YouTube Audit 101: A Marketer’s Guide to Success
If you’ve written Youtube off as part of your marketing mix, we’re here to change your mind.
Marketers often overlook a comprehensive plan for the brand YouTube when considering a high-level marketing strategy, with much of the attention instead going to the website, blog, other social channels, and email newsletter. YouTube ultimately becomes an afterthought, a dumping ground for all those videos clogging up your content management system.
No longer. The time to conduct a YouTube audit for your brand is now, and here’s why.
Why should marketers focus on YouTube?
For starters, YouTube has more than 2 billion users, who watch more than 1 billion hours of video each day. Your customers are on YouTube, and unless they see your content, it’s a missed opportunity.
For many of us, ranking near the top of Google’s search results is priority number one. Google of course reigns supreme in the search landscape, but YouTube is actually the world’s second largest search engine, even over traditional search engines like Bing and Yahoo.
Speaking of those ever-important Google search results, video carousels are more common than ever and optimizing your brand YouTube content will help land your videos there.
Moreover, your competitors are probably already on YouTube, and if not, they will be soon. Treat this platform with the same care as all , or risk being left behind in the digital realm. Consider your YouTube channel to be an extension of your website.
The YouTube audit
Now that we’ve established the need for an audit, where should we start? First, you’ll want to take inventory.
Video content inventory
Conduct an inventory of all videos published to identify current state, keeping an eye out for themes. Ask yourself. What’s there? Does everything meet current brand standards? Make note of videos that need to be removed or updated.
Playlists organized around themes keep your visitors on a guided path in their consumer journey. They also elevate the user experience with an organized, holistic structure that enhances engagement. Playlists should have clearly defined names and descriptions to provide context as to why the content is grouped under this specific list. The playlist navigation structure should be similar to your website navigation for a cohesive brand experience across all online touchpoints.
Keep in mind that videos on the channel can appear in more than one playlist if they match more than one of the content grouping themes.
Content gap analysis
It’s crucial to treat this channel as you would any other marketing channel, by identifying any gaps in current content. If you discover gaps, are there existing videos that can fill these gaps with optimization, or do new videos need to be produced?
Then look at your audience and traffic sources. What content engages viewers? How do they engage–from likes, comments, shares, and duration of time viewing each video? This will help you understand what is working and where improvements can be made, as well as determine priority order for recommendations.
Develop a blueprint for optimizing each individual video. Optimizations apply to video titles, keyword tags, video descriptions captions, and tags.
Not only are video descriptions key to YouTube and Google ranking algorithms, but they drive link clicks by giving searchers, both on YouTube and on Google, more context about what they will see which can entice them to click. Including hyperlinks in the description provides users the opportunity to continue their brand engagement on a different channel, whether by clicking through to your website or different social profile.
Next, optimize visual elements. This includes the channel banner, icon, and custom video thumbnails to create interest and promote engagement. Only the video title and a small portion of the description are previewed in SERP results, so the addition of custom thumbnails allows for a deeper content preview and view-benefit explanation for users.
Lastly, choose an end screen option, such as suggesting the next video or asking viewers to subscribe to your channel. Users that watch an entire video are typically willing to click on to the next video
Guiding the consumer through their content journey also includes mapping the videos to the relevant web pages and mapping the suggested videos in the playlist structure. Mapping helps keep viewers engaged with your brand in their content journey and in your brand’s ecosystem instead of being redirected to similar content on a different channel. Both YouTube channel videos (viewed on the YouTube channel itself) and YouTube videos embedded on websites (viewed on your website) rank in search results.
Plan for success
To maximize future viewership, keep a list of best practices and templates. Optimize your brand’s “About” section on YouTube to align with the branding of all channels and tell your audiences what they should expect from your channel.
What marketers need to know
YouTube is a strong digital touchpoint in the consumer journey. Marketers can either risk the brand looking unorganized without a clear strategy and execution, or bolster brand perception and reputation by putting together a succinct and positive user experience through organized content that is easier to consume.
Investing time in a YouTube audit will not only benefit your organization by identifying and organizing videos available for your website, social channels, and other marketing materials, it will also result in an increased online share of voice in your industry and diversify the types of rankings within Google.
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