Brands that Own YouTube: Red Bull vs GoPro

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YouTube Marketing: Redbull vs GoPro

Since conception, YouTube has been the platform for brands to engage with ardent fans and market themselves. Although more than a million advertisers are using the Google ad platform to advertise their brands on YouTube through YouTube’s TrueView ads, only a handful of brands have demonstrated mastery and prowess with their own brand channels. Brands are leveraging YouTube in new and creative ways. Recently it’s become a platform to allow audiences to watch and view their ads. In 2014, people spent more than a billion minutes watching the top ten Super Bowl ads on YouTube (Social Bakers). But the best brands on YouTube, transcend the ad to producing salient content on their own brand channels.

Two of the key players in the YouTube space are Red Bull and GoPro. Both brands capitalize on fan’s adoration for sports, extreme activities, captivating content, and user generated content (UGC) to drawn in audiences to their own and operated channels. More than 29 million subscribers tune into outdoor activities and adventure sports, resulting in an accumulation of 8 billion views; Red Bull and GoPro are able to absorb this popularity (Stream Daily). See how their YouTube channels compare and contrast below (also see our post on top YouTube channels you should be working with).

Red Bull

Known for the best action sports clips on the web as well as YouTube exclusive series, Red Bull’s channel captivates with high profile stunts to a plethora of action and extreme sports videos. In late January of this year, Red Bull’s channel hit 1 billion video views, a milestone reached by few channels and even fewer brands. The media value of that is hard to measure; but is an exemplary model of earned media. They currently have over 4 million subscribers, and have been using YouTube as a channel to reach out to their devoted audience since July 2, 2008. To celebrate, they made a compendium video with some of Red Bull’s best YouTube moments (above).

Over 100 of Red Bull’s videos have received over 1 million views. And with Red Bull’s massive media house behind the energy drink brand, it’s no surprise they have such a robust channel. Skateboarding and parkour channels account for 8 of the Top 10 channels, with airsoft, bushcraft, geocaching, tricking and slicklining ranking as the next popular sports so it’s clear why Red Bull is at the top of the YouTube food chain (Stream Daily). Analysts have estimated that the Redbull Stratos event/video where Felix Baumgartner set the record for the highest jump was worth over $100M in media value. Some have even estimated as high as $1B in media value.

Red Bull has innovated on YouTube in ways other brands can only have dreamed of (also see our post on top branded YouTube videos). Red Bull has broken records and sponsored groundbreaking activities with jaw dropping attention. From early on, Red Bull saw the gargantuan opportunity it’s brand and content alignment could create. They focused on being a media power house and appropriated content and resources to capture a massive following on YouTube.


GoPro’s created their own category with their camera and is unparalleled in their success with creating novel and exciting perspectives on sports videos. They launched their YouTube channel in March of 2009. They upload a constant stream of the best GoPro clips from user submitted videos, many of which go viral. With 2.8 million subscribers and 738 million video views GoPro is just behind Red Bull in total engagement. However, in YouTube’s first brand channel leader-board in March of 2014, YouTube anointed GoPro the No. 1 brand spot. Google also included GoPro in its top 10 YouTube brands list based on views, shares, comments, and overall engagement (adweek).

“By involving it’s fans in content creation, GoPro has built a loyal and engaged audience. The authenticity of the channel’s content helps viewers feel connected to the brand,” said YouTube’s leader-board in explanation for GoPro taking the first spot. Founder and CEO of GoPro, Nicholas Woodman, said about the recognition, “It’s our customers’ fascinating content that makes the GoPro Channel on YouTube so engaging. There’s no script for the fantastic stories our customers are capturing and sharing every day.” (GoPro). Because of this authentic relationship between GoPro and its audience and users, GoPro is able to keep creating more user generated content and continue the cycle of authentically engaging it’s audience.

GoPro’s most popular video has over 21 million views (above) and is premier video for the launch of the GoPro Hero 4 in the fall of 2014. The nature, power and essence of GoPro is that it empowers it’s users and athletes to capture and share their perspective that generates and creates such remarkable content for the brand and what the brand can exploit in it’s advertising. GoPro is the quintessential social product and brand, everything a GoPro uses creates they intend to share so others can see their perspective. It’s this tie in that aligns so well with YouTube and drives the unparalleled growth and channel engagement of GoPro on YouTube.

With their 72% increase in subscribers (that’s over 1 million new subscribers) GoPro’s continued and potential growth is astoundingly large (Social Bakers). It’s undoubtedly difficult to estimate the value of Redbull and GoPro’s preeminent YouTube strategies; but with views nearing 1 billion and envious engagement, their presence is easily worth tens if not hundreds of million of media dollars (also see our post on 5 ways to drive ROI to your e-commerce site).