As with Google, YouTube allows you to promote your videos in two ways. The first option will only cost you a little time, as it requires zero budget. The second option is, naturally, to allocate some resources into ads. Today, we will focus on a few steps that can boost your video views without spending a dime.
Free Advertising on YouTube
The secret to attracting a lot of views to your YouTube channel, without having to pay for it, lies in a very simple principle – optimizing your videos. The right description and tags, using appropriate keywords, can make all the difference in the world. You need to make sure that people will find you in the overwhelming crowd of the 100 hours-worth of videos uploaded to YouTube every minute. Not to mention that you’ll need a stellar headline if you want to address the one billion strong user base. Here are some tips that can help you stand out!
Headlines, Descriptions, Tags, and Keywords
First of all, what exactly are keywords? They are words or phrases that describe the content of your video and therefore help people find it. If you are not sure which ones would work best for you, use the help of Keyword Planner from Google AdWords.
As already mentioned, a similar principle applies here as it does for Google – if your headline, description or tags don´t include a keyword that is essential to your video, the person searching for it won´t find it (the YouTube algorithm is capable of detecting, similar words such as: ‘Top Ten’ and ‘Top 10’).
The headline is your most influential text component. It should always include the most important keywords, because headlines are the first things that come up when searching for videos. But beware – the order of these keywords also has an impact! If you place the most crucial keywords towards the very end of the headline, the user may fail to notice them or assume it’s not a relevant result. One proven trick to grab a user´s attention is to include a call-to-action, like this video challenging “YouTubers” not laugh or grin while watching it.
A Few More Tips:
- Don´t be afraid to exaggerate from time to time. Why couldn´t your video on how to bake cookies be the best one in the world?
- Be provocative and experiment! The preview photo offers as much space for creativity as the headline.
- Numbers work well, for e.g. “20 most hilarious holiday videos” or “Change the way you see the world in 82 seconds”
- Encourage people to do something!
- Give them questions
- Play with the length of the headline. Would you be more tempted to click on a video called ‘Cats’ or ‘Epic funny cats in 20 minutes’? Which one tells you more about the video content?
Should you go for Short or Long Headlines?
The answer is not that straightforward. Short headlines have a bigger click through rate but they don´t tell you much about the content. Although these videos have a high potential of attracting many viewers, they will lose many on the way due to that fact that their content can turn out to be irrelevant. Longer headlines may not look as good but they better describe the video, which can lead to more viewers and a more targeted audience.
Description – tell me more
Video descriptions also play a vital role. They should also include as many keywords as possible, especially at the beginning (it´s a good idea to start off with the main message and continue with the details towards the end). It´s been well established that the longer the description is, the higher the chances it will appear in the search results. The way it works is that once someone starts searching for a video, the search algorithm first examines the headline, then the description and the tags. On the other hand, very long descriptions can lack clear messaging and can therefore prove to be quite confusing.
By now, you can guess what tags should include. Yes – keywords! They help YouTube understand the context of your content. Ideally, write up a list of keywords you have applied for the headline and the description and use them again in the tags. The most essential ones should come in first and don´t forget – the number of tags you can use is limited on YouTube. The ones that are automatically offered from the database should become your priority.
Another way to support your viewership is to update your tags once in a while, as expressions and phrases evolve over time.
So How Should it Look Ideally?
Bear in mind that each video deserves an individual approach, but a helpful tip is to look up the most popular YouTube videos and try to understand what made them so successful. Imagine you are the one looking for your video – how would you search for it? Would you find it? Would the description and headline encourage you to click on it? Try distancing yourself from your own content to answer all these questions.
The Last Tip
The above mentioned tips won´t guarantee that your video will become the most popular video in the world. Success lies in the hands of the content. The example below shows that a video can become extremely powerful even without a powerful headline or description.
So our last advice for you is: create interesting content. And if you feel that you can´t measure up against PSY or Justin Bieber, tune into our next blog where we will talk about other ways you can boost your viewership with a zero budget.