Imagine you are the proud owner of an Ice-cream van that every kid residing in your town waits for every evening, as their minds can’t stop thinking about the tasty strawberry ice cream cones you serve. As the Ice-cream van owner, you have to attract more customers and serve everyone under that serving hatch.
YouTube works pretty much the same. When you are working in a complex (relatively of course) and competitive ecosystem like YouTube, it is inevitable that you make a few mistakes. In this blog, we’re listing down some of the most frustrating ones that some YouTubers make:
Your Channel should have a well-defined value proposition
You need to think like a marketer. You need to be sure about what your audience is going to get from your videos. Most YouTubers fail to realize this and keep oscillating between different type of content.
Example1 – VICE News
The YouTube channel of VICE News is a great example of giving out a clear value proposition to the audience. Vice News does not upload regular news bits. Their whole selling point is that they provide alternative news items that one won’t find easily elsewhere. All of their videos so far are aligned with this goal in mind.
Example2 – Dave Days
Some of the older videos on this channel used to rake in millions of views. But off late, Dave has been a little inconsistent in the theme of the videos. Some of the newer ones are mashups, cover songs, vlogs, misheard lyrics…Too many choices might not be a good idea – the audience might find it difficult to focus on one particular type of content here.
First 15 sec of your video is INSANELY IMPORTANT
Yes, Just like Pre-roll ads, YouTube videos also have a click through rate. The first 15 seconds of your video must be fast paced and must give the gist of the content that’s about to come. With a dicey average attention span of 8.25 seconds of humans, you can imagine how a person would react to your video, especially if it has nothing important or interesting to show. So, learn the art of tease; just like all the Hollywood movies do.
Example – Screen Junkies
In a world full of movies and television, one channel is keeping them honest every week. Just start watching their HONEST TRAILERS series and you will be the part of their humongous 5 million followers.
Trying to make it VIRAL
These days, anything and everything can go viral. But scripted, fictional content “going viral” is exceptionally rare. Do you know that less than 1% of videos on YouTube exceed one million views?!
According to TubeMogul, getting featured on YouTube’s homepage yields fewer views than it used to, despite the site’s meteoric growth (or perhaps because of it). Videos in the “Featured” or “Spotlight” spots on YouTube’s homepage average 86,100 views on the days that they are featured. That’s a 28.2% reduction compared to the same measurement in 2008 when videos featured averaged 119,864 views per day!
So, do not concentrate on making your video go “viral“. Just follow the best practices and stick to your content programming. Try to think beyond the forever used viral topics involving sex, scandal or content with severe shock value.
Unscientific or irrelevant TITLES
The title of your video should be like a teaser for the viewers enticing them to click ‘play’. Make sure that your video title has the same text as your thumbnail to generate more clicks. To zero in on a perfect title, perform a keyword research in Google analytics or tools like Vidooly and Q&A forums like Quora, where you can shortlist ideas for your video.
Note: The ideal length of a title should be 60 characters. Also, naming your video file just like the title will give you an additional advantage.
Thumbnails play a vital role in deciding whether viewers click and check out your video from a pool of similar videos. Make sure that you choose a vibrant looking picture relating to your video. Provide a simple text on your thumbnail describing the title of your video. (A viewer can pick top goals in EPL just by looking at the thumbnails featuring in sports category)
Note: Picture specs are 1280×720 (16:9 ratio) as a .JPG,GIF, .BMP, or .PNG file under 2MB.
Not using ANNOTATIONS and CARDS
Annotations in YouTube videos are a great way to “have a conversation” with the viewer by including calls-to-action. An annotation is a customized text/image which usually asks the viewer to subscribe to the channel, visit a certain website or check out more videos of that channel. So, annotations are clickable and act like a CTA. Annotations can be of six different styles – speech bubble, note, title, spotlight, label and pause.
There are a lot of YouTubers who do not use annotations in their videos. They’re certainly missing out on a lot of audience engagement.
What the hell is YouTube Cards?
Even if you’ve added annotations, they won’t be visible on mobile devices. That’s where cards can come in handy. Quite a few popular YouTubers miss out on using interactive cards on their videos.
Empty DESCRIPTION Field – Duh, who cares
Not adding any information about the video in the description field is another cardinal sin that YouTubers sometimes make. The description field can be a great way to showcase your personal website, links to your social profiles and to acknowledge inspirations for the video. It is also worth noting that content in the description plays an important role in the SEO for the videos.
Not creating PLAYLISTS
Grouping your similar videos together in a playlist not only helps you organize your content better, it also increases the overall watch time since every video auto plays in a playlist. A lot of YouTubers still have not understood the importance of Playlists.
Note: Use the right keywords in the title and description of the playlist so that it is easily searchable.
Not using TAGS
Video tags help the search engine understand the content and context of your video. They should be used to aid and spur the discoverability quotient of your videos. A substantial number of YouTubers do not use the right tags and miss out on a lot of views on their videos.
English is the language of choice for a majority of YouTube users. If you run a non-English YouTube channel, using subtitles is a sure shot way of increasing your audience base. But still, there are thousands of popular non-English YouTube channels who do not use closed captioning!
YouTube provides an automatic CC option for those who want their videos to be translated into 76 different languages. The auto-translation might mess up the words sometimes. So it is advisable to use subtitles of your own.
I hereby refuse to engage with my audience
YouTube has a comment moderation feature which helps creators heave a sigh of relief and save themselves from the vicious circle of negative comments. If you engage with your audience, these are the factors you are going to achieve. But still, most YouTubers do not engage with their audience/subscribers missing out on a lot of engagement; not just on YouTube but also on other social channels.
What is SOCIAL MEDIA – (Damn I am so antisocial)
According to Unruly, most YouTube videos attract an average 42% of shares across Twitter, Facebook, and blogs within the first 3 days of publication. This gives YouTubers a perfect opportunity to start their social media campaigns for each and every new video they upload. However, a substantial number of YouTubers fail to form a Social Media strategy, missing out on a lot of views on their videos.
Evaluate your work
Youtubers often wonder why their subscriber’s viewership is not increasing even after years of uploading engaging content. That is why a periodic reevaluation of the content is absolutely necessary. But many creators fail to recognize the importance of this and keep churning out same videos, not really catering to what their audience is actually wanting.
Example – Casey Naistat
Casey Naistat Joined YouTube on 2010, and by now he got over 2 million subscribers and his videos have clocked over 500 million views. His YouTube channel was able to create some exceptionally creative viral videos. In 2014, he decided to change the format of his YouTube channel by vlogging every day till his next birthday. This decision added 1.5 million subscribers in just one year. So bottom line – experimentation with the content format can play a crucial role in a YouTube channel’s growth.
Being an artist, movie buff and a media enthusiast, content writing is my career train. I am a proud alumni of Symbiosis Institute of Media Communication (Pune) and currently working for Vidooly.