Intelligent Advisor
Fund Families On YouTube: What Works, And What Doesn't

Fund Families On YouTube: What Works, And What Doesn't

YouTube has become a critical part of every brand’s marketing strategy, and now mutual fund companies are uploading to Google’s video streaming website.

According to the latest “Mutual Fund Monitor” report from Corporate Insight, 15 of the 17 mutual fund companies examined actively maintain YouTube channels, and more than half feature advisor-focused videos. But is a social website like YouTube an effective platform for mutual fund companies to reach advisors or investors?

Corporate Insight concluded in its report that YouTube channels with a clear purpose tend to do better than ones used simply as a repository for a firm’s video content. Videos should also be made specifically for YouTube, meaning they're useful for as many people as possible and have the potential to be shared.

For example, Putnam Investments streams “Putnam’s Advisor Tech Tips,” a series of online videos that teach advisors how to do things like use LinkedIn to find new prospects or share YouTube videos with clients. Though the videos are focused on advisors, they are accessible enough to be useful to individual investors.

Other videos provide advice that could only be relevant to financial advisors. MFS produces a series of YouTube videos with strategies for retaining clients over multiple generations. Fidelity Capital Markets’ channel highlights the advanced investment support services that it offers advisors and even states that the “content found herein is meant for investment professional use only,” though the videos are all completely public.

Nick Foster, an analyst with Corporate Insight who worked on the “Fund Films Go Viral” report, said that each firm has their own benchmarks for evaluating their YouTube presence, so it’s difficult to rate the success of the channels. Generally speaking, YouTube tends to be better suited for reaching individual investors than advisors. 

“[YouTube] helps firms differentiate their brands from each other,” Foster said. One way firms go about this is by offering videos designed to educate people about financial services.

“Firms can really take what is really basic information, such as Fidelity’s ‘What’s a Mutual Fund?’ They can take that very basic concept and make it their own.” 

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