“Hi guys, welcome to my channel” is a familiar opening line from fresh-faced YouTubers. The video-sharing platform is impossible to ignore as a marketing channel – it has 1.5 billion users, second only to Facebook.
We watch about one billion hours of videos a day, with the average viewing session lasting 40 minutes. But uploading your content on YouTube means you’re in serious competition for eyeballs – there’s an average of 400 hours of content uploaded every minute.
Therefore, to take on this competition effectively, you must get creative.
Here are some unconventional ways businesses and entrepreneurs are finding a niche and making money.
A wave of YouTube videos that use crinkling, crunching and whispering sounds to trigger tingling sensations may seem odd, but these videos and their performers have become a social phenomenon.
ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response) videos capture the sounds of various things, like opening a packet of crisps, chewing or ocean waves using high-quality recording equipment, and with the aim of relaxing people.
You may be asking, what does any of this have to do with a business? This is where things get interesting.
On YouTube, ASMR practitioners (or ASMRtists, as they’re often called), can get subscriptions in the hundreds of thousands, and views in double-digit millions.
ASMRtists like Maria GentleWhispering and Ilse of TheWaterWhispers have numbers that, for a niche community, are astronomical. Furniture maker IKEA has successfully jumped on the trend to market its products for campus students.
If you’re considering building a video presence on YouTube as part of your company’s marketing strategy, consider taking a lesson or two from these companies that are killing it on the platform.
Blendtec gained popularity for its first ‘Will it Blend?’ video when it blended up new iPhones. This expensive (and destructive) stunt showed the power of its blenders and the company now has almost 775,000 subscribers on its channel and millions of views.
Another company doing YouTube right is GoPro. Synonymous with action cameras, GoPros are used for the riskiest of sports, capturing first-person views of skydivers, surfers, skateboarders or other adventure sports.
The firm shares these experiences by featuring footage uploaded by users on its YouTube account.
The best part about using user-generated content like this is that it’s allowed GoPro to grow sales with a small marketing budget.
MinutePhysics is for those who want to learn all there is to know about physics, but don’t have a long attention span.
It makes science easy to understand with videos that rarely go on for more than a few minutes (the longest is around seven minutes, but most average around 1:30).
The channel helps explain everything from ‘What is fire?’ to the Higgs boson. The videos are fun, animated and entertaining tutorials.
These short, time-lapse animated videos have gained popularity in recent years, so your brand can run fun tutorials on all sorts of things.
Mukbang has become YouTube’s hottest food trend, and not for any fetish-related reasons you might think.
Mukbangs feature people eating massive amounts of food and are said to help people curb their appetites while on a diet.
Dining has always been inherently social. Despite the proliferation of smartphone apps that can deliver food to fuel the most furtive of binges, people still have a natural desire to share a meal with good company.
Most mukbang hosts will shoot their videos at home in front of an electric burner or several containers of delivered food. Sometimes, though, they venture out into restaurants to film their videos.
If you run a restaurant or any other type of food company, a mukbang video might be a good way to introduce yourself to the YouTube world.
These videos may be in the millions, but you can always localise yours to reach a more relevant audience.
Evan, an eight-year-old, rakes in hundreds of thousands of dollars doing what all kids do – playing with toys. He’s the face of EvanTubeHD, a family-friendly YouTube channel that reviews toys and video games. Evan’s videos regularly exceed a million views and the channel earns him $1.3 million (Sh130 million) a year.
This is one of those internet success stories that make you go, “Now why didn’t I think of that?”
It started out as a playful project between Evan and his father Jared – they would make stop-motion videos using clay models of Angry Birds. The videos were so cute that they started to get really popular, and when their first video hit 1 million views, Jared realised how huge it was getting.
It wasn’t long before the channel became a serious business model.
“By doing toy reviews that are a bit ‘out of the box’, we try to provide information about the product as well as have that creative flair,” he says.
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EvanTubeHD now has a dedicated sales team that sells ads and negotiates deals with brands and businesses.
Why reinvent the wheel when someone’s already found a successful way to go about doing reviews?