The Complete Guide to Marketing your Business on YouTube
If you’re like the rest of us, you’ve probably wasted at least one afternoon watching one funny animal video after another on YouTube. Don’t worry you’re not alone—most of us have. YouTube is the most widely used social media platform in the world.
Marketing your business on YouTube can be intimidating if you’re just getting started. It can even be challenging for the pros. That’s why I’ve created the Complete Guide to YouTube Marketing. Below we’ll explore in detail each of the steps and strategies of marketing your business on YouTube—from how to create a YouTube channel and develop videos optimized for SEO to how to manage a YouTube advertising campaign and measure your results.
So let’s get started.
1. Creating and Branding a YouTube Channel
Creating a profitable YouTube channel requires upfront planning and ongoing commitment. If you’re thinking about uploading a single video to see if YouTube is worth it, think again. A successful YouTube channel requires a commitment to film, edit, market and analyze your video content on a consistent basis. Successful YouTube marketers are uploading fresh, engaging content and videos on a weekly basis. If you want to garner a following, you have to give people a reason to follow.
Using YouTube to market and grow you business won’t happen overnight, but it will happen if you just stay committed to the process I’m going outline below.
Open a Brand Account on Google
Before you can upload your video content, you need a YouTube channel. You can create a YouTube channel with your personal Google account. However, I recommend setting up a Google Brand Account. A Brand Account allows multiple users to log in simultaneously. It also enables you to open and manage multiple YouTube channels. Even if you don’t need it right now, a Brand Account will make managing your YouTube channel easier down the road.
To get started visit Google an click “Sign in” in the upper right-hand corner.
Now click the “Create account” link at the bottom of the page. (Note: If you already have a personal Google account you may be required to click “User another account” first.) Once you’ve clicked “Create account”, select the “To manage my business” from the pull down menu that appears, since your YouTube account will be for your business.
Finally, enter your name, create an email address, select a password and click “Next”. Enter your phone number, a recovery email, you birth date, your gender and agree to the terms of service. (Note: Google requires that you be 13 years or older to create an account.)
Cogratulations! You’re done!
Create a YouTube brand account
You’re almost ready to publish some engaging video content — but you’re not quite there yet. You still need to set up a YouTube Brand Account. A YouTube Brand Account will allow you to manage editing permissions, provide access to team members, and create all around better experience for your audience.
To get started go to YouTube. In the upper-right-hand corner click “Sign in”. (Note: If you’re stilled signed into your Google Brand account, you’re likely already logged in to YouTube as well.)
Now go to your Youtube channels page. If you’ve never created a YouTube channel, you’ll see your personal account. If you have an existing brand channel, it will also appear. Click Create a new channel to create a new brand channel.
Enter your Brand Account name and click Create. Your channel name will be associated with every video you publish. Make sure it aligns with your other social media branding. (Note: You can always update or change your channel name within the account settings section, so don’t worry if you aren’t entirely sure about a name.)
Customizing Your YouTube Brand Account
Now click on Customize Channel to begin customizing your Brand Account.
Add a channel icon and channel art. These are the most prominent visual branding elements that users will see when visiting your YouTube channel. Your channel icon and channel art should be consistent with your overall branding strategy.
Hover over the profile image in the upper left hand corner of the screen to bring up the Edit channel icon and upload your profile image. Your business’s logo is an ideal choice for your channel icon. Hover over the banner image to bring up the Edit channel art function and upload a background image. Review YouTube’s channel art templates for design guidance with creating and editing your Channel art. Visit Google’s tutorial for Managing your channel icon for channel icon guidance.
To complete your basic profile, add a channel description, a business email, and links to your business websites and other social media accounts under the “About” tab.
When developing your channel description, provide information on your company and the type of video content you’ll be publishing via your YouTube channel. Your description, and the keywords you incorporate, will determine how your profile ranks in search engines.
Once you have over 100 subscribers, a channel icon, channel art, and your account is over 30 days old, you can qualify for a custom Youtube URL.
Let’s add one final touch to your profile before moving on. YouTube allows you to customize the way your YouTube channel looks to subscribers and unsubscribed visitors. This means you’re able to share premium, featured content with your dedicated, subscribed viewers that unsubscribed viewers can’t see.
For unsubscribed visitors I recommend creating a custom creating a YouTube channel trailer. Your YouTube channel trailer is the video version of your description and is what unsubscribed viewers will see when they visit your channel. Your trailer should be short and sweet — no longer than 60 seconds. You trailer should be representative of what your channel is about and encourage visitors to subscribe to see your videos.
Setting Permissions for your YouTube Brand Account
Before jumping into your marketing plan, determine who you want to provide access to your YouTube Brand Account. Granting team members access will allow them to manage your channel through their own Google accounts.
When you grant permissions, you can provide users Owner, Manager or Communications Manager access. Owners have full editing power, Managers have partial editing power and Communication Managers can respond to reviews but cannot edit or upload content.
To grant permissions in your account:
- Click on the Google icon in the upper-right hand corner.
- From the drop-down menu that appears, select Settings.
- Click Add or remove managers.
- Click Manage Permissions.
- Select the people icon in the upper right-hand corner to invite new users.
- Enter the Gmail address for the user you want to grant permission and enter their role.
Creating a Second YouTube Channel
From a marketing perspective, sometimes it beneficial to have more than one YouTube channel. Fortunately, YouTube allows you create a second YouTube account from the same Google account. The process for creating a second YouTube channel is easy. Just follow these steps:
- Visit YouTube’s Channel Switcher where you’ll find a list of your Channels. You’ll need to log into your Google account if prompted.
- Click Create a new channel. If you have a Brand Account but haven’t set it up as a YouTube channel, you see its name listed separately under Brand Accounts for your email; just click it.
- Create a name for your new account, and click Create
- Now you’ll be taken to your new channel where you can customize your new account and upload videos. Make sure to create different channel icons for the user profile image to make it easier for you to keep track of which account you’re logged into, and to help subscribers differentiate your accounts.
It’s that easy!
