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13 Key Elements Of Successful YouTube Videos

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13 Key Elements Of Successful YouTube Videos


YouTube is great for marketing, a fact that is supported by a ton of mind-blowing usage statistics.

These are some that really stand out:

  • 500 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube every minute.
  • YouTube is the second most popular social networking site, with more than 2 billion monthly users. That’s one-third of the internet!
  • Viewers are 4x more likely to use YouTube vs. another platform to discover information about a brand, product, or service – meaning that there is a ready audience for your content.
  • Millennials also spend a lot of their time on YouTube. Among millennials, YouTube reaches more of the 18-34 demographic than any TV network.

How can you make the most of the YouTube opportunity?

It starts with a great video. Check out these 13 key components of a successful YouTube video.

1. Branded Intro Footage

The importance of branding in marketing can never be overemphasized. Branding helps build loyalty.

Including branded intro footage helps your loyal viewers to immediately recognize your work so they’ll stick with you and keep watching.

Additionally, such branding is important for ensuring that your viewers remember the video, which is especially handy when they need to refer someone to it.

Even though they might forget the actual content and the name of the video, remembering your branded footage will help direct viewers to your channel.

2. An Attention-Grabbing Intro

Did you know that about 20% of people will leave after the first 10 seconds of your YouTube video?

What’s even worse is that they might give you a thumbs down.

So, what do you do?

It is all about the intro.

After including your branded intro footage, convince the viewer to keep watching. Clearly explain what they are about to see, and how that is of benefit to them.

If you’re showing them how to solve a problem, personalize it so that they feel that you have also been affected. This builds trust, and the feeling that the solution is valuable.

3. Keep Titles And Opening Credits Short

As mentioned above, our attention spans are incredibly short. Nothing is worse than an extensive beginning to a video that drives lost interest.

Even worse, that long opener will discourage binge-watching. Who wants to watch that same long opener over and over again?

Over half of YouTube viewers will watch the entire video when it’s under one minute in length.

Instead, strive for a ~5-second opener that is punchy and straight to the point.

4. Build Trending Topics Into Your Video Content

Using trending topics is a tried and true method for successful link building and can also be applied to your video content.

Think seasonal, newsworthy, local, unique, movies, gaming, music, or even surprising topics, etc. These are all great fodder for trending topics to bake into your videos.

Not sure where to start? Give YouTube Trending (country-specific) or Popular on YouTube (global) a try.

Google Trends and even Twitter Trends are also great resources to discover trending topics to tie into your video content.

5. Background Music

Should you include background music? After all, people are only interested in what you’re saying.

However, thanks to technology, we get bored. Fast.

There’s nothing more boring than a dull YouTube video.

Including background music not only grabs attention instantly but sets the mood for the viewing session, establishing an emotional connection.

In addition, music drives the pace of the video, while a great soundtrack only gives viewers one more reason to share the video.

However, be careful of two things:

  • That the music evokes the desired emotions and aura.
  • That you are legally allowed to use the music in your video.

6. Being Clearly Audible

Unfortunately, a great intro and nice background music can’t help if you aren’t clearly audible.

Remember, the ultimate goal is for your audience to understand what you are putting across. If your video is just a pictorial illustration, then loud background music suffices.

On the other hand, if your video includes an oral presentation, make sure you can be heard above the background music.

7. Brevity

Well, maybe not that short. Still, that video has more than 11 million views.

With YouTube allowing users to search for videos based on duration, among other filters, we clearly can’t ignore the importance of video length in YouTube.

8. Customized Experiences

Tap into micro-moments. These are the times when people need to know, go, do, or buy something and turn to the closest device to help them achieve it.

Use data to give people what they want, when they want it.

This can take many forms. Consider establishing a connection between events on TV or the excitement around big moments in pop culture, politics, sports, tech, and more.

Another option is to leverage data to deliver personalized video content.

Google Trends, May 2021

To get started with this process:

  • Visit Google Trends to help validate the increasing demand or topic.
  • Learn what people are searching for and tailor your videos to fit into existing conversations. A keyword research tool can help you narrow in on the right keyword targets.
  • Next, this free Chrome plugin from vidIQ will provide you with valuable competitive data for current ads that are going viral, including tags, social shares, average watch time, velocity, and more.
  • Lastly, once the video is created, leverage YouTube Analytics to answer “who is actually watching” and “what they are truly interested in.”

9. A Call To Action

As mentioned earlier, YouTube viewers are short on time. After all, there is too much content to view in one day. They have jobs and lives (presumably).

