When it comes to video marketing, the first point of call is almost invariably YouTube. Of course it is. It’s the world’s largest video sharing network by a zillion miles. With a billion monthly visitors, it dwarfs Vimeo, second in the running, at a mere 130 million.
But, for such a well-known platform, you may actually be quite surprised as to how many little known features there are lurking beneath all the standard stuff.
If you’ve been following this blog, then you’ll know that we’ve recently been taking you on some detailed tours of YouTube remarketing, video optimisation and YouTube Cards to name but a few – but this week we’ve decided to lead you down a secret path towards some of YouTube’s most hidden and least-used features that not too many marketers have gotten to grips with.
This is an important post. With 90% of users saying that seeing a video about a product is helpful in the purchase decision process, 80% of users being able to recall a video ad they’ve seen in the last 30 days, and with 87% of online marketers already using video content (all stats from insivia.com), standing out on YouTube means more than just using the platform – it means mastering it – and the advanced features – like no one else.
Check these features out, they’ll do wonders for your discoverability, and when you start using them, you’ll be giving yourself an immediate edge over your competitors – which, on a platform like YouTube, is pretty much every single content creator out there.
Top 5 Advanced YouTube Features For Marketers
1. Live Streaming
The world got somewhat excited last year with the launch of Periscope – the live-streaming video app that Twitter quickly snaffled up to snuff out closest rival Meerkat, released only a few weeks previously.
But YouTube had already been offering a live streaming feature since 2013. It’s never really gained the limelight like Periscope has – and perhaps that’s just because people were already familiar and happy with what YouTube could do for them.
Nevertheless, it has to said that brands don’t tend to utilise YouTube’s live streaming feature, whether they’ve jumped aboard Periscope or not, and so that leaves the gates wide open for you to stand out by making some live videos.
Now, in order to live stream, you’re going to have to have 1,000 subscribers already – hence this is an advanced feature that you can only access once you’ve already developed a solid grounding on the platform. But, presuming you’ve got this, then you can really start to reap the benefits – but you’ve got to be careful.
A good video will be good for business – but we must be wary that the opposite is also true. And so, especially when it comes to live streaming, you must be prepared, for there are no opportunities to go back and edit later, or even just bin the whole thing if it doesn’t turn out how you expected.
This means that you will need reliable lighting, audio and recording equipment, and a decent script as well, so you know what you’re going to talk about – the last thing you want is to get a reputation for being the boring guy on YouTube who goes live without having anything to say.
Put simply, great live streaming comes to those who are prepared. Make the event exciting, and remember that it is indeed live – that is to say that you need to bring something to the table that wouldn’t have worked if you recorded it in advance. This might be tricky, but at the very least you should take the opportunity to answer questions or tweets from followers in real-time.
Watch this video to see how to set up for live streaming on YouTube:
2. Fan Finder
YouTube Fan Finder is such a great feature that it’s simply baffling as to why creators don’t do a little more with it.
“What better way to introduce yourself than through video? Once Fan Finder finds a potential fan, it shows your channel ad to them as a skippable TrueView ad, at no cost to you. Give people a chance to get to know you and fall in love with your channel.”
So says the Fan Finder page from YouTube – and it really is as simple as that.
You can submit up to five channel ads, which you should use to communicate clearly and succinctly exactly what viewers will get from subscribing to your channel, and contain a clear CTA to make subscribing as easy as possible.
Provided YouTube approves your content, it will then use its algorithms to put your video in front of people that the site believes are most likely to take an interest in you and become a regular viewer.
To get started, all you need to do is upload a channel ad as if it were an ordinary video. Then submit it for review via the Fan Finder page, which can be found under the Channel Settings menu in the Video Manager section of your YouTube account. Once there, click the Select Your Channel Ad button and choose which video you want to use.
3. Encourage Embedding
Viewers ‘liking’ your video is one thing, commenting on your video is another, and linking to it something greater than the first two combined. But by far the stamp of approval that trumps them all is when someone writes an article and actually goes to the bother of embedding your video to illustrate their point.
So, make sure that you enable embedding for all videos that you publish. You can turn on the embed feature by visiting the Video Manager, clicking Edit under the video you want to edit, then going to Advanced Settings and making sure the embed option is checked.
The more views, likes and shares you get of your video the better, and by allowing other content creators – even bloggers! – to embed your videos, then you will be tapping into a wider audience.
4. YouTube Cards
YouTube Cards are currently an extension of – though soon to replace outright – annotations. We covered them extensively in our last post, and encourage you greatly to start using them, as they will up the professionalism of your channel considerably.
There are Link Cards, Channel Cards, Fan Funding Cards, Donation Cards, Poll Cards and Playlist Cards, all of which can be used to drive traffic to your website, promote related material and build your social following and email lists.
Read the full blog – ‘How To Promote Your Brand With YouTube Cards’ – for the full run down on YouTube Cards.
Captioning helps YouTube discover your video. Many video marketers ignore captioning, figuring it’s only useful for the hearing impaired or foreign language subtitles. However, as this explainer video demonstrates, a YouTube study shows that simply adding English language captions can increase views by up to 4%.
Captioning also helps search engines to find your videos, as it adds more text metadata, allowing your video to rank higher on query searches, making this an advanced SEO hack as well as an advanced feature that marketers should get to grips with.