2. Learn about your audience
Whether you’re a newbie launching your first YouTube channel, or an experienced video publisher looking to grow viewership and subscribers, mastering YouTube marketing requires that you get to know your YouTube audience. Start by answering the following questions: Who’s using YouTube? How are they using it? And what does that mean for you?
YouTube audience statistics:
- YouTube has 2 billion monthly users
- 81% of 15-25 years olds in the U.S. use YouTube
- 73% of adults in the U.S. use YouTube
- More than 15% of YouTube’s site traffic comes from the U.S.
- Each visit generates 6.5 pageviews on average
- 70% of videos watched on YouTube are accessed via search
- 70% of YouTube views come from mobile devices
- YouTube is the second most-preferred platform for watching video on TV among 18 to 34 year olds
Now that you’re familiar with your general YouTube audience, let’s learn about your YouTube channel audience.
Once you’ve set up a YouTube channel for business, click the Analytics tab within your account to get to know your YouTube audience. Review the Watch time reports to monitor watch time and review demographic information. Visit the Community section to post a question or create a poll to discover what your audience thinks about your brand. Read through viewers comments to see what you can learn about their interests and preferences.
Use what you learn about your audience to identify the type of content they’ll connect with, and so you can target similar viewers via your social marketing efforts. Use what you learn to brainstorm new and engaging video ideas for your channel.
3. Research and analyze your competitors
Like Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms, YouTube is a competitive space. Yet, when it comes to YouTube, many marketers only pay attention to their own analytics. If you want to have a strong presence on YouTube, you have to do much more than view analytics and measure metrics. You need to research and analyze your competition. Knowing how your brand’s YouTube videos are performing is important, but analyzing your competitors’ performance plays a much bigger role in helping you develop a winning YouTube strategy. At the end of the day, you’re going to learn more from what your competitors are doing right, than from what you’re doing wrong.
You’re going to learn more from what your competitors are doing right, than from what you’re doing wrong.
Why do you need to track competitor performance?
You need to keep track of what you’re competitors are doing in order to stay relevant. Monitoring your competitors will help you:
- Identify what’s trending in your niche
- Check whether you’re reaching the right audience
- Find where your videos are falling short
- Develop more effective content development strategies
Now that you see the importance of tracking your competition, let’s explore how to conduct an audit of your YouTube competitors.
Steps to YouTube Competitor Analysis
- Identify competitors. Search which brands appear on YouTube for keyword searches related to your products and offerings. Identify 3 to 5 top competitors.
- Analyze the video content of each competitor. Compare your video content with that of your YouTube competitors to see where you can improve.
- Track your competitor’s metrics. Track number of subscribers, high-performing videos, likes, dislikes, comments, etc.
- Monitor user response to your competitor’s content. This will help you determine the type of content you should or shouldn’t create.
- Analyze your competitor’s activity level. How many videos do they have? How frequently do your competitors upload new videos? How often do they respond to comments?
- Take note of where your competitors are falling short.. Identify any mistakes your competitors are making and avoid the same mistakes.
You may also consider performing a SWOT analysis to identify the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats presented by each competitor.
4. Research the most successful channels.
As I mentioned previously, you can learn a lot from what your competitors are doing right. While you want to be unique and innovative, you don’t want to reinvent success. Trying to reinvent success can be unnecessarily expensive and increases the likelihood of failure. Research the most successful channels in your niche, take note of the techniques, formats and strategies they’re implementing, copy what they’re doing, and improve on it!
A few questions to ask yourself about successful channels within your niche:
- How do they drive views?
- Which videos drive the most views?
- Do they add special effects?
- Do their videos have text overlays?
- Are their videos high-production?
- How do they drive subscriptions?
- What keeps viewers coming back?
- What engagement strategies do they employ?
- What is the average length of videos?
- What calls to action are used?
- How often are videos posted?
Review YouTube’s trending videos, even if these videos aren’t in your niche or industry. Now ask your self the same questions listed above. Are these videos high-production, or more low production? What is the average length of these videos? Do they use special effects? What engagement strategies do they employed? Etc.
Now look up your favorite brands and channels and perform the same exercise.
As you research successful channels, begin to formulate a YouTube strategy for your channel. What type of content makes sense for your industry? Your niche? Your channel? What can you realistically achieve based on your resources?
5. Optimize your videos for SEO and Conversion
While engaging content is necessary to succeed on YouTube, it’s not the only factor for success. YouTube is the second largest algorithm driven search engine in world—second only to Google. YouTube’s search algorithm determines 70% of what visitors to YouTube watch. There are several things you can do to optimize your videos to improve their chances of ranking high on both YouTube and Google.
The first step to optimizing your videos for search is creating and optimizing your video’s metadata. Metadata provides viewers—and search engines—direct information about your video, including it’s title, description, category, tags, thumbnail, subtitles and closed captions.
Develop a strong title
As with Google, the title is one of the primary signals YouTube uses to evaluate and rank your video in search results. It’s also what people first read when scrolling through videos. Make sure that your title is clear, descriptive and compelling. You want your title to entice searchers to want to learn more about your content by watching your video. Your title should help searchers solve a problem. The stronger your title, the more successful your video will be.
While it’s important to have a strong compelling title, make sure it’s accurate. Titles that do not accurately reflect video content, or falsely advertise, may lead to high click through rates but ultimately result in lower retention, which may lead to lower rankings.
Effective titles include relevant keywords. Perform some keyword research using Google Trends or Google Ads’ Keyword Planner to discover what keywords viewers are using to search for your content. Include relevant keywords in your title. Your title should be no longer than about 60 characters to ensure it’s not cut off in search results.
Write a keyword-rich description
You want to develop a keyword-rich description—but make sure not be spamy. Your description should be coherent and sound natural. It should provide a brief summary of the topic of your video.
Only the first two to three lines of text will initially appear in your video’s description. To read your full description, viewers are required to click the “show more” link. Always include your most important keywords, links or calls to action at the beginning of your description to maximize views and engagement.
