I often write about what you can do to protect your brands when it comes to the major search engines: Google, Yahoo and Bing. But did you know that the second most popular search engine today is YouTube? (according to Hitwise, ranking ahead of Yahoo search). You can buy self-service advertising on YouTube through its “promoted videos” advertising system, which is great and easy to use. Beware, however: if you are trying to protect your brand, “promoted videos” can seem like the wild west revisited.
Ads run on YouTube in much the same way as they do on the text based search engines. On the left side of the screen is “organic” content and on the right is “paid.” You’ll find two types of paid ads on YouTube: “promoted videos” which are ads to generate traffic to videos, and text ads from Google’s content network which generate clicks to web pages.
If you pick any major brand and plug it into the search query box on YouTube, you’ll likely see the “promoted videos” advertisements. You will also notice that the majority of brand owners are simply not yet using this channel—instead non-brand advertisers appear. Here are a few examples:
- WalMart: only non-brand advertisers appear for the terms “walmart” or “wal-mart”
- Best Buy: only non-brand advertisers appear
- Target: Target owns its ad space and only official Target ads appear. Nice job Target!
- Amazon: only non-brand advertisers appear
- McDonald’s: only non-brand advertisers appear.
I could continue, but I think it’s pretty clear that we have a new frontier ahead of us. As with traditional search, you need to deploy a strong brand strategy to promote your messaging above all other advertisers. And just as with Google’s paid search, it’s very easy to advertise using some other brand owner’s name.
Here are a few things that you ought to be doing to solidify your messaging around your own brands on YouTube.
Create rich meta data. This applies to the “organic” side of the YouTube search results. Make sure that the keywords and text that you use to describe your YouTube videos match the keywords on which you want to be ranked within YouTube search results so that consumers can find you.
Become a YouTube advertiser. Just because you’ve loaded videos into YouTube does not mean you will be found or noticed by searchers. You ought to advertise in the same way that you do paid search with the general search engines—to protect your brand. Identify the brand phrases that are most important to you and buy ads that will be triggered by those keywords. You can do this by buying ads on YouTube’s promoted videos product mentioned above. You can add an additional layer of coverage by buying ads on the Google content network and picking “YouTube” as your site selection.
Monitor YouTube search results. Just as you would with paid and organic search on the major search engines, monitor the search results pages of YouTube to see who is listed for your brands and phrases. Take it one step further and watch the videos to see what type of content appears on your brand terms. You may find old commercials, or spoofs of your brand or company.
Monitoring tools for YouTube
Google Alerts. Just as when new content is added to Google’s web index, Google Alerts will send you alerts about new video content on YouTube. However, the alerts are only about new and popular videos, and aren’t limited to YouTube. This information will not be sufficient to tell you who is advertising or appearing in the organic listings on your brand phrases on YouTube. So this is not my favorite method.
Search manually. You can run searches on YouTube.com yourself and hit page refresh a few times to see who shows up on the right and left side of the pages.
Video monitoring tools.. While they’re not here yet, I predict tools will evolve to support video monitoring on YouTube and other popular sites in the not too distant future that will be the next wave in brand protection and monitoring.
Track volume. Track the volume of impressions and click traffic you receive on your brand phrases—this will help you if you have a lot of possible brand variations (e.g. types) to weigh which brand variations merit the effort. Google and YouTube provide reporting and you can also use third party tools to track video ads—and that’s a topic unto itself that I’ll save for another article.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.