As of 2018, there was a whopping 23 million YouTube channels on the popular video platform, and that number is sure to have jumped even higher since. In such a densely packed marketplace, however, it can be easy for brands to give up on their YouTube growth strategy before they even begin.
This means that countless brands are missing crucial opportunities to reach new and engaged audiences outside of their target marketplace. As the second most-visited site online, YouTube is a digital marketing must for brands looking to maximise their growth. For companies unsure of where to start, here are some top tips for optimising YouTube content.
- Use Google-friendly keywords
A good YouTube channel starts with effective SEO, requiring a solid understanding of what users are searching for. While there is no set rule for which keywords help a YouTube video rank well, here is a reverse-engineering roadmap for SEO success:
- Use Google Ads Keyword Planner to identify possible keywords
- Scan the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) for relevant videos
- Tweak if necessary
- Create custom thumbnails
Thumbnails are a critical, but often overlooked, tool in catching the eye of audiences. This is because our brains are wired to notice visuals first; according to one MIT study, we process them in less than 13 milliseconds.
YouTube produces automatic thumbnails for all uploaded videos, but more often than not these are blurry or less-than-eye-catching. To boost video views, create a custom thumbnail for videos with the following guidelines:
- The resolution should be 1280 x 720 px
- Use the .JPG, .GIF, .BMP, or .PNG formats
- Use high contrast images
- Add text and colours to encourage clicks
- Choose a close-up image where possible
- Be brand consistent
- Use concise but descriptive video titles
Aside from the thumbnail, the title is the first thing people see when they scan YouTube videos. If it isn’t a punchy one, they are more likely to skip over the content.
There are three basic rules for writing an inviting YouTube title, namely:
- Keep it simple, silly.
The most popular YouTube videos often have the shortest titles. Stick to 60 characters or less; any longer, and your title may be cut off when displayed, totally undermining its impact.
- Include keywords in the first half of the title
This is the best way to avoid losing valuable information to lengthy titles. Indeed, most readers online focus on the beginning of the sentence and skip out by the end.
- Being engaging is different to writing clickbait
The best headlines are descriptive and beneficial, or evoke an emotional reaction. It can be tempting to write a clickbait title, but it will ultimately damage a channel’s reputation over time.
For those still stumped for a title, YouTube’s is a great way to find popular keywords to guide a title’s construction.
While some brands might deem it necessary to have a bottomless YouTube budget, there are a wealth of free strategies to optimise YouTube content. These are barely the tip of the iceberg.