5 YouTube Power Users—and What You Can Learn From Them

At 2018 Summer NAMM, Dan Abel, director of marketing for Reverb.com and former marketing manager at YouTube, looked at five successful YouTube case studies that apply to the music products business. He outlined their different strategies and even some missed opportunities in their video marketing. Abel also remarked that each user is effective at engaging its audience.

Here are highlights from the session. (Watch the video to view the full presentation.)

Andrew Huang (Artist)
Huang got his start creating one type of video, the song challenge, and it turned into an episodic series. His audience is a young demographic of bedroom producers. He creates 5- to 10-minute vlog-style videos and speaks directly to the camera. According to Abel, this is a good way to build immediate engagement and rapport with an audience. Huang also solicits feedback. His rampant fan base will respond immediately, so they feel involved in his content. This strengthens his bond with the audience. He uploads a new video every week and tells his audience what day to expect it. As he’s grown in popularity, his YouTube presence has grown from the song challenge to simply a new video of his own content every week.

That Pedal Show (Podcast)
Hosts Dan and Mick are guitarists and tenured in the MI industry. They create video podcasts that run about 30 minutes. According to Abel, there’s no right or wrong in terms of how many videos you produce, as long as you’re getting your audience to watch them as long as possible. YouTube looks at your audience retention time and is more likely to surface content when you’re engaging your audience. Dan and Mick create content that garners viewers who watch for long periods. They also have a niche and many viewers who identify with their deep content. Plus, they have strong personas, and their show is humanized because of their perspectives. As a bonus, they also time stamp their videos, so it’s easier for viewers to watch the parts they want.

Us the Duo (Internet Sensation)
Husband and wife duo Michael and Carissa Alvarado are masters of the social art. They got their start on Vine, creating 6-second cover songs. They built a strong following by uploading popular songs every day. Followers grew to understand and appreciate what to expect. Michael and Carissa shifted their focus to YouTube when Vine died and aggregated their 6-second videos into collection videos. One of their top-hits videos from 2014 now has more than 20 million views. Everything they do is a reflection of what’s happening in real time in our culture, including artists in the news. They’re always thinking about how their fans are engaging with their content, so they create mobile-friendly content. They also create snackable video bits that garner views.

HOT 97 (Business)
HOT 97, based in New York, is one of the most popular radio stations in the world, and it has consolidated its radio content to 10-minute online videos. It’s always discussing culturally relevant hot topics and artists. According to Abel, HOT 97 has humanized its brand, so viewers identify with the station. Rapper Childish Gambino was a guest and freestyled on a morning show. HOT 97 owns that piece of original content, which is its most viewed video and can only be seen on HOT 97. The station creates a lot of content, and Abel mentioned that there’s a point of diminishing returns on YouTube if you post several videos daily.

Reverb (Online Marketplace)
Reverb got its start as an online marketplace to buy and sell new, used or vintage gear. It created very straightforward product demos at first, then began to take more creative liberties with content. “We take a cultural relevance, SEO approach, so we’re capitalizing on what people are already searching [for], but making sure we have a perspective on it,” Abel said. Reverb has personas and invests in them to create and humanize the brand for audiences. It creates episodes, so you know to come back. It also creates for so many audiences that it gives them a feeling that it’s a destination. Plus, it pays attention to data.