In recent years video marketing’s popularity has rapidly increased due to its ability to engage customers better than other marketing channels.
Due to this increase in the use of video marketing, there is a very high competition over customers’ time and attention. Millions of videos being posted every day and all of them competing for some attention from customers. But do all videos work? Do all videos manage to get the engagement they should?
The answer is no. Visit YouTube today and you will find millions of videos without comments while others are struggling to hit a thousand views.
Many marketers still haven’t figured out how they can increase engagement in their YouTube channels. Here are seven simple strategies you can use today to boost your videos’ viewership and increase engagement with your YouTube audience.
1. Shorter videos get the most views
Does video size determine how much engagement gets?
To answer this questions, think of the first thing you do whenever you search on YouTube, I bet you check for a video’s length and choose a video that’s shorter over longer ones.
A recent analysis of video performance revealed that videos between 16 to 120 seconds generate almost 50% of all YouTube views. Videos shorter than two minutes are outperforming longer videos.
In this age of limited attention spans, it has never been harder to capture and maintain people’s attention. But as the study referenced above shows, it’s much easier to convince viewers to watch a shorter video than a longer one.
Use this to direct the size of your YouTube videos. The next time you are creating a YouTube video try limiting it to a couple of minutes at most. Doing so will increase the chances of your audience viewing it; and in marketing, views are the stepping stone to more engagement.
2. Employ basic SEO and marketing principles on YouTube
The first thing that beginner marketers learn on their journey to marketing prowess is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). This is the ability to increase the quality and quantity of traffic to any marketing tool through organic search traffic. In the case of YouTube SEO makes your videos easier to locate on YouTube search, and the higher they appear on searches the more views they get.
Although the application of SEO changes from one marketing platform to another, the fundamental principles that guide SEO remain the same. Their tactical application just changes as different marketing channels have different requirements and rules.
Here are three SEO strategies you can use to increase your videos’ engagement;
- Keyword optimization. Before posting any video commit some time to keyword research to ensure that your videos rank higher for the keywords you are targeting. Ensure the keywords you are targeting are getting a decent search volume before using them in the title of your video.
- Extend video descriptions past a few words. Since YouTube cannot listen to your videos, it leans on the text around your video to determine how it should be ranked. Use long-tail keywords in video descriptions to increase your chances of ranking higher and getting more views for your videos.
- Promote tirelessly. Due to the high competition on YouTube, you need to actively promote your videos for them to get a decent amount of viewership and engagement. Using other marketing such as email, Facebook and Twitter to share your videos will go a long way in increasing your engagement.
YouTube has over a billion users, and if you don’t use these and other common SEO principles, your channel’s engagement will always remain low.
3. Actively encourage your viewers to comment, share and like your videos
Engagement is a two-way street that requires input from both you and your viewers. Given that video likes, shares and comments are some of the metrics used to measure engagement, you have to do whatever it takes to drive your viewers to take these actions.
Since most YouTube viewers will hurry off to another video after finishing yours, it’ no wonder that most videos have a very low number of likes and shares compared to their views. The number of comments is even smaller since commenting requires more effort and not everyone is willing to do it by default.
Given these facts, you have to encourage your viewers to like, share and comment on your videos. Most YouTubers simply dedicate the first and last few seconds of their videos to asking their viewers to like and share their videos and to leave comments with questions, ideas for future videos or suggestions for improvements.
4. Respond to viewer behavior in a timely manner
Your viewers value being recognized and appreciated for their actions.
Always remember that whenever a YouTube user views, shares your videos, comments or subscriptions to your channel, they are using effort that they didn’t have to. Make it a point to reward these efforts. Maybe not all of them, but always appreciate viewers who go out of their way to engage actively with your videos.
If a user tweets your video, show appreciation by retweeting them and thanking them. If a viewer asks a question, answer it as soon as possible. If they are dissatisfied with the video or leave suggestions for improvement, appreciate them by thanking them in another comment. And always ensure that you respond in a way that encourages conversation rather than ends it.
Since your viewers will not be waiting around all day, take action in the shortest amount of time to avoid losing them or their interest in engaging with you.
5. Be consistent with creation and posting of quality content
Your channel isn’t going to do you any good if there is no content for viewers to engage with.
Just like content marketers have to produce quality content on a regular basis to benefit, YouTubers have to post new videos regularly to keep their audiences engaged.
Just like in other social media platforms, (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter) long periods of silence will kill your engagement and eventually your channel.
If you want to become a popular YouTuber, don’t stop at posting frequently. You can use timing to make your viewers look forward to your next video by maintaining a regular and consistent posting schedule. That way, your fans will always be looking forward to your next posting day so that they can view your new videos.
As a general rule of marketing, quality outweighs quantity. A thousand videos will do you little good if they are badly edited and of low quality.
6. Utilize Annotations and CTAs to direct viewer behavior.
While encouraging your users to view and share your videos will increase engagement, it’s not enough to reap the full benefits of YouTube marketing.
Annotations and Calls-to-Action (CTAs) are another effective way of getting your readers to engage with your videos and your channel in general.
Annotations are small boxes that pop up on the screen while a video is playing. You can leverage annotations for just about anything. You can start by pointing viewers to other videos from your channel thus increasing viewer engagement with the rest of your channel. Similarly, you can ask them to subscribe to your YouTube channel or mailing list.
To make your use of annotations more effective, couple them with compelling CTAs that lead them towards a desirable behavior.
7. Use YouTube analytics to optimize your video marketing strategy
YouTube provides a lot of useful data about the performance of your videos and your channel.
The data is all in-house, meaning you don’t need external software to understand your viewers. Given the amount of time, effort, creativity and probably money that you have invested in the creation of your videos, they deserve the best results in terms of the amount of engagement they receive.
While small-time and amateur YouTubers can get away with trial and error tactics, your business cannot survive by them.
You need to know what is working and what isn’t so that you can grow and maintain your channel effectively.
YouTube analytics will help you with that. It will give you a wealth of data such as;
- The average face-time your videos get
- Your traffic sources e.g. YouTube search, channel pages, YouTube ads etc.
- Your viewers’ demographic e.g. device, age, geography and more
- Audience retention and subscriber rates
Using this information you can better understand what works and what doesn’t. You can also know what types of videos are driving the highest engagement and produce similar videos in the future.
Optimization is the one strategy that will reap very huge benefits for your channel in the long term; don’t neglect it
Patience plus strategic effort equal to higher engagement
Like other marketing channels, success on YouTube comes to those who put in consistent effort over longer periods of time.
Don’t expect a huge boost in your engagement levels in the early days of your YouTube channel. Give it time to grow slowly and develop a reliable audience of fans who love you and are willing to engage with your channel.
Decent results may take a few months to show, but once you use these seven strategies effectively you can be assured of more view for your videos, more shares, more comment and inevitably, more engagement.
Written by Hassan Mansoor. Hassan is the Founder and Director at Technical Minds Web. After completing a Masters in Business Administration, he established a small digital marketing agency with the primary focus to help small business owners grow their online businesses. Being a small entrepreneur, he has learned from project management, and day to day staff management as well as staff productivity. He’s a regular contributor on Business.com.