The Three Uses of Videos for Marketing (Not Just on YouTube)

There are three distinct uses of video for marketing purposes, and – unfortunately – people get them confused.
Clear thinking will help you figure out which of these three uses is best for you and your company, product or service. Perhaps all three, perhaps just one. Let’s get started!

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The Three Uses of YouTube Videos for Marketing (With Examples)

Video has three distinct uses on YouTube.

#1 – Supportive Use of Video. In this scenario, you are using YouTube mainly to host (for free) videos by or about your company, product or service. An example would be a hi-tech company like Analog Devices that has its product marketing managers attend industry trade shows. You (the customer) walk up to the booth, find an interesting new product or technology, and ask the product marketing manager to do his “dog and pony show” about what’s new and exciting from Analog Devices.  An example would be Instrumentation and High Speed: LVDS, Energy Harvesting and More. Here, Ryan Kurin explains their new product “as if” you were walking up to the booth. Similarly, after you’ve searched for San Francisco personal injury attorneys, you land on Mary Alexander Law’s website and watch her introductory video, here. In a very professional way, she explains her skills as an attorney and gives you a “soft sell” on why you should give your case to her. Both of these are “supportive” uses of video, not meant to go viral but rather to help prospects understand what’s being offered, and get you to “be comfortable” enough with them to take the next step in the sales ladder.


  • If you have a complex product such as CPA services, technology products, legal services, etc., using videos to “support” your marketing is an excellent use of YouTube.
  • Brainstorm what you want to ‘support’ in terms of your sales ladder. YouTube Video Marketing
  • Shoot and produce the video, and upload to YouTube.
  • http:// links for more information in the video description (as these will be clickable).
  • Cross-promote on your website, real world, other social channels, etc.

#2 – SEO Use of Video. In this scenario, you know that your customers go to YouTube to look for “how to” videos. For example, let’s say that you sell dog training or dog or puppy products. You know that people who have new puppies are frustrated and trying to learn how to get their puppy to stop biting their leash. So they will Google or go to YouTube and search for ‘how to get a puppy to stop biting the leash‘ or on YouTube, here.  Sample videos: here and here. For how to tie a tie, click here.  And for how to put on eyeliner, click here.


  • Identify relevant searches (usually ‘how to’ searches) that people go to YouTube and/or Google for. Use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to research highly searched terms.
  • Create an informative easy-to-follow video on the topic.
  • Optimize the video for YouTube SEO, namely –
    • Keywords in the video title.
    • Keywords in the video description and video transcript. (As you talk, use the keywords in your video as it is auto-transcribed into YouTube!)
    • Tags‘ on the video on your YouTube channel that reflect the keywords.
    • http:// links for more information in the video description
    • Thumbs up / thumbs down / comments (“interactivity“). Encourage this by ASKING users to interact with your video!
    • Video view count (*promote the video by advertising and other means to drive up the view count*)
    • External links and ’embeds’ of the video on other websites, generating external traffic.

Sharing / Viral Use of Video. In this scenario, you have an “emotional” hook for your video. So you create a video that is strongly and powerfully emotional. Nonprofits can use emotions such as sentimentality or outrage; most for profit videos are better using humor. Sample videos: Dear Future Mom (sentimentality), It Gets Better Project (outrage, political activism), Friday (outrage? humor? just plain funny?), Girls Don’t Poop (humor).


  • Identify the “emotional hook” of your video that will also promote your message or cause. If you’re a business, your safest emotion is in humor, as on Will It Blend? – Justin Bieber.
  • Create a powerful, funny / sentimental / outrageous video. Emphasize the EMOTIONAL hook of your video, not just the dry facts!
  • Promote the video to your target audience using your own social media networks, up to and including advertising on YouTube and “influencer marketing.” If you’re lucky, the video will get highly shared. If you’re really lucky, it will “go viral” and get millions of views!
  • Remember that “customers from hell” can do this, too. Customers have created videos that “go viral” against a major brand, as in United Breaks Guitars and Don’t Touch my Junk.

In summary, YouTube can be fantastic for your marketing efforts. Just be clear whether you are going for the supportive use of video, the SEO / search use of video, or the sharing / viral use of video. And for the record, I actually like Rebecca Black’s Friday video. There, I said it!

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About Jason McDonald

Jason McDonald is a top-rated San Francisco SEO Consultant. His consulting services include search engine optimization consulting, social media marketing consulting, and Google AdWords consulting. Jason's motto as a consultant is that he doesn't do SEO 'for you' but rather he does SEO 'with you.' That goes as well for his social media marketing consultant activities and Google AdWords consultant services. Besides serving clients in the San Francisco Bay Area, Jason consults with clients in Silicon Valley (San Jose), Oakland and other cities throughout the Bay Area. Beyond the Bay Area, Jason is available as an SEO consultant, Social Media Consultant, and as an expert witness in litigation involving social media marketing, search engine optimization and pay-per-click advertising.