YouTube is becoming the silver screen for brand exposure, generating 800 million monthly views. Brands that want to stand out in the endless stream of clips have to make sure their Channels can be easily discovered to capture users’ interest and keep them tuned in.
As part of Brafton’s video marketing service, my team and I are constantly developing YouTube strategies for brands, and we’ve come up with 10 core best practices, presented for your learning ease in our latest infographic. Whether you’re new to brand management on YouTube or have been using the network to promote your branded videos for a while, you can – and should – be taking advantage of your Channel for visibility and search.
Here are some more insights on the top 10 ways to optimize your business Channel on YouTube covered in our infographic.
1. Channel Setup and Design
This might sound obvious, but the first step to creating a pleasurable viewing experience is setting up your Channel with your company’s name and branding to make it clearly recognizable to your audiences. Your Channel design will also reflect the company description – make this something catchy but straightforward, and very search friendly.
YouTube also allows your brand to add links on your Channel. Ideally, these links should go to your other social Pages for cross-promotion, as well as to core landing pages on your site. Remember to add any other YouTube Pages your brand is affiliated with to the “Featured Channels” section for more reach opportunities.
2. Video Content Strategy
The most core ingredient to a successful YouTube Channel is a strong video content marketing strategy. With nearly two-thirds of Americans watching web videos weekly, it’s important that companies build video strategies that can keep visitors coming back.
For more tips on producing a strong video marketing strategy, download our whitepaper “Video Marketing from Production to Purchases – Strategies for Sales”.
3. Calls to Action
The videos you create for your website, emails and beyond should all have internal calls to action, but your YouTube Channel presents more opportunities to remind viewers how they can connect with your brand.
We advise video clients to follow Brafton’s standard best practices on content marketing CTAs, creating strong and soft calls to action to appeal to Channel viewers at every level of the purchase process.
LG uses CTAs successfully on its YouTube Page. For one, its video description for the LG Optimus G phone clip highlights a link to information about the mobile device on LG’s website.
Want to increase viewership and keep your viewers more engaged? We use custom annotations to highlight specific points in clients’ videos to ensure main points are clear and to guide viewers to perform certain actions.
When it comes to perusing YouTube Channel and watching clips discovered via general web searches, the thumbnail accompanying video results is possibly the best way to win clicks. Thumbnails are shown to increase search clicks by 64 percent among men in an recent A/B test from Visibility IQ (relayed by Econsultancy). Among women, this was an even more dramatic 154 percent CTR boost!
General rules of “thumb”nails:
- Choose an image that entertaining
- Pick a shot that’s well-framed and bright
- Select something representative of the clip
- Go for a presenter or product close-up when possible
Check out how the thumbnails (left) stick out on the SERP. They all follow good image selection criteria.
6. Search-Friendly Video Tags
There are four types of tags that you can use on your video content to gain more visibility through search.
- Title tag of your video – Make sure that your video title is compelling, features appropriate keywords and accurately represents the content of the video.
- Video description – Tell your audience what the video is about in two to four sentences, but leave enough mystery to make them click to view. Be sure to include relevant keywords for search optimization and use calls to action and sitelinks.
- Video keyword tags – Keep these tags balanced between your SEO strategy and keywords that relate directly to the video. (Your company should be producing video content that’s relevant to offerings, so picking the right phrases shouldn’t be a challenge.) You can also use the YouTube keyword tool to generate potential keywords.
- Video category tags – Pick from the (unfortunately broad) labels most relevant to your content as users may search through categories to find new videos relevant to their interests. Examples of categories range from “How-to & DIY” to more industry specific groups like “Tech” or “Beauty & Fashion.”
Keep your audience engaged by creating playslists for different types of videos on your Channel that will appeal to unique audience segments or fulfill various user needs. Playlists should be in line with your video content strategy – remember, the content is the backbone of a good YouTube Channel.
Organize playlists by video topics, product or services lines or broad categories, like recruitment clips or commercials.
8. Engage, Engage, Engage
YouTube is a social networking site like any other – pay attention to what users are saying. YouTube allows comments on your videos and your Channel too. Respond to these comments in a timely manner on both places to improve on your Channel’s reach and encourage audiences to continue to connect with your brand. BH Cosmetics does a good job of keeping their responses timely.
You can also update your own status on the network, though this requires a different approach from Facebook or Twitter. You may use this update feature to let viewers know when you add videos to your Channel or create a status about your new playlist.
9. Subscriptions, Social Outreach and Cross Promotion
To gain new visitors, views and subscribes to your Channel, you’ll want to execute a strong social media strategy that focuses on subscriptions, social outreach and cross promotion. Subscribe to relevant (but non-competing) brand Channels to encourage them to follow your company and share videos with their audiences. You can also directly ask viewers and followers on other networks to Subscribe.
Levis is an excellent brand example of cross promotion. They’ve creating a Subscribe button at the top of their Channel and incorporated their social media icons into their Channel design to allow users to easily share content across networks. They also do an exceptional job of cross promoting their videos on their blog and top social media channels (Twitter and Facebook) to fully alert their audiences of new videos to increase their reach, views and overall virality.
10. Analyze Insights
To have a successful video marketing strategy, you must continue to refine your strategy for maximum results. To do this, you’ll need to take a step back from your video production and social strategy to analyze your video performance metrics. Within your YouTube manager settings, you’ll have access to vital view and engagement metrics that you can use for ongoing YouTube (and video) marketing optimization.
Here’s an overview of what you can learn through the View Reports:
- Views: Total video views over time and top videos
- Demographics: Gender, location and age of viewers
- Playback locations: Comparison of views across your embedded video player, YouTube watch page or on mobile devices
- Traffic sources: Overview of where visitors coming to your Channel came from
- Audience retention: Duration (in minutes) showing if and when people dropped off
In YouTube’s Engagement Reports, you’ll see metrics on:
- Subscribers: Growth over time and videos that subscribers viewed
- Likes and dislikes: Report of engagement through likes over time and a list of your top-liked videos
- Favorites: Favorites trend overtime and your most favored videos
- Comments: List of videos that garner the most comments from users
- Sharing: List of videos most shared by users (and what platform they were shared on)
- Annotations: Overview of the annotations most-clicked on by viewers
Our infographic introduces you to tips for YouTube optimization, and our latest white paper offers more video marketing insights. Overall, make sure you continue to evaluate and refine your strategy for YouTube (and video) marketing success – and contact us to learn more.