10 YouTube tricks you need to know

Last night’s episode of Higher Ed Live was chock-full of YouTube pro tips from Seth Odell.  Any business or higher ed institution who uses YouTube to share web video needs to know the following 10 tricks in order to get more bang for your buck.

Here’s a recap of the Top 10 YouTube tricks:

Video Pro Tip #1 – Always post your video initially as private or unlisted.
Even once YouTube has finished uploaded your video, it takes awhile for it to process.  A processing video usually looks like crap… not what you want your customers to be watching!  Allow for the video to process (the length of time varies) and then make your video public once it is completed. 

Video Pro Tip #2 – Thumbnails are important. As a YouTube partner you can customize your thumbnails.
Thumbnails lure viewers to click on your video.  Higher Ed institutions can become an EDU partner (bonus tip: in order to do this you must have quality academic content on your channel, not just promo videos) and upload customized thumbnails.  I recall seeing stats somewhere in my internet searching equating a well-chosen thumbnail to higher viewership.

Video Pro Tip #3 – To hyperlink in the video description box, make sure to include the “http://”.
Do not start links with “www.” in the description box as they will not be hyperlinked.  This is important to remember if you want to drive viewers back to your website. 

Video Pro Tip #4 – You can link to a specific time in a video with the code #t=00M00S.
Ever wanted to direct blog readers to a certain moment in a YouTube video?  Add the above code to the end of the video URL and replace with zero’s with the time in the video that you want them to see.

Video Pro Tip #5 – YouTube does not weight your video titles as much as it weights your file name.
If you are like me, you are careful to tag your videos appropriately so they show up in searches.  A little known fact is that YouTube places more weight on the original file name of your video than the title that you later give it.  When exporting your video from iMovie, Final Cut Pro, etc. make sure to properly title the file.  YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world and I can imagine you want to make sure you’re optimizing YouTube SEO.

Video Pro Tip #6 – Use the YouTube Keyword tool to find trends and help optimize YouTube SEO.
This free YouTube Keyword tool will help you capitalize on current trends on the web.  You can even sort keyword suggestions by country, language, demographic, and interests.

Video Pro Tip #7 – “Best” the YouTube algorithm with proper file names and creating your own co-view web.
If you are interested in your videos appearing in the “suggestions” column (and let’s be honest, who isn’t?) you can attempt to “best” the YouTube algorithm by combining Pro Tip #5 with some careful clicking.  Seth Odell admits this is a time-consuming process: start on your own video and click on a suggested video that is not your own.  Spend time clicking around on the next set of suggested videos and inserting your own URL ever so often.  YouTube makes it’s “suggestions” by remembering the web of videos that viewers watch.  You can essentially create your own co-view web… if you have the time.

Video Pro Tip #8 – There are only 3 ways people find your videos: Directed, Direct Search, Indirect Search/Browser.
This is an important tip to remember, as you can only do so much in marketing your video.  (Raise your hand if you’ve ever been charged with creating a viral video.) 

Video Pro Tip #9 – Use YouTube annotations to drive viewers to your own videos.
At the end of every video you create, place a 10 second screen that has text to the effect of “Click here for more videos from Company X.”  Use YouTube annotations to link the text to your YouTube channel.  Wouldn’t you rather your viewers watching more of your videos versus leaving your channel for a suggestion?

Video Pro Tip #10- Hotspots tell you when viewership drops off, this is only available for videos under 1 year old.
Understand your viewers better by paying attention to YouTube Insights, particularly the hotspots.  This will help you catch viewership trends on your videos.

BONUS! Want the latest stats on web video?  ComScore, Inc. is my favorite resource and they recently released  “The State of Online Video.”  The presentation and slides from Dan Piech, Senior Product Management Analyst, can be found here.   

Watch Episode 17 “Seriously Advanced YouTube Tips” with Seth Odell of Higher Ed Live.

About Mallory Wood

Mallory Wood is a Vermont-based higher ed marketing professional with a passion for social media, web video, and event production. View all posts by Mallory Wood

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