Are you ready to take your YouTube marketing to the next level?
Is your channel a victim of “unsubscriptionitis”?
Listen to This Episode
In this episode, you’ll learn how to get the most out of YouTube using top marketing tips and analytics reports.
YouTube Marketing Tips
Online videos are becoming more and more powerful as tools for building your business, and YouTube is still a major player. I used YouTube to build my Biology blog, and now I have 99,374 subscribers!
So one day I got an email from someone at YouTube. He told me that my channel had been growing and that I could be eligible for a free one-to-one consultation to help me grow even further.
His advice was so great, I just couldn’t keep it to myself! So here are some top tips, straight from the source, to help you market your business on YouTube.
1. Have a Consistent Upload Schedule
My contact at YouTube told me that this is the most important thing you can do to help your business grow. It’s something that I advocate all the time, too!
A consistent upload schedule helps your audience know what to expect and gets them to look forward to your content. You can train your audience to plan on new content at regular intervals, and that’s exactly what you want!
But here’s the thing: you don’t just need a consistent upload schedule, you need to advertise it in as many places as possible. Over-communicate your schedule to your audience so there’s no way they can miss it.
You can let people know your upload schedule in the video channel banner, in the about section, in the video description, at the end of the video, in your cards and annotations—anywhere you can think of. Let the world know when you’ll be uploading your content!
2. Have a Channel Trailer
A channel trailer is what people will see when they visit your channel, but they aren’t subscribed yet. You want to help these people suffering from “unsubscriptionitis” (it’s cheesy, but I like it!). Encourage them to subscribe with your channel trailer.
Hook them into your content by highlighting your best videos. Keep it short and sweet, but point them to where they can see your best content.
Use annotations to send them to top videos and playlists, too. Together, we can cure unsubscriptionitis!
What are annotations? They’re ways for viewers to interact with your content—but they don’t work on mobile devices. Which brings us to the next point…
3. Use Cards
Cards are like annotations, but they work across desktop and mobile devices.
People are spending more and more time accessing video content on their phones and tablets. My YouTube contact told me that the average viewing session on a mobile device is now more than 40 minutes. That’s up over 50% from a year ago! So it’s super important to be reaching your audience on mobile devices.
So how does a card work? If you’re watching a video on your mobile device, a little icon with an eye in it will pop up at the top of the screen. If you click that icon, cards will pop up over the video with extra information in them.
Using cards, you can link to other videos, playlists, your website, your blog, your fan funding page (like Patreon)…the possibilities are endless.
Cards are a great way for your audience to interact with the content and for you to enhance the experience that you’re creating for them.
4. Use a Branding Watermark
A branding watermark is a logo or a picture that appears at the bottom right of your video. It allows you to increase engagement in a different way: if a viewer hovers over the watermark, they can click to subscribe to your channel right then and there.
As you know, subscriptions are really important, because your subscribers get notified every time you post new content. So when I upload a new video to my biology channel on YouTube, almost 100,000 people immediately know about it.
What’s great about a branding watermark is that it stays with your video and shows up on other websites. So if someone else thinks your video is awesome and embeds it in their blog, your watermark will still be there. This means that anyone viewing your video on that other blog can hover over the watermark and immediately click to subscribe to your channel.
So how do you get a branding watermark? Go into your channel settings, enable the branding watermark, and then upload the image you want to use.
5. Use Custom Thumbnails
You don’t have this option everywhere you want to upload a video, but YouTube allows you to customize your thumbnail.
Why is this important? According to my YouTube contact, 90% of the best-performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails. That’s huge!
A custom thumbnail increases your click through rate (CTR) because it catches people’s attention. So how do you make sure that your custom thumbnail does its job? Here are the best practices for creating a custom thumbnail:
Make sure it’s clear, in focus, and a relatively high resolution (640px x 360px minimum).
Keep it to a 16:9 aspect ratio (basically, widescreen!).
Make sure it’s bright, high contrast, well-framed, and visually compelling. Look at the top-rated videos on YouTube for ideas—you’ll notice that almost all of them have really exciting custom thumbnails.
Think about it even before you shoot the video. What do you need to communicate to your audience through the thumbnail?
Check that it’s clear and consistent across devices. For example, text might look great on a desktop but terrible on a mobile device, so use a bigger font or go for a powerful image instead.
Visually reinforce the video title with your thumbnail. Consistency encourages clicks!
Make sure the thumbnail is an accurate reflection of the video content. How annoying is it when you think a video is going to be exactly what you need, only to find out that it doesn’t deliver what the title and thumbnail promised? That’s a great way to get a lot of dislikes. Don’t do it! The thumbnail, the title, and your branding on the channel should all work together to deliver the content that your viewers expect.
Ways to Analyse and Improve Your Channel
There’s so much more to YouTube’s analytics than the numbers. My contact showed me some great ways to analyse your reports so that you can make informed decisions about when to upload content, how to structure or re-structure your videos, what kind of content you should be creating, and how to use your annotations. Here are four different reports that you can take advantage of:
Watch Time Report
The watch time report tells you when people are viewing your content.
On my biology channel, the report told me that more people watch at the beginning of the week. Since I haven’t uploaded a video in a long time, my YouTube contact said that I’m naturally getting more viewership at the start of the week rather than at the weekend.
What does this tell me? Well it can help me decide when I should be uploading new content! Based on my Watch Time Report, Monday would be a good day to upload new videos.
By the way, YouTube marketers think that watch time is really, really important. If your channel has lots of watch time, that’s keeping people on YouTube for longer. Obviously, they want people to stick around on their site, so if you’ve got high watch time, YouTube will start to rank your videos higher.
So it’s super important to ask yourself: when are viewers engaging with your videos the most?
Audience Retention Report
You can use audience retention data to make decisions about the flow of your videos.
When he looked at my biology channel, my YouTube contact saw that I had a high dropoff rate at the start of some videos. When he looked at those videos in detail, he could see that I was using a long introduction that basically just repeated the video title.
Keep in mind that—for better or for worse—people’s attention spans are getting shorter and shorter. On YouTube, you can jump straight into the content because your title and your custom thumbnail already tell people what to expect from your video.
Check your Audience Retention Report to find out when and how you’re losing viewers. This empowers you to make changes to the structure of your videos.
Traffic Sources Report
How are people finding your videos? The Traffic Sources Report can help you find out.
In my case, a high number of people are finding me through searches for specific topics. My YouTube contact said this wasn’t a surprise, because my content is highly valuable and discoverable. Awesome!
Here’s the tip he gave me, though: you can use the “YouTube search” data to see the terms that people are using to find you and your content. That’s an indication of the content that people are most interested in. On my channel, people are mostly searching for videos on the cardiovascular system, so that tells me I should be making more videos on that topic.
Digging deep into these analytics helps you to make decisions about what kind of content you should be uploading.
My YouTube contact says that, as a rule of thumb, your CTR (click through rate) should always be higher than your close through rate.
That means that when people click on your video, they shouldn’t be clicking again to leave your video too quickly.
My report showed that certain videos on my channel had a high close through rate. When my YouTube contact looked at those videos in detail, he could see that I was introducing the videos by offering viewers a link straight to my Interactive Biology Blog. Basically, I was giving them an opportunity to leave the video before they’d even watched it.
Don’t do that!
Don’t encourage your viewers to click away before they’ve even seen the content. Show them the value of your video before you give them a chance to click away. Give them the value first!
Analytics Are More Than Just Numbers
These reports help you to make informed decisions about how to keep your audience engaged!