In June, YouTube announced that it had hit the 3bn views per day milestone and was receiving 48 hours of new video per minute, while Garner listed online video as one of the top ten strategic technologies for 2011.

But in the staggering jungle that is online video, what can US brands do to make sure their content and distribution plans work together as an effective strategy? 

Here are my top five tips…

Content is king

Think about your audience, what do they like? They’re almost certainly not going to be interested in your corporate sales message.

Your content is competing with everything else on the web so it has to be interesting, entertaining or useful if it‘s going to work. People can click-away more easily than ever before.

According to Mike Johnston, executive producer at Boss Creative in Seattle, WA:

Marketers forget they’re talking to real people. So often I feel liked the only guy in the room who’s worried about the poor slobs who’ve got to watch whatever thing is being talked about by everyone in the marketing and technical departments.

There are huge opportunities

ThinkThin uses video to drive recipe and coupon downloads, Aussiebum credited video with 40% business growth, Virgin Atlantic sold 30% more upgrades, while Zappos’ strategy uses video across product videos, brand marketing and customer service.

What’s everyone going to be talking about in your industry? There is room for any brand to be innovative here.

Define your objectives

Know what you’re aiming for. Don’t be afraid to have strong calls to action in videos, if people like what they see, you don’t need to hide behind the fact it was made by a brand.

According to Mark Robertson, founder of, 73% of US retailers feature video on product pages in Q4 2010.

But as Econsultancy’s Online Video Best Practice Guide explains, video can be used to achieve a range of strategic objectives, not just click-throughs. The key is to make sure you can measure how your content is working for you – who’s watching it, what they’re doing as a result, and how it’s spreading around the web.

Distribution needs careful planning and budget

Make sure your video looks great on every device (and avoid using YouTube on your own site).

YouTube is a great channel for reaching audiences though, but they won’t come just if you build it. Even in the social sharing space you need to invest as much in content seeding and syndication as production.

The future is mobile, social, interactive

Shared video is far more powerful than paid-for video advertising: users are three times more likely to watch a shared video than a paid video and shared views are viewed three times longer than paid views.

Beware of the vested interests that still want to sell interruptive ad spots.

According to Sarah Wood, COO at global social video platform Unruly Media:

Consumption of video and video sharing is on the up – and if brands can produce great content people will want to share that too. The ability to win advocates within a peer group like this is extremely powerful.

Taking full advantage of online video means moving away from old frameworks like corporate video, direct response and traditional segmentation. A recent article on the Econsultancy blog explores these ideas further.