By Jon Clark, managing partner at Moving Traffic Media, a New York digital agency offering PPC and SEO services.
With over 2 billion monthly logged-in users, YouTube is the second most popular entertainment app behind Netflix. Yet you could be churning out quality content for a number of years and when you look at viewership, you see that you’ve only managed to get 33 views, four likes and zero comments. This can be frustrating.
Whether this is your experience or not, I’m going to show you how to gain more video views and get a bigger slice of the YouTube user pie. As a digital marketer for more than 15 years, I’ve optimized hundreds of YouTube videos and spent thousands in advertising dollars across YouTube for everything from branding efforts to campaigns with acquisition goals. Let’s dive in.
Get Your Channel Fundamentals Right
There are certain foundational blocks for a great YouTube channel. These include:
• Channel name: Carefully pick the name of your YouTube channel. You’re better off with a unique, easy to remember and creatively descriptive (not literally descriptive) channel name.
• Channel icon: This is the visual image of your channel. If you’re the face of your channel, a friendly, disarming photo of you is ideal. But you can also decide to use a good logo (this is usually best for nonpersonal channels) or other visuals.
• Filling out the About section well: Briefly but enticingly tell your viewers and potential subscribers what your channel is all about. Remember to use relevant keywords naturally.
• Picking your niche: A niche denotes the channel’s specific subject matter. You’re more likely to get more views if you stick to a particular niche than if you are a jack-of-all-trades.
Use Stand-Out Video Thumbnails
Thumbnails are like signposts or billboards for your YouTube videos. They are crucial for driving viewership. According to YouTube, 90% of its top-performing videos have custom thumbnails.
One hurdle to overcome is only being able to customize your thumbnail if your YouTube account is verified. If you don’t have a verified account, you can only use the automatically generated ones.
So what should your thumbnail look like? It should stand out and have a good resolution. The minimum recommended resolution is 1280 x 720 pixels.
Also try to use colors that stand out. Black and white easily blend in with YouTube’s brand colors — and could be easily drowned out in the sea of other videos. We’ve found that red, green and blue tend to fare much better.
Write Creative Video Descriptions
No YouTube video deserves a bland description. These three tips may help transform a good video description into a great one.
1. Write a compelling introduction. You may not have to use superlatives, but include two or three sentences (with at least one primary keyword) to summarize what the video is about.
2. Craft a body where you share more details about the specifics of your video.
3. Share links. At the end, direct people to your other social media accounts, like your Twitter profile.
Creating playlists of your videos can help you subtly hook your viewers to your channel. Instead of moving to other channels, they’ll be led seamlessly to your other videos.
Remember to be diverse with your playlist options. Consider collaborating on playlists with other creators, or include other videos from channels you admire. The goal, of course, is that they will return the favor and expose your videos to their audiences.
Be Creative With Your Video Title
It’s important to carefully craft a great video title. This is what YouTube says about video titles: “Well-written titles can be the difference between someone watching and sharing your video, or scrolling right past it.” While you should resist the urge to use clickbait to drive YouTube views, you can enticingly tease what’s in the video.
Including numbers as part of your title, such as “5 ways to cook spinach,” and parenthetical remarks, such as “5 ways to cook spinach (according to a new study),” may also help you gain more views.
Titles with “how to” in them also usually resonate well with YouTube audiences.
Make Sure Your Video Is Among YouTube’s Suggested Videos
YouTube users can find videos by doing a targeted search. For example, if they want to watch a video on sharks from National Geographic, they could simply type in “sharks National Geographic.” The YouTube algorithm uses video metadata to select and suggest videos to viewers.
So to ramp up video view count, implement a strategy for your description and keyword tags:
• To start, make sure both focus on one primary keyword.
• Limit tags to 10 to 12 and focus on variations of the primary keyword.
• Make sure your description is at least three sentences.
• Within the description field, add links to newer videos to generate more views.
• Consider using hashtags to help users find content on a specific topic, but note that YouTube will ignore all hashtags if a video has more than 15.
• Include a generic three- to five-sentence description of the show/channel at the bottom of the video description. Pro tip: Use the defaults tool on YouTube.
Tap Into Trends
While many people see YouTube as a video streaming app and a social platform, it’s also a search engine. To boost your view count, make sure your video ranks high in search results by identifying and tapping into current trends. Google Trends is a great tool for this — just use the Explore feature or type in a term about a specific topic to see whether/when it’s trending. You can also filter by country, region, state or city for a more localized view.
One Final Tip To Boost Views
Be sure to share your videos on other social media channels to draw in even more viewers.
Implement these suggestions, and you’ll be on your way to becoming a successful YouTuber.
Forbes – Entrepreneurs