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Is YouTube a social network, or something better?

I’m sure by all relevant definitions YouTube is – and by far the most popular. It allows people to have followers and subscribers and share content, comment and all of that, but for some reason I put them in a different category than other social networks for 1 key reason – income participation.

All truth be told, I’m not a massive social media guy – I certainly engage with it and use much of it, but I’m certainly not as savvy as the average teenager. What I do know is that major corporations and content creators are approaching social networks in 2 ways – marketing and revenue.

Most of these networks start in the marketing/sharing space and then work on how they can transition to the revenue part – we’ve seen that with Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and even YouTube.

Once Google acquired YouTube, there was an obvious plan to get the revenue side going, which turned out to be good for everyone. Everyone meaning everyone. Adding the contributors to the process, which allowed the at-home creator to make money, has turned out to be the smartest part of this plan – and why I don’t consider YouTube to be in the same category as some of these other social networks.

Look, YT has a few big built in advantages:

     1) Video content allows for pre-roll ads that get high CPM rates
     2) Google is the largest advertising platform on the planet
     3) Google’s adsense business allows for small payments to lots of people

These advantages are the reasons why the professional class is approaching YT in a way that they are not approaching Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and others. They approach it the way businesses approach Amazon – as a retail platform.

For the pros, and that includes independent artists, other social networks have been used to gather up fans and message them to engage with you, either to purchase something (like this picture of clothes on Pinterest – click here to buy) or to do something (hey Facebook friends, my band is playing on Thursday in Chicago).

Think about it this way – American Idol’s Facebook page has nearly 12M likes – that’s a ton. They have lots of content on the page – selfies, updates, questions for the fans – and then embedded YouTube videos with highlights from the show with advertising around them.

From a marketing/sharing perspective – AI uses Facebook to communicate. Then they use YouTube to showcase and monetize.

Example #2 – Smosh – one of the biggest YouTube stars, who makes tons of money on his videos through YouTube. He has 2M followers on Twitter – and I’m sure there’s some money making going on for sponsored Tweets, etc. But for the most part – it’s being used to drive fans to YouTube videos where he monetizes.

YouTube has become a destination that accomplishes both – come watch this video of my song, movie, ad, standup and while you watch, I get paid.

To me – that’s more than a social network – that’s business.

Is YouTube a social network, or something better?

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Reader Comments (1)

I agree. YT has this advertisements and I have noticed that the effort of each person posting a video on YT makes them easier to be known.

June 4 | Unregistered CommenterRedLemon

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