Despite the ever-growing number of digital marketing channels, YouTube maintains its position as one of the most effective ones. Why use YouTube for marketing, and how to take your YouTube marketing to the next level? Read on to find out.
Judging by the time you’re probably spending watching videos on the platform, you can probably guess that this social network has an enormous reach. Still, it’s useful to look at a few statistics to prove the point:
- YouTube has 1.7 billion unique monthly visitors.
- In the US, 62% of internet users access YouTube every day, while 85% access it weekly.
- YouTube’s website has the second largest traffic after Google.
- People spend an average of 19 minutes on YouTube daily.
So, YouTube marketing has the potential to reach an immense number of people, and sure enough, if you’re relying on organic reach, quality content can still find a place on the platform. But is YouTube effective for marketing? We’ll explore that in the next section.
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Is YouTube effective for marketing?
While the sheer number of people using YouTube is indicative of the platform’s marketing potential, to understand why use YouTube for marketing, we still need to take a closer look at some YouTube marketing statistics.
The average CTR for YouTube ads is 0.65%. Compare that to the average click-through rates for display ads (0.46%) and Facebook ads (0.90%). You can see how YouTube advertising is just as effective as some of the other key digital marketing channels.
Moreover, over half of marketers (55%) have a YouTube marketing strategy as part of their overall marketing plan.
When discussing other digital marketing platforms, you should always consider whether your audience uses this platform and whether creating a YouTube marketing strategy makes sense within your business plan.
Unlike other social media, YouTube caters exclusively to video content. While they are highly rewarding for marketers, videos take a lot of time and resources to create. This is something to consider before you start devising your YouTube marketing strategies.
Also, remember that there are two possible routes you can take with marketing on YouTube:
- Marketing your own YouTube channel
- Running ads that point to your website or app
The latter approach doesn’t require you to create and maintain a strong YouTube presence while still allowing you to reach YouTube’s vast audience. In this guide, we want to give you a complete overview of YouTube marketing, so we’ll address both cases.
How to create your YouTube channel?
If you’re not a newbie on YouTube, feel free to skip this part. However, remember that we’ll also cover important points, such as optimizing your YouTube channel.
Otherwise, let us guide you through some simple steps for creating your YouTube channel.
1. Go to YouTube and sign in with your Google account
If you don’t have an existing account, you can opt to create one. Note that you can create two types of accounts, personal and business. The first one means only you (the account holder) can manage the YouTube account, and it will also have to have your name. The business account means several people can be authorized to manage the channel.
You can switch from a personal to a business account later.
2. Create your channel
Tap on the profile icon and click Create a channel. If you already have an existing channel or want to add more channels to this account, you can do so in the Settings section. Once prompted to create a new channel, you can choose between a personal or business channel (a channel with a custom name).
3. Add a profile picture and fill in the channel details
Add a description of your channel, and make sure to use any relevant keywords to help your channel get promoted. You can also add links to your sites and social media profiles in this step.
4. Verify your channel
Go to your Profile Tab, tap Settings, and the Channel status and features. Here you can see a bunch of features that have or haven’t been unlocked. Tap the blue button that says Verify and select the preferred method of verifying your channel (via text message or automated call).
5. Customize your channel
Add a YouTube banner and make sure you adjust how it will look on different devices (zoom in or out or adjust the crop accordingly). You can also add an email for business enquiries to allow people to contact you more easily.
Another cool thing you can add is a brand watermark or button for your videos. To do this, go to the Youtube Studio dashboard, Settings, Channel, and click on the Branding tab. You can select where you want the button to appear and at what point in the video.
Under the same setting, you can link your Google Ads account under Advanced Settings.
Use the third tab, Basic info, to add keywords or key tags associated with your content. This will enable your content to rank better.
How to promote your YouTube channel
So, you’re ready to create a kickass Youtube marketing strategy? Here are a few golden tips for marketing on YouTube.
Use keywords in headlines, descriptions, and tags
Why does YouTube have such enormous traffic? Not just because people accidentally spend hours watching cat videos (although that happens to the best of us). It’s because YouTube has essentially become a search engine, the largest one in fact, after Google.
Adding the right keywords to your videos in the form of video titles, descriptions and tags helps YouTube to recognize your content as valuable and match it with relevant searches.
Use custom thumbnails
In this day and age, we’re absolutely visual beings. No matter how clever or intriguing your title is, if you pair it with a bland thumbnail, you can’t expect the clicks to go through the roof.
Thumbnails with people are always a good idea, especially close-ups with powerful facial expressions (yup, I’m talking about that slightly cringy influencer trope). Still, choose whatever makes the most sense for your content. If you’re a travel vlogger, a snapshot of a beautiful location or interesting food is a better choice. Do you make video tutorials? Then a simple branded thumbnail telling viewers what they’ll learn is what you should go for.
Nope, playlists aren’t just for creating the ultimate song list. As you put up more videos on your channel, visitors can find navigating through them difficult.
Organizing videos into playlists doesn’t just improve the user experience. It also helps increase viewing time (visitors are likely to keep watching relevant content), which will also boost your YouTube reach.
Cross-promote your videos
Some videos require much more work and effort than others. And yet, this doesn’t mean you should decide on one video to favor over others.
Instead, use all your videos to cross-promote other content on a similar topic. Add a button or card, which is a small icon appearing in the video and leading to a different YouTube video.
Share content on other social media channels
While there are lots of reasons why use YouTube for marketing, you still shouldn’t neglect other channels. Since YouTube videos typically require a lot more resources to create compared to a simple Instagram post, you’re really missing out by not promoting YouTube content across different channels.
