YouTube is the largest video platform out there, and a fantastic tool to generate traffic to your business through video marketing. But YouTube is very different from the other platforms out there, like Facebook and Instagram. So today, we’re diving into YouTube, and how you can make the most out of it.

YouTube is Different

The first thing to know about YouTube is how people use it. On Facebook, people view videos that they’re shown on their news feeds. But on YouTube, people come onto it looking for something specific. Most often, this means that people are finding your videos through the search bar, which can make it more difficult to get impressions on your content. This makes it all the more important that you provide the video with adequate metadata, such as your title, description, and search tags.

There’s no one right way to write metadata for your videos, but an important tip is ensuring that you include important keywords, such as your product, service, or brand, in the title, description, and tags. 

Search Tags

And speaking of tags, many people fail on YouTube by not tagging correctly, or not tagging videos at all. You need to tag your videos. But what kinds of tags work the best? It’s not an exact science, but you want to use tags that people are actually searching for. 

A helpful way to find out a good search tag is to use it yourself. If you type it in, does anything show up? If so, how many results? No results can mean you have a poorly worded tag; one that nobody is searching for. But a tag that has millions upon millions of results can mean that it’s too broad. Your video will be in a pool of countless other videos on the same topic and will have to compete with them. 

Were the results you found on the topic that yours is? If so, it will have to compete with those videos. You want to make sure your video is more engaging and effective than those others. But if the results seem completely different, it can mean that you need to rethink your wording, as people searching for your topic aren’t using that tag to do it.

But if you’re short on time, a tip for finding effective tags is by looking at YouTube search recommendations. It’s that little box that pops up when you start typing in the search bar. If your keywords and your search terms are there, there’s a strong likelihood that other people have used them, meaning they could be effective for you to use. Recommendations are a quick and dirty way to see if people are engaging with certain search terms, but beware! YouTube recommends search terms that are heavily biased towards your own activity, and don’t necessarily reflect on the general population. A good way to avoid this bias is by using your browser’s “incognito” mode, or by using something like the YouTube Keyword Tool.

Watch Time

Unlike other, more scroll-based sites, people on YouTube tend to be much more willing to watch a video through to the end. As a result, YouTube’s algorithm rewards something they call watch time.

What is watch time? It’s a culmination of a few factors that describe how well your content keeps peoples’ attention. Some of the major components to watch time include video length, upload consistency, and audience retention.

As opposed to other platforms, YouTube prefers and rewards longer videos. It’s best to use YouTube to explore topics more in-depth. It’s generally recommended to make videos longer than 5 minutes. 10 minutes is often a time users shoot for when making YouTube videos.

More importantly than video length, though, is consistency. Being consistent with your content is key on Youtube. Choose an upload schedule that works for you and stick to it. Some post twice a month, some weekly, some every day. The more frequently you’re able to post, the better, but always remember that the quality of your videos is always more important than putting them out constantly.

Lastly, and possibly the most important factor on YouTube is audience retention. YouTube tracks how well you’re able to maintain peoples’ attention, even between videos, and good audience retention is greatly rewarded in the algorithm. There’s no one way to retain an audience, but factors that help are having 

Accessibility

YouTube is a large site, with tons of different kinds of people on it. There are people from other countries, people with disabilities, people who can’t easily consume your content without extra help. Making your content accessible to everyone probably isn’t usually possible, but it’s important to consider accessibility when you’re trying to grow your audience. One important way you can help your videos’ accessibility is by creating transcripts for them, or a readable text version of what you say in the video. This not only helps your searchability, it also helps those who might be hard of hearing to take in your content. If it makes sense for your business and you have the budget or skills necessary, translating your video to another language might also be a major growth factor.

To Close

Ultimately, YouTube requires far more work than other platforms to create and sustain an engaged audience, but the rewards for doing so are much greater, as you’re able to build up evergreen content that can grow in engagement over time, rather than content that will be scrolled up, X’d out, and forgotten quickly.

Any of this sound intriguing? Here at Blue Fish, we have video marketing experts ready to help you. Drop us a message on social media or by email at hi@bluefishds.com. Thanks for reading!