In 2017, videos accounted for almost 75% of all the internet traffic, and this number is estimated to go up to more than 81% in 2021. With such unquestionable dominance, those who explore the full potential of video content and video marketing are sure to obtain a strong competitive advantage in their industries. In this article, we explore different strategies to potentialize the reach of your videos, as well as user engagement. The content discussed here is extremely valuable both for those who already own relatively successful YouTube channel and for those who want to start building their online video brand.
<blockquote>Video is taking content marketing by storm, but you’ll have to do more than just make one to realize its full potential<footer>The Guardian</footer></blockquote>
YouTube Analytics: Learn All You Can about Your Audience
YouTube Analytics offers a vast amount of fairly detailed data about how your audience interacts with your videos. From the main dashboard of the application, you can easily access Demographics information, Playback Locations, Metrics of Engagement and Interaction, among many other numbers that show you whether your videos are successful or whether they need further optimization.
However, simply looking at raw numbers in YouTube Analytics will not take you very far. You are able, yes, to obtain some insights into your audience’s behavior and how they interact with your videos (how much time they watch, how many cards or annotations they click, among others). But in order to leverage YouTube’s data and extract more valuable ideas, you will have to change the focus of your analysis. The most effective way of looking at YouTube Analytics is by combining the information from different sections to find hidden data patterns about your audience.
We define hidden patterns as any combination of data with a total value higher than the sum of its parts. For example, simultaneously analyzing the Demographics and the Playback Locations, you are able to obtain better insights than if looking at them separately. The topic is so relevant that we had to dedicate an entire article to the task of finding such hidden data patterns on YouTube.
Video Marketing: Go Beyond Your Content
Your Brand is as Important as Your Video Content
Your channel is not the first thing your user will see. But, if your video is great, it’s the second. A great video automatically makes your user extremely curious about what else you have to offer. The next step, then, is to visit your channel and browse through your past videos.
How does your channel look? Does it offer an immersive brand experience? Or does it simply list several videos without a clear flow of information?
The Cisco YouTube Channel is a great example of a well-branded channel.
What are the elements that make it so fluid and convincing? There are a few elements that clearly call our attention:
- The high-quality header, combined with the company’s logo, focuses on the brand color and instantly transmits the brand’s main industry: technology.
- The presence of other global channels also increases the reliability of the channel.
- When you scroll down, you immediately notice well-organized sections of content with relevant video playlists for each one.
- The channel focuses on the details: the small social media icons at the bottom right corner of the header, as well as the verified channel, are two elements that positively impact the user’s perception.
Building a strong brand on YouTube doesn’t depend on how big your channel is; instead, it depends mostly on two things:
- How well you develop, record, and expose your content. If you record a series of disconnected videos in many unrelated topics, it will be hard for you (and for the user) to find harmony in your channel.
- How well you organize your channel to provide a seamless experience to the user.
Be it a small or a very large channel, as long as you follow the two principles above, your channel will provide an immersive and very comfortable experience for your visitor.
Plan Your Videos to Create Natural Flows of Information
This is a natural consequence of what we discussed above. Natural content flow is one of the best ways of increasing user engagement.
Do you have a well-defined video content strategy? How does each of your videos fit inside it?
Natural flows of information serve two main purposes: they fire up the curiosity of your users through engaging contents, and they feed this curiosity through engaging channels. One of our favorite strategies is to create a series of interconnected videos, during which you provide “hints” of relevant topics inside other videos in your channel. Finally, you can use such related videos to create highly-targeted playlists (which have been proved to drastically increase user engagement).
Use YouTube Ads and other Social Media Platforms
Many people avoid paid ads because they see them as costs, not as investments. As a consequence, they end up with suboptimal channels that fail to explore several market opportunities. If, however, we shift the focus from the cost perception to the investment perception, your main goal moves from avoiding costs to obtaining the best return on your paid ads. Spending $1 to get back $2 is better than spending nothing.
There are many ways to measure the benefits of your paid ads, but the most straightforward one is the Return on Investment. Simply put, this metric subtracts the costs from the gains and divides the result by the total cost. If, for example, you spend $1 to obtain $1.5 back, your ROI is 0.5. Therefore, a positive ROI means you have a net gain from your ads.
This is the right way of looking at paid advertisement: as an investment, not as a cost. You are not simply wasting resources; if done right, paid ads work to multiply your money. This is why the most important part of running online advertising is focusing on the optimization of your PPC ads, both on YouTube and on other Social Media platforms.
Advanced YouTube SEO: 3 Strategies to Rapidly Grow Your Channel
Finally, Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is also a crucial part of your videos. Despite not being exactly a written piece of content, videos are surrounded by indexable elements. Therefore, YouTube SEO can be the difference between an average and an extremely successful YouTube channel.
Create the Ultimate SEO Optimized Channel
The many indexable elements that naturally come with any video include:
- Video Title: the title of your video is the first contact point with your visitor, so choose wisely. YouTube knows the importance of video titles, so it also considers
- Video Description: it’s not always that a user reads video descriptions, but YouTube pays a lot of attention to the type of content you present there. All other things being equal, longer video descriptions rank higher on Organic searches. Also, remember to use the description of the video to provide highly valuable links to your audience.
- Video Tags:
But be careful! It is very easy to “over-optimize” a video or a channel. Over-optimized videos are easily spotted by the users, who immediately understand that the video’s main focus is not on providing valuable content but on ranking higher. Here is a dreadful example of what an over-optimized playlist looks like: unnecessary videos, with unnecessary content, clearly aiming solely at getting more views and not at making the audience better off.
<h3>Optimize User Experience by Boosting Interaction Metrics
We already discussed how important audience retention and time watched are for your videos. There are, however, other things to keep in mind.
User comments, for example, are a strong sign that they watched and enjoyed your videos. Not only that, but comments are also a source of ideas for your next videos and an opportunity for you to closely interact with your audience. What are your users saying about your video? Are they enjoying or criticizing it? Are they suggesting topics for potential videos?
Other engagement metrics include, but are not limited to, post-video subscriptions to your channel, the number of shares on social media profiles, the number of people who favorite your content, and the thumbs up ratio. All these factors are incredibly important for good Organic rankings, and they are all a consequence of highly engaging content.
Besides producing high-quality videos, there are a few actions you can take to increase user engagement:
- Ask questions: ask questions during your videos and let the users answer in the comments.
- Include calls-to-action: actively ask your users to share your videos, subscribe to your channel, or give a thumbs up to your content.
- Include annotations and cards: be proactive and give references for relevant content related to your videos.
Partner with Influencers to Make Your Videos Go Viral
Partnering with Influencers is one of the best ways to make your videos go viral. Here we provide a straightforward template to contacting the websites that are sharing your videos, and creating partnerships follows exactly the same principle. Buzzsumo is a great tool to find people and websites with high social media visibility for specific topics and industries.
When contacting the influencers, you should always assume a humble position and focus on how your videos increase the value the Influencers deliver to their audiences. Show how your content complements the message they are transmitting through their articles and websites, and include links to relevant pieces of content you produced.