It all began with the upload of a poor quality, 18 second long video of co founder Jawed Karim at the San Diego zoo, aptly titled “me at the zoo”. This video, which now has over 26 million views, launched a multibillion dollar company, which continues to rise in popularity worldwide. The immense potential of YouTube was quickly spotted by Google and hence they acquired the company back in 2006, just over a year and a half after its creation. They have not only witnessed its popularity increase but have seen it become somewhat of a marketing phenomenon.

All the top brands have become aware of its importance in the marketing world and now promote their name using what has become the second largest search engine after Google. The statistics show that the top 100 global brands have posted over 250,000 videos, racking up a total of over 9.5 billion views since the websites launched. This illuminates the vast prospects which YouTube offers its users, allowing them to create content which is incredibly widespread.

The brands use not only their own channels to promote themselves but also the celebrity status of those who are now able to earn a living by uploading videos to YouTube. The newly coined YouTube stars have millions of subscribers and are therefore extremely lucrative to the biggest of brands. Audible.com has continuous deals with many youtubers, providing customers with discounts while also raising awareness of their brand to millions across a broad range of target audiences. In Germany, LeFloid aka Florian Mundt is the most famous youtuber. He recently even interviewed Angela Merkel, hence showing how powerful YouTube is.

The overzealous use of this marketing strategy has led to a certain level of disgruntlement amongst some viewers as they are tired of being sold something every time they tune in to watch their favourite youtubers. Outcries, describing the YouTube stars as sell outs can often be found located in the comments section if they post an ad video. However this does not stop the brands from continuing to plug new products or simply their brand online, as promotion through YouTube is extremely lucrative and reaches a wider variety of people in comparison to TV advertisement. The youtubers themselves try not to heed the unsupportive remarks of angry viewers and instead keep making content which pleases them, even if it involves a brand deal. After all, for many of them this is their job and who could really blame someone for wanting to earn some extra money.

One huge advantage of brands using YouTube stars is that their social media following is huge! Therefore the brand is spread through many different outlets such as, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Now brands focus so heavily on social media marketing it has quickly become one of the most popular types of marketing, not only because it allows brands to easily connect to a worldwide market, but also because in return the customers have a direct link to the company.

YouTube was initially an outlet for many to produce their own content without the restrictions which apply when filming for TV and film. However both these industries now use YouTube stars to enhance the popularity of a new TV show or film. For example the recent comedy, Trainwreck, staring Amy Schumer was released to rave reviews. However in film promotion, the importance of YouTube was not overlooked and the comedic protagonist herself filmed a video with British youtubers Jack and Dean. This has already received over 330,000 views and counting, showing how the two worlds of comedy can combine to create great content for viewers, whilst also acting as a form of promotion.

The power of YouTube lies in the fact that it gives you an insight into the lives of real people and therefore carries with it an air of authenticity. This genuineness is partly the reason why brand marketing on YouTube is so successful. Viewers feel a connection with the stars that promote the products and therefore want what they have. The authenticity desired by the viewers, calls for the marketing videos not to be perfect as it is the flaws which help to establish a greater connection to the audience. Therefore the videos do not have to be of the highest quality, so the costs for advertising can be reduced, making it more lucrative. The top brands have already cottoned on to the ever increasing strength of YouTube in the marketing world. It has become more than just a place to share funny videos, although a marketing dream would be to create a video as viral as the keyboard playing cat.

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