Within your description you can add links to featured products, your website, video credits, social channels, and a “table of contents” with timestamps if your video is long, so viewers can jump to specific sections. If you want to increase your subscription rate, you may consider adding an auto-subscribe shortlink. You can also include #hashtags in your video descriptions and titles. If you use hashtags, make sure to follow YouTube’s hashtag rules.
Below your main description include the video transcript. Adding a video transcript will greatly enhance your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts as most videos are full of descriptive keywords that can help establish relevancy.
When optimized correctly, YouTube descriptions will improve SEO, subscription rate, view counts, and watch time.
Use your tags to highlight your most important keywords. Tags are used to associate your video with other similar videos. When employed correctly, tags can increase the reach of your video content. As with your description, include your most important keywords first. Also, use a mix of the main keywords you want to target along with long-tail keywords.
After you’ve uploaded your first video, you have the ability to select a video category under “Advanced settings.” Selecting a category for your video allows it to be grouped with like content within the platform. Currently, there are over 15 categories to choose from. Assigning your video to a category is another way to position your channel for maximum growth.
Over 90% of the top performing YouTube videos have custom thumbnails. Why are thumbnails so important? Because they’re the first thing viewers see—and they can have a big impact on the number of viewers click and watch your videos.
YouTube will provide you with some auto-generated thumbnail options. While these will work, remember, if you want to be in the top 90%, it’s better to use custom thumbnails that you create yourself.
Note: Before you can upload a custom thumbnail image, you are required to verify you YouTube account.
Translations, Subtitles and Captions
With nearly 67% of YouTube videos posted in a language other than English, having subtitles, captions and translations can greatly enhance your reach, increase video viewership and channel subscription. YouTube’s built-in translation tools make it easy to ensure your videos can be viewed (and understood) any where in the world. Adding translations, subtitles and captions will also improve your ability to appear in algorithm driven search.
The first step is to add captions to your videos. This ensures non-English speakers, the hearing impaired, and people watching without sound can view and understand your videos. YouTube offers a quick and easy automatic caption generator, but it’s never perfect. It’s better to create your own captions or have a professional assist you in creating captions. If you use YouTube’s automatic caption tool, you’ll need to edit the transcripts for errors.
Use your YouTube analytics to see where your videos are being viewed most, along with the most popular viewer locations. Once you have a good idea who your international audience is, translate your title, description and transcript so that you can develop relevant subtitles and captions. If you aren’t able to do this yourself, you can always crowdsource translations from your community or hire a professional. (Note: crowdsourcing isn’t a foolproof translation method and will require followup editing.)
If you’re going to dedicate the time and resources to develop stellar videos, it’s worth the additional investment to have your transcripts translated to ensure your videos can be viewed and understood by everyone who uses YouTube.
The following are the steps for adding subtitles or closed caption to your videos:
- Within your YouTube channel dashboard click on YouTube Studio
- Once inside YouTube Studio, click Videos within the left menu
- Find the video you want add subtitles or closed captioning
- Click on the video title to open the video settings
- Open the Advanced tab, and select the video language
- Tap the Upload Subtitles/CC option that becomes available
- Choose to upload your subtitles or closed captioning (with or without timing)
Cards and Endscreens
Cards are small clickable notifications that appear on both desktop and mobile screens. When clicked, the card expands and directs viewers to an approved website, playlist, or link. Up to five cards can be used per video. Cards work best when they appear with effective calls to action (CTAs).
How to add cards to your YouTube videos:
- Sign in to YouTube Studio.
- Select Videos from the left menu.
- Now select the video you’d like to edit.
- Click the Cards box.
- Select Add card.
- Then, select Create.
- Customize your card and click Create card.
- Set the time for the card to appear below the video.
Tip: YouTube suggests video cards are most effective when placed within the last 20% of a video when viewers are starting to think about what to watch next.
Endscreens calls to action are clickable frames that appear during the last 5-20 seconds of a video. They can be used to promote related videos, poll viewers, link to external sites, and encourage viewers to subscribe to your YouTube channel.
To add Endscreens:
- Sign in to YouTube Studio.
- Open the Videos page and select a video.
- Select Editor from the left menu.
- Select Add an end screen.
Note: Cards and end screens currently cannot be used on videos that are oriented towards children.
Playlists enable you to create a collection of videos that are grouped by category, topic, theme, product, etc. You can create playlists for your channel as well as other channels. Playlists not only help to organize videos with similar content into one viewable list, they also also appear separately in search results. Playlists encourage increased channel viewership and provide you with more discoverable content in YouTube.
Steps for creating a playlist:
- Identify a video you want in a playlist.
- Under the video, click Save.
- Now click Create new playlist.
- Enter a playlist name.
- Click Create.
You can also use playlists as a collaborative tool to grow your channel. You can add videos from another channel to your playlist and invite other channels to add your videos to their playlists.
Steps to add collaborators to a playlist:
- Sign in to YouTube Studio.
- Select Playlists.
- Click Edit next to the playlist.
- Below the playlist’s title, click More.
- Select Collaborate.
- Slide on Collaborators can add videos to this playlist.
- Turn on Allow new collaborators.
- Copy the playlist link and share it with the people with whom you want to collaborate.
Playlists can be a powerful tool for increasing video viewership and growing your YouTube audience.
Remind viewers to like, share and subscribe
Inviting viewers to “like, share, and subscribe” is an effective call to action to include toward the end of a video. If you want to grow your channel, never miss an opportunity to invite your viewers to like, share or subscribe. This type of engagement will also help improve your rankings within YouTube algorithm driven search.
6. Creating Videos for YouTube
Now that your YouTube channel is ready to go, and you’re familiar with how to optimize your videos for search and conversion, it’s time to start creating and uploading some engaging videos. This is where the rubber meets the road!
In the section, we’ll explore the types of YouTube videos you can create, how to develop effective video scripts, keys to shooting quality video, and editing video content.
Most Successful Types of YouTube Videos to Create
Before you create your first video, it’s good to have an idea of what type of video you should create. The following are some of the most successful types of videos you can publish on YouTube. As you cconsider which type of video will be most effective for your brand’s theme, review the types of videos being produced by other successful YouTube channels in your niche.
