YouTube has been a success since its start in 2005. But during the summer of 2006, things really started to take off, and YouTube quickly became one of the fastest-growing websites on the web. Especially after its acquisition by Google, the growth of YouTube has been a tremendous success. How did Google manage to extend this success, and what can we learn from it? Watch and learn!

YouTube: the Secret behind the Scenes

You can learn a lot from the video service that Google has scaled up to become the dominant, global market leader in online video. What is the secret sauce that made YouTube great? It’s not very well known, but we’ll tell you. There is an ecosystem of online and offline tools facilitating each type of users’ flawless customer experience. Let’s see how this ecosystem works and what your organization can learn from this.

In 2005, YouTube began as an angel-funded enterprise working from a makeshift office in a garage. The business model was simple: the revenue of YouTube came from advertising. Now, the website and app get over 30 million visitors per day, and 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute. The annual revenue generated from YouTube is $4,000,000,000. That is 6% of Google’s ad sales revenue. How did the platform accomplish this enormous growth?

YouTube has 3 Ecosystems

One of the secrets is the clear distinction of customer experiences that YouTube offers the 3 types of its platform’s users: makers, viewers, and advertisers. Being a poster child for customer-centricity, YouTube serves the needs of these diverse groups with excellence.

On the face of it, the video platform has a fairly straightforward design and structure. The truth is a little more complicated. Behind the scenes, there are 3 ecosystems that are pro-actively sustained. Let’s take a look.

  1. The Advertisers’ Ecosystem

Paid advertising is how money is made on YouTube. By targeting video ads on YouTube, advertisers can reach consumers at moments that matter. YouTube makes a wide variety of targeting methods available to the advertisers such as demographic groups, interests, ad placement, and remarketing lists. They can reach specific or niche audiences based on who they are, what they’re interested in, and what content they’re viewing.

Furthermore, YouTube offers tools to maximize the advertisement’s effectiveness, such as:

  • Director Mix creates huge numbers of ads tailored to custom audiences based on actions taken on other Google services.
  • Video Ad Sequencing lets advertisers string together and use a series of sequential ads to communicate a marketing message.
  • Custom Affinity Audiences creates audiences that are more tailored to an advertisers’ brand.

Furthermore, YouTube has expanded its Oracle Datalogix ROI measurement offering to include six-second bumper ad performance. 

  1. The Viewers’ Ecosystem

Of course, without the viewer, there would be no advertisements. The second YouTube ecosystem is made for them. YouTube wants the user to have a fulfilling experience and has created a great viewing platform. This results in an ecosystem facilitating the viewer’s experience;

  • YouTube allows commenting on videos; viewers love to give their opinions on what they see.
  • YouTube allows embedding and sharing videos.
  • The channel uses an intelligent algorithm to show videos based on user behavior.
  • Other building blocks of this personalized viewing experience are the option to subscribe to your favorite channel, the option to watch a video later, and the option to curate videos in categories such as gaming.
  • The option of following trending videos is also available.

Although as a viewer you might think these are obvious functionalities, they are actually facilitators of a great user experience. It’s all about the viewers. And, of course, when the viewer is happy, the advertisers are, too.

  1. The Makers’ Ecosystem

In their classic bestseller Wikinomics, Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams argue that it is important for new media companies to find ways to make a profit with the help of peer-produced content. “Companies can design and assemble products with their customers, and in some cases, customers can do the majority of the value creation,” the authors wrote.

This is where the third ecosystem comes into play: the content creators’ domain. Of course good content is not free. Content creators are paid through YouTube’s “Partner Program,” an ad-revenue-sharing arrangement begun in 2007. Some successful vloggers make a living by making YouTube content. For example, in the 12 months ending June 1, 2017, the 10 highest earners on YouTube grossed $127 million with the highest-earning individual channel grossing $16.5 million.

High-quality video results in more views, and that will sell more advertising. That’s why the platform makes numerous tools available to make the videos even better. Take, for example, the following tools:

  • The Creator Academy: YouTube’s online learning environment with free online courses and lessons. This helps creators grow their channel and revenues.
  • YouTube Creator Blog: This blog is Google’s “embassy” to the world of makers.
  • YouTube Cards and End Screens: These are visual tools makers can use in their videos to encourage their viewers to take an action.
  • A Mobile Life-Streaming feature

So, the YouTube customer experience is facilitated by a huge ecosystem of content and services. What can you learn from this?

If YouTube was a Public Transport Company

Let’s try to translate this great user experience to a non-virtual business and see what happens! Take a transportation company for example. How can a public transport company innovate and build an ecosystem around its audiences? First, we have to look into the company’s audiences or target groups. There are 3 eco-systems again, this time they are passengers, the workforce, and the government.

  1. The Passengers’ Ecosystem

Here is where the company will try to make its customers happy. Basically, this is accomplished by arriving on time, but there are also other customer needs and desires. At the moment, transportation companies are doing a great job at giving travel information including real-time delay information. At some airports and train stations, VIP rooms are an excellent way to reward loyal customers. But there is much more the industry can do!

If we are talking about customer-centricity, this is the way ahead:

  • Customers hate delays. Solution: an application with real-time information and automated refunds when delays are longer than 15 minutes, for example.
  • Customers sometimes feel unsafe. Give them the power to brighten the lighting in the vehicle.
  • Buying a train ticket with cash money is a hassle and can be dangerous. Alternative public transportation systems payment methods like the London Oyster Card or the Dutch OV-chipkaart have other downsides. So why not check-in and check-out using only facial recognition?
  • Transportation companies can organize constant feedback loops through review systems that ask their customer’s opinion after every ride. Rude drivers on certain lines will have to apply elsewhere! 
  1. The Workforce EcoSystem

Then there is the workforce layer. Happy employees are customer-friendly employees, so it is important they are content and feel safe.

A common problem in public transportation is verbal or even physical aggression directed at drivers. A solution is to install an app on the drivers’ smartphones they carry while working that will call the police with one simple action in dangerous situations.

And let’s give every employee a wearable location device. To avoid delays, GPS tracking will tell where drivers are and send them a message when they are not at the location they should be. The wearable device could even measure their heart beats to monitor work stress! And when there are safety issues in some neighborhoods, the driver can use the wearable device as recording equipment.

  1. The Government Ecosystem

The third role in this system is played by government. Public transport is a concession business. The company should adapt to the municipal demands for efficiency and concerns for environmental issues. For example, the company should decrease its carbon emissions.

Combined with analytics software, the industrial Internet of Things (IoT) comes to the rescue. This results in the lowest possible total cost of ownership (TCO) for fleets, more sustainability, and even preventive maintenance. The data gathered from vehicles will tell the company they need to replace parts even before the drivers know it.

Of course, information about safety-related incidents that is generated by the passengers and the employees can be shared with the city.

Do you want to be the YouTube of your industry? Let’s begin today!

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