Business development · 17 June 2016

YouTube launches new video product aimed at small businesses

YouTube has launched local versions in more than 88 countries
YouTube has launched local versions in more than 88 countries

Small business advertisers will now have access to a new YouTube service that offers free professional video ads and tools, but currently the service will only be available in the US and Canada.

YouTube Director is aimed at companies which do not have video shooting and editing facilities, and features an app allowing users to create an ad directly from a smartphone device. However, YouTube will also provide a way for small businesses to send clips to professional editors who will do the job themselves, provided $150 is spent on YouTube ads.

Currently YouTube Director editing facilities will only be available to users in Atlanta, Washington D.C., Chicago, Boston, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and no extra information has been provided about an international rollout.

The move comes as major technology firms, including the likes of Facebook and Twitter, roll out services and products aimed at the small business market.

In December, Facebook announced it was launching all-new tools for small firms on the back of record business use. Better, more advanced communications controls mean Page owners are now able to set the time it takes for them to reply to messages automatically – either “within minutes”, “within an hour”, “within hours” or “within a day”.

Statistics from YouTube show that growth in watch time on the video platform has accelerated and is up “at least 50 per cent” year-on-year for three years straight. Furthermore, the number of people watching YouTube each day has increased by 40 per cent year-on-year since March 2014.

To coincide with the launch, YouTube challenged five small businesses to crate a video ad in 20 minutes or less. The results can be seen in the video below.

In an exclusive conversation with Google, the internet giant that owns YouTube following a $1.65bn acquisition in 2006, Shane Nolan, the company’s director for small business in the UK and Ireland, revealed what was new on the horizon for entrepreneurs.

The coming year will see Google roll-out The Digital Garage – a new website offering training in digital skills, enabling entrepreneurs to start growing their business. The initiative provides training in social media and search engine optimisation (SEO), along with tips on how to create cheap but effective ad campaigns.

There is also Google My Business, a free tool allowing companies to increase visibility in search results on Google Maps or Google. This is done by building up reviews, sharing contact details and opening hours and providing extra information to customers.

YouTube Director is available on iOS devices, with further news expected in the future regarding international availability.

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Hunter Ruthven was previously editor of Business Advice. He was also the editor of Real Business, the UK's most-read website for entrepreneurs and business leaders at the helm of growing SMEs.

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