“Determine what your channel stands for. Produce videos in a consistent voice. Map out a release strategy. Get the timing right and give people a reason to keep coming back.”
That’s how Google, the parent company of YouTube, defines the keys to success for creating an engaging video strategy to create content that attracts an audience and converts. The strategists at YouTube break it down into three categories of content you need to be successful:
- 1. Hero
- 2. Hub
- 3. Help
Hero Videos are big-scale videos that appeal to a broad audience. They will be reserved for major announcements, product launches, or other significant milestones. You may only have a few each year, perhaps once a quarter.
Goal: Attract attention and get your brand in front of large audiences.
YouTube can be a great platform for showcasing your video. You’re not limited to traditional time constraints or formats. This allows you to create diversity in the type and style of video.
What resonates the most is active storytelling. After all, if you can’t engage people or provide valuable content, they likely won’t watch. Depending on your audience, and their specific needs, they are looking for different things. Unlike a :30 or :15 second TV commercial, you can create content at various lengths.
As you get hungry throughout the day, you’ll look for different food items at different times. Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite, snacking between meals, or sitting down for dinner will determine what you eat and how much time you’ll spend doing it. It’s the same with video consumption. YouTube recommends the Bite, Snack, Meal approach to maximize reach across the platform.
Bite-sized videos are short videos that sell one key message or can be used as a teaser for something to come. These can be used as stand-alone videos or as pre-roll ads. These videos are short and to-the-point. They can range in length up to 10-15 seconds. A popular format on YouTube right now is six-second non-skippable videos.
You can view some of YouTube’s top performing 6-second videos, which they call “Bumper ads” on the YouTube Ads Leaderboard. You may be amazed at what you can convey in just six short seconds.
Snack-sized videos tell a short story and highlight a key message. Think of these as what you might see in a more traditional TV commercial of 15-60 seconds with a call-to-action. In fact, these videos could serve double duty as TV spots and online videos.
Snack-sized videos are made to be consumed quickly and showcase nuggets of information that are easily understood and shared.
Most people won’t sit through long videos, especially when they are watching on a mobile device. These snack-sized videos hit the sweet spot giving people enough information to engage them. If they want additional information, you can drive them to your website or landing page.
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Meal-sized videos are longer-form content that allows you to go more in-depth. These are designed for the most interested customers.
These long-form videos allow for a deeper connection with customers. It provides an opportunity to build a relationship and establish trust. More complex issues, especially for B2B customers, may take more time to explain. Think of these as in-depth explanations, thought leadership pieces or other long-form content.
Hub videos are defined as episodic or on-going videos that are designed to engage potential buyers.
Goal: Give people a reason to touch your brand or engage with your organization on a regular basis.
YouTube recommends using a consistent format and regular release schedule to give viewers a reason to subscribe to your channel or seek out your content. Think in terms of TV shows. The topics they cover may change episode-to-episode, but there’s a consistent cast of characters, look, and feel.
Consider creating videos in groups that revolve around a central theme. For example, you may want to produce a series of success stories from previous customers or showcase various ways your company supports sustainability.
Help videos are exactly what they sound like: product demos, how-to videos, advanced training, or customer service videos.
Goal: Give clear answers to frequently searched questions.
The amount of video uploaded to YouTube every day is staggering. It works out to 500 hours of video content is added every minute or roughly 720,000 hours every day. That works out to more than 82 years of new video uploaded every day! One of the biggest challenges with all the video is discovery.
Help videos can be evergreen videos that address high-volume search queries. In fact, a good strategy is to search for key phrases that customers enter when they are looking for help in your industry or niche. You can find these queries easily by using free tools provided by the world’s top two search engines: Google and YouTube.
Once you’ve found the right terms and topics, you can help your find-ability by optimizing your videos fully utilizing metadata (video titles, tags, descriptions, etc.) that are SEO-friendly.
A Picture Is Worth…
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. The right picture, as a thumbnail for your video, can be worth much more. The thumbnail is often the reason someone chooses to click on your video or move on to the next one.
