There’s no denying that competition is stiff on YouTube. As the most popular video platform, there are more than 50 million content creators regularly uploading videos on YouTube. So how do you get your own content to stand out?
There are countless benefits to businesses and brands being on YouTube. However, producing engaging, entertaining, and informative videos that bring awareness to your brand can be a challenge for many brands, especially in such a competitive landscape.
Just like other search engines, YouTube’s algorithm determines if your video or channel should be ranked high or not, and the key to getting your content to rank high is in understanding what attracts viewers, how long they stay on your video, when they jump off, and why.
In this article, I’ll be letting you in on the secrets to getting more views for your YouTube channel , and exploring which analytics you should be focusing on to increase and retain views to build your audience on YouTube!
While making your YouTube channel a success might sound intimidating, thankfully YouTube offers you many of the tools you need to make sure you’re on the right track. Your YouTube channel for business gives you access to the Analytics tab, which contains a ton of stats related to your channel.
In the Analytics tab, you’ll be able to find quantitative insights into your channel and your audience’s behavior, including view counts, average watch time, revenues generated, and interaction rates across videos.
Your most important goal if you want your YouTube channel and videos to rank is to ensure that you are holding your viewers’ attention and that they’re watching your videos all the way through. The following metrics will help you gauge your success:
Average Percentage Viewed & Average View Duration
In your Analytics tab, you’ll be able to see the percent of each video the average viewer watched. This is a measure of your success in whether your videos hold the viewer’s’ attention for its entirety. When YouTube realizes your videos can hold people’s attention, they’ll reward it with higher search and recommendation rankings.
The Average View Duration is the total watch time of your video divided by the total number of video plays, including replays. This metric measures your video’s ability to engage viewers. If viewers bounce from your video quickly, your average view duration will be unimpressive.
This shows you the percentage of viewers who watch and leave your video at single moment of the video. YouTube elevates videos with high audience retention in rank and suggestions because these videos can effectively capture viewers’ attention. Check out which parts of your video were the most engaging, as they could be your next best video topics.
You’ll also be able to see:
- Absolute Retention Curve – shows you how well your videos retain viewers.
- Relative Retention Curve – shows you how well one of your videos retains viewers compared to all other YouTube videos of similar length.
Impressions Click-Through Rate
This measures your video’s ability to prompt people to watch your video after seeing it on their homepage, recommendation section, or trending section. A high click-through rate means your title was compelling and your video’s topic resonates with relevant audiences on YouTube. Once your video spreads beyond your core audience, your click-through rate will decline and then stay at a stable rate.
Couple this metric with average percentage viewed and average view duration to see if people actually watch your video after they click on it. Keep in mind that while a high click-through rate is great, if people are leaving right at the beginning of your video, your title or thumbnail could be misleading.
A low click-through rate but high engagement could mean that the video has a small yet specific audience that is enamored by the content.
Views Per Unique Viewers
This shows the amount of times the average viewer watches your video. Video topics with a lot of views per unique viewers could also be your most popular content topics, and if you cover them more, you could generate more views and subscribers, and higher watch times.
The YouTube Demographics report shows you the different types of people who watch your videos, segmented by age, gender, and geography. This data tells you who your most engaged audience is and who your target audience should actually be.
If you’re not reaching the audience you want, try pivoting your video strategy and cover topics that would attract them. Monitor the Watch Time and Demographics analytics to answer questions like:
- Where are your videos being viewed, and when?
- What age are your viewers?
- What gender do your viewers most commonly identify as?
The Traffic Sources report shows you how viewers found your videos and what sources rack up the most views and watch time. External referrals like social media or sites that embed your videos and YouTube referrals like search, the recommended section, and the homepage are all traffic sources.
You can use this data to better optimize your video promotion strategy.
Find Out Your Watched Hours
Increasing Watch Time on your videos is crucial to increasing the number of subscribers to your channel.
Watch time is measured as cumulative minutes watched, and each video you upload—and your entire channel—is ranked by watch time. Better watch time leads to better ranking, leading to a better position in search results and recommendations.
How To Optimize YouTube Videos for SEO
So now that you know what metrics to look for and which are the most important to ranking high in YouTube, how do you ensure that your videos cater to these metrics?
