Video is becoming one of the most important types of brand content, and YouTube's Channels can help keep viewers engaged as they move through the sales funnel.

It’s clear that Americans are watching more video content online, but how do brands ensure they consistently engage viewers who are prospects? ComScore’s latest Video Metrix data for shows that 87 percent of Americans watched 46.7 billion online videos in August 2013. The vast majority – 14.7 billion videos – were accessed on Google sites (including YouTube), where savvy brands have established Channels. Now Google is reminding brands that Channels can keep them connected to desirable viewers.

In a recent interview with eMarketer, YouTube’s Content Strategy Director Jamie Byrne explained why Channels are more than a way to organize the video marketing collateral they produce. Channels also pose engagement opportunities in a multichannel world. Whereas YouTube was once a vast ocean of video content that users would have to sift through to find relevant clips, it’s now structured in a way that keeps screen-switching consumers connected.

“[Channels] help users find the content they love and stay engaged with it, regardless of what platform they happen to be on. So if you’re on your PC or laptop, and you subscribe to a Channel and then pick up your phone or tablet, that subscription carries through,” Byrne said.

Essentially, this method of organizing content gives brands incentive to create relevant, top-of-funnel and share-friendly video series. Creating engagement-focused clips and developing a strategy to nurture the full prospect-to-customer journey is more effective than crafting one-off videos that attempt to make a hard sell.

The direction YouTube and online videos are headed points toward the marriage of highly creative concepts and commercial initiatives, according to Byrne. He said YouTube is opening a creator space in New York that puts brands and content innovators under the same roof.

Marketers must maintain a proper balance between inventive originality and corporate goals as they develop video marketing campaigns to earn audience engagement and drive content ROI.

Learn more about engaging and results-focused strategies in Brafton’s latest on-demand webinar.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.