The ability to embed the external player on any web page turned the tide for YouTube.The other key driver to YouTube’s user acquisition was the frequency at which popular video content was distributed in a viral manner...After the VC investment, YouTube started giving away an iPod Nano per day for several months. This promotion was actually very successful and helped to further build the user base.
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YouTube Case Study
written by Deepak Thomas and Vineet Buch, posted on March 18th, 2007
Like most startups in the consumer Internet space, YouTube did have to survive a couple of missteps before discovering the winning user acquisition strategy. The founders started work on YouTube in Feb. 2005 and a public beta was launched in May 2005. YouTube started out as a video clone of HotOrNot.com targeting the young adult market. However, the initial site was attracting very little traffic. A site revamp in June 2005 focused on:
1. Creating a general-purpose video-sharing platform
2. Increasing number of views by offering ‘related’ content
3. Encouraging interaction between users
4. Offering an external video player that could be embedded on a site like MySpace.com
The ability to embed the external player on any web page turned the tide for YouTube. Once MySpace.com users started adopting YouTube en masse, MySpace.com blocked video links to YouTube. However, MySpace caved under pressure from MySpace users and reinstated access to YouTube content.
The other key driver to YouTube’s user acquisition was the frequency at which popular video content was distributed in a viral manner. According to one YouTube employee: “Once traffic picked up, roughly every two weeks or so a video would become wildly popular. Soon the time between these super-hit videos started shrinking. The site took off at a scorching pace.” Video footage of the Southeast Asian tsunami resulted in one of the largest traffic spikes. Other popular clips included Jon Stewart on Crossfire and the infamous Janet Jackson Super Bowl video.
YouTube remains an interesting study in marketing a consumer internet service. While initial responses to the site were tepid, the June 2005 site revamp resulted in viral growth. Some of the initial promotional tactics included posting an advertisement on CraigsList.com, requesting aspiring women models in the Los Angeles area to upload their personal videos. However, this proved ineffective.. After the VC investment, YouTube started giving away an iPod Nano per day for several months. This promotion was actually very successful and helped to further build the user base.
YouTube most likely had both viral and SEO (Search Engine Optimization) factors working for it. Searches for 7 out of 10 of the top-10 popular music albums show up as YouTube hits on the first Google search results page, indicating the SEO factor at play.
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