Netflix knows this first hand. Their internal research shows that the image associated with a video is four times more likely to elicit a click as the text. That’s because users spend less than 2 seconds considering a title before moving on. That’s why they show different images for titles to different people based on complex algorithms. In fact, they may have hundreds and even thousands of specific images for popular titles that are shown depending on previous viewing choices.
We don’t expect you to go as far as Netflix, but it does demonstrate how this often-overlooked aspect of marketing videos, thumbnails, can make a significant difference in getting people to watch the video.
Custom thumbnail images can increase play rates by as much as 34%.
Earlier we talked about creating videos of various lengths. This allows viewers a variety of choices depending on their interest.
While long-form videos will work for those most engaged viewers, shorter videos usually work better for conversions. 20% of viewers typically leave videos before completion after just the first minute. 40% bounce after the 2-minute mark. Engagement drops significantly after that.
Format For Mobile
You may watch the videos you create on a big monitor or desktop computer, but remember most people are watching it on a mobile device. Consider these statistics:
- For the first time in 2019, the average adult in the U.S. will spend more on their mobile device than watching television
- More than 60% of all video views occur on mobile devices
- More than 70% of YouTube views come from mobile
- 48% of Millennials report only viewing video on mobile devices
Even if you’re in the B2B space, targeting Millennials has become a priority. There are now more Millennials in the workplace than from any other generation.
A Strong Call-To-Action (CTA)
In any content marketing strategy, your call-to-action is an important piece of the puzzle. Whether you want people to watch more videos, fill out a form, go to a landing page, or pick up the phone, getting viewers to convert will take effort.
Every video should have a “next click” strategy. When they’re done viewing, what do you want them to do? Whatever your goal, be clear about what action you want them to take.
Consider The Middle Of The Video
Most people put their CTAs at either the beginning or end of the video in an effort not to disrupt the flow.
If you put it right at the beginning before drawing people in, they may skip the content. If viewers never make it to the end, you might be missing a lot of potential conversions. Studies have shown working a CTA naturally into the context of the video can make people more likely to take action.
The highest conversion rates for CTAs are actually in the middle of the video. This doesn’t mean you should ignore end-of-video CTAs. They’re important, too. If someone did make it all the way to the end, they’re more likely to take action.
YouTube has this advice as well: “Don’t be shy.” Speak directly to the YouTube community and ask them to take action.
You can also put your CTAs in your video descriptions that show up under the video on YouTube and other platforms.
Push To Other Videos
Once you’ve got then watching your video, you want to keep them watching. The more of your content they consume, the bigger your brand impact will be. People buy from people they trust. The more time they invest, the more likely they are to trust your brand.
To get people to watch more video, suggest other related video content. At the end of the video, a secondary call-to-action might be to suggest other related content. Even if they don’t watch, it demonstrates the depth of information you provide and showcases your expertise. This helps establish trust.
Another effective marketing strategy is to do off-channel promotion for the video. If nobody knows it exists, what good does your video do? Cross-promote your video on social media, forums, email newsletters, your website, using industry influencers, and other advertising channels.
There are more than 1.3 billion videos on YouTube alone. When you’ve got something worth watching, you’ve got to let people know about it to beat the odds.
Boosting Your Video Conversions
Video allows you to share your story in a compelling way. You can inform, educate, and entertain potential customers in a way that no other medium can.
Video can move people. It can motivate them. It can sell them on concepts, products, and services. More than half of consumers say they’ve engaged with a brand after viewing video. 64% report they are more likely to buy a product after watching a video.
Each of these video strategies will keep your brand front and center with potential customers and engage them throughout the various stages of the buying funnel. By following YouTube’s best practices as outlined here, you can be sure the video platform’s algorithms will look favorably upon you.
One last word of advice: Whatever you do, make sure your video content is high quality. You’ve got an important story to tell. Make sure you are using professionals to tell your story well. Your video content reflects your brand. It sends an important message about the type of company you are.