Building a Top-Notch YouTube Presence

titleYouTube is the world’s second largest search engine.  Knowing how to effectively utilize it can make or break your video program.  At this year’s 2013 Video Commerce Summit, e-commerce industry experts, Leslie Drake, Cisco Social Media Manager, Anthony Bucci, Rezilla Founder, and Abe Niederhauser, Orabrush Founder, shared their recommendations on how to build a top-notch YouTube presence.  They emphasized these 10 tips for YouTube video success:

1.  Ask questions before you produce

Eternal stakeholders should address these specific questions before even beginning the video production process.

  • Do you actually need to produce a new video?questions
  • Who is your audience?
  • How much time do they have to watch your video?
  • Where were they before they watched your video?
  • Where should they go after they watch your video?
  • What is the key takeaway for your video?

The answers will provide guidance for your video program, and in-turn help your business generate lucrative video content.

2.  High cost ≠ more clicks

It is a well-known myth that a large amount of video views equates to more revenue.  Studies show that there is no relationship between the cost of a video and the number of views and completion rates.  Instead of focusing video strategy efforts on expensive video production methods, retailers should concentrate on delivering information that will help visitors complete the task at hand.  Distinguishing between the two different visitor types below helps e-commerce retailers identify the visitor’s goal.

  • Browsers – Theses visitors cruise through your site with the intent of gaining some knowledge of your product.  Browsers are your core audience and most likely to watch your videos.
  • Fact finders – These visitors do not need elaborate brand videos, but are simply looking to drill down the information.  Fact finders are much more likely to look at datasheets.

3.  Invest once, and reuse

invest onceWhen creating a video, take in mind the variety of ways to promote this content.  Post your video in more than one place, not just YouTube.  Remember to link to your video from other pages and sites.  Most importantly, utilize social media sources such as Facebook, Twitter, Pintrest, Linkedin, and blogs to enhance video exposure.

4.  Use different types of video at different stages in the sales process

sales process

It is essential that you acknowledge where your viewers are in the sales process.  This information will help you create videos that resonate best with your visitors.  For example, Cisco displays an advertisement video for viewers in the awareness stage, and a  case study video for viewers in the consideration stage.  This method compels viewers to buy by exposing them to the most relevant video content.

5.  The length of your video is important

lengthTake into account the length of your video before you even begin writing a script.  When making content custom for the web, one minute to one minute and thirty seconds is the sweet spot in terms of length.  Studies have shown that anything shorter or longer than that loses viewers faster.  It is important to build videos that cater to the viewer’s attention span to achieve optimal results.

6.  Videos are watched without time limitations

Viewers are no longer restricted to watching videos within normal working hours.  Retailers should focus on posting their videos during peak performance times; the morning drive time and the evening lean back time.  Also, businesses should never avoid posting videos on the weekends.  Studies show that 50% of tech-related videos are now viewed over the weekend.  Jump at every opportunity to post a video to generate a high level of video success.

7.  Utilize annotations & calls to action

Two fundamental YouTube services that you should definitely take advantage of are annotations and calls to action.

  • annotationAnnotations – A way to add interactivity to your videos.  This free service helps you add background information about your video, create stories with multiple possibilities, and link to related YouTube videos, channels, or search results.


  • ctaCalls to Action– CTAs are a simple method used to prompt video viewers to act.  Actions include subscribe, likes/shares, comments, and watch more.


8.  Thumbnail selection

Thumbnails act as mini-marketing posters for your content and can attract clicks.  Taking the time to choose your video thumbnails wisely can make significant changes in the amount of clicks a video receives.  Creating unique, custom thumbnails for new videos will entice visitors to click.  You can also revamp a previously posted video by updating an old video to a new thumbnail.  Simple changes like this will maximize your play count using minimal effort.

9.  The Viral video is a myth

Do not waste time and money trying to create a viral video with five million views.  Instead, retailers should aim for an achievable view count such as 25,000.  This target is not only attainable, but also offers excellent exposure and is financially feasible.  Smaller businesses can drive views by using the previously mentioned tactics of promoting your video on multiple social media outlets and implementing CTAs.

10.  Optimize your video for search

searchMake your videos easy to find on YouTube.  Be consistent throughout your videos, using keywords at the beginning of the title, descriptions, and tags.  Take note when tagging on YouTube, the first keyword you use is weighted most heavily.  Use relevant tags composed of two to four keywords to best optimize your video on YouTube’s search engine.

These simple tips will bring your YouTube presence to the next level.  Want to hear more e-commerce expert advice?  Watch all of the 2013 Video Commerce Summit sessions on-demand and check out my post next week on how-to and training videos.