- Customer testimonials – Testimonials from satisfied customers are one of the most effective types of YouTube videos for building the credibility of your products and brand. These videos have the power to increase conversion and persuade viewers to take action.
- Product demonstrations – 72% of consumers prefer learning about a product or service by video over any other medium. Demonstration videos should show the benefits and use of a product.
One company that produces stellar content is Skullcandy—the headphone and speaker company. The product demonstrations they publish on YouTube are among the best of best. Their videos do more than just demonstrate a product, they create a powerful connection with their audience by sharing highly relevant, original and engaging content. Skullcandy also maintains a strong brand voice throughout each of their videos.
Skullcandy organizes their content into playlists and groups videos by products demonstrations and customers reviews to make their YouTube channel user-friendly and easy to navigate.
- How To Guides and Tutorials – What do people do these days if they want to learn something new? Or need to know how to fix something? They go to YouTube. In a recent study, 53% of people reported watching at least two instructional videos per week. ‘How to’ and tutorial videos are used to explain how to use a product, or show how a product or service works. They are intended to answer the viewer’s question.
eHow makes it easy to learn how to do something quickly and painlessly. eHow breaks down processes into easy-to-follow steps. Their how-to videos offer instruction on decor, soft furnishings, troubleshooting problems around the home, and much more. Their videos are not only packed with a wealth of information but they’re engaging, entertaining and easy to follow.
- Thought leader interviews – Interviews with thought leaders or industry experts enhance a company’s credibility and brand identity. They are also effective at establishing an individual or an organization as an authority within their niche or on a particular topic.
From Twitter to Instagram, Facebook to YouTube, Gary Vee has successfully used various social media platforms to position himself as a thought leader. He’s used YouTube in particular to address and solve the needs of his audience and present industry and personal insights from his show, Ask Gary Lee. Gary and his team put out some of the most insight, energetic and engaging thought leadership videos in the world via YouTube.
- Product reviews – Using YouTube videos to market your product can be very effective. Product review videos engage prospective consumers and evoke a powerful response. If you’ve got a great new product you want to tell the world about, YouTube can be an effective platform. Tell prospective customers what other people think about your product.
- Case studies – Present the success of a campaign or project via a case study video. Case studies presented in video format can be a power method for persuading viewer to your point of view, reviewing products, providing statistical results, and enhancing brand awareness.
HCL Technologies, an multinational IT services company based in India, effectively employs the case study style YouTube video to explain to its clients and prospective customers how it helped Nokia, a leading Mobile Handset Maker, address vendor Management issues, high operational cost and slow delivery models. HCL uses the case study video model to clearly demonstrate it’s capabilities in various competencies including consulting, infrastructure management, engineering and R&D.
- YouTube Live – YouTube Live lets you stream live content to viewers—and allows your viewers to participate with real-time commentary. Live videos are recorded and posted on your YouTube channel just like any other video you upload.
To go Live, log into your YouTube account. Now, go to the upper right, click on your icon and then select YouTube Studio.
Select the Create button from the top right of your screen and click the Go live option. If this is your first time using YouTube Live, you may be required to wait 24 hours for account activation before you can begin streaming.
- Event videos – Sharing in-person experiences, such as conferences and expos, is a great way to create excitement and buzz around a product, offering or brand. Virtual seminar and webinar type YouTube-based video events are also a great way to promote your business.
Startup Grind is an example of a successful YouTube channel that uses event type videos to bring entrepreneurs and business owners together to learn from one another, collaborate and network. Startup Grind’s main channel provides information from their Global Conference. Their local channel provides videos and information produced and published by their individual chapters.
- Video blogs – Video blogs, or “Vlogs”, are no longer simply hobbies or diversions. Over the last decade vlogging has undergone an evolution. What was once consider a wild frontier is now an effective format for promoting content, products, ideas and influencers.
Behind the Brand is a successful vlog produced by Bryan Elliott. In his vlog Bryan interviews business owners and entrepreneurs to discover the secret of their success. Bryan’s vlog offers unique insight and useful lessons learned that viewers can apply in their own business. In his video blog above, Bryan interviews Derral Eves as they explore how to find success on YouTube.
The strength of this video testimonial produced by Lifelock is it’s focus on the subject’s emotions. The video takes the viewer on an emotional journey with Jamie, who progresses from feeling scared at beginning of the video to feeling very secure at the end—even to the point where she call sleep soundly once more. The audience experiences the same significant emotional change and journey from point A to point B as Jamie.
In less than two minutes, this testimonial creates a strong emotional connection with the audience around Lifelock’s product.
Ever heard of Marques Brownlee? He’s a YouTube sensation. What does Marques do? He reviews products on his popular MKBHD YouTube channel. Currently, MKBHD has over 12.5 million subscribers. More people follow the MKBHD than follow Kanye West, Marvel, or Disney Animation. Marque tests and reviews everything from headpones to cameras to Tesla to crossbows. Some of his product reviews have received more than 10 million views. Marques’ most recent YouTube product review, “Huawei Mate 40 Pro Impressions: Technically Awesome!” has received nearly 1.5 million views in just 1 day!If you don’t think YouTube product review videos can generate buzz, think again.
MKBHD is proof that engaging well-produced product reviews videos can take your marketing to the next level.
How to Develop Effective Video Scripts
While it takes a lot more than an engaging script to rank in YouTube search, a engaging video script will grab and hold viewers’ attention—and this is key to ranking well in YouTube. To beat out the competition, your videos need to get more views, likes, shares, comments, and watch-time than your competitors.
- Identify a topic. Set a goal. – To perform well, your video must have a strong focus. Choose one focus for your video and establish a goal. It’s okay for your YouTube channel to have multiple goals and focus (e.g. increasing brand awareness, add subscribers, etc.) but the best practice for scripting videos is to have one topic and goal per video.
If you’re not sure which topics to select for your videos, take a look at what topics related to your channel theme are trending on YouTube using Google Trends. Google trends is a useful tool for identifying trends on search engines, but it also works for YouTube. Just go to Google Trends, type in a term and select YouTube from the source drop-down menu.
