How to make the most of YouTube on a tight budget

The marketing sector can be a complicated place as new marketing tools and techniques are launched, almost on a weekly basis. Powered by The Drum Network, this regular column invites The Drum Network's members to demystify the marketing trade and offer expert insight and opinion on what is happening in the marketing industry today that can help your business tomorrow.

Pretty much every brand we work with understands the effectiveness of YouTube in driving awareness, but there’s definitely a common view among smaller businesses that it’s expensive and time-consuming to do effectively. They are mistaken.

At my own agency, Return, our campaign for Robinsons Brewery, for example, recently won YouTube Works for Brands award for Best Use of YouTube on a Small Budget. The campaign was delivered on a four-figure budget - including ad spend - was turned around in less than a month, reached more than 320,000 people and resulted in an 81% increase in bottles sold. This demonstrates that success on YouTube is definitely not beyond the reach of those with less budget to dedicate to video.

Marketing craft

The primary objective of the campaign was to increase in-store purchases in the run up to Christmas by improving consumer recall of craft beer Old Tom’s packaging. Old Tom underwent a rebrand in May 2017 to incorporate new contemporary labels that reference the brand’s history, so it was important for our campaign to showcase the new bottle in an eye-catching manner.

To meet the objective, we created a series of custom animations showing how the Old Tom bottle design has changed over time. We wanted to demonstrate the brand’s history by depicting the evolution of the bottle design since its launch in 1899. To demonstrate the passage of time, the bottle was set against a backdrop of a front room, which changed every couple of seconds to reflect evolving interior design trends throughout the 20th century.

The animations were built using existing assets – both stock imagery and the client’s own visuals – to save time and money. We promoted the assets through YouTube, Facebook and Instagram, using geo-targeting to limit our ad spend to areas in which Robinsons has the greatest presence – specifically Greater Manchester and the North West. By researching relevant audiences and utilising competitor brand targeting, lookalike targeting and interest targeting, we ensured that our budget was spent on reaching the right people at the right time.

Lights, camera, action!

For brands looking to 'give video a try' without committing to a full campaign, there are a few quick and easy ways to create video content. Stock video sites like Slidely are really effective; just come up with a theme and a message and you can pretty much guarantee there’ll be a video asset to match. Clipman makes it really simple to create slideshows and other assets, which are great for showcasing a brand’s products or services in an eye-catching manner.

YouTube shouldn’t be treated as a separate channel, detached from the rest of your marketing efforts, but instead should complement and amplify your other promotional activity. Received wisdom suggests that YouTube is only effective at building brand awareness, but our campaign proves that it can deliver results in the ‘real world’ – Robinsons saw an 81% increase in offline sales during the campaign period, equivalent to more than 25,000 additional bottles sold.

If you lack the time, budget and skill for a full video shoot or to create your own animations, a simple slideshow can be a great way to promote a product launch, draw attention to a rebranding or amplify a wider marketing campaign.

Phil Norris is head of content at Return

Get The Drum Newsletter

Build your marketing knowledge by choosing from daily news bulletins or a weekly special.

Come on in, it’s free.

This isn’t a paywall. It’s a freewall. We don’t want to get in the way of what you came here for, so this will only take a few seconds.