People that ‘like’ branded content aren’t customers- study


Nearly two thirds (60%) of people who ‘like’ or share branded content online are not its customers, with many feeling positive about the company after, according to new research. The study, from YouTube and supported by the Internet Advertising Bureau, highlights the real opportunity for marketers to include harder messaging in their social media content and advertising.

The study investigated the ways in which 3000 consumers across the UK, France and Germany use YouTube and Facebook and how they feel about branded content and advertising on each. The results provide essential lessons for many marketers when it comes to engaging with consumers in social media - the majority of people (75%) who share content or ‘like’ a brand on either of these sites feel more positive about the brand afterwards, compared with around a quarter of people (25%) who feel ‘no different’ as a result.


The study also reveals the fickle side of consumers, with many people sharing content from competing brands – such as Pepsi and Coke – on these sites at the same time.

Some 41% of people ‘like’ competitor brands on Facebook, whilst 35% share content created by competing brands on YouTube, highlighting the importance of creativity and concrete objectives within social media to achieve significant results.

When investigating the impact of brand activity on YouTube and Facebook, the study also found that brands who advertise on these sites can benefit from the perceived attributes of each, creating a ‘halo effect’ in the eyes of the consumer.

Interestingly, the audience overlap between theses sites is smaller than may be expected, with only around 1/3 of the online population on both and consumers view these sites in different ways:

1. The most common perceptions of YouTube were that it is ‘entertaining’ (63%), ‘fun’ (61%) and ‘interesting’ (50%).

2. The most common perceptions of Facebook were that it is ‘social’ (59%), ‘fun’ (53%) and ‘entertaining’ (50%).

3. Many of the strengths of each site transfer to the brands on the site, with heavier users of YouTube and Facebook being the most to transfer the site’s values to the brand.

4. 46% of consumers believe it is a ‘good idea’ for brands to have their own presence on these sites. 36% of consumers were neutral, and just 18% believed it to be a bad idea.

Why do people visit brand pages on YouTube and Facebook?

A third of people visited brand pages on YouTube and Facebook to get more product information. On YouTube, 30% of respondents went to brand pages to look at TV ads, 22% wanted to get to know the company better and 20% visited to hear about or receive special offers.

On Facebook, some 28% of consumers visit brand pages to hear about or receive special offers, 23% to share opinions and experiences with other people, followed by 23% who wanted to get to know the company better.

The survey found that users who visit YouTube or Facebook brand pages specifically looking for product information are 50% more likely to share that information with their friends and family.

Recommendations for brands in social media spaces

In partnership with the IAB, YouTube have also created recommendations for brands looking to advertise within this space and create content of viral value for consumers.

1. Planning and understanding the audience – the research identified the different motivations and emotional needs consumers are able to meet via both sites. 68% of YouTube visitors went to the site with something specific in mind, compared to only 37% of Facebook users. For both sites, users treated them as a break from everyday life (50%), a way to avoid boredom (45%) and a treat (39%). However, respondents also highlighted differences in the ways they view the personalities of YouTube and Facebook – therefore whilst traditional online planning is still required within the social world, it is paramount for brands to adapt their strategies and creative to fit the consumer mindset of each to really make it succeed.

2. Creating bespoke creative and providing consumers with ‘prestige’ – only 1% of respondents who uploaded videos on YouTube did so for fun, but 10% were driven by a desire to ‘impress their friends’ and 40% of people shared a video to make their friends laugh. It is important for advertisers to tap into this desire for prestige and increased social standing, based on the consumer’s pursuit of content that is cool, entertaining, useful and funny.

3. Developing a strong call to action – The research highlighted a big challenge for brands, in relation to the crowded nature of social media and, people who engage with brands on social media aren’t always loyal customer. When it comes to the more ‘fickle’ consumer, developing a stronger call to action related to the initial objective may be essential. And with over a quarter (28%) of people visiting brand pages on Facebook to receive special offers, and a fifth (20%) of people visiting brand pages on YouTube for the same reason, promotional incentives may often be what sets a brand apart from the competition.

Bruce Daisley, Leader of YouTube and Display UK, said: "More and more brands are trying to work out how to drive their social strategies, and this research shows the complimentary roles that the two sites can take. Key findings were that brands that advertise on YouTube and Facebook benefit from the attributes of each site, while content is the driving force on whether users share or like a brand."

Amy Kean, head of the IAB social media council said: “Often ‘social media’ can be an unhelpful term, because too often it is used in a general sense to describe very different sites, with unique traits and specific motivations for usage.

"This research highlights why advertisers must fully understand the personality of each site, and what drives consumers to engage with brands on these properties. Fundamentally, this all comes back to the need for marketers to have concrete objectives in social, because with so many consumers liking competing brands in this space, the creative and call to action have to stand out to have an impact.”

General usage of YouTube and Facebook

Usage for both sites is, unsurprisingly, socially driven – the most popular pastime on YouTube is checking out videos that friends and family have recommended, with 42% of respondents doing this.

This was followed by watching videos with friends and family (27%) checking out ‘most watched’ videos (26%) and sharing videos from YouTube via Facebook (25%). At the other end of the scale, around 12% post comments on videos and 8% check out brand channels.

The most common activities on Facebook were reading comments left by others on the respondent’s wall (67%), followed by keeping up to date with what friends are doing (66%) and checking out other people’s photos (63%).

Some of the less popular, yet still highly significant pastimes were watching YouTube videos that people shared on their Facebook page (34%), using applications such as FarmVille or Mafia Wars (27%) and checking out brand pages (11%).


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