In the example below, you can see that interest in “small business ideas” has grown on YouTube over the last year. (Note: A score between 50 and 100 indicates high interest.)
- Identify and incorporate keywords – About a third of the internet searches for content on YouTube. Most of these individuals use YouTube’s search bar to find what they’re looking for. Like Google, YouTube’s search algorithm relies on keywords to determine search relevancy. If you want to show up prominently in search results, it’s important to incorporate topic relevant keywords into your videos script.
To identity keywords and content ideas, turn to YouTube suggestions. YouTube’s auto suggest feature is very similar to Google Suggest. Just start typing in the search bar and YouTube will display a list of relevant keyword queries actively searched by viewers.
- Develop an outline and storyboard – Create a outline that will serve as the storyboard for your video. The storyboard is like a blueprint for your video that will guide each shoot. Your storyboard doesn’t have to be in depth, but it should at least include the following elements.
- A frame for each scene
- Description of each scene (ambient, mood, weather, time, location, etc.)
- Scripts for each scene
- Shot details and camera direction (i.e. media, wide shots, etc.)
- Select multimedia elements – Determine which, if any, graphics or multimedia elements you’ll include in your shoot. Placement of multimedia elements should be planned out before filming begins.
- Decide long to make your video – As you develop your storyboard, decide how long your video should be. While it might be tempting to make a longer video, just remember most viewers have a short attention span. Videos 2 minutes or under have a higher level of engagement than videos over 2 minutes—so keep it short and sweet.
However, depending on your topic, you may require a longer video. As a rule of thumb, make your video as long as necessary and as short as possible.
- Pick a location – Picking a filming location, commonly referred to as location scouting, is an important part of creating an engaging video. Some videos only require one location, but you may require more. Review your storyboard to determine the different location each scene requires. Make sure the location(s) you select have adequate space and light for your filming needs.
- Edit. Edit. Edit. – Edit your script and focus on introducing pauses between each unique or important point. Read your script out load several times. Pay attention to the rhythm of the words and how the video flows. Try to nail down the correct timing and make sure your ideas are explained as easy-to-understand concepts.
- Don’t forget a call to action – The most engaging video in the world is utimately ineffective if it doesn’t include a strong call to action. Toward the end of your video, tell your viewers what you want them to do next. You can use your call to action to generate more views, subscribers, and potentially to monetize your channel.
Tips for Shooting a Quality YouTube Video
Quality video doesn’t happen by itself. It happens when you you make it happen.
- Get in close. The first mistake most rookies make is to shoot a wide shot of a scene. Get in close, especially when you’re shooting people.
- Pay attention to your background. It’s really easy to overlook unpleasant backgrounds when you’re focused on your subjects. Make sure your subjects are always in front of something pleasing.
- Keep it steady. Use a tripod when shooting, and make sure image stabilization is active. Viewers don’t enjoy watching shaky video.
- Set your camera to manual mode. Set your camera to manual mode, if you can. This will allow you to adjust the focus and other settings as needed to focus your shots.
- Don’t use digital zoom. Zoom helps get closer shots. But before you use it, consider if it’s worth it. Most cell phones use digital zoom which enlarges the image capture—and it rarely looks good. Stick with your camera’s optical zoom.
- Use a good microphone. No one wants to listen to a video that has poor audio or is difficult to understand. Make sure to use a high-quality microphone.
- Don’t neglect lighting. If you want to make your video look professional, make sure you have ample lighting. There is nothing that screams amateur video more than poor lighting.
- Shoot from different angles and distances. For each scene, film from different positions so that you can edit between clips. For more variety, you can move the camera closer to the subject or away from the subject. Shooting from different angles will help keep your video interesting and engaging.
- Film B-roll. B-roll is the extra footage you take to supplement your primary footage. Always film more than you think you need. You can always cut footage if you have too much, but sometimes it’s difficult, if not impossible, to go back and shoot more footage.
- Introduce motion. Subtle movement from side to side, in and out can keep your viewers engaged. You can introduce motion into your video using a slider or Steadicam.
- Use special effects sparingly. Although special effects can be fun and snazzy, they rarely improve the quality of a video. If you feel like you need to use special effects, apply them using your editing software, and use them sparingly.
Editing Your Videos
Editing is one of the most important elements of quality video creation. This is where the video is really made.
- Tools – There are many tools and software programs you can use to edit YouTube videos. Basic programs such as Apple iMovie or Windows Movie Maker work well for editing videos and come free with many computer operating systems. Other popular free editing programs include HitFilm Express and Lightworks. Higher end, paid editing software programs such as Final Cut Pro X, Premiere Pro or Adobe Premiere CC, offer an array of video editing tools.
You can learn more about video editing at YouTube’s Creator Academy.
- Video Thumbnails – After you’ve uploaded your video, you can select a video thumbnail that will appear on your channel and in search results. Uploading a custom video thumbnail is best for creating engaging YouTube videos.
- Watermarks – Adding custom watermarks to your videos is a great way to encourage viewers to subscribe to your YouTube channel. When you add a watermark to your video, viewers can directly subscribe to your channel. To add a watermark your video, follow YouTube’s channel branding instructions.
- Music & Sound – High quality music and sound effects can turn what would be a seemingly amateur video into an engaging, professional video that drives conversion and subscriptions. Fortunately, professional quality sound effect is not nearly as expensive as it once was.
There are several online resources such as Epidemic Sound, Pond5 and Premium Beat that offer royalty free music. This doesn’t mean the music is free, but it does mean you pay a flate rate to use the music without paying any additional royalties or licensing fees. These services include an extensive library of professionally recorded songs and sound effects you can use to produce engaging, professional quality videos. YouTube Studio provides users a library of free sound effects that can be used to add texture and depth to videos.
Edit your script and focus on introducing pauses between each unique or important point. Read your script out load several times. Pay attention to the rhythm of the words and how the video flows. Try to nail down the correct timing and make sure your ideas are explained as easy-to-understand concepts.
