YouTube is the third most visited website in the world. I believe it.
And it’s not just TV. It’s a social network + advertising platform + content platform.
In other words, YouTube is many things to many people. In many ways, it defies categorization.
And that’s frankly a bit scary.
As Mr. Ziglar said, and I remind myself of it as much as I can: “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”
YouTube is an enormous opportunity for everyone who wants to produce content.
Let’s talk numbers, because I’m a numbers guy.
- The total number of people who use YouTube – 1,300,000,000. (Billion! That’s a LOT of zeroes!)
- YouTube gets over 30 million visitors per day.
- In an average month, 8 out of ten 18-49 year-olds watch YouTube.
- The average mobile viewing session lasts more than 40 minutes.
- More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices.
There are plenty more stats, if you want them.
But I think I’ve painted the picture for you: you could make a splash and get some customers on YouTube. There are people there.
So how do you find them, keep them, and convert them to paying customers?
What YouTube metrics matter?
It’s not necessarily views, even though that’s what you hear about in conversation.
A view, by definition, happens when the video is played.
Here’s the tricky part of a view: it’s logged every time a video player loaded, which doesn’t tell you whether or not that person actually watched it.
So what you want, in fact, is watch time.
Watch time tells you how engaged your viewers are.
Longer watch time = better.
It’s measured in cumulative minutes watched, and every video and every channel on YouTube is ranked by watch time. If your video or channel has higher watch times, it’s more likely to be higher in the search results and the recommendations.
For example: a 20-second video that gets watched from beginning to end will outrank a 10-minute video that people only watch for a minute or two.
Note: YouTube ads don’t count toward your watch time.
Subscribers, those people who subscribe to your channel (or any channel), are far more engaged than other YouTube viewers.
Subscribing connects viewers to you. They’re as warm an audience as you can get!
Shares, links, and embeds
Shares are an indication of what is resonating with your audience. You’ll also want to look at how often the links and players are embedded on other sites.
How can you impact your YouTube metrics?
Get more subscribers
One obvious way is to convert casual viewers to channel subscribers. Here are some tips to make that happen:
Creation story. Share how you began and what got things started for you. Make your message relatable to your audience.
Creed. What makes you tick? How can you make it resonate for your audience?
Personality. Consistency is important: subscribers like personalities associated with the channels they subscribe to. Be an authority and let your personality shine through.
Rituals. Maybe you have a certain greeting or phrase that you begin or end with.
Language. Here’s a way to make your viewers feel like insiders: come up with your own lingo or phrases that describe things.
Put annotations on videos
Have you ever watched a video and noticed that there are clickable words and boxes that show up?
Those are annotations.
The best place to use them is “10 in and 10 out” — the first 10% and the last 10% of your video. So take the length of your video and make sure you have annotations planned for that first 10% and last 10%.
A cautionary note: only use one annotation at a time.
Know your keywords and phrases
Your Google Analytics and YouTube accounts should be linked. (If they’re not, go do that right now.)
Spend time on YouTube researching the keywords and phrases that bring up content like yours. This is worth an investment of time, and maybe even asking some people who are in the group you want to reach (i.e., if you’re trying to reach women, ask women). What are people searching for?
Then make sure you are using those keywords and phrases within your descriptions and tags and even in the title of your video.
Does your video have a strong call to action? Because if it doesn’t…why not? You can do that within your annotations, in the description, and also within the video itself.
Produce great content
Saving the best for last: great content!
Some quick tips related to that:
- Focus on one specific need in each video.
- Get the right length, about 3 minutes
- Consistency + congruency = win!
What can you measure and track to know if you’re succeeding on YouTube?
There’s a lot of information available, that’s for sure! These areas should be, at a minimum, things you’re considering and looking at as you build and grow your YouTube presence:
Views over time
This gives you an idea of trends, of how you’re growing (or not) and of changes. It’s a way of stepping back and looking at the big picture.
Source of traffic
Where are people coming from? Are they embedding your player, finding it through an ad, YouTube search, Google search, an outside website…?
You might think you’re appealing to a 40-something woman in the Midwest when, in reality, you’re being watched and shared by 30-year-old men on the west coast. (That is a slight and crazy exaggeration, yes.)
Understanding your audience will help you make better content and who you are reaching. There’s a lot to be learned from that information, including where your viewers are from and what kind of impact you have geographically.
How is your audience discovering your content? You can learn whether they are searching and finding it within YouTube or from another website.
Wonder where you lose people? The Audience Retention page will tell you…and paying attention to when people stop watching can inform your future videos.
Yes, this is a theme: subscribers are important! But when are they joining? And leaving? What does that measurement look like?
This goes almost without saying: tapping into the social nature of YouTube is a must. You can also see where people are sharing things (hint: Facebook wins most of the time).
When you get comments, respond to them. This is part of the back-and-forth that makes YouTube a community atmosphere.
You can also cross-reference your commenting statistics with others, you can gain further insight into what’s working with your audience.
Likes, dislikes, and favorites
Very few people will actually leave a comment, but a lot of people will like, dislike, or favorite a video that strikes a chord. Make sure you’re tracking this information and watching it.
Things to make sure you have set up properly
- YouTube channel and AdWords account
- The connection (link) between YouTube and AdWords
- Video remarketing lists in AdWords
- Conversion tracking pixels from AdWords placed accordingly
Strategies to use with YouTube
- Get back in front of users who don’t register or buy
- Build video remarketing list off first video ad
- Target those viewers with a new video ad
- Exclude those who convert
- Stop advertising to those who have registered or purchased
- Increase your reach with similar audiences and Google Display Network