Educational Content: Primitive Technology’s YouTube Channel

Channels like Primitive Technology are perfect examples of how long-form educational content brings a lot of value to viewers. Brands could do the same.

I came across the Primitive Technology YouTube channel a couple years ago through my oldest son, when he suggested we watch a couple videos together.

The premise is fairly simple. A man walks into the woods and, with his bare hands and some rudimentary self-made tools, builds furnace, a house, a pool, etc.


If you haven’t seen some of his creations, I urge you to do so right now.

But be warned, the videos are long. They do not have any spoken word (no one speaks, no voice over, nothing).

But there is a good chance you will be glued to your screen.

It is a mix of the Slow TV trend that started a few years back, with educational content that shows you, in detail, how to perform a certain task.

As of January 2020, The Primitive Technology YouTube channel now has 9,98M subscribers!

What this tells us marketers is that the way information and educational content are shared has greatly evolved and people do crave content that will teach them how to do something.

DIY videos weren’t born yesterday.

But the level at which videos like what John Plant is doing it with Primitive Technology is a testament to long-form educational content and how it can attract massive audiences.

Is this something your brand could be doing? Is there a blind spot in the content currently available to your customers where your brand could be the one teaching them skills and techniques they are looking to learn?

Christopher Keelty has written a very interesting article on the subject and gives more examples of how many YouTune channels are bringing this kind of value to the internet.

It is true, pretty much the sum totality of human knowledge is now available online. But there is a good chance there might be room for you, your brand.

Want to discuss educational content for your brand? Contact an expert at Toast and schedule a consultation with our experts today.

YouTuber? New past-time for celebrities?

More and more celebrities are turning to YouTube and generating sizeable audiences.

Audiences on YouTube keep growing.

The reach of the platform is near ubiquitous and has now become the second most popular search engine.

Users from all generations are turning to it to watch content that fit their niche interests, content you would never have been able to see on any other large media organization’s channels.

And celebrities are turning to it and building a “side hustle,” building an owned audience for themselves (although we could debate if an audience you create on YouTube really is YOUR owned audience or if it is still rented eyeballs from a platform).

A Hollywood Reporter article dives deep into this last trend, with examples Zac Efron, Jason Momoa, Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez.

It explains how some of them are currently bridging the gap between a traditional Hollywood star and a digital star.

This is the type of content your brand’s videos will be compared side-by-side with, more and more. How is your brand reacting to this? Could this have a potential impact on your YouTube video strategy?

If you would like to discuss your YouTube video strategy let us know and schedule a consultation with our experts at Toast today.

Video Strategy: A&W + Beyond Meat

A combination of affinity audiences and video sequencing allowed A&W to find its audience.

In Canada, the launch of the Beyond Meat vegetable patty has made a big splash and continues to attract customers to A&W.

The introduction of this product in its restaurants has positioned A&W in the market as a fast-food chain that truly cares about the environment and the food preferences of its customers.

With this positioning in mind, the chain’s marketing team launched its video campaign, in particular on YouTube.

In an article in Think With Google, we discover the approach at the message level, but also part of their YouTube video strategy.

Audience targeting focused on two main vectors:

  1. Green-living enthusiasts
  2. Fast-food lovers

These 2 affinity audiences were targeted by tailored messages (A&W had placed its food truck and offered samples in different environmental festivals, and also in festivals more suitable for fast food), then retargeted by a shorter (6 seconds), more direct message, inviting people to visit a restaurant.

The article and accompanying video provide some additional details on the A&W Canada marketing team’s approach and strategy, but what we can learn from it is how they were able to create messages and creative solutions tailored to the targeted audience, without overspending on production. It is the targeting and insights of the target audience that are at the heart of the success of such a campaign.

If you want to explore the potential of your audience and the video strategy that your brand could have, contact us and schedule a free consultation with our experts at Toast today.

Subtitles: old technology, new uses

Our video content consumption habits have brought up the importance and relevance of closed captioning.

Before Facebook started autoplaying video content without sound in its newsfeed a few years ago, we talked very little about closed captioning.

However, since then, all video projects we produce for our clients are systematically subtitled to allow viewing without sound, as very often these videos are viewed ad hoc in a Facebook, Instagram or other social media newsfeed.

