Getting the most out of YouTube

As a creative content team driven by performance, we are always looking at ways in which we can add value to our clients by optimising what they already have, and suggesting new and better ways to create engaging content going forward. All built around data insights and what we know as best practice to help drive results.

An increasingly big opportunity for brands to engage with their audiences comes via the YouTube platform, and it’s something we’ve started to help our clients make the most of.

As part of the Croud Academy Live series, myself, Head of Content at Croud, and Billy Leonard, Account Director, presented a webinar entitled ‘Getting the most out of YouTube’, which focused on the eight things that brands should be optimising to make the most of their current content on YouTube, as well as delving into the ways in which we, here at Croud, identify the content your brand should be creating.

The full video presentation can be found here, but for those short of time, I’ve summarised the eight optimisations that can give your current YouTube content a much-needed boost in the right direction.

The eight YouTube optimisations you need to implement are:

1. Titles and descriptions

Your title and description need to be optimised so that your video content appears when people search for related content, keep the below points in mind when adding to your videos.

  • The ideal title length is 50-60 characters, with any target keywords frontloaded
  • Popular search phrases to optimise around can be discovered using:

    • YouTube autocomplete
    • Competitor research
    • Existing video analysis
    • VidIQ’s Keyword Tool (Vid IQ is a powerful 3rd party chrome extension plugin)
    • Keyword research tools such as Ahrefs and

2. Tags and categories

YouTube Tags are words and phrases you can include in your YouTube videos’ description. They let your viewers, and YouTube, know what your videos are about and can help them rank higher in the platform’s search results.

  • The ideal tag is 2-3 words
  • Each video should have 8-12 relevant tags or more, with the most important keyword featuring in the first one.
  • Include brand names, product types, queries, names, places, songs and anything else deemed relevant to the video.
  • Research videos that rank well for your target terms and their related videos to identify relevant tagging options.

3. Custom thumbnails

According to YouTube, 90% of the best performing videos have custom thumbnails, here’s what you need to consider for yours.

  • The recommended dimension is 1280x720px which will scale to all sizes
  • Clever use of arrows, highlights, brand colours and typography help to catch the eye when scrolling through a feed
  • Use of text on thumbnails needs to be carefully considered. The vast majority of YouTube use is on small-screens, so any unclear or ambiguous text can be counter-productive.

4. Transcriptions, captions and translations

To reach a wider audience and make your content as accessible as possible you should consider adding the following to each piece of content.

  • Full transcriptions & closed captions – providing a word-for-word text version of each video, along with explaining audio cues (phones ringing for example) helps improve the likelihood of it appearing for target queries as well as the audiences that can engage with it, ranging from people with hearing difficulties, right through to those on a commute who do not want to disturb others
  • Multiple language subtitles – all videos can have multiple language subtitled versions added, this is important for reaching new markets and wider audiences around the world.

5. Cards and end screens

Encouraging some kind of action from your video is vital to keeping audiences engaged with everything you have to offer.

Cards – Appearing as links on the screen at a designated time spot, these are best placed at a poignant moment where a particular product is shown or action is mentioned.

  • Channel links – directing users to view more videos by the brand
  • Website links – note that only publishers that are part of the YouTube Partner Program are permitted to link to non-YouTube web pages from video cards
  • Polls – ask users a question or get feedback
  • Video / Playlist links – point viewers towards specific related content

End screens – rather than interrupting the flow of your video, similar actions can be added to extend the end of your video for up to 20 seconds, allowing certain calls to action to be featured.

The most common use of end screens is encouraging viewers to subscribe to your channel but links to other videos, and external websites can also be valuable elements to feature.

6. Integrate product links below videos

If you are registered as a merchant on Google shopping you can include direct links to your products under your video

7. Social cross-promotion

It goes without saying that you want to cross-promote on all the other social channels you have, so for every video you upload you want to make sure you also promote on those channels too.

8. Playlists

Playlists are popular as they allow you to mix and match your brand content with related videos.

  • If you can make a playlist of some of the best curated content that your audience wants to see, there is massive opportunity to keep an engaged audience coming back for more, and feeling like you really get them
  • Featuring influencer content amongst official videos is an excellent opportunity to engage with influencers who will be happy to have their content featured by the brand. This can go a long way in building a diversified and engaged audience on the platform, and brand ambassadors.
  • Playlists also offer excellent insight into the types of videos users want to see more of. Using YouTube analytics it’s possible to see which videos in your playlist get viewed, allowing you to tweak accordingly.

So there you have it, those are some of the top optimisations you should be making to your content that is currently on your channel, and going forward.

To view the entire presentation click here

I hope this has proved helpful, and do let us know if you want to see any other YouTube or content related topics covered in upcoming presentations.

by James Roach
20 April 2020



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