Is YouTube Marketing Effective?

October 10, 2018

YouTube and Video Marketing are phrases that go hand in hand. Over the past year, we have seen many changes in YouTube's terms of service and there are likely many more changes to come. That doesn't mean, however, that YouTube is not a good platform for marketing. It just means we have to be smarter about it. So, is YouTube marketing as effective as it always was (or was it ever in the first place)?

YouTube is still one of the major players when it comes to social media traffic. Even though the platform doesn't like you taking traffic off-site, it does still allow it (although some of the rules have changed). YouTube is still probably the most effective free traffic source bar Pinterest.

Now that you know how to create videos yourself (check out the free Quickstart Video course, if you've missed it), you might want to tap into this traffic source but what is the most effective way of using YouTube currently?

First of all, we need to see what the options are...

Free Traffic From Your Videos

This is really the holy grail when it comes to YouTube marketing. The idea behind it is that you create regular content to engage your visitors. That content is then watched and your viewers follow any links that you have posted in the description.

When most people think about video marketing, this is what they're talking about. There are some problems with the idea, however.

Recently, Google started to crack down on videos that it thought were 'spammy'. You shouldn't produce content to get someone to click away from YouTube. That's actually in their TOS.

This has lead to a lot of channels getting videos de-ranked. What's more, they don't see the sort of traffic that they were expecting. Unfortunately, once your channel is targeted, there's not much you can do about it. You see, YouTube uses a channel's watch time as an indicator of whether the channel is good. Watch time is a bit like a Bounce Rate for videos. If you've only made short-form content (approx 1min), you get into an endless loop of video creation. You'll need to in order to compete with those producing 20-minute videos in your niche.

This is part of what's known by YouTubers as the YouTube Treadmill. It doesn't just affect content creators with short-form content. Many larger, long-form channels are finding the same is true for them. This leads to a spiral where watch times are decreased overall and rankings for all of their videos can slip.

But, this does not mean that these tactics are not as valid as they used to be. It just means that you currently have to put our more content to be effective. Never the less, free traffic from YouTube remains a good source.

Paid YouTube Ads On Others Videos

Of course, video marketing encompasses the whole marketing arena and there is nothing wrong with some paid traffic. One of the great things you can do with video marketing is to target people when they are in the mood to hear your message.

For example, imagine you run a photography website which has photoshop tutorials. What better way to promote your site than targeting YouTube channels (and even individual videos) that are all about photoshop. Even better, you can segment your audience down to beginners, intermediates and advanced users. That way, you know they are getting the right type of information from you as soon as your advert hits.

Paid adverts are mostly in the form of a video and you have around 5 seconds to grab your audience's attention. In fact, this is where most ads fail by not building that hook into the first few seconds of their presentation.

Whilst targeting is not as ubiquitous as Facebook, you can still use demographics, location, interests, viewing devices (laptop, cell phone, tablet, etc.) and even time of day to find your audiences. And, of course, you can target individual channels or videos.

Targeting videos in this way sometimes give you the cheapest traffic. It also brings in viewers who are more likely to be in your own target demographic.

Paid YouTube Ads On Your Videos

Most people don't consider that if you are targeting videos with paid advertising, you can easily target your own. Now, you will need two Google accounts to do this. Firstly, keep one channel as your content channel. This should have all of the ranking videos on. Secondly, create a channel that has nothing but your adverts. You then serve those up to your content channel as they are watching a video.

I mentioned earlier that YouTube doesn't like content that is there to get users to click away. The exception to this rule is advertising. After all, that is the point of people paying for ads.

This is actually the cheapest form of paid YouTube traffic you can find. That is, of course, until you become hyper-popular. The thing that you absolutely have to get right with this is the content you put out. You need to be engaging your audience from day one. You need to make sure the content you are providing is something new and valuable. Like any form of content marketing, it's important to know what's out there. It's also important to understand what your target audience does & doesn't know.

Either way, this is a great way of promoting yourself and getting clicks. This double-dip option will also help build your credibility. Video ads help you interact with your customers on a more authentic level. They are also great (as is the YouTube platform) for interacting with your potential audience.

Avoiding The YouTube Treadmill

As we discussed before, you want to try and stay away from reducing your watch time. This is a demographic that occurs on both your channel & individual videos. You can actually attack this from two different angles.

Use The Pareto Principle

This is more commonly called the 80/20 rule and it appears throughout nature. In this instance, you want to use the rule to determine how many promotional videos to put out. When creating content, make sure that only 2 in 10 videos link out to an offer or website. The rest of the videos should be valuable content that tries to get the viewer to stay on the site.

This means, For every 1 offer you put out, you make 5 videos that are either linked to that topic or relevant to that video. You then link the 5 videos to the offer video using cards and end templates.

This means that a user watching one of those videos has an option of clicking through to your offer video. This keeps the user not only on YouTube but on your channel. It increases watch time. It will also give you a tick from Google because you're getting them to stay on the platform, at least for one more video.

Use A Dummy Channel

As you can see from the above method, the point of these strategies is to keep people on YouTube. But, you want to get people to your offers, right? A dummy channel can be used as a link between your videos and your offer.

The idea is that you publish all of your offer videos to one channel. This channel, you are going to sacrifice the rankings of. Don't expect to get eyes on those offers directly. The second channel (your main channel) should contain nothing but content.

Your content channel is what will rank here and you need to do your best to produce good quality content. On each of these videos, you can push people to your second channel, to your offers. This will keep the watch time of your main channel high. It should also garner a decent audience because you're producing good content. I've seen several channels use this 'second channel' method to great effect.

Making Sure Your Content Is Ready For Launch

Whilst there have been changes, I hope you can see YouTube is still worth working with. The major thing that people tend to get wrong when uploading their content is not following a checklist. The success of your video can rest on doing some very odd things. It's not all common sense and opinion on these things is divided. After all, we don't really know what metrics Google is using to rank videos, we can only have an educated guess. There are a few things they have admitted to (like watch time) but that is far from everything.

Because of that, having a checklist of the most widely regarded tasks is probably a good idea. Here are a few things to do to help you out...

  1. Make sure your video is at least 1080p (Full HD)
    HD videos are watched more than SD ones. If you can make something 4K do, but you don't really need to yet.
  2. Name Your Video File With Your Main Keyword
    Opinion is divided on whether this works or not but a lot of people say that it does so why not... It doesn't take a minute, after all.
  3. Add your tags to your video's metadata
    Right click on your file and select properties. It should give you the option to change metadata. Put your top 5 keywords in there.
  4. Create a thumbnail
    Your thumbnail should ideally have an image of a face on it as well as the title of your video
  5. Upload the file as 'Unlisted'
    Your video isn't ranked if you do this and will only be assessed for rank once you make it public.

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