We are a generation of content consumers for whom subtitles are no longer a tool for people with hearing disabilities, but a tool that allows us to view more content in more diverse contexts than before.

No headphones and in a crowded bus? No problem. Insomnia and a sleeping loved one? No problem.

Netflix has also played its part in this movement!

We now very regularly listen to Scandinavian series with the original soundtrack, thanks to closed captions, and many even listen to series and feature films in their own language with the subtitles. Why? Because it ensures that nothing is missed.

Jason Kottke recently asked himself the question, wanting to know what makes subtitles so popular these days. A Twitter discussion ensued and excellent points were raised by other users, which he references in his article.

If captioning is part of your life (personal or professional), I invite you to read Jason’s article, and also Lance Ulanoff’s that he mentions at the very end (where it talks about ADHD in particular). Very interesting!

Happy subtitling.

Fortnite + Marshmello

The latest examples of branded content take the model even further.

In your circle of family and friends, you probably know some Fortnite players. This phenomenon of massive online multiplayer gaming is not about to end!

Epic Games, the company behind this success, aims to transform what is currently a game as we know it, into a communication platform, a huge social network. Fortnite is currently the main means of communication for many young people.

For the older ones in the room, Epic Games seem to be working on recreating Second Life, which could very well work this time, without really wanting to do so initially.

The Fortnite brand recently created content for its player base, content that attracted more than 10 million players at the same time for the event.

10. Million. Players.

How did they do it? They invited, in the game environment, a very, very popular EDM (Electronic Dance Music) artist these days: Marshmello.

If only you knew how this excited my 8-and-11-year-old boys…. (However, we could discuss the dimension of advertising to children in another article.)

The artist did a ten-minute concert, live, which is now also (obviously) possible to watch on YouTube. At the time of writing this, the entire concert had accumulated more than 27M views on YouTube alone.



This is an excellent example of a brand that knows its audience very well and uses an influencer as a lever for co-creating content that will enhance it and demonstrate its ability to “connect” with its consumers.

All this in a game where dance is a key attribute of the online experience. So who is the best floss dancer among you? Yes, floss comes from Fortnite.

This example is taken from a very interesting article by David Bloom on Tubefilter that summarizes a recent panel on brand content that took place as part of Digital Entertainment World 2019.

Bloom goes into a little more detail about this Fortnite+Marshmello example, but also describes several recent examples from Microsoft, Fandango, Dollar Shave Club and some others.

So how could you use your own brand as a content lever for your audience?

If you would like to explore the content potential of your brand a little more, contact us and let us know about your current projects and we could assist you in your efforts to implement a new dimension to your content strategy.

Facebook and YouTube’s mysterious interest in old TV series and films

In the past year, YouTube and Facebook have obtained the rights to distribute old movies and TV series. Here’s why.

The subject is relevant to both those in the media industry and those on the content marketing side of the fence.

Do you remember YouTube Red (circa 2015), now known as YouTube Premium? Have you spent time in the Facebook Watch tab since its launch?

Well, if the answers are no to any of these questions, you are not alone and the two giants are currently trying different tactics to attract their users to these platforms and for which they want to promote original series and feature films (à-la-Netflix).

One of these tactics is to obtain the rights of old popular properties that are not currently available elsewhere (Prime, Netflix, Apple, etc.).

Think Rocky, Terminator, Legally Blonde, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, etc.

The idea? Attract audiences with these properties in order to “push” original productions after they’ve watched an episode or a film (much like the major American broadcasters do to build awareness for a new series).

Simon Owens wrote an excellent article on the subject, taking the analysis a little further and giving different details on the current situation for Facebook Watch and YouTube Premium.

I will let you read it and explore what might be relevant in this for the specific context of your brand.

YouTube about to pass Facebook

How is your video strategy?

If I asked you that question today, what would you say?

Do you produce as much video content as you would like? Does the one you produce give you convincing results? Do you feel that the distribution and deployment of it is being done optimally?

These are all questions that marketing and media executives ask themselves every day. And the importance we must attach to the distribution of our video content is not slowing down.

