How Motorsports Brands are Firing Up Fans on YouTube


NASCAR, auto racing and motorsports are some of the most popular spectator sports in the country and some of the most searched content on YouTube. With the Daytona 500 kicking off this week, I checked in with some racing driven businesses to hear how they drive views -- and sales -- on YouTube.

Showcase hard-to-explain products with video

RevZilla Motorsports is an online retailer of motorcycle riding gear, accessories and parts. While it has a retail showroom in Philadelphia, much of its business is website-driven. It saw that its online retail site provided the opportunity to grow the business internationally, but were challenged by its customers' need to “look under the hood” of motorcycle gear, much of which is feature-intensive and pretty technical. “The motorcycle consumer wants to see details of equipment that is technical and hard to shop for,” notes RevZilla co-founder Anthony Bucci. So they turned to video, which helps RevZilla showcase detailed breakdowns of motorcycle gear -- from motorcycle helmets to gloves and riding jackets, and share their deep product knowledge and how-to content.

Like many businesses, RevZilla dove into video production with nothing more than a Flip camera and an idea. Over time, their video production skills grew, and they eventually launched RevZillaTV, their home on YouTube. With 4,750 subscribers and 4.1 million views to date, RevZilla shares some of what they’ve learned:

● Video works well when creating context around items that are complex and detailed. Try to explain technical information in video, rather than in written form for easier absorption.

● Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback on your videos from viewers, customers and everyone.

Invite customers in on the action

GoPro, based in Half Moon Bay, CA, makes wearable HD video cameras and accessories. They’ve built their YouTube channel to close to 100 million video views with a daredevil’s eye view of a variety of extreme sports videos created by GoPro customers -- drivers, riders, surfers, skiers and even educators from around the world -- using GoPro cameras.

By building a library of videos created by the people using their cameras, GoPro was able to provide the ultimate product demo to their audience, enabling them to make the most of their marketing dollars. Through the massive global reach of their YouTube brand channel, GoPro was able to discover that their best marketers are their customers. GoPro’s top tips for encouraging user engagement:

○ Let your customers do the talking (or videotaping). If customers are enthusiastic about your product, have them share their story on video and use these testimonials in your marketing.

○ Your brand channel is the first and best opportunity to test new products or launch a new campaign. There are a number of video ad products that allow you to scale up or down and target geographically, so you can quickly understand how the audience is responding.

Drive exposure with video ads

At NASCAR races, it’s all about heart-pounding action. Can you imagine actually strapping yourself behind the wheel of a NASCAR racecar and hitting nearly 165 mph like the pros? Not only can you imagine it, The Richard Petty Driving Experience based in Concord, NC, lets racing fans live it by riding in a real racecar at top speed. Marketing manager Elliott Antal wanted to push the sales needle during the slow summer months so he created the Summer of Speed package and gave the promotion a boost using YouTube video ads. Out of 107,000 Summer of Speed video views, over half of the viewers watched the entire video, which lasted over a minute. “Crazy good, in my book,” says Antal. Ultimately Summer of Speed sales exceeded expectations and got a whole lot of traction within the racing community. Advice from the Richard Petty team:

● To reach auto fans on YouTube and give your promotional videos a boost, use tools like TrueView in-stream ads. Your TrueView in-stream video ad plays either before or during the actual video that the viewer went to watch, and you only pay for when the viewer actually watches at least 30 seconds of the video without clicking the “skip” button.

Baljeet Singh is Group Product Manager on Video Monetization at Google, responsible for enabling video advertising on YouTube. Baljeet has worked on other video products at Google including DoubleClick In-Stream, AdSense for Video, and AdSense for Games. Prior to this role, Baljeet was a Product Manager on the DoubleClick publisher products, including DART Sales Manager and DART for Publishers. Baljeet has an MBA from the NYU Stern School of Business.

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