7. Scheduling Your Videos
Once you’ve created and optimized your videos, it’s time to upload them to your YouTube channel. When and how often you upload video’s plays an important role in how effective your YouTube channel will be at garnering subscribers and building a loyal subscription base. Viewers expect new, engaging videos to be published on a regular basis according to a reliable schedule. Consistency is key to success on YouTube! Upload high quality videos, during periods of high viewership, at the same time each week, and you’re YouTube channel will grow.
After you’ve published a few videos and attracted some initial viewers, check your channel analytics to see which day of the week and hour of the day tend to generate the greatest viewership and engagement. Once you’ve figured out the best time to post, try and publish regularly within this window.
There are a variety of scheduling tools that make publishing video regularly a breeze. You simply upload and schedule your YouTube videos in advance from Creator Studio, or with a scheduling tool.
Learn how to schedule video publish time in YouTube Studio.
8. Building a YouTube Marketing Strategy
So you’ve produced a few videos and optimized them for search—but you’re still not gaining the traction you’d like to see. Now what? While showing up at the top of search would be ideal, it can be difficult to achieve when you’re just getting started.
One of the most effective strategies for getting the word out about your YouTube channel is to promote your videos across other platforms. Fortunately, YouTube makes it easy to share your video content. Below we’ll explore several strategies for marketing your YouTube channel and content on other platforms.
YouTube makes it easy to share and distribute your content across other social networks. To share a video, simply click the “share” tab underneath the video. There you’ll find a variety mediums where you, your friends, your family and viewers can share the video on various social networks.
Be intentional and strategic with how you share your YouTube videos across other social networks. Simply posting a video on your timeline or feed probably isn’t the most effective solution. Consider the topic and purpose of the video? Which social media venues that are likely to be most receptive to your content and likely to share it within their network?
Market your YouTube channel and videos on your blog website. Add a YouTube follow icon to your blog so your website visitors can find your channel. Embed relevant videos directly in your blog posts or other appropriate locations on your website. Adding a YouTube video to your website is as simple as copying the embed code under your video and inserting it into your website’s code in the appropriate location.
YouTube videos are an excellent medium for answering questions and providing tutorials. If you have any ‘How to’ videos that answer specific questions or provide tutorials, promoting them on popular Q&A sites, such as Quora, is a great way to drive additional viewership to your videos and traffic to your channel. Monitor popular Q&A sites. When you see a question that can be answered with your video, share it.
Email is an effective medium for sharing content and promoting your YouTube channel. Share your videos with relevant email lists and encourage subscribers to share the video if they like it. If you’ve embedded your YouTube video in your blog post, invite subscribers to visit your blog post. Create an email newsletter where you share playlists and top videos to keep your audience engaged.
Strategic partnership with other YouTube channels that have a similar audience is an effective way to promote your video content and grow your channel. Collaborating allows both you and your partner to gain access to a new audience and grow your respective viewership and subscription base. There are a lot of options for collaborating with other YouTube channels. An easy way to partner with another YouTube channel is to create a video or playlist together.
Organize videos into playlists
Curating playlists is an effective way to market and build your YouTube channel. YouTube playlists auto-play a series of videos that you hand pick—so that viewers continue to watch your videos without being diverted back to YouTube’s general search results. Playlists keep viewers on your channel.
Your playlists should be well organized. They should be cohesive, theme based and have a logical progression. When someone get’s done watching your video, what is the next video they’ll want to watch?
Playlists can contain your channel’s videos, a mix of your videos and partner videos, or any other YouTube video you want to include. If you haven’t started partnering with other YouTube channels, collaborative playlists are a great way to establish strategic marketing partnerships.
You can build playlists on YouTube or use other third party playlist managers.
Work with an influencer
Leveraging the clout and following of an influencer is an effective way to showcase your brand and introduce your channel to a much larger audience. Get a popular influencer to share your content with their followers and endorse your channel, and you’ll grow your channel overnight.
When partnering with an influencer, let the influencer do the talking. The more you’re able to get the influencer to engage with their audience on your behalf, the more followers will subscribe to your channel.
9. Advertise on YouTube
Want to give your marketing a boost? YouTube paid advertising can be an effective way to grow your channel and expand your reach. You can used YouTube advertising to directly target an audience you believe will be interested in your content.
Types of YouTube Ads
YouTube ads can be effective for promoting your products, brand, or an event. There are four types of YouTube ads you can purchase.
- Skippable in-stream ads – These ads play before or during a video. After the first 5 seconds of the ad, viewers can choose to skip the remainder of the ad and go straight to the video.
As an advertiser, you only pay for the ad if the viewer watches beyond the first 5 seconds. The minimum duration of these ads is 12 seconds, although they can be up to several minutes.
The payment type for YouTube’s skippable in-stream ads is call “TrueView”. This is where the advertiser only pays for an ad impression when a user chooses to watch the ad.
- Non-skippable in-stream ads (including bumper ads) – This ad format allows advertisers to run pre-roll or mid-roll ads that can’t be skipped by the viewer.
When does it make sense to use non-skippable in-stream ads? When you looking to generate mass brand awareness and you’re confident that your ad will hold the viewer’s attention for the full 15 seconds.
With non-skippable ads, the advertiser pays per impression (not click), at CPM (i.e., per 1,000 views).
Bumper ads are a type of non-skippable in-stream ads. They show up as pre-, mid- or post-roll. They’re 6 seconds long. You pay by the impressions, and they’re typically used to support brand awareness campaigns.
- Video discovery ads (formerly known as in-display ads) – These ads appear alongside YouTube organic search results. Video discovery ads in YouTube are very similar to the ads you see on Google’s search results page. The more relevant your video discovery ad looks compared to the organic results, the more clicks and views your video will receive.
Discovery ads include a thumbnail and three lines of text. When viewers click on the ad, they’re sent to your video page or YouTube channel.
- Non-video ads (i.e., overlays and banners) – YouTube offers non-video ads for advertisers without a budget for video advertising. Non-video ads include display as that appear on the right-hand sidebar, and in-video overlay ads that appear on top of video content.
