Why marketers must take ownership of their content in-house

Helen Aboagye, CMO, Imagen, explains why (and how) marketers need to fully own their digital assets to avoid losing years of valuable content.


The use of video in marketing is continuing to increase in popularity and it’s no wonder when you consider that marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than non-video users and receive 41% more web traffic.

Along with this, the percentage of marketers using video as a tool increased by 24% between 2017 and 2019 and this trend is expected to continue. There are many reasons for this, not least the growing demand for video marketing, intensifying competition and it becoming easier for businesses to create video thanks to shrinking production costs and greater in-house capabilities.

As a result, video content is more valuable to marketers than ever before. Yet, despite this, a large proportion rely on platforms such as YouTube to host these assets – a decision that could see them fall into the wrong hands, used incorrectly, or worse still, lost entirely. With so much at stake, businesses can’t afford to leave their content at the mercy of third-party tools or software.

The perils of using third-parties

One of the biggest risks of using a third-party platform to host and share marketing content is that you can’t guarantee your collateral is secure, as demonstrated in March when news broke of MySpace’s disastrous server migration in which millions of files were corrupted. A failure to perform a proper migration prior to the process meant that 50 million songs, as well as any photos and videos uploaded to the site before 2016, were lost forever. While the social media site’s popularity had undoubtedly waned drastically in the years since Facebook came into use, some users were still using it as an archive, meaning a large proportion of these assets have been lost forever.

This is a clear indicator of the faith users put, perhaps mistakenly, in platforms like MySpace, and suggests that some of these third-party sites may be flouting standard practices that should be in place to protect and preserve valuable resources. While it’s certainly sad for personal users to lose this content, the implications for businesses storing marketing materials on these sites are much more severe – after all, a substantial amount of time, resource and budget is likely to have been used in the creation of these assets.

An additional challenge of using sites such as YouTube to host marketing materials is that in doing so businesses are leaving themselves open to “dark pockets” that lurk on the internet and are unable to safeguard videos against unsavoury or abusive comments that may violate the brand. Similarly, marketers can’t police who uses their videos or manage what they are using them for. As a result, the assets they will have spent both time and resources on could be used improperly and become associated with something other than the brand and its intended purpose.

Marketers potentially face further risks if the site they are using to host their content shuts down. While it’s unlikely to imagine this happening with YouTube, some marketers experienced this when the Vine app came to an end, where brands such as Sony, Adidas and Disney were using it for marketing purposes. Its closure in 2017 created a problem for those reliant on the platform as it required them to download all of their content from the website and archive it separately. Further challenges then arose from searching for and accessing content once it had been downloaded and, consequently, sharing or reusing these videos for other purposes will have been extremely difficult. Ultimately, by relying on third-party tools, marketers have little to no control over how their content is stored, the measures in place to safeguard their assets and who can access these materials.

Taking ownership

Rather than being beholden to external platforms, it’s vital businesses take full ownership of storing and sharing their marketing resources by investing in a content management platform. This move will allow businesses to create a single platform with which they can store their content and share it, not only internally, but also on social media. Further to this, as the rights holders, businesses are in full control of what happens to their content, where it goes and who sees it, removing the risk of assets mistakenly entering the public domain. Plus, if marketing teams make their content library (or at least elements of it) open access, they can share content across their social channels just as they would YouTube content.

By owning their own platform, businesses can influence the user journey more favourably to ensure visitors only see their content, rather than having their competitors’ content appear as recommendations, as often happens on YouTube. Additionally, this approach means marketers can access analytics which show them what is or isn’t working, helping them plan out where to take campaigns moving forward.

With , brands can no longer ignore its growing popularity. As marketers create increasing volumes of videos to tap into this growing demographic, it’s vital they take action to store and safeguard this content in-house. Failing to do so not only runs the risk of them losing control of it, but also potentially losing it altogether.

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