stock-market

Lucas Watson is quick to note that correlation doesn’t imply causation. YouTube’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing made that point clear a few times during the tail end of his presentation at UberTube, a brand summit co-sponsored by YouTube and online video marketing technology company Pixability.

The statistical phrase was important to utter and reiterate as it helped to introduce and explain the chart below. Watson and his team compiled a list of the top 13 best-performing brands on YouTube in terms of views over the past five years and then looked at those brands’ stock performance during the same timeframe. The results are intriguing. On average, the dozen or so brands on YouTube with the most views on their videos outperformed the S&P 500 on the stock market by 31%. Take a look:

YouTube views don’t directly correlate to a better stock price, but perhaps they are an indication of how effectively a brand embraces new technology and accesses new audiences on new platforms. Or, as Watson said, “These brands happen to get better stock returns because they embrace innovation in how they run their companies.”

The pitch to the advertisers wasn’t that if you get a lot of views on YouTube the price of your stock will increase, because there’s no area of freakenomics that could remove all the myriad variables involved in pricing companies on public markets to determine that particular cause and effect. The pitch to the advertisers was of a more status quo and aspirational nature.

For the advertisers on the list, the chart implied they should continue with their forward-thinking innovation and embrace YouTube (and advertising on YouTube) like they have in the past five years. For the advertisers not on the list, the chart represented a subtle status symbol, and hinted at the idea that by embracing YouTube (and advertising on YouTube) your company’s name could one day be on the same list as these other household brands.

Watson didn’t say the cause of YouTube views could lead to a better effect in the stock price, but he did put the idea in the audience’s head. He also made the soft sell that embracing innovation means embracing YouTube. If the brands and advertisers in attendance soon commit to bigger advertising spends on the world’s largest video sharing site, you’ll know the cause.

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