Cost of Advertising on YouTube
As I mentioned, YouTube advertising isn’t free. YouTube use a cost per view (CPV) advertising model. This means that you pay only when a viewer engages with your video ad. If your ad is skipped, then you don’t pay anything. The exact cost per click is based on several factors, including keyword competitiveness. YouTube allows you to set a daily budget. Once your budget limit is exceeded, your ad will not longer display.
Note: People pay more attention to YouTube video ads than they do traditional TV ads.
See a comprehensive list of advertising option on YouTube.
How to Create and Setup a YouTube Ad Campaign
You can create a YouTube ad campaign using any video you’ve uploaded to your YouTube channel.
- Sign in to your Google Ads account and select “New Campaign”.
Select your campaign goal, based on your marketing objectives. You can select Sales, Leads, Website traffic, Product and brand consideration, or Brand awareness and reach. (Note: You can create a campaign without setting goals.)
If you select Sales, Leads, or Website traffic as your campaign goal, you may be required to setup conversion tracking.
Select your campaign type from the New Campaign menu. These include all Google ads types (e.g., text, shopping, search results) so you’ll want to choose Video or Discovery campaigns so that your video is presented on YouTube in front of the right audience(s).
If you’re working with a video ad, you now want to select your video campaign “subtype”:
When setting up your campaign, don’t forget to create a campaign name that allows you to easily locate and manage your campaign moving forward.
- Define your campaign parameters by determining your bid strategy based on your goals and entering your ad budget. Typically, your bid strategy will determined by your campaign type (conversion, clicks, or impressions). Your ad spend will be determined by setting a daily budget or by defining a total amount you’re willing to spend for the campaign.
Select where you ads will appear:
- All of YouTube (i.e., appear in search results, channel pages, videos and YouTube homepage);
- YouTube Display network (i.e., non-YouTube partner websites, etc.);
- Discovery only (i.e., YouTube search results)
Since only about 15% of YouTube traffic comes from the U.S., you need to consider who your audience is and what language they speak. You can set your campaign to display your ads worldwide, to a select group of countries, or target only the U.S.
How “sensitive” is your brand? Do you feel comfortable with your ad displayed alongside content that is sexually suggestive, profane, violent or deemed offensive to a general audience? If you have a sensitive brand, you should set your brand safety guidelines to “Limited Inventory”. Just remember, if you choose to have your ad run in a smaller pool of videos, you won’t gain as much exposure as quickly and it may drive up your ad price.
- Research your target audience to make sure you’re advertising to the right people, and can produce a higher ROI. When researching your target audience, consider the following:
- Demographics: What is the age, gender, income level, marital status, etc. of your target viewer? (Note: YouTube also offers life-stage demographics data including college student, new homeowner, new parent, etc.)
- Interests: Here you want to focus on relevancy. Is the video ad you’ve created aligned with the search intent of the viewer? For a video to be engaging and effective, it must be relevent to a viewer’s interests.
- Remarketing: YouTube also allows you to “remarket” your ads to audiences that have already interacted with your website, your app or other videos you’ve created.
- Activate your campaign. To set your campaign to live, enter the URL link of the video for your ad, where you want viewers to go when they click on your ad, and then click the “Create Campaign” button. For more details on taking your campaign live visit Google’s guidelines for YouTube ad creation.
If you want to take your YouTube advertising to the next level, you can set up ad sequence campaigns. Ad sequence campaigns allow you to upload multiple ad types that support each other and help you better target and convert your audience.
YouTube Ad Specs
The technical specs for your video ads (ad dimensions, ad image size, file size, etc.) will be the same as for any YouTube video. If you create your YouTube videos according to Google’s video and audio formatting specifications, you should be in good shape to upload your video and create your ad.
For Discovery ads, YouTube has a different set of ad spaces. These include:
- File format: AVI, ASF, Quicktime, Windows Media, MP4 or MPEG
- Video Codec: H.264, MPEG-2 or MPEG-4
- Audio Codec: AAC-LC or MP3
- Aspect ratio: 16:9 or 4:3 is recommended, but YouTube will automatically adapt the file depending on the video platform, format and aspect ratio.
- Frame rate: 30 FPS
- Maximum file size: 1 GB for Discovery ads
Tips and Best Practices for Advertising on YouTube
The are endless ways to optimize your YouTube ads to improve their reach and performance. However, at the end of the day, what will really drive the success of your YouTube ad campaign is how well you ads connects with viewers. The following are the best practices for creating YouTube videos and ads that connect with viewers.
- Keep video ads between 15 and 60 seconds. Most people go to YouTube to find and watch specific content, and they realize they’ll most likely have to watch an ad to do so. There isn’t a perfect, universal duration recommendation for YouTube ads. The length of your ad should depend on your content and your audience. However, for YouTube’s most popular ad format, Trueview In-stream (pre-roll, skippable) ads, if your goal is direct response, your ads should be between 15 and 60 seconds to achieve the highest view-through rate (VTR). In a study conducted by Google Brandlab, a 30-second video exhibits the highest VTR.
- Design videos and ads for mobile. The majority of users watch YouTube via a mobile device, so make sure your creative and videos are designed for mobile viewing. Keep the frame time, use bright scenes and backgrounds, and employ clear text or graphics that work for mobile. And since many viewers watch videos horizontally, it’s a good idea to test your ads using both vertical and horizontal video.
- Captivate viewers immediately. You have about 15 seconds to capture a viewer’s attention, so launch your video ad with something captivating and attention grabbing. Make it clear early on what your video is about, so viewers aren’t confused further on. Tease the rest of the video at the beginning to create intrigue so viewers to keep watching. Always remember… some YouTube ad formats allow viewers to skip your ad after the first 5 seconds, so capture viewers’ attention quickly.
- Introduce your brand quickly and effectively. It’s important to introduce and define your brand quickly, especially if your audience hasn’t previously interacted with your brand. Your video should show viewer what your brand does and how it will benefit them. If you’re in retail, show your most popular products in real-life situations. If your focus is B2B, show clips of your product demo.
