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YouTube: brands and South African YouTubers should cozy up

Last night, YouTube hosted an event in Cape Town in which it played matchmaker between South African YouTubers and brands.

The event saw some of South Africa’s most popular YouTubers including the likes of Grant Hinds, Anne Hirsch, Quentin Watt, Theodora Lee, Maya & Kahlil, Simply Refilwe, Lindi, Mark Fitzgibbons, DJ Arch Jr. (the youngest ever winner of SA’s Got Talent) and social commentator Sibu Mpanza, were present to talk about their channels.

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Teju Ajani, YouTube head of content partnerships for Sub–Saharan Africa, is adamant that YouTubers and brands belong together.

In an interview with Memeburn, Ajani said that with YouTubers getting subscriptions up to millions, it’s “crazy” for brands and YouTubers to ignore one another. According to YouTube, businesses who run a YouTube video campaign see an average increase of 20% more traffic to their websites.

“I think with the digital age, time has come for brands to expand beyond what they normally do and include some of the digital players that are in the game right now. Social Media is taking off, it would be crazy for brands to ignore that,” Ajani told Memeburn.

Read more: How businesses can effectively utilise YouTube

Outlining the way in which brands and YouTubers can work together, Ajani explains that brands need to match their brand with YouTubers, so they can tap into a market they might not have a presence in. Furthermore, Ajani suggests that the advantage of YouTube is also in the wide scope of its audience. She points out that the introduction of cheap smartphones allows more people access to YouTube, thus broadening the audience for brands.

“Mobile is growing like by leaps and bounds every year. In a few years, I think, we are going to see the mobile screen take off even more than it has now. It is really scary,” Ajani told Memeburn.

Mich Atagana, former Memeburn managing editor and now Google SA head of communications, emphasised that the event is meant to educate brands and media on the power of video.

Chris Rawlinson of WPP and Ogilvy & Mather, reiterated this point and pointed out that it is now more easier to create videos as digital cameras have become more affordable.


Lindi, The Snatched show

For many of the YouTubers, the platform is an alternative to television, and a way to have full creative control of their shows, as Lindi, host of The Snatched show with Kudzi, highlighted.

Even as YouTube gains popularity and sees half of its video consumption on mobile and tablets, monetising it has been tricky. The YouTubers admitted that they were not making enough revenue from their channels but Ajani reiterated that this is not the focus for YouTube right now, especially with South African YouTubers. They need to grow their viewership figures and subscriptions, she explained.

To generate revenue, YouTubers can look at advertisements, paid subscriptions, and merchandise according to the company. YouTube also claims that channels making six figures a year is up over 50% year on year.

Grant Hinds, one of the YouTubers present yesterday, stated that the success of one South African YouTuber means a lot to all YouTubers in the country as people get interested in all YouTubers.

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