Strategies for Optimizing YouTube Videos that Will Have Your Audience Click and Stick!
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably heard the stat that YouTube is the second-largest search engine on the web making it an obvious choice for video marketing.
We’ll cut to the chase with actionable tips to help you grab views and generate traffic for your YouTube video content.
Create Awesome YouTube Thumbnails
Even though they’re a seemingly small detail, YouTube thumbnails can make or break your chances at getting clicks. Thumbnails are the small, clickable pics that visually represent each video. Thumbnails need to attract people to click and then stick around to watch it.
Tips to make a quality thumbnail:
- Pair well with the first 10–15 seconds of your video content. Your thumbnail should closely pair with the beginning of your video for a seamless experience that avoids disorienting viewers. If you have a super-duper interesting image from later in your video, take a chance on using it. In that case, it could act as a teaser to keep people watching.
- Use people whenever possible. Psychological research shows that people will mirror both the emotional states and behavior of people they’re positively engaged with. So, take this opportunity to put human psychology to work for you by using compelling close-ups from your video that showcase emotion.
- Be brand consistent. Like all your content, video marketing is another opportunity to build brand awareness through consistent visuals.
- Have no text in the bottom right-hand corner. Lastly, avoid adding any text to the bottom right-hand corner of your thumbnail. That’s where YouTube overlays your video’s time stamp, which would obscure any text/info you put there!
Write Compelling Titles/Headlines
As marketing legend, David Ogilvy, said: “On the average, five times as many people read the headline as read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar.”
As obvious as it sounds, writing a memorable and catchy headline is no easy job.
Here are few tips that will help you write a quality headline:
- Make a promise: What problem will your content help your viewer solve?
- Tickle the emotions: Are you connecting intellectually, empathetically, or spiritually?
- Be the cream of the crop: Have you written at least 20–30 headlines and chosen the best one?
- Be searchable: What keywords relate directly to your video content?
Use YouTube Cards to Increase Engagement
If you’ve spent any time on YouTube, you’ve seen annotations littered across videos aplenty. They’re the clickable boxes, bubbles, and blurbs that float above videos as they play. However, YouTube recently announced that annotations are a dying breed and destined for extinction. This means that you should start using the cards!
The Cards feature shines while a video is playing. They are convenient especially because they can be launched on either desktop or mobile (which was a limitation to annotations).
There are five types of YouTube cards you can use to enhance your videos on both desktop and mobile.
- Video or playlist to promote your other videos.
- Channel to send traffic to another channel.
- Donation for encouraging donations to nonprofit organizations.
- Poll to ask your viewers a question, get their responses, and then provide the results instantly.
- Links to approved websites.
To add cards to your videos, first, login to YouTube Creator Studio. Then use the drop-down arrow next to “edit” to add a card. From here, you can choose both the timestamp for when you’d like the card to appear and the type of card you’d like to use.
Use YouTube End Screens to Drive Contextual Traffic
End Screens are a great way to drive contextual traffic to your related content. They’re the part of a video that shows up at the last 5–20 seconds and can include one to four clickable elements. These elements can send people to other videos, your channel, your “approved” websites, or invite them to subscribe.
Here are the steps to get you started:
- ·Sign in to your YouTube account.
- In the top right, click your account icon > Creator Studio.
- In the left menu, select Video Manager > Videos.
- For the video you want to add the end screen to, click Edit.
- In the top tab bar, click End screen.
- If the selected video contains annotations, follow the instructions to unpublish them. You can re-publish them at any time.
- You’ll see your video with the predefined grid and a timeline below that indicates the available part for the end screen. Click Add element. You can add up to four elements, and one of them must be a video or playlist.
- Choose how to build your end screen:
- Add element: You can add up to four elements to a video. At least one element must be a video or playlist. Select each element and fill in the required information, then click Create element.
- Copy from video: You can copy an end screen from another one of your videos and edit the elements.
- YouTube template: You can choose from predefined formats that show combinations of elements. You'll need to define the content for the elements in the end screen, such as add the channel to be featured.
- Adjust the placement and size of each element on the grid. Adjust the time for the element to show in the timeline below.
- Click Save.
To maximize end screens (and even cards) for driving traffic, think about the related content you should link to beyond “related content.” Instead, think about what additional or related problems your viewer might need to solve next, and what other pieces of content you’ve created that can do that.
Use YouTube Tags
Tags are a way of adding descriptive pieces of text to your video, so YouTube understands what your video is about.
Tags can be broken down into four categories:
- Specific Tags (1:37): One-word descriptions of the content.
- Compound Tags (2:12): Several words that form a single tag. (Much like long-tail keywords for you SEO peeps.)
- Generic Tags (3:07): A higher-level descriptor of the type of content you’re offering.
- Misspellings (4:03): Very clever way to compensate for human error.
To apply this technique to your video marketing, you’re going to need to look underneath the hood. So, find a top-performing YouTube video in your niche and then use the following steps to snoop out the tags they’re using to get some ideas.
PRO TIP: If you have an existing audience in multilingual markets—OR you’re trying to break into a foreign market—use Google Translate to tag your videos in the appropriate language(s).
Write a Winning YouTube Description
The most effective video descriptions have these four things in common:
- The link you want to send traffic to at the top of your description to increase click-through-rates (CTRs).
- Your target keyword appears within the first twenty-five words of the description.
- Your video’s description is at least 250 words long.
- Your keyword is included three to four times in the description.
To nail your video descriptions, make sure you know:
- What keyword you’re targeting via smart research.
- Know where you want to send traffic + why your audience would logically visit the link as a next-step from your video.
- Exactly what value your video adds to your viewers. This way you can write copy that marries the promise you’re making with how you’re going to deliver on it.
Now you have 6 solid video marketing tips to rock on the world’s favorite video viewing platform and increase your traffic.
PRO TIP: Make sure you downloaded our free guide to video marketing strategy! It includes all the steps to align your video marketing efforts with your overall marketing strategy to help you achieve your business goals!