So you already understand the need for video in your marketing strategy. But how do you move forward using your YouTube platform in a way that stands out from the rest? There are 300 hours of video being uploaded per minute on YouTube; how will your video be the one that's watched out of all the potential options a viewer could choose from? Read about the essentials you need to take advantage of inside YouTube
Setting up your YouTube Channel
There are some basics steps when setting up a new YouTube channel. Having a Gmail account is a must – you can’t open a YouTube channel without a Gmail account already set in place. It is possible to use an email other than Gmail but still take advantage of the Google platform. Another basic element is the profile picture. For marketing purposes, putting your logo in the profile picture is best. For a step-by-step guide on how to set up the basics for your channel, check out A Complete Guide to Creating... Your Video Content.
The (Secret) Basics:
The Basics are what most channels have, but you don’t want to be like ‘most’ channels. You need to implement every customization on the channel you’re able to! These additional opportunities are:
- The About Us Page
This is your place for written content on a social video platform. Tell the visitor your mission, vision, and values – what you’re all about. Make sure to add an email link; it’s one of the easiest ways for the visitor to reach out if they want to. At the bottom of this page is a links section. This is a great spot to link to your homepage or premium content pieces that could increase the value of your channel above others.
- A Banner Image
This may seem like a basic element, and it should be, however, many businesses don’t think to add a banner image to their page. Take the opportunity to place your brand in as many spots as possible and add a photo! The correct sizing for this space is 2560X1440.
- The Homepage Layout
If you skim through existing YouTube channels you can tell an immediate difference between those that are making an effort to help you navigate and receive a great viewer experience and those that are not. Check out the difference between these two homepage layouts.
The first channel above helps you know where to find different types of videos, has taken the time to put videos in topic specific playlists, and includes an opening trailer with a short description of the company.
The channel below provides no guidance for the viewer regarding the line of videos that pops up making it harder for them to find what they're looking for. This leaves the viewer feeling uninformed. There's no trailer video or playlist title. To customize the layout of your homepage, go to the guide listed above for steps to customize your channel.
- Brand Account Benefits
What is a brand account? It opens up the doors to brand your account from Google to YouTube and access your channel through Google. You can host multiple managers of the channel, allowing them to edit and optimize videos and also broaden your presence online.
Your viewer's experience is built from every single encounter with your brand. Be intentional. How are you inviting your viewers to engage with who you are and what you provide? There are obviously many other opportunities you can use to customize your channel, most of which are fleshed out below in their own categories, so don’t think your channel is good to go just yet!
Optimizing your Channel for SEO
If you haven’t heard yet, YouTube is part of Google. Guess what that means – you need to take time to optimize your videos so they’re seen by viewers searching for your subject and content. Otherwise, your video on the Top 10 Burger Joints in America won’t be seen until the 23rd page of results. Here are some things to do to ensure your video will be in the running according to SEO results.
- Title: Make sure your title is clear and concise. It needs to communicate the main topic of the content the video covers. Use keyword research to help decipher which words will bring your video as the top result in a search.
- Description: The first 100 characters in the description are all that viewers will read unless they click into it to show more. Use these 2-3 lines wisely by placing the CTA link at the top so viewers don’t have to click into the description to see a link. Some helpful things to put in a longer description are video navigation points if it’s a longer video as well as a summary of the content. And just like the title, use keyword research in your description as well.
- Tags: Tags are for your main keywords and long-tail keywords. Put the highest searched keywords in first and then add broader subjects in after. Tags help place your video in a category of similar videos. So when someone searches for best burger joints and your video is titled Top 10 Burger Joints to try in America, you can be in the running for a higher click-through rate because of your tags.
- Category: You can choose a category that relates to your video content in Advanced Settings. Some categories available are People, Music, and Autos & Vehicles. Like tags, this is another way to ensure your video gets added to the mix of similar content.
YouTube Studio (Beta)
If you’ve been inside a YouTube account at all in 2019, you’ve seen the new YouTube Studio. This is the place to add edits and analyze how your channel and videos are performing.
When in the Studio (Beta), here’s what to focus on to create easy navigation and keep your viewers engaged in your channel and brand.
- Thumbnail Images: We live in a visual word which means having an enticing image will increase engagement. YouTube Creators reports,
“Well designed thumbnails and titles can attract more fans to your channel, encourage viewers to watch through your videos because they know what to expect, and make your content appealing for a broad range of advertisers.”
Your thumbnail of choice needs to be the highest resolution possible with a brand image or wording on top of the thumbnail.
- SRT Files: This is just the fancy name for adding subtitles and closed captions. More often than not, a viewer will watch the first 10 seconds of a video on mute. This is the decision phase on if they’re going to continue watching, as well as if they’re interested enough to turn on the sound. Having subtitles provides more information to help them make that decision. When in the YouTube Studio, go to Details and then the Advanced section. You can upload a supported text transcript or timed subtitles to play in your video.
- Cards & End screens: These are both important to gain further engagement from your viewer. Maybe you want them to watch more than one video – add an end screen to the next video. Or maybe you want to send them to a link that pops up when mentioned – add a card. The major difference between these two end screen elements is for just that, the end of the video. Cards can be placed throughout the video at any point. To add an end screen element in the YouTube Studio, go to the Editor tab in the left column. This will take you to your editing tools. Click on Add an End screen element and follow the options that best suit your video. To add a card, you’ll need to go into the Creator Studio Classic as this feature is not available in the new YouTube Studio Beta. Visit How to Add Cards to Video to follow a step-by-step list for the Creator Studio Classic capabilities.
Tracking specific metrics can be overwhelming at first because YouTube provides countless metrics that allow you to dive deep into your channel as well as each video. But how do you know what the metrics mean for the performance of the video and more importantly on what to produce next? Does getting a mass number of views actually mean the video is performing well? Or are there additional insights to reveal how well the video is actually performing? I’ll get to the latter part of the question in the video below. Here are the key metrics you should track that will reveal if your video is being consumed or not.
- Views: This is the number of times your video has been watched. Views provide a high-level understanding of how many people have seen your brand. It doesn’t, however, indicate that they’re consuming the content or not.
- Watch Time: YouTube provides the total number of minutes a video has been viewed. This stat alongside the number of views provides a high-level understanding of how many people are watching the video. For example, if the video is 2 minutes long and it’s been viewed 4 times, the ideal watch time would be 8 minutes total. If the watch time were only at 2 minutes, you learn viewers aren’t getting very far into the content before losing interest and moving on.
- Average Audience Retention: This provides the exact time most viewers spend watching the video; it provides in-depth insight into your watch time metric.
- Click-Through Rate: This is one of the most important statistics to track. If your click-through rate increase, so does almost every other metric. A click-through rate, or CTR, shows the number of times a video has been clicked to play after it's loaded or living in a certain location (social, landing page, web).
- Impressions: Alongside the CTR is the number of impressions. An impression is where the video loads or lives and could be seen by viewers. Take your number of impressions divided by the number of clicks and you get your CTR. Let’s say a video had 134 impressions, but only 1 view from those impressions. The CTR is 0.7%.... a very low CTR. A 5% or higher CTR is what you want to aim for.
Check out how to dive deeper in an all-encompassing marketing strategy that exists outside of YouTube to see your ROI grow. Our article What your Video Marketing Strategy Needs in 2019 covers how to asses your current assets, begin your strategy, and how to put together an editorial calendar.