Corporate Eye

Brands Get 12 Times More Views on YouTube from Earned Media than Owned Media

youtube home page logoResearch from Octoly tells us that owned media generates 25 million YouTube video views for brands, which is a drop in the bucket compared to the 300 million views that brands get from earned media. However, brands aren’t effectively tracking that earned media or using it to calculate return on investment.

Octoly researched 1,000 brands, 28 million videos, and 9 million YouTube channels, and found that 500 billion user-generated video views were not being tracked by brands.

On YouTube, earned media for brands comes primarily from user-generated content. These are the videos that customers create to show other people how to use a product, to review a product, and how to make the product (and the brand) their own with their own creativity. The popularity of videos by people who play Minecraft and other video games is just one example of significant earned media for brands.

Research has shown again and again that consumers are more likely to purchase brands after watching product videos created by other consumers. It’s critical that you encourage your audience to take control of your brand, make it their own, increase their emotional connection to it, and advocate it by allowing them to create their own content (including videos) related to your brand.

Octoly found that an average of 260 YouTube videos have been created per brand. Compare that to the average of 35,000 user-generated YouTube videos created per brand, and the potential reach or earned media is clearly something that not only should not be ignored but should be an important part of the overall brand strategy. For example, Octoly found that user-generated YouTube videos accounted for 99% of views for both LEGO and Apple, 95% of views for Call of Duty, and 85% of views for Coca-Cola.

According to Octoly’s brand ranking system, the earned media ranking of the top five brands on YouTube is as follows:

  1. Call of Duty: 8.9B Views, 324.8K Creators
  2. LEGO: 7.5B Views, 102.9K Creators
  3. Apple: 4.2B Views, 103.2K Creators
  4. Pixar: 3.4B Views, 18.6K Creators
  5. Ford: 2.8B Views, 201.8K Creators

Octoly’s top five earned media rankings by category are as follows:

  1. Gaming: 69.5B Views, 1.3M Creators
  2. Cosmetics and Beauty: 1.4B Views, 96.1K Creators
  3. Luxury Brands: 1.2B Views, 98.6K Creators
  4. Automotive: 31B Views, 1.5M Creators
  5. Tech: 13B Views, 533.1K Creators

You can see some of these statistics and more in the infographic below.

youtube for brands infographic

Are you effectively tracking and measuring user-generated content related to your brand on YouTube? If not, you’re missing a lot of data as well as significant opportunities.

Image: Andrew Perry

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Susan Gunelius is the author of 10 marketing, social media, branding, copywriting, and technology books, and she is President & CEO of KeySplash Creative, Inc., a marketing communications company. She also owns Women on Business, an award-wining blog for business women. She is a featured columnist for and, and her marketing-related articles have appeared on websites such as,,, and more. She has over 20 years of experience in the marketing field having spent the first decade of her career directing marketing programs for some of the largest companies in the world, including divisions of AT&T and HSBC. Today, her clients include large and small companies around the world and household brands like Citigroup, Cox Communications, Intuit, and more. Susan is frequently interviewed about marketing and branding by television, radio, print, and online media organizations, and she speaks about these topics at events around the world. You can connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google+.