Your guide to Youtube marketing

Posted on: 2014-09-10

Youtube: much more than just pets doing funny things. Harness its potential as a marketing tool with this advice from guest blogger Ivan Serrano.

Youtube1We’ve all read articles about the pervasiveness of social media, but how often do they include Youtube? There’s no debate: Youtube is a form of social media.

Communicating on Youtube is clearly two-way: users are free to express their opinions on the content they see. They can choose the content they want to watch and follow (subscribe) to their favourites to see more.

The marketing campaigns, privately shared content, and other elements so common to Facebook and Twitter are there in Youtube, albeit in a different format. And although it fits into a conversation on social media, Youtube certainly hasn't lost its value as a learning tool outside the context of “likes” and retweets.

To give you an idea of Youtube’s strengths, let’s start with some useful statistics.

  • It’s been owned by Google since 2006, which has been working on applications that exploit Youtube’s video format (i.e. Google Hangouts).
  • It has over one billion total users.
  • Eighty percent of traffic is from outside the United States.
  • Forty percent of Youtube’s traffic comes from mobile devices.

And Youtube has kept growing over the last few years, with huge increases in the amount of video uploaded every minute (Year:hours of video per minute):



Uploaded video hours per minute











Much of the content uploaded to Youtube comes from marketers who appreciate the reach it has among internet users. For our purposes, Youtube can be broken down into video production and promotion. The key elements of video production and promotion can be divided into four topics:

1. Production elements: There are many video production tools offered by Youtube to enhance your video presentation. Here are four which you should consider to add significant value:

  • Post-production enhancements: Youtube has post-production features for adding annotations, thumbnails, and other features.
  • Branding intro: branding intros are short video clips that are added to the beginning of your video and help you promote your brand. Other uses for this feature include a quick before/after clip as the introduction in an educational video.
  • Live feed: Companies like Coca Cola have used Google Hangouts to stream live video promotions. The streamed video is automatically saved to Youtube so that it can be visited by your followers at a later date, adding even more value.
  • End slates: a brilliant way to get your users engaged, these are viewed at the end of a video and can be an effective tool to promote other content or create calls to action. There are training videos and free photo editing tools like Pic Monkey which can help you make these.

2. Channels and channel enhancements: channels are a collection of videos intended to build a community of subscribers. Channel enhancements include:

  • Channel trailer: a channel trailer is a short video representation of your Youtube channel (not unlike a movie trailer). It’s a summary of your channel designed to pique the viewer’s interest so that he/she will subscribe to you.
  • Channel art: this gives your channel a custom look and feel. Templates are available for download.
  • Channel subscriptions: channel-based subscriptions can be used within Youtube or managed with Google+ pages. You can manage multiple channels (up to 50) from one Google account.
  • "About" tab: channel owners can add text and links related to their account in an “About” tab – crucial for driving traffic to your website!
  • Migration to television (channelization project): Youtube is looking to broadcast channels to your TV using curated video channels. Simply put, it’s collecting Youtube videos from all sources and presenting them together.

3. Strategic marketing enhancements: Tools for search optimisation and analysis play an important role in improving and understanding the performance of your content. Although metadata is closely associated with SEO, many of the tools below play a role in directing users to your videos and channel(s).

  • Metadata: in the simplest terms, metadata means the phrases that people are typing in when they want to find your video. For help with your metadata keyword searches, use the Google Keyword tool. You should also consider the YouTube Keyword Tool for view counts, viewer, watch-time, and traffic source data.
  • Transcripts: transcripts add textual data to the video which can be used to create captions and enhance SEO.
  • Captions: video captions provide additional textual information during the video. It can be manually or automatically generated. One example could be captions for the entire narrative in your video, as you would have in a closed captioned television programme for the hearing impaired. Another example could be short captions to support the narrative in an instructional video.
  • Calls to action: these could take the form of an overlay, caption, or other display which is used to prompt the viewer to take action while viewing a video. Whatever the action, it’s a useful tool for building engagement with your audience.
  • Custom overlays: similar in function to a pop-up message, these appear as soon as your video begins and can be closed by the user. They can enhance your ability to engage the viewer with a call to action and/or redirect them to a website or product, for example.
  • Custom and social links: overlay one custom link and up to 4 social links on top of your channel art. Social media links must be selected from YouTube’s drop-down menu of social networks. Although you can’t select your own links, you can choose from a wide range of social media sites, including Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Blogger, etc.
  • Optimise your description: keep the most important part of your description within the first 1-2 sentences, and include a link to your website or landing page. YouTube truncates your description, so only the first 2 sentences are shown when viewers watch your video.

4. Engagement: After discovering your videos (or video channels), users will send feedback and share with others. The simplest way to share videos is to simply share the URL via email, Facebook, Twitter, etc. As mentioned earlier, Facebook will automatically embed the video using the URL that you’re sharing. Plus, if you want to share the video on your website, Youtube provides a snippet of code for embedding it.

5. Cross promotion: the indirect impact of Youtube on other forms of social media is quite significant.

A day rarely goes by when a Facebook user doesn’t see a link to a Youtube video. And with 74% of internet users on social media, you can’t ignore the power of social sharing. Embedded videos in particular are quite pervasive in website development and will contribute to your overall exposure.

6. Creators and curators: these terms allude to both users and Youtube’s business model, since both are exploiting the advantages of curator features in channel development.

  • Creators: forty-six percent of adult internet users post photos or videos that they themselves have created.
  • Curators: forty-one percent of adult internet users refer to photos or videos that they have found online by posting them on other sites.

Having the freedom to create videos and include reference videos in a single channel gives you as a marketer a lot of choices.

When you next visit Youtube, look at the “recommended videos” on the right-hand sidebar as you’re watching videos. Those are the videos that have the highest retention rates and are examples of successfully marketed content. Putting in the appropriate time and effort can earn you rewards. These guidelines will help you get started.

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About this blog

The B2B PR Blog is a resource for both PR professionals and people working in B2B industries on how to devise and implement successful B2B PR campaigns. The blog was founded by B2B PR specialist Heather Baker, who runs video production and corporate animation agency TopLine Film and digital PR and SEO agency  TopLine Comms. The B2B PR Blog takes contributions from sensible industry folk with something interesting to say.


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