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Study shows world's biggest brands are small fry on YouTube

Only 74 brands rank among top 5,000 YouTube publishers in the 'Touchstorm Video Index: Top Brands Edition; the first comprehensive analysis of brand success on the world's largest on-line video stage.


October 24, 2013
by Canadian Packaging Staff

NEW YORK—Small brands are beating the giants on the world’s largest online video stage, according to the first comprehensive study of brand engagement and success on YouTube.

Touchstorm—a digital media company innovating new ways for brands to connect directly with consumers to build an audience of their own—has released its Touchstorm Video Index: Top Brands Edition, that shows that publishers now require 43 million views to be a top-5,000 entity on YouTube, and that a brand should be converting 2,274 subscribers for every one million views just to keep up with the pack.

“With only 74 brands appearing in the YouTube top 5,000, it’s clear there’s a significant brand fail on one of the most important platforms today,” says Touchstorm chief executive officer Alison Provost. “YouTube has provided a content testing ground where celebrities, users, brands, content producers, retailers, and YouTube stars all have the same tools available to attract audiences. And while brands can afford to buy views and advertise their content, they’ve made very little progress in the organic viewership ecosystem.”

The Touchstorm Video Index: Top Brands Edition is the latest report from Touchstorm, a premier video distribution and content development provider.

By analyzing brand success by category, language and other criteria, Touchstorm can show brands how and where they’re falling behind the best on YouTube and offer new benchmarks for refining strategies and measuring success.

The Findings
The first report was pulled on October 5, 2013, providing a snapshot of how big brands effectively stood at the end of Q3 2013. The full report is available upon request HERE.

Great content alone doesn’t translate to fast growth. Many premier brands, such as: Nike Football, GuitarWorld, EA Sports, Nokia, Lego, Coca-Cola and Christian Dior–have great content but are not converting subscribers as well as they could.

This shortcoming prevents new content from achieving the velocity that determines discovery under YouTube‘s algorithms.

Big brands need to study small brands. Blendtec is in the Top 10 yet Coke and Pepsi are not.

The Mormon Church ranks yet top global brands Apple and Microsoft do not,

Ford Models ranks higher than Ford Motors, and Little Tykes overwhelms Toys ‘R Us.

Brands need to define the competition broadly. The other 4,926 publishers, which include musicians, teenagers with webcams, and professional content producers, have vastly out-performed brands in finding an audience for their content.

Brands can’t spend their way to the top. About one-third of the brands made the list by buying a significant amount of YouTube advertising, but the other two-thirds got there through organic growth.

International brands build audiences. Brand channels from Brazil, Latin America and Japan make the list, beating out tens of thousands of English-language brand channels.

There are two routes to the top. Some brands made the list on the backs of a viral video or two; others made it by publishing less spectacular content more regularly. (Analysis is derived from View Concentration scores outlined in the report.)

The Touchstorm Video Index: Top Brands Edition is derived from Touchstorm’s VOOT software, which appends key marketing information onto YouTube‘s open API data to create channel insights available nowhere else.

For example:

  • What are the Top 500 videos in my category, and what do they have in common?
  • What’s the average number of subscribers converted per every million views in my category, and why is my channel below the average?
  • Are my competitors spending money winning views, and if so, how much?
  • What are the top channels in Japan for my category, and how do I compete there?
  • What is the overall growth rate of YouTube itself, so we can determine if we are keeping up or falling behind?
  • What is the average “like-ability” for content in my category, and does our content perform better or worse than that?

The complete Touchstorm Video Index: Top Brands Edition, containing the list of 74 brands that place inside the top 5000 channels on YouTube, and key comparative data about each channel, is available upon request and at www.Touchstorm.com.