The growing appetite for QSR content on YouTube

It seems consumers can’t get enough of their fast food fix on social platforms these days, with Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) video content growing in popularity. On YouTube alone, the QSR space is expanding rapidly, achieving a dramatic 44% growth in views over the past two years as audiences become ever more hungry for food reviews, challenges and other related content.

While user-generated content and influencers are largely responsible for the initial explosion in QSR viewership, brands are increasingly focusing their marketing efforts around YouTube to drive engagement. Armed with the right insights, marketers can create engaging strategies and form meaningful connections with consumers through social video.

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Brands should invest in paid media all year round

The first step for a successful marketing strategy using video is to understand the strength of paid media. QSR brands that invested in YouTube during 2018 saw a huge growth in views – for example, Subway more than tripled its viewership from the previous year, according to Pixability’s QSR Industry Insights Report. This is a clear indication that to maximise impact among consumers, QSR companies should follow the model of standout brands that invest in both organic content and paid media to complement each other.  

The end-of-year holiday season is seen as the peak time for viewership of video campaigns, but it can be difficult, and expensive, for brands to stand out against competitors when consumers are being bombarded with content. If advertisers are willing to invest heavily when the competition is at its fiercest, they should also consider more of a year-round approach. As the appetite for video increases, this gives them the potential to fill content gaps and reach different, more relevant audiences, while more regular content allows for brands to build better relationships with consumers.

Brands can learn from the influencers

Influencer marketing is currently taking the biggest piece of pie in the food content space. Brands should therefore look towards QSR influencers for inspiration.

Influencers are creating content that differs from the traditional one-minute TV ads brands tend to invest in. Instead, they are publishing longer videos – often over 10 minutes in length – on a regular basis. Over 80% of influencer views are driven by videos of over five minutes and above. Brands should be looking to invest in longer-form content, as there is clearly an audience willing to engage.

Another major difference between influencers and brands is the type of videos they are creating. Across YouTube as a whole, review and challenge videos are among the genres which have the highest engagement rates from viewers, and brands would benefit from experimenting with videos that have more of a user-generated content (UGC) feel to them. Brands who move away from typical corporate ads to a style of content that is more personalised and familiar on social platforms are likely to be best placed to attract an ever-growing audience.

Consumers are hungry for breakfast content

Pixability’s study discovered that within the wider context of QSR content, there were also specific areas and audiences that could be targeted by marketers. One of its findings was around the growing popularity of breakfast content on YouTube, with annual views increasing by 78% since 2016. QSR brands should be looking to capitalise on this demand, especially those that offer breakfast, lunch and dinner. One big name already aware of the importance of the first meal of the day is McDonald’s, which has just announced a trial of extended breakfast serving times. With this trend likely to continue, brands could offer video content specifically aimed at breakfast lovers as part of their marketing efforts.

As brands are increasingly looking for ways to drive viewership and engagement on their QSR content they should be willing to try new and innovative strategies to keep up with the trends of top QSR influencers. Moving towards videos with more of a UGC feel, experimenting with longer form and more specifically targeted content, and publishing regularly are ways that brands can try to capture the growing audience and succeed in their marketing strategies.

By Matt Duffy, chief marketing officer at video advertising software company, Pixability

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