In this digital world of Short-Form content, we have come full circle from the Long-Form videos of YouTube. Does that mean YouTube is no longer an important platform? Absolutely not, and here’s why.

After its inception in 2005, YouTube remains the most popular long-form video platform, with almost 3 billion users and a recognised authority as the biggest social media platform in the FREE landscape video space. With all that in mind, how can you and your business use YouTube to succeed?

 

Successful YouTube optimisation can be broken down into 6 essential parts:

 

Make Videos of VALUE

We’ve all heard the sayings about putting lipstick on pigs and dressing up 💩 in fancy clothes. The truth is, YouTube viewers (like everyone on social media) have the ultimate say on what is worthwhile and what isn’t. Regardless of the thumbnails and titles you’re using (see Tip 2 anchor to tip 2), your videos must be valuable to a prospective viewer by either promoting your brand, showcasing your products or answering a question in a way which is engaging. 

Naming Conventions and Thumbnails

These are the first two things a viewer will see and thus form the most important parts of converting scrolling traffic into viewers, subscribers and ultimately customers. When uploading a video to your channel, ensure that you have a couple of title options and an interesting thumbnail to draw people in. These things improve your Click-Through Rate (CTA), which is an important metric on YouTube.

  • The best types of titles are either searchable phrases (“How to Make Money on Shopify | BrandName”) or curiosity-driven clickbait (“Shopify Just Got SO Easy | BrandName”). Note: don’t be scared of the word clickbait, as the connotations of it being evil are only relevant if your videos are baiting viewers without providing the value mentioned in Tip 1 once users arrive on your content.
  • The best types of thumbnails showcase a hint of what the video is about, whilst being interesting enough to grab a viewer’s attention.

Channel Customisation

Once your new viewers see that your videos are great, they’re going to be tempted to check out your channel. Much like any landing page, you need to put your best digital foot forward the moment they arrive.

  • The channel must have a Profile Picture and Channel Art Banner Image (the latter is quite a tricky one to size nicely, so ensure that it is sized for both Desktop and Mobile). It should also have a Featured Video (ideally a ‘Welcome to the Channel’ video).
  • Ensure the channel has a transparent logo for the Video Watermark on YouTube which should be shown throughout the entirety of each video.
  • Update your Basic info section with a handle (@brandname) that matches all your other social media platforms. (This feature is new to YouTube for 2023 so the default handle will most likely be something like: “channelname1234”).
    If your usual handle is unavailable, try adding your country code (BrandNameAU) or add the word “Official” (BrandNameOfficial).
  • Ensure their Channel Description is succinct, accurate and optimised for mobile and desktop. If the first sentence doesn’t fit on the mobile version of your channel, trim the characters or words until it does.
  • Make use of relevant Keywords and update your Tags in Channel Settings (Advanced Settings) and Upload Defaults as well as throughout your channel bio and video descriptions for enhanced Search Engine Optimisation. This is important as YouTube ranks as the second-most popular search engine to Google itself (beating Bing, Ask.com and Yahoo combined).

Playlists

Once your new viewers have landed on your channel page, the best thing you can do is create playlists to help them find what they’re looking for! Playlists should be created around a clear channel trend (eg: Product Reviews, Tips & Tricks, Interview Series, Podcasts [NEW Feature]). 

Playlists can also give you a single link to drive traffic to which is more broad than a single video but less vague than linking to your entire channel. Your channel’s bounce rate (people exiting) will increase as long as there is work involved for the viewer, so ensure that their experience is as seamless as possible from the start. 

Additional Edit Features

  • End Screens should end the video with a clear direction of what the viewer should tap next (”Best For Viewer”/”Most Recent Upload”) as well as a Call to Action to Subscribe to the channel. End screen elements have to include at least 1 video and must be shown for a minimum of 5 seconds
  • Cards are able to be dotted throughout a video and can link to other videos with teasers which pop up whilst a person is watching. Be careful with these, as complimentary videos are helpful but only if you’re comfortable with viewers getting redirected to other videos in the middle of the one they’re watching.
  • Chapters help segment long videos into bite-sized sections (Intro/Topic/Topic/…./Outro). YouTube will make these automatically if given approval to do so at upload, however adding them in manually yourself (by adding time stamps in the description) speeds up the process and ensures they are tailored.
  • Audio can be added from YouTube’s list of royalty-free music, however unlike with TikTok and Instagram, the audio is not an algorithmic tool; it is simply something that can be used over silent/muted or copyrighted videos. Shorts are exempt from copyright exclusion under “Shorts Policy”.

The Use of Shorts

Shorts are YouTube’s version of Reels and TikToks and are the new, shiny thing being pushed through their algorithm above everything else. Posting Shorts content is the best way to get new traffic and fresh eyes on your channel.

Ensure the titles of your Shorts are succinct and slightly ‘click-baity’ (within reason). These videos are 60 seconds max and need to be 9:16 (Portrait). Native editing in YouTube for Shorts doesn’t serve much algorithmic advantage so pre-edited videos from Instagram and TikTok will do fine, if you are already posting there.

So what should you do with all of this information?

The best way to look at YouTube as a digital marketing tool, is to understand that the platform has pivoted to become a free version of Netflix, Stan and Disney+ (with a hint of TikTok). YouTube’s algorithm will continue to reward channels like yours if the videos you upload are worthwhile, engaging and keep users on the platform for hours and hours. If you want to get value out of YouTube to elevate your business, contact the OMG Digital Team today!