So, you’re interested in buying something new for yourself or a loved one— something that needs to live up to your expectations.
But long before you pull out your credit card, you confront the daunting task known as product research. You head over to Amazon.com because, after all, that’s where everyone goes for their product reviews… right?
Well, not exactly.
More and more, users are flocking to YouTube over Amazon for all of their pre- and post-purchase discussions. Here are three trends you need to know about this phenomenon:
For starters, on YouTube, any product can be reviewed. There are no limits. Believe it or not, there are still plenty of products and services that you simply won’t find on Amazon or your favorite e-commerce site; those sites are limited to reviews of products they sell.
Take bikes for example: While there are plenty of bike options available for purchase on Amazon, the top bike brands are simply non-existent. Looking for reviews on the newest Trek mountain bike? Amazon doesn’t have any. So, where do you turn for reviews? YouTube has more than 500 Trek mountain bike related video reviews, which collectively have generated more than 5 million views.
Are you in the market for a new car? You’ll undoubtedly jump from site to site to do some price comparisons and review 360 degree photos of the exterior and interior of your car of choice. But for the ultimate visual review—with test drives, package reviews, and feature comparisons—YouTube is second to none. The possibilities are endless, as fans of the BMW M3 have shown. They’ve even taken reviews to the next level by turning them in to a form of entertainment.
Feeling hungry? Curious about whether that new Wendy’s cheeseburger is actually as good as it looks in the photo? YouTube users are here to the rescue, happily chowing down on the newest Baconator in full HD glory to help you decide whether it’s worth the calories . On YouTube, there are currently 186 Wendy’s reviews that have generated more than 1.5 million combined views.
Besides breadth, YouTube is a more complete and engaging platform for reviews of all products than Amazon. YouTube doesn’t just provide an alternative platform for reviews in instances in which Amazon falls short. From the Samsung Galaxy S4 (298 reviews on YouTube; 154 reviews on Amazon, per Zefr's data) to the PlayStation PS3 Super Slim (86 reviews on YouTube; 23 on Amazon), YouTube is brimming with popular commercial products whose reviews outnumber those on Amazon.
But it’s not just about the volume and depth of YouTube reviews; it’s about the quality and the experience. Products like the GoPro camera make it easy to post highly engaging video reviews, and allow potential buyers to live vicariously through the reviewer. With a first-person vantage point, you can imagine yourself with the product before you actually make a purchase.
Those video reviews get viewed, commented on and shared (and sometime even go viral) on YouTube more than any other platform, which then sparks immediate discussion and product buzz for brands.
Lastly, YouTube is the best place for early adopters to get their info (and a great platform to create pre-sale buzz). Let’s say you consider yourself an “early adopter” and want to be sure you get the newest gadgets before anyone else. Unfortunately, for many products that have yet to launch, you won’t find any reviews on Amazon. Thanks to YouTube, though, you can get early access to the same information that insiders get far in advance of the product hitting the market.
Look at the excitement that has already been generated for the Canon 70D, a camera that doesn’t hit the shelves until September 15th. From fans providing a full in-depth review of the camera to test footage postings, there are 346 Canon70D related videos/reviews on YouTube. And brands are jumping in on the fun as well; Canon has created more than 20 first-look and highlight videos for the product.
How many reviews does the Canon 70D have on Amazon? Zero.
The theme that permeates each of these trends—and what is perhaps the most rewarding aspect—is the human element. Video showcases authenticity, and seeing and hearing the passion and sincerity in the eyes and words of a reviewer provides a unique experience that a written review simply can’t match. Brands should embrace this trend. As the number of reviews on YouTube grow so does the opportunity for brands to connect with top reviewers and consumers, and to help generate buzz for product launches.