Google Makes Push for YouTube Branded Content With New Video Series

Google is marketing the power of branded content on its YouTube video platform with its own video series.

The company on Monday is debuting its “Behind the Scenes” series that profiles the production and execution of Clean Clear’s “See the Real Me” campaign that launched on YouTube last year.  The aim of the “Behind the Scenes” videos, which Google produced, is to show brands and their agencies how to create more compelling video content.

“Increasingly we’re hearing from brands that they want to become better content creators on YouTube, but they’re not exactly sure how to do it,” said David Mogensen, head of YouTube ads marketing.  “We thought instead of telling them how to be better content creators we can show them by highlighting a brand that’s going through the same journey.”

Clean Clear’s “See the Real Me” videos on YouTube featured real girls sharing stories of how they tackled personal challenges.

More  marketers are turning to online branded content to reach consumers who are eschewing TV and engage with them in a less intrusive way than traditional commercials.  And YouTube, which has made several advertiser-friendly moves in recent years to attract a bigger share of brands’ advertising dollars, wants to be a beneficiary of the branded content push.

The “behind the scenes” series with Clean Clear is the first of its kind for YouTube, Mr. Mogensen said. YouTube could produce more “behind the scenes” videos to help educate brands on content creation if there’s a positive response.

“A lot of brands that understand the value of YouTube– that that’s where their audience is– still aren’t sure  how to create ongoing engagement,” Mr. Mogensen said. Branded content is one way for consumers to “authentically connect” with brands, he added.

According to  a report released last year from Pixability, an ad-buying and video marketing platform for YouTube, the world’s top 100 global brands operate 1,378 total YouTube channels. As of September 2014, those channels hosted more than than 360,000 videos, up 39% from the prior year. Views from the top 100 brands’ YouTube videos doubled from the prior year to more than 19.1 billion, according to the Pixability report.

Clean Clear, a Johnson Johnson-owned skincare brand, launched its “See the Real Me” series on YouTube to better connect with its core audience: young women and teenagers.  The campaign featured videos of real girls, social media influencers and celebrities sharing their stories of how they tackle personal challenges, videos on how to use the brand’s products for different skincare needs and lifestyle-focused videos. All in all, Clean Clear produced more than 120 pieces of YouTube content last year for the campaign. The videos have brought in 30 million views.

“This is just the way that teens are consuming media and in a lot of ways content has become the new advertising for them,” said Amy E. Pascal, senior director of North America digital marketing for Johnson Johnson.

Google’s “Behind the Scenes” series follows Clean Clear’s transition to a more digital-centric advertising approach, in particular how the brand prepared for MTV’s Video Music Awards last year by sending teenage YouTube star “Princess Lauren”  to cover the event. The Google series includes videos on “how to create a content strategy,” “how to spark a conversation with your audience using content” and “how to operationalize content creation.” It features interviews with JJ executives and footage of how the campaign was conceptualized, produced and launched.

The results of the “See the Real Me” campaign have prompted other JJ brands to aggressively pursue a content strategy, said Jeff Smith, president of U.S. skincare for Johnson Johnson Consumer Companies. While the “See the Real Me” videos have boosted brand awareness and helped Clean Clear  grow its online following, a YouTube campaign isn’t going to dramatically increase sales overnight.

“You have to build brand love and brand relevance first,” Mr. Smith said.

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