1) Keyword Research
The first step to optimizing a YouTube video is to pick an appealing title containing relevant keywords and to make sure the title is relevant to the video topic. Tools like Google Keyword Planner, Serpstat, and Ubersuggest will help with keyword research.
You will get more clicks by include exact keywords matching common search terms in your video title and description.
2) Video Packaging
Getting clicks on your videos is all about how you package them. Make the most of the 70 characters YouTube gives you for your titles, ensuring it conveys the topic in an engaging way without misleading the viewer, and create custom eye-catching thumbnails.
3) Video Descriptions
Include video descriptions that explain your video topic, but also include links to your website and social media accounts, and a list of hashtags. The description should:
- Be 5000 characters max (but you probably don’t need this many)
- Front-load important keywords and use them in the title and description
- Contain a “contents page” of timestamps so viewers can find relevant points easily
- Link out to different playlists on your channel.
- Have up to 15 hashtags. Hashtags make your content more searchable on YouTube. If you use more than 15 hashtags, all hashtags on that video will be ignored
4) Add Cards
Cards are small, transparent CTAs that expand when clicked. Use these to direct viewers to your website, purchase pages, or even other videos on your channel.
Look at your analytics and find the “view time” of your video and put a card in a couple seconds before the point where the viewer most often clicks out of the video. Offer a different related video or playlist for the viewer to watch.
5) Put in End Screen to Attract Users
The End Screen & Annotation feature on YouTube gives you the opportunity to point things out in your video for a viewer to see. You can prompt a viewer to “subscribe” or just encourage them to see your content.
Promote at least 2 more videos of yours, available on the last 20 seconds of your video. This is an opportunity to entice the viewer to watch more of your videos.
6) Include Bumper Ads
These are six-second video ads that appear at the start or end of a video.
These are custom subscribe buttons visible only to non-subscribers. To add them to your videos, follow YouTube’s simple instructions.
8) Featured Channels
Add in a list of featured channels on your YouTube profile giving access to other YouTube resources they might be interested in, adding value to your page.
9) Include Teaser/Hook
To keep viewers interested in your video, open every one with a hook or teaser. Announce the best and most exciting part of the video at the very beginning of your video as a bit of a teaser, or offer up some other incentive at the beginning of the video that will make viewers want to stick around to the end.
10) Post at the Right Time
Posting around mid-afternoon during the week will give your video time to be indexed before peak viewing hours, ensuring that your videos will appear in search results during those hours. Peak viewing hours during the week is around 8 pm to 10 pm, which means you should be uploading your videos between 2 and 4 pm.
Post earlier during the day, around 11 am, on Saturday and Sunday. This will allow your videos to be caught by the weekend audience and the evening viewers.
Ask and you shall receive. Always ask the viewer to subscribe to your channel after the opening of the video, and let them know the benefits they will receive by clicking on the notifications bell/icon.
Optimize Your Channel to Attract Followers
Now that you know how to optimize your videos, you also need to optimize your channel as a whole. Do this by filling out as many relevant details on your profile as possible, including:
- A keyword-rich bio
- An eye-catching banner image (2560 x 1440 pixels, 2MB max)
- Links to your website and social media profiles
- Location and contact information
You can also optimize your channel and videos by collaborating with other creators with loyal followings. Just as with every industry and platform, networking and collaborating with influential figures in your niche is essential to improving your watch times and increasing subscribers.
Find creators who are willing to collaborate with you on a video project or a series, so you can diversify your audience and find new viewers and subscribers.
There are many ways to make sure that your YouTube channel grows and contains good SEO. Be sure to focus on watch time as an indicator of success rather than video views or subscriber numbers, and work to figure out what elements of your videos are attracting people.
Once you realize why your most popular videos are worthwhile, replicate that value in future videos. Always remember that YouTube is an interactive platform, so engage with your viewers by replying to their comments to build a community around your channel and brand.
Growing a YouTube channel can be a lot of hard work, but the payoff of doing something you love and engaging with your community can be incredibly satisfying. The most important thing to remember is to keep at it and keep posting great content.
If you’re eager to learn more about how to build a brand or business on YouTube, enroll in our Personal Branding and Influencer Marketing online course today! Follow us on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram to stay up to date on industry trends and news, and head to our blog for more FREE training.