Short segments of your videos (more on that below) are a useful trick to tease your content to viewers. Another nifty hack is creating custom hashtags which will help people find your YouTube content through other platforms.
Make use of YouTube shorts
With TikTok changing the rules of the game, even a giant like YouTube had to listen. Enter YouTube shorts, a new format introduced in September 2020.
These short videos (up to 60 seconds) work basically the same as TikTok or Instagram Reels, with the added bonus that you can add a subscribe button for your YouTube channel.
And, as you might expect, these bitesize videos take a lot less time and effort to create, so it’s definitely worth adding them to your YouTube content strategy!
Youtube advertising: a quick guide
While we focused on marketing your business on YouTube, I also promised to address all those merely looking to use YouTube as an advertising platform.
In other words, you don’t have an interest in building a YouTube audience, but you want to use the platform’s immense reach to get customers for your business.
The answer? YouTube ads.
What are YouTube ads & how do they work?
YouTube ads appear in YouTube videos and on the Youtube platform (same as sponsored results with Google’s search engine).
Like Google Ads, YouTube ads can be paid on a CPC (cost per click) or CPV (cost per impression) basis.
In recent years, YouTube ads are no longer based on the users’ behavior on this platform alone. Instead, YouTube marketers can also target viewers on YouTube based on their Google search history, which, as you might expect, is a major stride in making these ads more relevant and effective.
Here’s a quick rundown of the different types of YouTube ads.
These are the equivalent of sponsored search results on Google. Once you type in a query, these ads appear as the first couple of results and are marked as an Ad.
In-feed ads can be in video format or not. Clicking on the non-video ads (the example above) takes users to a different website. Video ads (example below) instead show users a YouTube video. These ads can also have a separate button (on the right side) that takes users away from YouTube to the destination URL.
What do you call those annoying ads before a YouTube video? In-stream ads and there are two types: skippable and non-skippable. Skippable ads can only appear before the video, while non-skippable ads can appear before and after the video, as well as mid-way.
While the main difference is already in the name, you should also note that non-skippable ads can be up to 15 seconds long, while skippable ads must be from 10 seconds to 6 minutes.
So, which of the two is better to use? As you might expect, it greatly depends on your industry, purpose, and several other factors.
Regarding best practices, there’s a slight difference between the two. With skippable ads, the focus is your CTA. Since people can’t skip over your ad, you must leave them with a powerful and enticing message. So, these ads are particularly effective for promoting new products (and free trials) and lead generation campaigns.
In contrast, non-skippable ads should focus on informative and valuable content. If you bombard people with overly promotional messages, they won’t think twice about pressing that “Skip ad” button. However, if you start with a clear value proposition (addressing a problem they face) or pose an interesting question.
Here’s a pretty good example of a YouTube ad from Wix. The video starts with a question and gives a (perhaps surprising) answer right off the bat. In just a few seconds, it manages to intrigue the viewer and so works far better than a blanket statement such as, “Wix is the best site builder out there.”
Another masterful example is the video on Doodly’s website, which they also used as a YouTube ad. In the first few seconds, the video conveys a value proposition (learn how to create doodle videos). And the prospect of learning something by watching an ad that’s only a few minutes long is certainly enticing.
Bumper ads are a type of non-skippable in-stream ads. They can only appear before the chosen video and can be up to 6 seconds long.
Of course, you can’t do a lot with just 6 seconds, so this type of ad is best used for a specific campaign (e.g. product launch or event promotion) rather than building brand awareness.
The final ad type is the small banners that you can sometimes see at the bottom of a YouTube video screen. They should be 468x60 or 728x90 pixels in size and appear on desktop only.
Obviously, it makes no sense to use overlay ads only (otherwise, you may as well utilize Google display ads). However, they’re a great supplement to existing video ads. Suppose you’ve sparked someone’s interest with a bumper or a portion of your skippable ad. Then a simple banner can remind them about your brand and perhaps even persuade them to click or make a purchase.
Bonus tips: designing for YouTube
Learn how to create YouTube thumbnails that drive clicks
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Creating a high-quality video is a task that requires work and planning. So the worst thing you can do after that is to neglect the importance of graphic design.
Where does graphic design feature in YouTube marketing? First and foremost, we’re talking about YouTube thumbnails. For example, one study found that thumbnails that include a human face get 921,000 more views. Interestingly, people are also much more inclined to click on thumbnails where people have sad expressions.
But while the content of your thumbnails depends on the content of the video and your industry, graphic design can help you elevate the overall look. For example, a striking YouTube font can improve a bland thumbnail and help your messages stand out. We also have a list of creative YouTube thumbnail examples to inspire you.
Of course, if you’re lucky enough to get people onto your channel, you’ll need to impress them with a cohesive look. That means your channel art (YouTube banner) and all the thumbnails should look on-brand.
If you regularly watch a content creator’s YouTube videos, I recommend you take a closer look at their channel. How does the layout look and feel? Are you noticing patterns in their thumbnails? You’ll probably find they’re sticking to a specific art direction that appeals to their target audience.
Hubspot’s YouTube channel uses its brand colors (on the banner) and uses the same layout for most thumbnails: catchy pieces of text and a face.
For more tips on YouTube branding, check out this article.
We hope you’ve found some of our tips helpful, whether you want to use YouTube as an advertising platform or want to create high-quality YouTube marketing videos.
Don’t forget to check out our comprehensive YouTube design guide, with heaps of tips and ideas for creating stunning graphics for your YouTube channel!