2016 was a year when online videos dominated the internet, and 2017 has been no different. It seems platforms like YouTube have everything we could ever ask for, from news to ads and digital media content to pique our every interest.
Individuals and brands can now reach out to millions of viewers worldwide through a single video — which means there’s a lot at stake, potentially. Committing even the slightest mistake on YouTube could easily translate to a disaster of epic proportions.
Viewers of today consume videos far differently than they did five years ago. Today, more people are using YouTube to watch live videos — like the recent solar eclipse — for real-time updates on every subject imaginable.
If you want to rise to the top of YouTube, you need to adapt to new trends and sudden changes in viewer behavior as nimbly as possible.
There’s no telling how YouTube will evolve in the next couple of years. As a brand, it’s your job to keep up with it all. That means learning from the mistakes of others and consistently avoiding the most common pitfalls of success.
1. Forgetting About Your Mobile Viewers
The dawn of smartphones has changed how and where people consume online videos.
Back in June of this year, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki announced that YouTube has over 1.5 billion logged in users – and people are spending over an hour a day watching video on mobile devices.
These shiny new metrics were trotted on stage at the Anaheim Convention Center in Anaheim, California, to lure advertisers into investing their ad spend on YouTube instead of traditional media. If those numbers are good enough for investors, they should be good enough for you, too.
Failing to optimize your videos for mobile users will mean missing out on a lot of views and engagement.
All monetized videos are automatically available on the YouTube app for mobile. Videos are only taken down from the app if they’ve incurred a copyright violation.
If your video has incurred a copyright violation, visit the Video Manager page and make a claim. Copyright claims are usually processed within five to seven business days, depending on the severity of the case.
Silent videos are also becoming quite a thing among mobile viewers, so you might want to consider adding captions to all of your videos.
In the Video Manager, you’ll find a tab labeled Subtitles and CC (Closed Captioning.) You can select the automatic caption function by clicking on the English (Automatic) button on the top right of the screen.
Image credit: NCDAE
The automatic captions won’t be perfect, but usually they’re pretty close. You can play the video back to make sure the captions are accurate, and edit any discrepancies in the Edit and Overwrite tab on the same page.
By adding captions to your videos, you’re giving YouTube’s crawlers a lot of text to consider when evaluating your search ranking, while also making your videos accessible to the millions of mobile users worldwide.
2. Being Too Pushy
YouTube is one of the busiest and most effective marketing platforms of today. That said, there’s a line to be drawn between an effective brand awareness campaign and being too downright pushy.
Ads of today are already invasive as it is and using your channel purely for salesy videos can drive people away. Don’t devote your YouTube channel to product placement, or you’ll be wasting this valuable resource.
If you want your YouTube marketing efforts to kick ass, you need to develop a kick-ass content strategy.
People log in to YouTube to consume informative or entertaining content, and you can’t give them that if you just focus on pushing your products or services.
Start by optimizing your videos, from your video title down to your meta description. Use the most relevant and specific keywords at the beginning — both in the title and the tags — and use more generic (but still relevant) ones towards the end.
YouTube’s site crawlers rely on keywords to determine a video’s ranking. Getting your videos to the right audience depends on the keywords you use — so use them well.
If you’re still at a loss with keywords, you might want to check out the guide Robert Dean created for Backlinko. It details everything there is to know about choosing the right keywords for your YouTube video.
6. Not Creating Custom Thumbnails
On YouTube, you only have a split-second to convince a viewer that your video is worth checking out. A custom thumbnail has the power to drive more people to a video by grabbing their attention and refusing to let go.
You need to create a thumbnail that will reinforce what your video is all about in a single frame. Remember, you don’t have all day to convince a viewer your video is worth their time.
Take VICE, a digital media brand that has over eight million subscribers. They cover a broad range of interesting and bizarre topics that keep their viewers hooked — and they make pretty captivating thumbnails, too!
Image credit: VICE on YouTube
If you want to draw more users to your videos, start making thumbnails that tell a story with a single glimpse.
It’s All In the Detail, Baby!
Mastering YouTube is all about paying attention to the small details — from your thumbnail down to using the right tags. If you want your YouTube channel to thrive despite the competition, you have to start paying attention to the little things.
Give your channel a good look and pinpoint the areas that need improvement. Don’t be afraid to commit mistakes because you can always learn from them and change for the better later on.
Remember, YouTube pitfalls are only as permanent as you let them be. If you want to rise to the top, you should learn to be nimble and smart about your strategy.
If you want to kick things into high gear, consider buying a few thousand YouTube Views from a reputable provider. An impressive number of Views will improve your social proof and give you a more buzzworthy persona on a highly saturated platform like YouTube.
Learn from some of these common YouTube pitfalls and take your channel to even greater heights, one video at a time.
Image credit: NewMediaRockstars