The time spent on the Internet each week now exceeds that spent watching television for people aged 18 to 34. In the same vein, 14% of the target are no longer consuming cable or are cancelling their subscriptions altogether. As a result, a number of advertisers are shifting their investment to online platforms, which are taking up a larger and larger slice of the budget pie—up from 19% only five years ago to 30% today.
Content consumption is also migrating online, especially with the younger demographic, which is forcing companies to react accordingly. The Content Marketing Institute claims that 69% of brands produce more content online than one year ago. And when we talk about content, we’re talking primarily about video content. Seven billion videos are viewed on YouTube each day, and on Facebook, which got into video content later in the game, the number of daily views already exceeded four billion in 2014.
The video format is also richer than the traditional 30-second ad format and leads to a stronger connection with consumers, as the content naturally draws people in rather than imposing it on them. The platforms that host the videos also have a more social aspect, which makes the interactions more meaningful.
That said, a brand doesn’t always succeed in creating strong content on its own, or in interesting consumers to engage in the discussion. It can be helpful to join forces with another brand or with a celebrity that can lift the brand’s image and introduce the brand to a larger consumer base. The new Internet celebrities have a genuine connection with their audience, and more and more companies are taking note.
Partnering with YouTube stars gives brands the chance to engage directly with their communities—you could almost call them tribes—and to tap into their deep attachment to the stars.
Some brands are succeeding in reaching large audiences by creating their own content or by sponsoring an existing content producer. Here are some examples of this:
GE found their ideal partner to talk about technology with the Slow Mo Guys, a duo that films content in slow motion and then mixes in scientific concepts.
Nissan partnered with the popular Action Movie Kid and has found a nice fit with this web series where a father brings his young boy’s imagination to life.
On a larger scale, Samsung signed a partnership with the film Avenger: Age of Ultron and featured athletes to draw attention to its Galaxy S6 and Gear VR products.
Partnering with content producers to get consumers to engage with a brand isn’t always a simple endeavour. You need a good story. You can’t water down the content. And you have to integrate the product or service in a way that feels natural and doesn’t steal the show or make the content producers look like sell-outs.
In short, a good content partnership follows the same basic principles as a good sponsorship: the brand and the content producers should share a purpose and a common goal, the brand should never draw too much attention to itself and brand integration should never alienate fans.