- Make it emotional. Consumers make buying decisions based on emotion. They justify their decisions to buy using logic. Engage your audience on an emotional level as soon as possible, and create an emotional reaction. To connect emotionally, it’s important to have an in depth understanding of your target audience demographic. Young mothers with newborns are going to have a stronger connection with a creative about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) than women who do not yet have children. Make your ads emotional—and make sure you target the correct audience.
- Employ calls-to-action (CTAs). Tell your viewers what you want them to do. While this may seem obvious, many advertisers assume that after a viewer watches the video the viewer will be enamored with the advertiser’s brand that they’ll run straight to the advertiser’s YouTube channel and subscribe. Not! If you want your viewers to convert into subscribers, buyers or clients, you must use strong CTAs that tell the viewer exactly what you want them to do next. Your ads must be action oriented.
- Choose a video thumbnail that accurately represents your video content. When a video thumbnail is required, choose a thumbnail that is engaging but make sure it isn’t simply click-bait. Enticing viewers to click on your ad using an engaging thumbnail that does not accurately represent the content on your channel can damage your reputation.
- Create an engaging dynamic YouTube channel. It begins and ends with your YouTube channel. Your YouTube channel is the content hub for your business. It should create a positive and lasting impression on your audience that goes beyond advertising. The type of content you host on your channel should entertain, educate and inform, but more importantly is should deepen consumers’ engagement with your brand after they’ve click through from your YouTube ad. Your YouTube channel should also reinforce brand loyalty among your subscribers and previous customers.
- Track the right metrics. Before you can be successful, you must define what success is. To be successful with YouTube Ads, you must track the right metrics. YouTube Ads are different than Google Ads, and they shouldn’t be treated the same way. Users often arrive at Google ready to buy. Users come to YouTube to watch videos. While YouTube is a search engine like Google, it appeals to a slightly different demographic and audience than Google. When YouTube users click an ad, they absorb the message, and then if interested, will often perform a follow up search later.
To determine success with YouTube Ads, you should consider the following:
- Views and view rate to make sure people are seeing your ad and watching your video.
- Earned actions to see what users did after watching your video.
- Direct traffic to determine if users are visiting your website.
- Brand search volume to determine if awareness for your brand has increased.
While Google and YouTube have taken steps to make video ads more direct response (similar to TrueView for action), user behavior isn’t predictable and most YouTube ad viewers are not going take immediate trackable action.
10. Understanding YouTube Analytics: Analyze and Adapt
Now that your YouTube channel is up and running, it’s time to start tracking the results of your marketing efforts and measuring success.
Most people launch a YouTube channel to publish cool content and sell things. Very few launch a YouTube channel because they like tracking metrics, interpreting graphs, and making sense of a bunch of numbers. Notwithstanding, tracking the results of your efforts using YouTube Analytics is an essential component of YouTube marketing. But don’t worry, while at first glance YouTube Analytics can seem a bit daunting, once you learn your way around, it’s actually quite straightforward.
Define your goal
It’s difficult to get where you’re going, when you don’t have a destination in mind. The first step to measuring success using YouTube Analytics is to define your goal. While you may have one overarching goal for your channel, you should identify one goal for each video. Common video goals include increasing brand awareness, clicks, views, subscriptions, social shares, or inbound links.
It can be frustrating to spend time, effort and resources developing and marketing a video just to have it flop. But that’s okay, and it’s to be expected when you’re just getting started. What’s important is that when you get bucked off, you stand up, dust yourself off, and get back on the horse. You often fail before you succeed. Getting YouTube marketing right requires experimenting, tracking and ongoing testing. That’s where YouTube Analytics comes in. YouTube analytics allows you to see how viewers found your content, how much time they spent watching it, and how they engaged with it.
To get started, make sure you’re logged into your Google account, then go to YouTube Analytics. You should be taken to analytics dashboard that provides an overview of your videos’ performance over the last 28 days. If you want to see more history, you can adjust the analytics time frame using the date selection option. The overview report features several high-level metrics, including performance, engagement, traffic sources, demographics, and most popular content.
The YouTube analytics dashboard allows you to filter results by device type, location, content, subscriber status, traffic by product, playback type, playlists and language. The dashboard can be displayed in various formats using charts and interactive maps.
While your dashboard offers various metrics, I recommend focusing on the following.
YouTube’s traffic sources report shows how viewers are finding your content. Knowing how viewers are finding your content provides insight on what’s working and what’s not, and helps you identify the best channels to promote your YouTube content. You can view detailed traffic sources reports by clicking on the overall traffic source category.
Watch Time and Audience Retention
Watch Time is one of the most important metrics to follow because it’s a factor in YouTube’s ranking algorithm. The higher your videos’ watch time the more likely your videos will appear higher in search results. The watch time report shows the total minutes your audience has spent viewing your videos as a whole and by video. This report helps you see which video content your audience is actually viewing and which video content they’re clicking away from.
Within YouTube analytics you can track watch time, location, date published, views, average view duration, and average percentage viewed (aka retention rate). The retention rate measures how much of a given video your audience watches per view. The higher your retention rate, the higher the likelihood your audience will watch the video all the way through.
Note: For videos with higher retention rates, try to improve the number of views to your calls-to-action in order to maximize conversion.
The demographics report within YouTube Analytics provides your viewers age and gender. Age and gender can be further broken down by age groups and geography, respectively. Following the demographics report closely will help you better position your marketing to ensure you present content that resonates with your audience.
Engagement is a key metric for measuring how well you’re connecting with viewers. Engagement reports within YouTube analytics allow you to see what content your audience is clicking, commenting, and sharing. The engagement report also provides performance monitoring for your cards and end screens. As you better understand how your audience is engaging with your content, you’ll be able to develop better content and calls-to-action in future YouTube videos.
Google support offers a more more in-depth tutorial for analyzing and optimizing your YouTube Analytics.
With over 2 billion active users, YouTube is one of the largest search engines and social platforms in the world. It’s also a powerful marketing platform that provides savvy business owners and marketers a unique medium and opportunity to promote their brand, persona, products, and content in a truly visual and engaging way.
While YouTube marketing may seem a bit daunting at the outset, if you’ll master the basics, by following the steps outlined above, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a YouTube marketing master—and take your business to a new level of success.