By Rich Raddon

The time has come. Black Friday is around the corner and the biggest shopping season of the year is upon us. Although brands and consumers are used to the traditional direct mailers and TV spots, Black Friday – and shopping in general – has gained a significant presence on YouTube.

According to our data, Black Friday-related videos on YouTube are about much more than crazy mobs of shoppers fighting over flat-screen TVs. Whether it’s a Beauty Guru doing a haul video about the amazing makeup deals she found, or a consumer-electronics influencer unboxing the latest must-have tech, YouTube is changing the way consumers understand and evaluate the year’s biggest day for holiday sales.

For retailers and brands that haven’t already considered the impact YouTube could have on their holiday sales, here are five reasons to start now:

1. YouTube Dominance

According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more 18-34 year old adults than any cable network, and it is now the second largest online search engine. For brands, that means free access to a platform that reaches some of the top shoppers – millennials – better than any TV channel or mailer.

2. The Power of Fans

Even if you are not on YouTube yet, your fans are, and they are creating content on behalf of your brand in droves. At Zefr, we discovered that an incredible 90% of a brand’s activity on YouTube is coming from fan-uploaded videos. This phenomenon is so important, we actually released an ebook called the “Anatomy of a Fan” because it is imperative that a brand finds, understands, and leverages the “earned media” it gains from these communities. A fan video can be anything from a haul video where a YouTuber reveals their favorite products from shopping at your store that day to a Sneakerhead (a massive YouTube fan community) posting about the shoes they are collecting. Because customers often trust consumer opinion more than branded content, these videos are pure gold for brands.

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This article was originally posted on VideoInk and is reposted on [a]listdaily via a partnership with the news publication, which is the online video industry’s go-to source for breaking news, features, and industry analysis. Follow VideoInk on Twitter @VideoInkNews, or subscribe via for the latest news and stories, delivered right to your inbox.