The internet has made a lot of things, hitherto, not possible for us to achieve a few years ago, to be easily achieved today. One of such is the magnitude of content accessible to for us to upload and watch on YouTube nowadays. In a report released by Google as at January 2017, about 300 videos are uploaded to YouTube every second and about 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every day. It is projected that by the year 2025, half of viewers under the age of 32 will not subscribe to pay TV service but stick to YouTube. With these daunting statistics, it is obvious that YouTube is very huge now and expected to be more so in the nearest future, hence, its activities is worth looking into. I recently met with Susan Agliata, Europe, Middle East and Africa Executive of YouTube, who was in Africa for the first time, and had a fruitful discussion with her in the impact and effects of video content creation online.

Susan said that YouTube has grown over the years in terms of watch time, different types of content on the platform and the creators of these videos who are producing authentic and engaging content around the world. On what she thinks has helped the growth if YouTube over the years, she is of the view we that more people are watching videos now due to the improvement in technology and people wanting choice when they are deciding what to watch online.

When asked how she thinks brands should be using YouTube, Susan is of the opinion that YouTube presents enormous opportunities for brands to provide valuable content for the benefit of their audiences and to grow their business as well. She maintained that for anyone to use YouTube to grow a personal brand, you have to be consistent in providing content on a regular basis and such content must be authentic. This is because the audience is quick to know when content is authentic or not.

Reeling out YouTube’s  strategy for Africa where data is is too expensive, Susan stressed that this is a challenge which is being addressed by taking s multi-tiered approach, where YouTube is in partnership with Universities and Telcos with a view to reduce the cost of data so that content can be made accessible to as many people as possible. According to Susan, some of the ways YouTube is supporting its content creators include a global program called YouTube Spaces that is providing actual production resources to content creators. This, she stated, has been established in nine cities and more are being planned. She stressed that YouTube provides a wealth of online resources on the Creator Academy site where content creators can visit to garner useful tips and strategies to start uploading content, monetize and grow their audience.

On how one can make money from YouTube, Susan said YouTube wants as many content creators as possible to benefit from the monetization that YouTube provides, hence, it tries to provide as many accessible tools as possible to enable them monetize their content on the platforms. This, she said, is done by connecting it with an access account and start uploading content. Talking on YouTube Life, Susan said it has grown enormously and used to broadcast big and small moments of the brands and users. She further stated that YouTube is not afraid of competition with YouTube Live streams as it provides users the best experience in terms of life engagement.

When asked in which more creative ways YouTube content creators can carry out their videos, Susan stated that they should note that there is a difference between creating digital videos and traditional video content. With digital content, one needs to think differently and take such issues as the first few seconds to arrest and engage the attention of your audience and learning new ways of storytelling more seriously and creating an ecosystem of content as against creating only one or two videos in a world where the users have a choice.

Reacting to a question on what content she thinks is most popular on YouTube, Susan is of the view that this depends on, and varies from location to location. She stated that some of the popular content include Music, Comedy, How to, etc., depending on the specific market. “Content”, she said, “has to be relevant to the audience, no matter whatever it is”.

Susan maintained that one can start YouTube Content Creation with the basic gears or with sophisticated. Some content, she stressed are shot with phones while others are shot with studio equipment but, what is required in the end is for the content to be authentic, engaging and relevant. On can, however, have some basic knowledge of video editing or partner with an organization to have this done. Susan also spoke on 360 Degree video and Daydream VR projects of YouTube.

You can watch the full interview here.