Earned Media Rankings on YouTube: Implications for Brands and Users

In a March 2012 study, comScore found that professionally produced branded videos and user-generated videos are highly synergistic. When used together, they drive higher levels of sales effectiveness and favorable perceptions of advertising.

comScore conducted a veiled exercise with consumers to determine the sales effectiveness of the professionally-produced content, the user-generated content (UGC), and both together. It found a lift in Share of Choice (a term from Visible Measures), the frequency of consumer viewership of brands’ online video ads and content. Each form of media holds value, but more so when used together.


comScore surveyed a second group of consumers to measure their perceptions of each type of video advertising. With professionally-produced content, a higher percentage of respondents understood the importance of the key message. UGC was more effective at producing emotional intensity, key message communication, and ease of relating to. When shown together, the combined increases proved greater than either of the individual media types.


So professionally-produced branded content and UGC create the best results when used together. Thankfully, finding brand-related UGC just became a lot easier. Octoly, a brand management platform, has made a tool for brands that confirms metrics relating to the number of creators making videos about a brand, the number of videos associated with a brand as well as views, likes, dislikes and comments for the most popular UGC videos.

Since 2005, Octoly has been keeping track of the YouTube views associated with official brand videos and user-generated videos for 286 companies. In its findings, Octoly refers to brand-related UGC as earned media and these videos are viewed ten times more often than official brand videos.


Octoly analyzed more than 1,000 brands and celebrities covering 28 million videos across 9 million YouTube channels. For Call of Duty, Lego, Apple, Barbie and BMW, UGC makes up over 90% of brand related content. This content is out of brands’ control, but it provides incredible opportunities for collaboration, tracking and measurement.


As comScore reported, UGC is extremely helpful for increasing Share of Choice and advertising perceptions. CEO and Founder of Octoly, Thomas Owadenko, reminds brands that UGC is now, more than ever, playing a larger role when it comes to purchase decisions.

“User-­generated YouTube product videos are now part of the buying process. 52% of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in their purchase decisions. So it’s crucial for brands to monitor earned media to track reputation, uncover consumer insights and identify advertising opportunities,” said Owadenko. He goes on to explain how Octoly identifies and targets UGC to help companies turn video creators into brand amplifiers.

With Octoly’s new platform, brands can identify content creators and fans that may be relevant. Ultimately, Octoly will help companies measure, monitor and maximize user-generated content (UGC) on YouTube.

Brands should augment official campaigns with user-generated videos—target influential users with a large following to maximize exposure. For YouTube users, this may be the inception of a new form of monetization through the site. Brands may commission users to create branded content or pay to incorporate existing videos into branded campaigns.

“This new ranking system holds great potential for brands and their online video marketing efforts,” said Vitor Petrone, ViralGains’ Operations Manager. “It can define a target audience and identify which type of content generates the most social activity. If brands pay close attention to popular UGC, they can bolster it with paid media to encourage additional engagement and social interactions.”

GoPro is a great example of a brand who took advantage of UGC to produce beautiful video advertisements that display its cameras’ capabilities.

This new study from Octoly will no doubt influence other brands to seek out and incorporate UGC into advertising campaigns. YouTube is a gold mine of unique and creative user-generated videos, many of which highlight certain brands and products. Now that identifying these users has become simpler with Octoly, brands will be able to maximize their presence on YouTube with the help of fans and supporters.

About Hannah Brenzel

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