Consequently, you need to be creative about how you include your call to action because your audience will increasingly disappear over the course of your video.

Engagement significantly drops off between two and three minutes. This means you should not place your CTA at the end, and that is particularly true for longer videos.

Instead, consider clickable annotations in the first few seconds of the video.

Bonus Tip: If you’re looking to grow your YouTube subscriber base, add the following parameter to your url: ?sub_confirmation=1.

Here’s an example: https://www.youtube.com/user/jonleeclark?sub_confirmation=1. You’ll get a nice little popup prompting the user to subscribe.

Here's an example of adding the following parameter to your url.Screenshot taken by author, May 2021

10: Add End Screens To Promote Your Videos, Channel, Or Website

While end screens can only be added to the last 20 seconds of a video, these useful graphics can be used to link out to everything from a website URL, YouTube channel, video playlist (such as another video in a series), or prompt a watcher to subscribe.

When creating a video, make sure you leave room, as the video ends, to add your end screen.

Ahrefs Video End Card.How to Learn SEO Fast and Effectively, Ahrefs, May 2021

11. Design Video Thumbnails YouTube Users Want To Click

Of all the items in this list, thumbnails have the greatest potential to make or break your YouTube success.

And the reason is simple.

Suggested videos tend to be the leading source of organic traffic on YouTube. In a sense, YouTube acts as an “endorser” of your content by suggesting it as something a watcher might also enjoy.

Thumbnails that drive clicks are more likely to feed the algorithm resulting in more clicks and so on.

Here are three simple best practices to keep in mind:

Don’t trick the user.

Ensure the thumbnail is relevant and delivers on the video’s title. If not, you risk having a lower watch time which will negatively impact the algorithm – the opposite of what we want.

Design thumbnails for smaller screens.

YouTube recommends 1280 x 720; however, most video consumption happens on a smaller screen.

Make sure your image will still stand out by playing with color saturation, cropping to a smaller area, or playing with the edges of the image.

Bonus Tip: Can’t decide on a thumbnail? Consider testing a handful of thumbnail options with a simple Adwords test. A small investment of $10-20/day will provide some insight into which thumbnail is generating the strongest VTR (view-through-rate).

Keep a consistent style, look, and feel.

I realize this is open-ended but some considerations for consistency include logo, common colors, shapes, consistent face, font, etc.

Over time, this consistency will increase video recognition during skimming; and, if they enjoy your content, they’ll be more likely to click. The folks over at Keywordtool.io do this well.

Consistent Youtube Brand.How to Find YouTube Trends (Tips to Grow Your Channel), Keyword Tool, May 2021

12: Build A “Guest Slot” For Other YouTubers

Perhaps the most common example of a “guest slot” is an interview.

But no matter how your structure it, collaborating with creators who already have an audience is a great way to build your own as it provides exposure to an audience that may otherwise never hear of you.

Look for creators that are already in your niche or who service an audience with similar interests. Social Blade is a tool that can help you find channels serving similar demographics and size of channel.

Be sure to feature your guest in a positive light and prominently so they’ll be more likely to cross-promote the video.

13. Give The Audience A Chance To Participate

It might seem odd if you’re not streaming live, but soliciting your audience to participate has its advantages.

For example, asking your viewers questions directly gives you opportunities to generate and provide responses to comments – further fueling the engagement algorithm.

Viewer feedback can also provide ideas for future content and the opportunities to build content around responses through ‘fan clips’ or idea shoutouts.

The Way Forward

To improve performance on YouTube, driving more traffic to your site and more revenue for your business, apply these best practices in your video creation process.

These tried and tested YouTube video elements are sure to contribute to your own video marketing success!

More Resources:


Featured Image: Alina Rosanova/Shutterstock

All screenshots taken by author, May 2021





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SEO

Balancing paid and organic search strategies for optimum success

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Balancing paid and organic search strategies for optimum success

30-second summary:

  • Even though it is evident that SEO and PPC are great tools, these two disciplines work in silos
  • In fact, these teams and channels mostly work on their own in silos and are often handled separately
  • Accenture Song’s SEO Manager, Michael McManus discusses how businesses can combine paid and organic SEO to function as one value-add unit

SEO and PPC are a must-have in your arsenal when planning your marketing strategy. Depending on what they are looking to do, most companies tend to choose one over the other, if they are looking to increase their rankings and get traffic from organic search, then they will go with SEO,  whereas PPC focuses on getting instant “paid for” traffic from such areas as search, social, and display.