It is now clear, Facebook is experiencing a slowdown. Engagement rates have changed significantly over the past year, and the strategies to adopt on this platform are constantly evolving and traffic is on the decline.

On the flip side, at YouTube, everything is fine. The platform is experiencing renewed, albeit modest, growth. In fact, it is about to become the second most visited site in the United States in a few months, surpassing Facebook!

That’s not nothing.

The Facebook locomotive is slowing down and YouTube, the platform of choice for video content consumption, is gaining speed.

Even if the most recent data reveals that it is photography and images that generate the greatest engagement (and not video), your video strategy must be clear and effective.

This Hubspot article gives you a clear picture of the current situation between Facebook and YouTube, but also step back and ask yourself about your own video distribution strategy.

Are the right tools and best practices in place? Is what you anticipate this year in terms of production optimal according to the available budgets?

We can assist you in these evaluations for the implementation of an effective video strategy. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

Crafting the perfect social video

Hootsuite shares 4 ingredients that make the perfect recipe for your social videos.

Social videos are all the rage.

Social videos are videos that are produced and aimed at generating engagement and viewership on social media.

But there are tweaks that you can use to make them perform even better.

Hootsuite’s Kaylynn Chong recently shared 4 key ingredients that will make a difference in the results and ROI you will get from videos that you share on social media:

  • They are short and sweet: Nearly two thirds of consumers prefer video under 60 seconds according to an Animoto study.
  • They are optimized for specific platforms and devices : Mobile first, sound-off, square? You need to think about these things.
  • They include descriptive text or subtitles : Going back to that sound-off issue mentioned above, you need to consider subtitles and visual descriptive text.
  • They have a clear call to action : You’re not producing video just for fun. You are actually tying it to a business objective. People should know what you want them to do after watching your video.

The article points to many great resources, so you can spend some time reading it, but if you have extra time on your hands (sure you do!), take the time to click on the links to do a deeper dive into social videos.

The 5-second rule for videos

You’ve probably heard it before: when it comes to social media, a video’s first 5 to 15 seconds are critical. This brief window is known as the hook or tease.

Every platform has its own criteria for what counts as a video view. In a recent blog post, Buffer published an interesting infographic on video metrics. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter consider a view to be a mere three seconds. View counts don’t necessarily reflect how well a video is performing, however—except maybe with YouTube, where views are based on a strict 30 second minimum. Then there’s advertising, where engaging the viewer for more than five seconds is key.

It’s clear that on any platform, especially in the case of auto-play videos, the first few moments are vital to grabbing your viewers’ attention—even more so given that Canadians have an average attention span of just eight seconds. To complicate matters further, auto-play videos now tend to be muted by default. This means that all-important hook needs to be just as effective without sound.



  • Your audience should be hooked by the first thing they see.
  • Address your audience directly by asking a question or sparking their curiosity.
  • Use teasers to show entertaining moments from the rest of the video.



  1. According to a Facebook study, the first three seconds of a video can determine up to 47 per cent of its value, while the first 10 can determine up to 74 per cent (
  2. Using the word you nearly doubles your chances of snagging a video view. The more you address your viewers in the opening 30 seconds, the more likely they will be to stick around.
  3. Include captions and make sure your video can be viewed without sound.
  4. Avoid using logos in your hook. According to YouTube’s Creator Playbook, five seconds of branding and packaging in the body of the video is all you need. Opening logos may heighten brand awareness, but they end up detracting from your message.






16 Video Marketing Benchmarks

Statistics to help you get a better understanding of the power of video marketing.

Vidyard, a video management platform, has just released their 2017 Video in Business Benchmarks report.

It contains invaluable information on the power and impact video can have on your audience.

They summed up some of the key points in an infographic (you can access it by clicking the button below), but here are 2 that I found particularly interesting:

  1. 56% of the videos published in the last year were less than 2-minutes long
  2. The average video retains 37% of viewers to the last second

Now remember that from what we can gather from their methodology, this is a report that focuses on videos that are published/embedded on your site. It does not cover social videos or videos published on a more global platform (YouTube, Vimeo, etc.).

Nonetheless, this is a very interesting report and if you are into video and/or marketing, it is a great read.