YouTube marketing software company Pixability has taken a look at YouTube videos related to consumer electronics (CE), and the results emphasize the video sharing site’s unique role in the purchasing process. The biggest number in Pixability’s new report is 18.9 billion–the total number of views on CE videos on YouTube.

To put together the report, Pixability looked at data from more than 900,000 videos, including those from the 25 largest electronics brands on YouTube. The top five brands in that group–Google, Samsung, Apple, Nokia, and Sony–generated 77% of the group’s total views, easily outpacing the other 20 brands. All of those channels, however, were dwarfed by fan-generated YouTube content. Videos from non-official brand channels made up 76% of all CE video views in 2013.

Given its status as a company centered on YouTube, Pixability naturally used the results of its study to lay out some best practices for CE brands hoping to create content on YouTube. Some of these tips, such as the need for a consistent posting schedule and the relative inefficiency of commercials on YouTube, are fairly general, but there are plenty of trends specific to this industry. For instance, the report notes that CE video views spike around the releases of new products; on the contrary, most video categories spike around major holidays and tentpole events. Therefore, it is important for CE brands to increase video output around major release dates.

Another interesting twist is the give-and-take between official CE brands and fan videos. As the report explains, viewers prefer official brand videos during the pre-release period, when they are looking for announcement videos and previews. After release, viewers turn to the fans, who provide reviews and ratings of new products.

These trends inform the way the typical viewer uses YouTube when considering new purchases, and CE brands would be wise to take YouTube’s function as a research tool to heart. “People often go to YouTube first while researching which consumer electronics to buy,” said Marques Brownlee, who makes CE products reviews on YouTube. “Text reviews can be helpful and photos even better, but video reviews are easily more informative. If a picture is worth 1,000 reviews, a 5-minute review speaks volumes to a potential buyer.”

For more information on Pixability’s CE study, check out the company’s website.

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