Why marketers must be the keepers of their own content – or risk losing it

Why marketers must be the keepers of their own content – or risk losing it Helen Aboagye is chief marketing officer at Imagen.

More marketers than ever are using video as a marketing tool, with the number rising from 63% in 2017 to 87% in 2019. This is unsurprising when you consider that research has found that viewers retain 95% of a message when they watch it in a video compared to 10% when reading it in text.

As the demand on marketers to create digital content has grown, it has led to rapidly expanding volumes of large video files; as a solution, marketers often rely on platforms such as YouTube to host content. However, this can result in data getting into the wrong hands and being used incorrectly, or worse still, being lost entirely if the platform goes down.

In this day and age, it’s not a sustainable way of managing the valuable content that takes marketers huge amounts of time and money to produce – and the demand for such assets is only going to increase. With third-party tools or software presenting more risks than rewards, how can marketers take complete ownership of marketing materials?

The challenges of using third-party tools

Although sites like YouTube are commonly used by organisations to host and share their marketing content, doing so can be detrimental to the business for a number of reasons. Firstly, it’s hard to know how secure that collateral is – something millions of people learnt the hard way with MySpace. In this case, a server migration corrupted files, which meant the social networking site was unable to transfer these files over to its updated website.

As the company had failed to backup before it began the migration, 50 million songs spanning 12 years’, as well as any photos and videos uploaded to the site before 2016 were lost. Unfortunately, despite MySpace’s decline in popularity since the likes of Facebook and Twitter came about, some users were still using it as an archive, meaning a large proportion of these assets have been lost forever. This suggests third-party sites may not be following best practices to protect and preserve valuable resources. However, as the user has no control over the site’s IT and security strategy, there is very little they can do about it.

This reliance on external tools can also cause a problem if they cease operating – as demonstrated by the closure of Vine. While more commonly associated with social media and teenagers, Vine became a popular marketing tool for big name brands such as Toyota, Urban Outfitters and Oreo. Its closure meant that users were required to download all their content from the website and archive it separately, which presented difficulties in searching for and accessing content once it had been downloaded.

Therefore, sharing or reusing these videos for other purposes will have been made extremely difficult. Even these websites having some downtime can cause major problems as marketers may be unable to access their content when they need to, which could have a wider impact on marketing campaigns.

While the likelihood of YouTube ever going down is slim, it has its own set of challenges with Google admitting that the site is unable to guarantee 100% brand safety due “dark pockets” lurking on the internet. In other words, the site is unable to safeguard videos against unsavoury or abusive comments that may violate the brand. Similarly, by hosting their content on such sites, marketers can’t police who uses their videos or manage what they are using them for.

As a result, the assets they will have spent both time and resources on could be used improperly, after all, we’ve all seen content enter into the public domain only to then become popular for something other than its intended purpose – just think of the ‘distracted boyfriend’ meme.

Why hosting content internally is the answer

Fortunately, it is possible for marketing teams to overcome these issues by investing in a content management platform, which will allow them to host their own content and then share assets both internally and on social media. While this will require an initial investment, there are a great deal of benefits to make this worthwhile.

With an owned platform, as the rights holders, businesses are in full control of what happens to their content and they can dictate where it goes, unlike when using third-party software or tools. Also, as the content is the intellectual property of the business, the audience only has the right to play it personally. Additionally, an internal platform means that content is no longer being shared with the masses unless marketers want it to be. Currently, some businesses are even hosting content for internal use on YouTube, which is potentially giving their competitors the advantage and an insight into their next move.

By owning their own platform, businesses can avoid this and ensure their competitors’ content won’t appear as recommendations for their customers, as often happens on YouTube; if the business is using its own site, it can influence the user journey more favourably to ensure visitors only see their content. Ultimately, marketers will be able to use the platform as they would YouTube, but with the added advantage of having access to analytics which show them what is or isn’t working, helping them plan out where to take campaigns moving forward. Plus, if marketing teams make their content library, or at least elements of it, open access they can share content across their social channels just as they would YouTube content.

There are also monetary advantages. In the first instance, marketers aren’t required to pay for retrieval, which also means everything is searchable and in one place, streamlining the entire process. However, the biggest financial benefits will be owing to the fact that businesses can monetise their content on their own platform, whilst keeping all of the profits for themselves, rather than letting YouTube take a cut.

With research finding that 85% of consumers want to see more video content from brands, the creation of such assets by marketers shows no sign of slowing down. It’s therefore vital businesses take action to store and safeguard their content themselves, or run the risk of not only losing control of it, but also potentially losing it altogether if it falls foul of bad practice by external tools or websites.

Interested in hearing leading global brands discuss subjects like this in person?

Find out more about Digital Marketing World Forum (#DMWF) Europe, London, North America, and Singapore.  

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