Both SEO and PPC are great tools to boost your site/brand’s authority as well as help generate more traffic and sales for your business. But these two teams/channels tend to work on their own in silos and are often handled separately.

Now while both of these options can and do work well on their own, having both teams work together can be a powerful strategy for any business. Instead of working apart and potentially fighting for budget, time, resources, and rankings. By bringing both departments together so that they can collaborate and work as one, they will benefit from different insights and learnings that they would otherwise not get on their own. These insights will allow them to produce amazing results in both campaigns.

These two marketing channels aren’t meant to operate independently, yet that is the case almost every single time. But instead of looking at both channels as separate entities and you bring them together, you’ll see that they can help you achieve better results across the board than having them work on their own.

The data and insights that you can get from PPC campaigns are extremely insightful and powerful. When you take that data and combine it with your SEO strategies, it will give you the insights that you can use to create content that will make a big difference to your organic search traffic.

Balancing organic and paid search strategies for optimum success is a key challenge and lots of businesses need to catch up as they are typically only using one of these strategies.

How SEO and PPC can work together to boost your business

Along with large amounts of keyword and conversion insights that SEO can use by working with PPC, another huge benefit that companies can achieve when they bring both SEO and PPC together is the potential to consume a large portion of the SERPs, where they can showcase ads at the top of the page while owning the organic listings below.

This is something that shouldn’t be overlooked as it gives you more chances to capture the user, who might be looking for your brand or something that your brand has to offer. For example, let’s say you are running PPC and SEO campaigns separately and a user does a search and your ad appears, but they skip over it and go right to the organic listings but you are not showing up for that particular search, you are potentially missing out on capturing that user.

So now if you are using both PPC and SEO together and you use your PPC data to gather insights as to what the users were and are searching for, where your ads are showing, but not your organic listings. You can then take that data and start to create great content for those terms and optimize your site for that phase of the user’s journey. Now you can potentially have your site’s PPC ads showing at the top of the page as well as your site showing up below those ads in the organic results. This means that if a searcher were to skip over your ad and go directly to the organic results, your site will also be listed there winning you greater brand discovery.

Bringing both PPC and SEO together and working side by side, and taking over the SERPs for a given keyword will not only allow you with getting more exposure than what you would get if you only used SEO or PPC, but you now also increase the visibility of your site and the chances that a user will click over to your site.

Another added benefit from combining both SEO and PPC and taking over the SERPS is that users, searchers, and potential customers are more likely to see value and trust in a brand that is well represented across the SERPs.

If you were able to help guide and encourage users to click through to your site, wouldn’t that be an effort worth the implementation?

Getting SEO and PPC to work for you

Well, you might be asking yourself “ok great now I know that I need to have both SEO and PPC work as one, how do I go about this?”

Here are some practical tips to have both SEO and PPC work together.

Keywords

Keywords are important to both SEO and PPC as each one is reliant on them to help with creating the proper content for each strategy. They are both going to want to target the proper and relevant keywords in order to show up in the SERPs when a user is searching for information, shopping, looking for a brand, etc.

Using the keyword data and insights from your PPC campaigns and providing that information to your SEO team, will allow them to then create content that a user is searching for and thus be able to be in front of the customer throughout their journey.

Creating ads

Paid social media ads as well as retargeting ads are a great way for you to get your content shared across different platforms that will help with getting backlinks that will help your site’s content rank organically. While this is happening, you can create retargeting ads that will help to capture users’ attention once they have left your site.

PPC data

As we mentioned earlier, PPC campaign data has a plethora of information that you can use to help create highly targeted content to help get your site’s pages to rank organically. From your PPC campaigns, you’ll be able to see things like keyword search data, impressions, CTR, and so much more.

This will allow you to better optimize your site’s content and create content that might be missing, as well as help with creating highly targeted and optimized page titles and descriptions.

Conclusion

It’s no longer about SEO vs PPC anymore, or at least it shouldn’t be after reading this article. Now that you are aware of the potential benefits of combing both your PPC and SEO efforts, it’s time to go out and implement this new strategy.

Armed with all the data that you have at your fingertips from your PPC campaigns, use this new data and insights to help with creating better SEO strategies, that will give you a competitive advantage and help you with reaching your customers at every step of their journey.

It’s time to stop treating SEO and PPC as silos and time to bring them together so that your site can benefit from the added data and insights so that your site can dominate the SERPs.

Remember SEO and PPC are each other’s most powerful tools.


Michael McManus is SEO Manager at Accenture Song. Michael has hands-on expertise in branding strategies, website structure/architecture and development, SEO strategies, and online marketing campaigns. 

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