YouTube is an amazing thing. Whether you want to educate yourself with TED talks, or you just want to look at cute videos of baby animals, YouTube is a wonderful resource. But it isn’t only puppy videos and music videos that attract viewers. In fact, one in four YouTubers have watched a branded video in the last month.
This means that YouTube is an incredibly useful marketing tool. But how do you optimize your brand’s presence on YouTube? Let’s break it down.
Over 400 hours of video are uploaded every minute....that’s a lot of video. YouTube needed a way to automate which videos are presented to each viewer.
The first algorithm YouTube used calculated the number of times people clicked play on a video. Obviously this method had its flaws, as it didn’t take into consideration how long the viewers spent watching the video. This meant that spammers could create false descriptions of thumbnails, leading to many views even if people stopped watched immediately.
That all changed in 2016. YouTube started focusing on how long viewers stayed on the videos. The YouTube algorithm also considers what people are watching, how many videos people watch in one “session” and the direct feedback of viewers (likes, dislikes, or not interested).
So what impact does the algorithm have on the site? It determines:
In other words, it’s pretty important.
So now that you know how the YouTube algorithm works, how do you leverage those principles into improving your ranking on the site?
You can never underestimate the importance of SEO. If you ever want to improve your visibility on YouTube, you have to make sure people can find your videos in the first place. Be concise in your copy and make sure that you accurately explain what the video is about. Otherwise, people might bail after a few seconds, which will hurt your YouTube ranking.
The first thing your audience sees when they find one of your videos is the thumbnail. Use eye-catching images that will attract your viewer’s attention. Try to avoid using text. Instead, use bright colors and close ups of faces. It’s a good idea to have your thumbnail accurately represent the first ten or twenty seconds of the video. Otherwise, the viewer might feel duped and click away.
Our attention spans are very short (so kudos for making it this far into the article!). If viewers aren’t watching the entirety of your videos, it will hurt your YouTube ranking. Hook your audience early by explaining the perks of watching the whole video. Try teasing some information you are planning to share at the very end to pique their interest.
We’ve all gone done the YouTube rabbit hole. Maybe you thought you would take a five minute break with one funny video. Next thing you know, you have spent six hours watching Conan awkwardly dance. Why? Because of the playlist!
A good playlist will increase your session time. Bundle videos that are targeted at the same audience together. You could also use related videos in your playlists (just don’t link your competitors’ videos).
One of the things that improves your ranking is view velocity. View velocity refers to the number of subscribers that watch a video in the first days of it being published. The more subscribers you have, the better. You can increase the amount of subscribers you have by promoting your YouTube channel on other social media platforms and by publishing regularly. Try sticking to a video a week schedule.
YouTube isn’t shy about sharing their analytics. Figure out which videos on your topics get the most views and why. Remember, there is always room for improvement.
With one billion active users a month, YouTube is a great way to generate revenue and increase your visibility as a brand. But one bad video can destroy your ranking in the YouTube algorithm. Don’t be afraid to try new things or rework content that isn’t performing well. Use our tips and celebrate your success stories in the comment section!
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