There’s no question that YouTube is under public scrutiny after large, global brands recently halted campaigns on the platform because ads were showing up next to offensive content. The boycott prompted YouTube to roll out improved tools for advertisers to help them better control where their ads land and maximize brand protection. But YouTube’s lack of policing hasn’t just alienated brands, it’s put a dent in consumer trust as well.
YouTube ranked dead last for consumer safety in BI Intelligence’s 2017 Digital Trust survey. Only 4% of survey respondents feel that YouTube is the safest platform to participate in or post on, making it by far the least chosen option. Even Twitter, with its sluggish user growth, abusive trolling accounts, and generally lukewarm outlook from analysts, is viewed as safer.
While brands can’t control the nature of trolls or the prevalence of offensive content, they can decide to dedicate ad dollars to environments where users feel safe engaging and sharing content. This is especially true if a brand wants its target audience to actively participate by commenting on a post, which can increase brand affinity and loyalty, encourage positive interactions with customers, and even spark a viral conversation.
Even though YouTube has some of the most annoying ads in the industry, and people are unlikely to post comments, it’s still a top destination for consumers to watch videos. Just don’t ask users to do much more than leisurely viewing, since that’s what YouTube is for. The platform isn’t well suited for sharing, which makes sense — it’s a video platform, not a social network. Users are more likely to copy and paste a link from YouTube and share it on Facebook. In fact, social platforms play a tremendous role in helping YouTube’s massively popular videos go viral.
This means that on YouTube, you’re buying reach, not clicks. Brands looking to drive conversions to sales through clicks, such as e-commerce companies, are likely to do better where users are more inclined to post and share content, like on Facebook. YouTube, with its wide yet passive audience, is best positioned for brand advertisers that want to maximize eyeballs.
BI Intelligence’s Digital Trust survey examines consumers’ perception of major social platforms. It rates Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, and LinkedIn on security, community, user experience, and content authenticity and shareability to help brands and marketers make informed decisions about what platforms to spend their marketing and branding dollars on. The full report will be available through BI Intelligence in May.
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