A Visual Success: Canon Fires and Hits with YouTube

The Name Game

Hey there. Name a camera company that isn’t Canon. (Pause as necessary here.) Finished? Perhaps you came up with Nikon, Sony, Panasonic, Pentax, Olympus, Kodak or any other number of established technology and camera companies out there. Now disregard these companies. I’m sure you were able to name at least one or two of them, but you know what? I’d wager you could have named Canon as well.

Few would dispute that Canon is one of the best established and most renowned camera companies in the world. While photographers and videographers alike will swear by their own brands and gear, Canon has been getting things right for quite some time. That’s not to say they’re everyone’s favorite, or that they’re on the bleeding edge of innovation. It would appear, though, that they are at least sharp enough to avoid being put on everyone’s chopping block.

But as with any company on this blog, Canon is only worth its weight in media prowess, i.e. reposts, upvotes, likes, comments, views, leads, sales, and what not. So how does a company that brings cameras to general consumers and professionals go about featuring their products and promoting their presence online, let’s say, in the video-verse that is YouTube?

A Snapshot of CanonUSA

If you wish to visit Canon in the wonderful screen-spun land of YouTube, you can find them under the name CanonUSA or click on this conveniently placed link, this one, right here, (where is it? I can’t seem to find—ah there it is), you got it.

Upon first glance, you will notice that Canon’s YouTube homepage is well-organized and executed, filled with interesting content and useful links.

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Well, interesting if you happen to be a camera geek (like myself) or one of Canon’s consumers (also, not surprisingly, myself). Who exactly are Canon’s consumers, though?

With the coming-of-age of smartphone cameras, the digital camera industry has been on the fritz, trying to retain its conventional consumers while convincing perspective buyers why a bulky, expensive device that only takes pictures and video is better than a pocket phone and computer device that they already own and happens to have a built-in high-quality camera. According to an article from CNBC, the market for traditional point-and-shoot cameras is steadily declining, hurting companies like Canon. The target markets for these cameras are flocking to their smartphones, leaving the days of carrying a camera and a phone far behind. That’s not the case for all digital camera markets, though.

The article goes on to say that recently, a new breed of middle-class consumers has arisen, opting to completely skip entry-level cameras and begin with DSLRs and other compact cameras. This target market is made up of individuals who appreciate good photography and are willing to or have the means to purchase more expensive, but much higher quality, cameras. They generally appreciate a good smartphone camera, but they also understand the opportunities that came with versatile cameras such as DSLRs and high-quality mirror-less cameras.

Canon does a great job of appealing to these consumers with their YouTube page. It is jam-packed with content that is both useful and entertaining. Canon also manages to appeal to the professionals who use their products. They have taken the time to create visuals that are interesting and playlists that are well-organized, and they consistently update their content, their most recent upload being only about a day old at the time of writing this blog post.

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Canon has clearly invested the time and resources into their YouTube page to make it worthwhile for both general consumers and professional consumers to visit it, providing them with video content of all kinds and useful links to Canon’s other social media pages, as well as their main websites and the Canon Digital Learning Center. But now it’s time for another question (because I clearly don’t ask enough of those). Namely, is Canon engaging their audience in a way that garners the interaction they seek?

Picture-Perfect or Fuzzy Results?

On most of their videos, Canon has received several thousand views and around one or two dozen comments, as well as about 100 likes or dislikes. However, some videos have millions of views, others hundreds of comments and likes or dislikes, and others very little response at all. Based upon an Canon’s 10 most recent videos, Canon has an average engagement of around 120 comments and/or likes or dislikes per video. If this is factored with Canon’s nearly 73,000 channel subscribers, they have a content engagement rate of only 0.16 percent, far from the average for most companies of their size.

But this is YouTube, and while engagement via comments and likes or dislikes is important, views are perhaps the most telling metric for understanding consumer engagement. On their channel, Canon has almost 51 million views, or almost 700 video views for each channel subscriber. Certainly, each subscriber did not view Canon’s videos 700 times, but this does let us know that while the comment and like or dislike engagement for each of Canon’s videos is not ideal, they are still receiving a good number of views compared to their subscriber base.

Looking at these numbers, it would appear that Canon is using YouTube more as a hosting platform than an engagement platform. They are interested in providing their content to their target audiences, but they aren’t necessarily looking for audience engagement to win the day. Perhaps their other social media pages and their main sites are more desirable for interacting with customers, or perhaps their target audience is also not interested in engagement via YouTube. While I love finding great camera advice online, I am usually not looking for ways to engage with the content creator alongside of the content itself.

Good Social Media is Worth a Thousand Views

Canon has got something good going here. While their engagement is not always ideal, their channel view count is comfortably high, and they have provided potential and current customers with both entertaining and useful resources to use as they desire. Their YouTube page is nothing innovative or game-changing, but it serves its purpose well and is a breath of fresh air from many of the sad excuses for YouTube pages that abound. I may be a consumer of their technology myself, but after looking at Canon’s YouTube presence, I may become a consumer of their bountiful content as well. After all, one can never watch too many videos about cameras that are used to make videos about cameras and their video possibilities. At least, that’s what I say.

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