Unless you’ve been living under a rock for a year, you know that video has never been as important as it is in 2016. While Facebook’s video capabilities and Snapchat have both seen huge growth recently and are definitely offering some intense competition, the power of YouTube continues to fuel the online video realm. With Facebook, Instagram, Vine, Twitter, and Snapchat all key players in the video domain, YouTube remains the guiding star for best practices.
While there is always a natural inclination towards the newest and trendiest of social media, perfecting time-tested methods on well-established networks such as YouTube is an often-overlooked approach. Recognizing this, and the importance of video in 2016, we’ve put together this guide to help you fuel your YouTube video marketing this year.
Why YouTube video marketing?
Whether you call it social video or video marketing, it’s undeniable that video is more important than ever in your content marketing strategy. While Snapchat is great for instant and raw video footage, and Facebook is well-suited to the 360-degree video format, YouTube remains king for classic video marketing.
With over a whopping 1 billion visitors—that’s one-third of all people on the planet—YouTube is currently the second largest search engine in the world. If you are creating consistent content, you have huge potential to not only reach, but engage with a gigantic audience. If you need further convincing, the following numbers should help solidify the case for YouTube:
- 68 percent of viewers share a video they’ve watched
- 92 percent of mobile users share video with others
- “YouTube overall, and even YouTube on mobile alone, reaches more 18-34 and 18-49 year-olds than any cable network in the U.S”
- “The number of people watching YouTube per day is up 40 percent year over year since March 2014”
With these numbers in mind, it’s important to recognize the ways that YouTube is being used. Think about the ways you have interacted with YouTube in the past. Chances are, you’ve used it to look up an instructional or “how-to” video. Whether you want to learn how to set a mousetrap or perfect that Kim Kardashian makeup contour (shoutout to my last YouTube searches), you’ll find some answers to your questions.
This information is important to you as a marketer, however, as you emphasize YouTube as a channel known for being the go-to for instructional content. As YouTube explains, “Millennials and today’s independent buyer turn to YouTube to get quick answers, and you can easily become their go-to expert with incredible ‘how-to’ video content.” The key here is to think about the type of questions your customers and audience members are asking, or could be asking in the future, and provide unique, personality-filled answers to these questions and problems.
Taking a very core marketing concept—solving problems your target customer is facing—but presenting it in a way that is unique to your brand and channel, is how YouTube enables your personality to drive engagement. All brands have unique qualities or specific problems their product or service are solving, so shoot a video showcasing these qualities. While a quality video is great, to truly shine with YouTube you will need to take certain steps to make your content visible.
How to make your content visible
If someone films a tree falling and posts that video to YouTube but gets zero views, does it make a sound? While creating and uploading content to YouTube is great, you obviously want to see the greatest return possible for your effort. To optimize your video for YouTube, the following areas require attention:
Ensure that the title of your video makes sense. Being customer-oriented here is important again, as you will need to think carefully about what keywords your customer will be using when searching for a relevant video. The title of your video is the first thing your audience will see, and is usually the deciding factor for whether they click play or not. If using SEO practices, definitely include your keywords in the video title, but not to the point where it seems misleading or like click-bait. It’s also important to keep your title shorter than 70 characters to optimize how it will show up in YouTube’s results page.
Just like your title, your description is obviously telling your audience what your video is all about. Keep your description short and sweet, and avoid using overly complicated jargon if possible. However, do use your SEO keywords wherever appropriate to increase your visibility. The description is a great place to include cross-platform promotion and traffic, so provide links to all of your other social media channels and website.
As a major method of classifying your video, the tags you apply are crucial for discoverability and visibility on YouTube. SEO-Hacker suggests using at least 10 tags, and making sure that your keywords are included there, but also that they are relevant to the video. Nothing will hurt your brand and ranking more than a lack of credibility and trust amongst your customers and audience, so keep authenticity top of mind.
Now that you’ve mastered these basics, take your video to your other social media platforms in order to get the most eyes on it as possible. Make your content as shareable as possible by:
- Posting it on Facebook
- Tweeting a link through Twitter
- Posting an appropriate 15-second snippet to Instagram
With 100 percent of the top 100 global brands having used YouTube ads in the past year, you will be in good company if you decide to take advantage of this marketing tool. As YouTube explains, “The number of advertisers running video ads on YouTube is up more than 40 percent year over year. And for our top 100 advertisers, the average spend per advertiser is up over 60 percent year over year.”
You may be wondering why these statistics matter to you or your brand. If you are trying to figure out whether YouTube ads are worth it, the fact that top global companies are returning to the format year after year says multitudes.
YouTube’s advertising resource page provides a thorough guide to helping you navigate the advertising capabilities of the network, with the following information especially important:
- “Any video uploaded to YouTube can be an ad. Video ads appear before other videos on YouTube, beside playing videos and in search results.”
- “You only pay when someone engages with your ad. If they skip it before 30 seconds (or the end) you don’t pay a cent.”
- “YouTube has a variety of targeting options that help you reach the right customer for your business. You can target by age, gender, location, interests, and more.”
- “YouTube has built-in Analytics that make it easy to see how your ad performs. You can also make adjustments to your ad at anytime, and run multiple ads at once to see which works best.”
Once you’ve dedicated time, effort, and resources to building your YouTube channel, it’s crucial to measure your results. Thankfully, YouTube Analytics offers a painless way to track your success. As their detailed guide explains, “YouTube Analytics provides you with the insights to help you grow your channel and maximize revenue with detailed information on earnings, audience engagement, traffic sources, and more.”
Furthermore, YouTube’s built-in analytics allows you to sort your results by key demographics, so you are able to see where and when certain videos were more successful. This information will help you determine where you need to take your content marketing efforts next, and where you can take a step back.
Engagement should be one of your top priorities with your content, which makes YouTube’s engagement reports— which allow you to view subscribers, likes, dislikes, favorites, comments, and sharing statistics—especially valuable. This information gives you the power to see how your audience is engaging with your content, and then improve or alter your content and posting strategy to fit your findings. You’ll also want to pay attention to the traffic sources report, which will show you the sites or channels through which your audience is finding your content.
If you are having issues wrapping your head around YouTube’s analytic reports, or any other area related to using the platform, I recommend turning to the Creator Academy—YouTube’s comprehensive online resource library. The Creator Academy offers easy to follow guides for topics such as growing your audience, production skills, how YouTube works, and maximizing revenue on YouTube.
With all of the resources available to help you build and grow your brand’s YouTube channel, it might be time to re-evaluate your strategy and put the focus on video this year.