Blog

/ Social Media Strategy + Insights

watching YouTube from a smartphone
I Spent Friday Night Watching B2B Videos on YouTube. Here’s What I Found.

YouTube!

Recently, I asked fellow marketers Michelle Garrett and Cecile Thirion to name a platform underutilized by B2B marketers. Both Michelle and Cecile mentioned YouTube.

YouTube for B2B marketers

Michelle, a PR consultant and writer at Garrett Public Relations, noted, “With the rise of video, many brands already have video content that could be leveraged there. Cisco is an example of a B2B brand effectively using YouTube. With over 216,000 subscribers, Cisco posts content like its keynote presentations, live events and how-to videos.”

Cecile, an On-Demand VP of Marketing and Head of Marketing & Social for MOCCA, shared a Social Media Fact Sheet from Pew Research Center.

The Pew Research Center fact sheet found that 73% of U.S. adults use YouTube, quite representative of the population as a whole. 80% of college graduates, 87% of people ages 30-49 and 70% 50-64 are using YouTube. According to Cecile, “These people are most likely involved at some point in a buying decision process.”

Cecile added that 91% of people aged 18-29 use YouTube, so it can be a useful channel for engaging the new generation entering the workforce.

Cecile continued, “Successful B2B brands use YouTube to focus on the customer experience, creating and co-creating content with their online community. They understand that YouTube videos offer a transparent and authentic way to deliver value and engage with their customers.”

Cecile cited the YouTube channels of the following B2B brands:

Salesforce.
Cisco.
HubSpot Academy, a YouTube channel from HubSpot.
Hootsuite.
Moz.

Watching YouTube on a Friday night

Based on Michelle and Cecile’s strong endorsement of YouTube, I spent a recent Friday night on YouTube looking for captivating videos from B2B brands.

The process I used wasn’t overly scientific. Here it was:

  1. Generate a somewhat-random list of 35 B2B brands.
  2. Visit YouTube and search for the brand’s page.
  3. Watch the featured video at the top of the page.
  4. Scan the Playlists for interesting titles.
  5. Click the “Videos” tab to see a full list of uploaded videos.

Overall, B2B brands’ YouTube content is too “me focused,” with videos of product announcements, product demos, footage from their own conferences and talking-head videos of their executives.

I ignored the me-focused videos.

I applied two filters: the first was based on the video title. It had to be interesting. The second filter was applied after watching the video. I looked for videos that did the following:

  1. Made me laugh.
  2. Provided practical information.
  3. Made me watch through to the end.

I also looked for videos that were “unique” — yes, I know, a broad and subjective term.

Showcase: 5 videos that got it right

After visiting the YouTube pages of the 35 B2B brands, most of the videos I watched were dull. But these five stood out.

Kids plan a movie production using Airtable

I’ll start with my favorite video.

It’s from Airtable, a SaaS product that teams use to organize their work. The “team” featured in their video comprised several kids who were planning a Hollywood-style movie.

This video had a high production quality, with sophisticated humor that persisted throughout.

I chuckled with each kid’s comment or mannerism that modeled those of an adult. The neatest thing? With these kids, I could picture them actually using Airtable and producing a high quality, Hollywood movie!

Explainer video from Symantec

Symantec produced a two minute video to explain powershell attacks. These attacks are categorized as “living off the land attacks,” which can blend in with normal systems administration work.

The video used an analogy: a young man walking through an office, appearing to be doing routine things, but actually participating in an attack (e.g., removing staples from a stapler and throwing office papers into the air).

I like the elegance of using an analogy to explain a complex concept.

In the closing of the video, the host urges viewers to visit a page on the Symantec website, a nice way to guide users along the sales cycle.

Culture video from Workday

I was hooked from the start.

The video begins, “This is Sydney, Paris, Tokyo, Dublin and San Francisco. This is Radhika, Sabine, Tatsuki, Larry and Vincent. What do they all have in common? They all speak the same language. They all speak Workday.”

A perky and upbeat tune played throughout the video and I loved all the scenes of Workday team members interacting and having fun.

Product video from InVision

I mentioned earlier that too many B2B brands’ YouTube channels are “me focused,” and I wasn’t expecting to highlight a product video.

But this was different.

It starts with distinctive music — it’s fast-paced and fits the flow perfectly. It continues with an immersive view of the product. I watched this video in full-screen mode and felt like I was inside the application.

While I’m not a designer, the video left me wanting to try this product out.

Company overview video from Okta

You’re taken on a walk through (what looks like) the Okta office. There’s a man doing the voiceover and he’s got a bit of attitude and edge.

The camera proceeds through the office, stopping at employees’ desks. It’s entertaining to see and hear the employees’ reactions to the voiceover announcer.

At the end of the video, you’re left with a fairly good idea of what Okta does. The information, though, was delivered in a way that was entertaining and non-salesy.

I’m left wondering if the employees in the video were professional actors. Totally fine if they were. But if those were actual Okta employees in an actual Okta office, then this video moves to the top of my list.

Share your favorite B2B YouTube video

Note: Read my related post, “LinkedIn Embraces Live Video: Predictions About LinkedIn Live.”

I managed the company YouTube channel at some of my past jobs. I admit, I was guilty of producing the same “me focused” content I referenced earlier.

While B2B brands do need to host videos about their products, conferences and executives, they should also create videos their target audience will love.

Have you come across examples of B2B videos on YouTube that you loved? Share your favorite in the comments section below.

Alternatively, tweet me your thoughts at @dshiao. Thanks!

Related Posts
B2B Marketing Q&A: Joe Pulizzi on Content Differentiation, Removing Marketing Automation and More ( 11 Feb 2019 )
B2B Marketing Q&A: Christine Crandell on the Sales Funnel, Customer Journey Mapping and More ( 19 Feb 2019 )
B2B Marketing Q&A: Neal Schaffer on Influencer Marketing, Chatbots and More ( 25 Feb 2019 )
B2B Marketing Q&A: Todd Wilms on Listening to Customers, the Human Element in Marketing and More ( 11 Mar 2019 )
Artificial Intelligence for Everyday B2B Marketers ( 26 Mar 2019 )
Written by Dennis Shiao
Dennis Shiao
Dennis is an independent marketing consultant who works with brands on content marketing, product marketing and social media marketing. Dennis curates an email newsletter called Content Corner and publishes marketing-related content on Medium. You can find Dennis on Twitter, @dshiao.

Send this to friend