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If YouTube isn’t in your marketing plan, you’re missing out

Article written by Emily Stander (Bizcommunity)

YouTube recently hosted its first-ever festival for sub-Saharan Africa, which focused on showing marketers and advertisers what can be achieved through using YouTube. The discussion also focused on how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected markets.

On average, there are 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute and one billion hours watched every day. Interestingly enough, 70% of YouTube videos are watched on mobile. With a predicted 475m people in sub-Saharan Africa having mobile internet access by 2025, it’s a large market to tap into.

According to Alex Okosi, managing director for YouTube EMEA emerging markets, the pandemic saw people tapping into their creative, entrepreneurial, and social skills to reach new heights of social strength. YouTube was one of the platforms that many turned to learn new skills and connect with people when they couldn’t do so face to face.

Okosi said that being home bound has led to a 60% increase in global video viewing time. This viewing time not only includes tutorial videos, streaming, and socialising – but also music. Fearghal O’ Connor, head of music GTM for YouTube EMEA, said that music is driving creativity and culture on YouTube, especially in sub-Saharan Africa. The Africa Day concert is a prime example of this creativity and culture drive, as well as creating a sense of community through attending virtual events through the pandemic.

The marketing landscape has changed and will go through more changes as we navigate living through a pandemic. The time for brands and agencies to be present on platforms like YouTube has definitely come.

From a marketing perspective

Zanele Hlatshwayo, YouTube lead for SSA, said that the user journey is not a linear process like it has been presented in the past. Instead, it’s more of a funnel – where the user goes from awareness of your product or brand to considering whether or not to engage with your product or brand, to taking no action or investing in your product or brand. “Connecting with your audiences on YouTube provides you with an opportunity to engage with your audiences across the funnel,” she said.

Telesure Investment Holdings (TIH) is one of the agencies which has used YouTube to tap into the needs and interests of their customers. Understanding how consumers use channels and consume media has allowed them to utilize it as part of their marketing strategy effectively, according to Katharine Liese, head of media at TIH. Moreover, she said that YouTube has allowed them to take their customers on a journey that employs storytelling as a means of connecting with them.

Another agency that was put in the spotlight was Rain South Africa – an internet service provider. Keegan Hagins, head of advertising at Rain, said, “We see [YouTube] as a great potential to reach customers far and wide.” He also pointed out that they can get creative – as seen with their balloon advertisement.


The changing marketing landscape will only beg for brands and agencies to change with it. With the rise of digital marketing as the main form of customer accessibility, it is imperative to use platforms like YouTube – with incredible reach and opportunity – to implement your marketing and advertising strategy.

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