YouTube’s Brand Channels: What You Need to Know
It’s hard to keep up these days with all of the changes social networks throw our way. YouTube is no exception. They recently made some changes, aka YouTube Channels 3.5, with a redesigned homepage and channel layouts.
We thought this was a great time to revisit YouTube, to discuss why it’s a key player in a company’s social media marketing mix and how to ensure that you get the most out of it as a channel for your content, and to go over the changes you’ll see in 3.5.
For those who would like to learn more about the nuts-and-bolts regarding YouTube, we also highly recommend checking out an excellent resource from MakeUseOf with their manual Using YouTube: From Consumption to Production by Matt Smith.
To start with, let’s review some key statistics to help us to understand the far-reaching possibilities of YouTube:
- 60 hours of video are uploaded every minute, or one hour of video is uploaded to YouTube every second.
- Over 4 billion videos are viewed a day
- Over 800 million unique users visit YouTube each month
- Over 3 billion hours of video are watched each month on YouTube
- More video is uploaded to YouTube in one month than the 3 major US networks created in 60 years
- 70% of YouTube traffic comes from outside the US
- YouTube is localized in 39 countries and across 54 languages
- In 2011, YouTube had more than 1 trillion views or almost 140 views for every person on Earth
Impressive! So, how then should brands think about content for their videos?
Brand Channels and Content
Eric Meyerson, Head of Video and Advertiser Marketing at Google recently stated at the OMMA Global conference that some of the most successful brands on YouTube have build audiences three ways, drawing from: 1) content they produce on their own, 2) content they curate and 3) content from fans about the brand.
Meyerson pointed out how travel brands have been particularly good at these three sources of content and also used Lowe’s as an example of a brand that has done a good job populating its YouTube home page with hundreds of how-to videos. “The how-to nature of the content helps ensure that consumers find Lowes through organic search.”
Ensuring sure that your videos get viewed can be seen as both an art and a science. YouTube offers some great suggestions in their extensive Creator Playbook. We’ve extracted nine of the key points and have used Lowe’s as an example to demonstrate how to put these suggestions to use.
1. Write detailed and comprehensive metadata following proper formatting and strategies.
Here you can see how Lowe’s has added a title, category and multiple tags to their upload.
2. Create and upload a great, eye-catching thumbnail that is high resolution.
Below you can see how Lowe’s has utilized thumbnails.
3. Analytics was one of the improvements made in Channels 3.5, allowing a broader assortment of metrics including one that will tell you where there was a drop off in video play (essentially where did users stop watching).
By reviewing your analytics on a regular basis you’ll have the ability to assess your channel’s performance and can make creative decisions based on your data assessment. So let’s say that in Lowe’s case they find for example that “How to Build a Deck” was a successful series but that their “Business Rewards” video wasn’t getting as many plays, they might decide to spend their resources on creating more how-to videos.
4. A very important suggestion in the Creator Playbook is to “make the beginning of your videos compelling to your viewer.”
“Branding, flashing intros and packaging can create professional quality to your content, but it’s not the star of the video. Let the content or the personality be the star upfront; then the viewer has a reason to watch past the intro and continue with the video. Place compelling content first.”
5. Calls to actions
Direct viewers during the video to take actions that can build audience. Annotate the live video with community CTAs, subscribe button and links to related content. Here you can see how Lowe’s added the URL of related content to the intro of their video:
6. Add the video to a relevant playlist on your channel. Below you can see how Lowe’s uses playlists to include a number of related videos.
7. Regular schedule and frequency–release content frequently on a recurring schedule and maintain activity on the channel.
Here you can see the regular frequency that Lowe’s uploads videos e.g. 6 days ago, 1 week ago, 3 weeks ago, etc.
8. Tent-pole programming–create, release, and/or package content that is themed around tent-pole events. The cultural events that promotion, sponsors/advertisers and viewing trends orbit around throughout the year.
Below is an example of tent-pole programming that Lowe’s used for “Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day.”
9. Set a social media strategy for your YouTube content.
As always it’s a great idea promote your content from one platform to another. And one enhancement in YouTube Channel 3.5 is enhanced social media integration where you can show social media buttons and external links to share with viewers.
Here you can see how Lowe’s added the link to the following pages: website, Facebook, Twitter and Lowe’s Creative Ideas.
What Else is New in YouTube Channels 3.5?
So far we’ve discussed social integration, enhanced analytics, a new homepage but there are some other important changes, too:
New channel size
The channel size has been increased to 970 px wide from 960 px. Some background images may need to be readjusted.
You can select which video to feature on your channel.
There are four template choices: blogger, creator, network and everything.
To learn more about the changes and what you need to know before migrating to 3.5 you can download the document, YouTube Channels Migration Document.
How can you maximize your experience on YouTube? What tips would you add? Let us know in the comments below.