YouTube: Social Media Platform or Content Search Engine?

YouTube: Social Media Platform or Content Search Engine?

Okay, so this can’t be overstated enough: video is the king of content and something every business should include in their marketing overall strategy (something we’ve posted about before). Along with creating video content, every business should have a place to showcase their videos besides your website. Enter YouTube. According to the 2018 State of Inbound Report, 45% of marketers are investing more in marketing on YouTube over the course of this year.

YouTube is a content search engine, not a social media platform.

But beyond that, something businesses should keep in mind is that yes, while YouTube is considered by many to be a social media platforms, it should actually be considered a content search engine. YouTube currently has over 50 million content creators publishing videos regularly. To ensure your content is found and seen by the right audience, you need to optimize said content as best as you can.  

YouTube is the Google for Video

YouTube is the second most popular search engine after Google, who in case you forgot, owns YouTube. Because Google powers YouTube, it stands to reason that some of the techniques businesses use to optimize their websites for Google search should also be applied to their YouTube channel and videos for YouTube search.

Understanding Your Audience

Understanding your audience is key to optimizing your YouTube channel.

However, before you can start optimizing your YouTube channel and videos, you must first understand the audience you’re targeting with your content. This may be a little bit of a chicken/egg, trial-and-error kind of experiment to start, but once you upload some of your content, you’ll be able to better understand who is watching your videos so you can better target your ideal audience. To do so, use the Analytics tab on your YouTube channel to gain insight into your audience’s behaviors, including view count on your videos, average watch time, revenue generated – if applicable, and interaction rate across all of your video content.

The Analytics tab also has some great insight into your subscriber demographics under the aptly named Demographics tab. Some information to think about when reviewing this information includes when and where your videos are being viewed, the average viewer age, and the gender your viewers most commonly identify as. Using the Demographics tab not only gives you the opportunity to verify that your target audience is watching your content but also shows you if your content resonates with an unexpected audience that you can then take advantage of when creating future content.

In addition to gaining a better understanding of your viewers, you can use the YouTube Community Page to ask your subscribers questions and create polls to gain a deeper understanding of their opinions. The best way to understand your viewers’ opinions – by far – is by reading the comments people leave on your videos. While this may not necessarily be the most fun thing to do, the information you can glean from the comments can be invaluable in fine-tuning your marketing strategy, on YouTube and beyond.

Competitor Analysis is Key

Once you have a comprehensive understanding of your target audience, another tactic you can use to better optimize your videos and YouTube channel is to conduct an analysis of your top competitors to see which of their videos are getting the most and least amount of views, what keywords and tags they included in their descriptions, and how frequently they post new video content. You should also read the comments on your competitors’ videos to gain insight into your competitor’s target audience. And be sure to double check to see if your competitors are showing ads on your videos, and block them in Google’s Ad Manager if they are. If they haven’t blocked your company from showing ads on their videos, however, you might want to take advantage of that opportunity to market to their target audience and subscribers.  

Think About Your Own YouTube Viewing Habits

Analyze your YouTube viewing habits and apply them to your content.

While you’re using every analytical strategy and tool available to optimize your YouTube channel and content, think about the video content that holds your attention when you’re watching YouTube on your own. What made you subscribe to the channels you did? What techniques do your favorite YouTubers employ when creating their video content that you can apply to your videos? How engaged are they with their subscribers and viewers? Don’t worry if the videos you watch don’t necessarily fit into your niche industry; it’s still possible to apply your favorite YouTuber’s strategies to your YouTube channel and content.

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