah Echols, the digital strategist at IQ Agency, said at the YouTube is the Next Big Thing (that already is) session at SoCon14. This session at the SoCon conference outlined why YouTube is an important marketing platform and why brands should make it part of their social media strategy.

“We want to think about ‘how does my activity on that channel influence you at specific points in their journey?'” said Echols after pointing out brands have the power to get followers that may influence other people.

Brands now have to understand that they have to create the content consumers want because the traditional linear path of publicity does not work anymore. Consumers of the YouTube videos now move from channel to channel when on the site, Echols said.

A Pre Roll commercial in front of content is another way to grab a consumer when they are watching videos on YouTube. While they interrupt the content viewers want to see, if they are trueview ads that users can skip after five seconds, engagement has increased because they are consuming the ad more often.

Earned, paid and owned video content

The nontraditional path on which consumers view videos has offered brand content to be distributed through earned, paid and owned videos.

Noah Echols (left) and Rachel Peters (right) discuss earned, paid and owned content.
Noah Echols (left) and Rachel Peters (right) discuss earned, paid and owned content.
Photo by Leah Bishop

Paid is literally media you pay for. Owned is things you have created and you 100 percent own. Earned is value you get from other people,” said Rachel Peters, the associate director of user experiences at IQ Agency, answering a question about the differences between earned, paid and owned media content.

Earned content is about the value you get from people commenting and sharing the video and allows the brand no control on how the product reaches the viewers, Peters added.

Pre Roll ads are considered paid content and make sure when users see the ad, it’s relevant to them. People usually skips ads, with 22 percent of viewers never having seen the ad before, 19 percent don’t find the ad useful and 14 percent of viewers not finding the ad relevant. Since trueview ads allow the viewer to skip after 5 seconds, brands don’t get paid for the ad and is essentially playing the ad for free.

Owned content from brands should resonate with their audience so it’s important to know current customers and the content that grabs them, said Echols.

“With ads on any digital platform, you have the ability to hyper target users,” Echols said, adding it’s important to target these viewers on YouTube.


When talking about influencers, Echols pointed out there are 100,000 users on YouTube that make six-figure salaries.

“It makes sense to for brands to partner with them [and] borrow, to loan, their audiences to a brand,” said Echols, adding influencers are asked to create quality content on the brand’s behalf to post on the brand’s YouTube channel.

The Video Creation Marketplace allows brands to find the influencers they wish to pay to promote their content. Brands could have a regional focus, while also looking at the demographics they want to target. Small brands can set up a budget to use on the site, Echols said.


There is a partner program you can pay into to have your ads run on videos, which comes as an incentive for brands or any video creator to create high quality videos.

“How many views do you have to have to start making any significant money?” asked Leonard Witt, executive director of Youth Today.

In the thousands. You’re not going to break even so it’s not something to factor into the ROI of a brand’s budget, said Echols. He recommended adding an external link because it would increase revenue.

“What’s nice about this is, you can organize your page. You can have your playlist in one place [and] your videos categorized,” Peters said on the option of one YouTube Channel. “It just gives the users a nice browsing experience.”

Echols added it eliminated the need for users to have multiple channels and they can create content easy to find on playlists instead, which can be embedded on websites as well.

Jump links are time stamped chapters users can add to a video description and allows viewers to skip to relevant parts of the videos.

“The way a jump link works is that you have to add a timestamp to a URL,” said Echols, when asked how to create one.

Users need to create a frontslash on the URL, then add a number for the minute and a number for the second (URL/#m#s).

Annotations are used to engage the users further with the brand. It’s text, links or videos added through the backend of submitting the video and should be relevant to the brand’s video or product, said Echols.

Descriptions are 160 words that will show up in a search engine when viewers are looking what video to view.

“Descriptions are going to help with search engine ranking,” said Peters, adding that closed captioning would also allow content to index the search rankings of Google.

There are things you can measure through YouTube as well, said Echols. This includes views, playback location, devices used, subscriber likes and dislikes, and demographics.

“I learned a bunch about YouTube and how we use it,” said Milya Delahaye, a 27-year-old Kennesaw State University student and Writing Center staff member who wanted to know how to effectively use YouTube. “Since we’re from a university, we don’t have to worry about paying. We were just worried about the type of content to put up and [what] users are expecting on YouTube.”

Noah Echols can be followed on Twitter at @NVEchols and Rachel Peters can be followed at @rachelhpeters. View more SoCon14 material at #SoCon14 and @SoConEvents.


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