Be it crazy cat videos or viral Voice auditions, Youtube is you-biquitous. When it first launched in 2006, its drawing card was endless cat videos at the click of a button. By 2019, it has 1 billion users and is the world’s number #2 search engine (just behind Google).
But watching funny fail videos is a whole different ballgame to creating video content that gets wide reach and engagement. We often get asked by clients how they can best use Youtube to optimize their videos.
Here are a few simple tricks.
Make your homepage look good:
This advice can be applied to most aspects of life, but particularly to your Youtube homepage.
Roughly 80% of channel subscribers come from your homepage, so making it look professional and inviting increases the likelihood of viewers subscribing.
Making it look good can be as simple as having a well-designed thumbnail and header image that showcases your branding style. Keep your channel headers updated, especially if you have an event or moment you want to showcase. To improve your video thumbnails use strong and striking images, with text that complements the video title rather than just repeating it.
Amnesty International is a prime example of how to optimize your channel homepage.
Increase your searchability:
Increasing your searchability isn’t as easy as making your homepage look pretty, but it can unlock new avenues for your videos if utilised well.
While there’s no optimal Youtube video length, tags are a good way to push your videos into new spaces. When uploading a video, attach transcripts in different languages so your video can be propelled into global searches rather than just domestic ones.
Likewise when uploading, create tags with searchability in mind. Tag the video with keywords you know your audience will search for, and create thumbnails that you know your audience will click on. Find content similar to yours that has high viewer figures but low subscriber numbers, and take note of how they tag their videos. By following their trends and tagging your video in similar ways, you increase the chance that your video will be “suggested” to play after popular videos.
Oxfam Australia is a great example of a brand that is utilising the searchability functions.
These days, watching Youtube is almost the same as binge-watching Netflix. You plonk yourself on the lounge, play one episode, and then auto-play plays new episodes until you look at the clock and 24-hours has passed.
Playlists are basically just auto-play, only on Youtube they’re curated by you. At the end of each playlist video, YouTube will automatically play the next video in the list. You can create multiple playlists on your channel, and fill them with similar videos that audiences can easily watch one after the other. Say a viewer comes to your channel looking for one video and its in a playlist, chances are they’ll stick around to watch another similar video if it plays immediately afterwards. Curating a good playlist is a simple but effective way of increasing your viewer figures across multiple videos.
A good Youtube playlist will:
- be meaningful to the watcher (not internal jargon!)
- consist of videos that complement each other (same genre, similar lengths, whether they’re part of a wider series of videos)
- be grouped hierarchically with potential interest at the top.
- include brief descriptions of what these playlists are and why people should watch them, e.g. What we do, where your money goes, etc.
For good examples of utilising playlists, take a look at the Climate Council’s homepage.
And the final tip?
Good storytelling always wins out.
If the story doesn’t resonate with viewers, playlists and increased searchability are far less effective. The key to a successful video is, first and foremost, a powerful or unique story that impacts audiences and inspires them to make social change.
Got a good story to tell? We’d love to hear from you.