What is it?

YouTube is a video-sharing platform. Users can upload their own videos, subscribe to channels, and like and comment on each other’s footage online. With an uprise in video content, YouTube is a great tool for businesses.

The Rules

How it works

  • Search for videos, channels or categories
  • Watch videos
  • Like, comment, subscribe and/or share


Watching free online videos is the main event on YouTube. Your homepage will recommend videos according to trends, channels you’re subscribed to, playlists, recently uploaded and categories you regularly use.

You can find videos by using the search bar and then refine your search by applying filters such as “upload date”, “type”, “duration” or “features”. You can also use the menu option by the YouTube logo (on desktop) and check out the “best of YouTube”.


To upload videos, you need to create a channel. This is essentially an extension of your profile that allows you to post your own video content for viewing. Regardless of whether you have a channel or not, you can see other people’s channels and subscribe to them – this is the same concept of ‘following’ on other social media channels.

Within your channel, you can add an “about” section (i.e. a description of your channel) and a sort of promo video which automatically starts playing. You can also add a profile and display picture. The general public can then see your uploads, playlists and channels you follow.

YouTube monetises on advertising on videos – a brief clip that you can skip after watching 5s before your chosen video. To avoid the constant use of advertising on videos, you can have a “paid channel” at £0.49 per month.


You can create playlists of videos. Simply use the “add to” option under the video to put the video in your playlist. You can then shuffle, loop or “play all” videos in the playlist.

 Shares, likes, and comments

You cannot share YouTube videos on YouTube, but the share option allows you to post it on a plethora of other social media networks. You can also embed the link or email it to someone, but my favourite feature is being able to share a video that will start at a certain point. By this I mean, you can share a video and it will start playing from a chosen point on the video timeline (e.g. 1:55 into the clip).

The videos work on a voting and views system. You can either “like” or “dislike” a video which will help make a video trend. Fun fact: apparently if you like a video when you start watching it as opposed to when you finish watching it, it is more likely to trend.

The comments section works like any other comments section on any platform. You can reply to comments, like them or dislike them. The comments can be sorted into “top comments” or “newest first”.

The User

YouTube has 1.3+ billion users with an approximate 5 billion video views per day. There are 300 hours per minute of new videos uploaded across the globe. In this increasingly mobile world, an average of 1 billion videos are viewed on mobile per day. ‘How to’ videos are growing 70% annually which provides the user’s access to knowledge on your product. 78% of UK teens use YouTube weekly and 50% consider it their favourite site. There is a huge potential for marketing to teens and millennials alike.

YouTube is considered the second largest search engine on the web today. Viewing sessions normally last over 40mins and the gender divide is 38% female to 62% male – although different categories have different popularity levels amongst genders. Saudi Arabia has the most active YouTube video users reaching 90 million views per day.

Campaign Ideas

YouTube is an interesting platform when it comes to marketing campaigns. It is primarily used as place to host footage and then it is coupled with other networks to make the magic happen. The Call To Action (CTA) when using YouTube is paramount, which is why many brands use it primarily for awareness.

Dumb ways to die

Shock campaigns related to passenger safety were losing their edge, so Metro Trains in Melbourne went for humour to raise awareness.

The result: The video has been watched over 140,000,000 and the song has been downloaded at least by the same amount, if not more.

How to shock a celebrity

END7 created “How to Shock a Celebrity” as part of their end 7 diseases by 2020 campaign. A selection of celebrities were filmed watching the shocking images of these diseases and then the viewers are challenged to watch it themselves.

Warning: The footage from 0:54 may be upsetting

The result: £60,000+ donations were given within 24 hours of the video being released. Over 75% of the viewers managed to watch over 2 mins of the video.

Other brands to follow and learn from include Red Bull, Playstation and The Ellen Show.


Social Media Toolbox YouTube infographic

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