L2’s Department Stores Insight Report: Social Media found that most department store videos on YouTube were practically invisible, lost in a sea of user-generated content. Department stores control just 24% of first page organic real estate for brand terms, and nine retailers appear in none of those results. In fact, YouTube presence has decreased among department store brands. In 2013, 85% of brands were present on YouTube. By 2014 just 77% remained, all while presence on social platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, Google+, Sina Weibo and WeChat increased.

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A brand that is doing well on YouTube is El Palacio De Hierro, despite a ‘Challenged’ ranking based on poor site traffic and a desktop site that defaults to a mobile user interface. Treating YouTube as a television platform, El Palacio De Hierro drives traffic to its videos with aggressive ad buys. It has more video views than any other department store in the Index.

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Many (half of) brands in the Department Stores study have attempted to up their views through display advertising, but only 4% have purchase what might be the better option: ads for branded search terms on YouTube.

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