8 tips for your YouTube campaigns

With more than a billion unique users a month YouTube should be a vital part of your content marketing strategy. Here’s our guide to creating a really effective YouTube video…

 8 tips for your YouTube campaigns

YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine – behind its owner Google – with more than 1 billion unique users a month.

Here are a few reasons why businesses should take it seriously:

  • Some 67% of marketers say they plan to increase their YouTube marketing, while 81% of all companies are producing video content for their website.
  • YouTube is the best social media for introducing products and converting interest into sales, says AOL Platforms.
  • In a recent study, 95% of B2B firms say video marketing is both valuable and important, while a Forbes survey of executives found they watched work-related videos on websites at least once a week, 52% of them via YouTube.

So getting your YouTube campaign right is important. Here are some handy tips for creating an effective post…

1. Choose the right subject

While the top search themes are ‘music’ and ‘movies’, there’s also a high demand for ‘how to’ videos. In fact, research shows demand for instructional videos has grown 70% year-on-year.

So think about the niche of expertise you own, and what free info and advice you could credibly offer users in the form of How to… videos.

Spare parts suppliers eSpares is not only building an extensive library of really useful ‘How to’ videos (such as How to Fix a Washer Dryer and How to Replace a Tumble Dryer Heater), it has even produced an outtakes video showing their engineers struggling with simple tasks like decoupling a dishwasher cutlery tray. It’s generated lots of comments and positive brand sentiment. 

Halifax runs a series of YouTube videos based on topics like ‘How can I afford my first home’ or ‘What does Per Annum mean?’ The latter video has had over 1.1 million views.

2. Pick the right length

While it used to be the case that shorter was better when it came to videos, things are starting to change. 

When the Jun Group looked at the relationship between video advertising length and consumer engagement, it found videos between 30 and 60 seconds scored the most interaction.

The average video watching sessions on mobile are now over 40 minutes, Google has found – double what it was last year.

While this isn’t solely on one video, it means you can create content that is longer and more involved. But if you do opt for longer, remember to get straight into the content of the video.

Lengthy introductions to your company can cause users to leave before the true content even begins, says the Nielsen Norman Group. As with written content, you need to get the vital information across to them with as little fuss as possible.

3. Use annotations

Annotations – small bubbles containing links that pop up during videos – are great examples of how to use micro-content and nudge theory to move your customers from watching content to buying your products.

Often these bubbles will just say something like ‘Click here to subscribe’. But they can be used in cleverer ways:

  • Create chapter headings: If you’ve got a series of videos, make the annotation link to the next one, so users can click ahead to the content that is relevant to them. Cruise company Carnival uses annotations to move users from their ‘How to Cruise’ video to topics like ‘What’s Included?’ and ‘What’s there to do?’.
  • Make mini call to actions: Your video might cover a range of topics. As each topic is addressed in the video, provide links to the relevant sections of your website. TedTalks is a master of this, popping up annotations throughout their videos.
  • Cross-promote: Link to other social media sites. For example, try ‘Join in the discussion on Facebook’.
  • Keep them watching: YouTube says viewers prefer annotations at the end of videos, instead of mid-way through; this is because viewers want to keep watching videos instead of clicking on the next one while the current video is playing. So while annotations throughout are useful, ones at the end tend to be clicked more.

4. Create a playlist

Once you’ve set up your channel, you need to arrange your videos. If you’ve got a series of videos on one subject, create a playlist. This means the next video will automatically play.

Your playlist titles will also appear in searches separately.

American retailer Target creates playlists with simple titles like ‘Beauty’ or ‘Baby’. Within these playlists, there are a variety of topics covered by various videos – users are sent to the videos by searching through the playlist titles.

5. Use your text wisely

YouTube has plenty of space for description text – a massive 5,000 words. 

But be warned: only 157 characters appear on the ‘watch’ page (the page shown to someone watching the video). Viewers won’t be able to read past this unless they click ‘Show more’. 

These first few sentences will also be used by search engines, so make sure they give potential viewers all the information they need:

  • What the video is about: Is it instructional (how to), informational (10 reasons…), a guide, commentary, etc?
  • Why they should watch it: What benefits will they get? Will they ‘improve’, ‘learn’, ‘laugh’, etc?

Make sure your video’s title is concise, descriptive and to the point. Include the word ‘video’, as this will boost its ranking on search engines.

Descriptions are also a great place to include calls to action and links to your websites.

6. Include keywords

YouTube has a specific section in your channel settings for keywords, so make sure to use it.

You should also make sure your video titles and descriptions include some keywords.

Google recommends placing them earlier in the title so viewers can see what the video is actually about. After this, you can include other information, such as your brand name.

Unum uses this format successfully here: ‘Employee Benefits: Unum UK’, as do the Money Advice Service here: Affording a Car – Money Advice Service.

7. Engage with audiences

No form of social media is static. You don’t just write a Facebook post, tweet or put up a YouTube video and leave it there. You’ve got to be part of the conversation it provokes.

See what people are saying and respond to them. If they didn’t get what they wanted from this video, suggest another video they could try.

You can also post your videos in other people’s comments sections. For example, if there’s a video on buying a new home that users are finding unhelpful, post a video reply with your relevant video on the same topic.

One of HSBC’s most popular videos (HSBC Golf | It's Anyone's Game) has dozens of comments – many of which HSBC have replied to themselves. Even if it’s just to answer questions about what music was used in the video, it gives HSBC the chance to present an approachable face to its users.

8. Post regularly

While posting an image on Facebook or a blog on Twitter can be simple, organising regular videos takes a bit more time and planning.

But posting regularly will keep people coming back to your channel as it will get pushed up the search rankings, so it’s worth the planning effort.

Agree a frequency in your content calendar that you can realistically stick to and then make it happen. It’s a good idea to hire some equipment and film a number of videos at once. Break these up into smaller sections and dot them throughout your calendar.

ASICS posts every fortnight, running a series of videos on one topic such as running or rugby, for example, while bigger brands like Coca-Cola can afford to post a couple a day.