Video marketing on YouTube is massive.
Nay, it’s bigger than that.
YouTube is MAHOOSIVE!! It’s colossus. Titanic. Gargantuan. Astronomical – or any other synonymic adjectives for “extremely large” you can think of, which in reference to most things would be nothing but hyperbole, but, in the case of YouTube, are right on the money.
According to YouTube’s own blog, the video sharing site has 1 billion users (i.e. almost one-third of all people on the internet (the blog is sure to point out)), and “every day people watch hundreds of millions of hours on YouTube and generate billions of views.”
Let’s just write that out in big letters so it really hits home…
HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS OF HOURS OF YOUTUBE VIDEOS WATCHED EVERY DAY
BILLIONS – NOT MILLIONS, BILLIONS – OF VIEWS GENERATED EVERY DAY
In case you don’t quite get the picture as to how ridiculously large YouTube is, then take a look at this infographic from SociallyStacked.com:
I hope you are cottoning on to the point that I’m making – but let me spell it out just in case. With a network this size, with all the figures stacking up into the millions and billions, if you think that just by creating a “pretty good/cool/sweet” video and uploading it to YouTube that it will somehow be discovered amongst all the zillions of other content that’s eternally pinging around, then you need to think again.
YouTube Video Marketing – You Need A Strategy
No, it simply won’t do to just create, upload and hope for the best. In order to get discovered on YouTube, you need a clear and focussed strategy, and a few tricks up your sleeve to ensure that you are optimising your content for maximum views. And, lucky for you, you’ve come to the right place – for that’s exactly what I’m going to give you here.
So let’s get started.
Just like the biggest search engine in the world (Google), YouTube (owned by Google) has its very own algorithms that determine the ranking order in which videos are displayed in search results.
This means that, just like when creating written content for your website, you need to play the SEO game when publishing YouTube videos. And so it helps to understand a little bit about how the YouTube algorithm works and what videos rank for.
Key YouTube Video Ranking Factors:
- Video length
- Keyword relevance
- Viewer engagement
- Your number of subscribers
- Watch time
These are the key ranking factors that you need to capitalise on in order for your videos to start performing well in YouTube search. The tips that I’ve put together below will help you do this, but first I want to take a moment to think about the last item on the list in a little more detail – watch time.
Here’s what YouTube has to say about it (on a specially created page dedicated to the subject for content creators):
“Watch Time is an important metric to promote videos on YouTube. The algorithm for suggesting videos includes prioritizing videos that lead to a longer overall viewing session over those that receive more clicks. Viewers benefit from more enjoyable content being suggested to them, and creators benefit from more focused, engaged audiences.
“If you’re making videos that people are watching well beyond the first click, those videos will be suggested more often.”
Indeed, for me, this summarises very succinctly the one true goal of YouTube video optimisation – to get people to watch your videos.
It sounds simple – obvious, even – but that really is the aim of the YouTube game: to get as many views as you can.
The tips below will help you form a strategy as to how to increase the watch time of your content and optimise your YouTube videos for the maximum possible views.
How To Optimise YouTube Videos To Maximise Views
1. Create Compelling Content
Yes, this is the most important thing of all. No matter what you do on the technical side of things (see below) to optimise your videos for YouTube SEO, no one is going to watch your content if it’s – for want of a better word – pap.
So, what makes compelling content? Well, just like all content marketing – blogs, tweets, Vines, Instagrams – it’s all about adding value to your output. That is to say that perhaps the worst thing that you can do is continuously churn out videos that are all about you, your brand and your product. People don’t go to YouTube to watch adverts – they want to be moved emotionally and satisfied educationally.
Of course, you will be using the platform for promotional purposes – but there are good promos and there are bad promos. The bad ones are those that make no sense to anybody but those who are already familiar with your brand. The good ones are those that appeal on a much larger scale because they are entertaining emotionally. Now, the emotions that you may extract can be myriad – mirth, inspiration, shock, horror, thankfulness – but a good video will appeal to one or many of these emotions, and will generate the most views.
For tips on creating a great, emotional promo, see ‘9 Elements Of A Great Promotional Video’.
And for tips on creating a great educational video, see ‘How To Create Killer Product Demo Videos’.
2. Write Keyword Optimised Titles, Descriptions And Tags
As I say, optimising YouTube videos for maximising views is a lot to do with good old SEO. And I really do mean good old SEO, for YouTube optimisation still has a large emphasis placed on keywords, just like the good old Google algorithms of yesteryear.
And this of course makes sense. You want people to be able to find your content, and so you need to ensure that you are choosing the right keywords in your titles, descriptions and tags that visitors are likely to punch in when searching for what you have to offer.
So, let’s say you’re in the business of selling guitars, and so, to add value to your brand, you produce a series of free guitar tutorials, showing beginners how to play their favourite songs off the radio. For these videos you want to optimise your titles, descriptions and tags for the phrase “guitar tutorial”, or, even better, “[name of song] guitar tutorial”.
Getting slightly more technical, you should also do some keyword research, which is actually very simple to get started with if you use YouTube’s free video analytics tool – you’ll have access to this when you create a channel. Here you will be able to see what keywords and phrases people are using in search, and from these you can hone your own keywords to find the most effective ones that resonate with your target audience. Though don’t embark on practices of “keyword stuffing”, as YouTube is wise to this, will treat it as spam, and penalise your ranking accordingly.
Tip: look for keyword variations with less competition so you can stand out from the crowd.
3. Promote! Promote! Promote!
Just like no one will watch a video if it’s pap, no one’s going to watch even a great video if they don’t know it exists either.
Once you’ve optimised all your tags, your titles and descriptions (tip: you can paste a transcript of your video in the description field (up to 5,000 characters) to help the search bots work out what the video is about, and also, of course, to work in those keywords a couple of extra times), made sure that you’ve created a compelling, clickable thumbnail, now is the time to do all you can to encourage views.
This means that you need to put it here there and everywhere. On your social networks, create links to the video, coaxing clicks with a brief, enticing description. Also, embed the video on your blog and company website, and share the hell out of that as well.
The next thing to do is to make sure that you engage with any takers. Anyone who leaves a comment, respond to it. Anyone who shares or likes your video, thank them. Viewer engagement is a ranking factor, so encourage this and watch your video climb up the ranks.
Want to start doing video marketing on YouTube? Check out our how-to videos that are perfect for any brand that wants to create great content for YouTube.