The Google acquisition of YouTube, which was born in a San Bruno, California diner in 2006 by three ex-PayPal employees, has now become the biggest content repository on the planet. As of a few weeks ago, one hour of video is being uploaded to YouTube every second. The site currently has about four billion daily video views.

(In the time it took you to read those last two sentences, fifteen hours of video were uploaded.)

Here’s another stat that won’t be a shock: 98 out of the top 100 Advertising Age Top 100 advertisers are on YouTube.

But, over the last five years, I’ve worked with 60 or 70 B2B companies, and most have told me:

  • We don’t know how to prove we drove revenue from YouTube
  • We’re not sure how to integrate our lead generation with YouTube
  • We like YouTube, but we’re just not sure how to know how much resources are “enough” to allocate to it

The reasons are clear – there are three key hurdles holding them back from jumping on YouTube in droves. But then, there are some pretty interesting reasons that many of these very same companies keep trying.

Reasons enterprise companies may be avoiding YouTube, or adopting slowly:

  • Demand Generation: These companies lack a fully integrated demand generation program to back up any new leads obtained from social media channels like YouTube. Their own marketing and sales teams are not in alignment.
  • A Double-Documentation Problem: Not only does the YouTube Content Creator Playbook lack B2B best practices or vertical best practices, it also lacks any vendor recommendations, (well, besides Google Analytics) for closed-loop marketing or lead generation from YouTube. Keep in mind, this initiative was aimed at musicians, educators and consumer-oriented content creators, not B2B companies, so you can’t fault the Playbook for a lack of B2B focus.
  • Integration: The integration of Google+ and YouTube was not fleshed out in the late 2011 premium content program launch and enterprise marketers are confused. And anyone who has ever worked in marketing knows that confused marketers do not allocate budget.

But there’s a flip side.

Reasons enterprise companies are checking YouTube out:

  • Video search: In B2B sales, video search is a clear and proven driver for getting leads in the funnel. eMarketer stats from June 2011 validate the findings: B2B is using video more than ever to generate leads and execute content marketing strategies.
  • Successful examples: Demand generation companies like Marketo, Eloqua, and Oracle’s MarketToLead tout the virtues of YouTube in all of their documentation.
  • Lack of competition: None of the other platforms who proclaimed to be the YouTube of enterprise ever took off as content platforms. Remember Ooyala, Kaltura, Cisco Show & Share, or 23 Video? Neither do we. The only platform that even comes close is BrightCove and if I had to guess, I think Brainshark may do more from a demand generation perspective.

Bottom line

In the next few months, as Google Plus and YouTube integration gets tighter and tighter (and Facebook’s already tight integration gets better), look for much greater use of YouTube in the enterprise. The two key use cases you’ll be seeing it in are marketing and training/education.

In marketing use cases, you’ll especially see it being used in the earlier-to-middle stages of the sales cycle, especially when buyer education is needed. If that’s where your company’s marketing is lagging or where your sales are falling flat, it may be worth looking into it, pronto.

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