Before you start worrying about whether you should be using YouTube as a marketing channel, let’s first decide if it is right for your brand.
Just to clarify if it is worth considering, the answer is yes. Many people don’t realize this but YouTube is the second most engaged social channel with 1.9B Monthly Active Users as of October 2018. That is a lot of potential customers.
However, it is a video content channel and those potential customers are there to consume video content and their purpose is to be entertained, amused, educated or updated. So if your brand has a content premise aligned with video consumption, and the budget, skills and interest in producing video content, then it could be a massive opportunity.
So let’s assume you think you have a fit. Then it is important that you are clear on your purpose and the value proposition of your Channel, so you can execute a content plan and build an audience that is aligned to that purpose.
So what does it take to grow an audience on YouTube?
Getting results on YouTube comes down to growing a healthy and robust content hub where each video contributes to the brand’s overall value proposition and user experience. And this purpose has to be clear and very consistent, and it has to add value, if users are going to embrace you as a source aligned with their purpose.
Despite its original reputation for the potential to go “viral,” one-off video sensations, are increasingly rare today. The algorithm that determines how content is displayed even in search results and discoverable content, makes this increasingly more difficult. Success within the current YouTube landscape comes through offering audiences frequent, episodic updates. (If you would like to read about how two brothers did exactly this with amazing effect, then check out how Hank and John Green, the “VlogBrothers” built a YouTube community), and it will change the way you think about marketing.
The first step once you have decided on a purpose, is to check out what others are doing relative to your objective. What is working? Is there significant interest? is there still an opportunity? In most cases, there will be, but your progress and impact will be determined by finding a niche or a specific angle. You can make it work regardless if you have the budget, but a point of difference and being on purpose for users will cut this cost back dramatically.
If you have found a topic and angle aligned with your brand and purpose, then it is time to plan and start creating content you can publish. We have a wonderful range of articles and guides coming to help you do just this, so look out for them. Metgy is here to help you become an inspiring and creative content creator.
That said, the process is still going to be about creating content, testing and finding a market, and then learning how to refine your approach to content and storytelling to find what resonates with potential customers. Once, you have started that process, you need to look to the data to determine how to refine your content stream.
So how does YouTube determine impact and interest and assess your content?
The three most important metrics for videos you distribute on YouTube are:
- Video Views: Video views per individual video asset. The more views, the higher you rank.
- Watch Time: Watch time per individual video asset. The longer someone watches your video, the better.
- Page Health: The aggregate of all the videos and how they contribute to the page.
Let’s say you have five videos on the page, and publish one per week. The most recent video typically provides the largest current contribution to engagement, but previous videos will continue to contribute to the engagement level of your channel, as people actively discover related older content suggested by YouTube.
In terms of page metrics, for any given month, a new piece of content may only contribute 40 to 50 percent of overall views on the channel. The remaining 50 percent of views are typically a collection from already existing videos hosted on the channel.
Once you’ve established a prominent YouTube presence and started publishing video content at a regular cadence, the next step is to analyze trends in your overall video performance on both an immediate and extended timeline.
Marketers should track video views and watch time in monthly intervals, as well as break these metrics down into even more specific sub-metrics to get a fuller idea of watcher behavior. Within watch time, video completion rate is useful to help identify user engagement. So let’s say a four-minute video gets a few thousand views. People are really engaged if 50 percent watch it at least halfway through. If at least half of your total viewership watch at least two minutes before breaking their attention, you should take that as an indicator of interest and spin the video into a series.
Is there a certain timestamp where a large percentage of viewers clicked out of watching? Learn what content stimulates your audiences’ interests and tweak the way you deliver your message to meet their needs. Brands need to create hooks for your audience to continue to watch the video. Someone clicking and watching the video for five seconds won’t help with your watch time. There needs to be an initial hook, then the “money shot,” or the most compelling, glamorous visual at around the midway point of the video to keep viewers’ attention till the last moment.
Don’t forget to use video captioning very early in your video that highlights the topic and outcomes for the viewer. This helps keep users engaged but is also critical if they are watching without the sounds on. This does occur a lot in corporate offices, and so captioning will help encourage “liking” for later viewing.
There is another final but important concept. When planning content, be sure to drop your videos at different times of the week, particularly in the early stages. Also measuring which content works best may reveal key times of the week. You can then use that to train your audience to expect you to drop content at the same time each week. Once you have a loyal following then they will tune in at the same time to enjoy your new content. There are also new features you can use on YouTube to announce the upcoming release of new content and build anticipation. We will feature leveraging these pending features, in an upcoming article.
When you do master YouTube, there are rich rewards ahead and a significant audience ready for your content and brand.