YouTube knows that their future success lies in the success of their current users. If they want to be profitable, they need all their users to do well and enjoy the experience—not just the viewers, but the advertisers and partners as well. If YouTube video creators get more views for their content, then YouTube is getting more views… more eyeballs for their ads… and so on. A more shortsighted corporation might leave users twisting in the wind, left to their own devices to find a way to higher view counts. But YouTube knows their own long term growth is forever tied to the success of their customers.
So it makes sense that they are continually reaching out to try and help users succeed more (for just one example, check out this video FAQ on YouTube Ads from Rick Silvestrini). When YouTube pulls back the curtain and offers tips and suggestions to users, everybody wins, and we'd all be wise to at least pay a little attention to what they're saying.
As part of their ongoing Tips For Partners series (though these tips are also just as useful for non-partners), there was new a post yesterday on the YouTube blog entitled Never Leave Me Wanting More, and it's full of great basic tips for YouTube partners that I wanted to make sure you all knew about it. There are a lot of great pieces of advice in there—the kind of nuggets that make you smack yourself in the forehead for not having thought of it first, although I know we've covered them in the past. I'm betting almost all of us can find some great new action-item from the list.
YouTube Marketing Tips for Partners - Using Annotations
YouTube thinks you should use annotations (those little colored note bubbles that pop up while a video is playing) to help your viewers know what their post-viewing options are. You can send them to another of your videos with a simple link—maybe the next part in the series or something—or you can solicit feedback. Annotations are versatile, and the point YouTube is making is that videos using annotations have higher success rates in keeping viewers engaged longer and driving traffic to more of the creator's clips.
Don't overdo it, though. Which is easier to do than you think. Too few annotations, and you're not offering viewers enough routes to your other content. Too many… and you're giving them information overload. There's no magic formula, but YouTube recommends 3-5 annotations per video as a rule of thumb. The image to the right is an example of what is clearly wayyy too many annotations:
Another great tip they offer with regard to annotations is to be transparent. Don't disguise links so that the viewer ends up somewhere other than where you told them they would go. Misleading the viewer is bad for the customer/creator relationship. And considering YouTube's parent company, Google, and their long-standing rule against disguising web-content, and you might infer that YouTube is saying your video might even be penalized for spamming users too much.
Lastly - think about being creative with your annotations from a production standpoint. I've seen some real interesting videos where the owner clearly considered the annotations when they were actually creating/producing the video. As an example, at the end of your video, you can literally film yourself pointing to annotations and directing users to click on the annotations..... The following is a video that shows another way that this can be done.
YouTube Marketing Tips for Partners - Using Playlists
You've probably seen playlists in action. Many of you have likely created one for yourself. And YouTube thinks you should all be using them, because Playlists are fantastic ways to guide your new viewers through your content the way you prefer them to experience it. You can help them discover older videos they might have missed or highlight your personal greatest hits.
Here's a real great nugget you might not have known: Playlists are indexed separately from individual videos. Which means that you double your chances of a video being found through search if you have it in a playlist. Outstanding. (Don't forget to add the proper metadata to your playlist to increase its chances of being found!).
They also recommend creating themes to build your playlists around—rather than just lumping a bunch of unrelated videos together in a list. Good tip. Even if you have straggler videos that you want to roll into a playlist to try and get more attention, you've got to be sensible about how you group your playlist vids together if you want them to have the maximum impact.
Check out this result which shows our interview with Merton showing both as video results as well as a playlist result....
YouTube Marketing Tips for Partners - Wrap-Up
I'm thrilled so far with this Tips for Partners series. It's informative, useful, and feels very transparent and open. And it contains applicable advice for beginners and veterans alike, and it appears as though they're going to continue to augment their tips with personal testimonies from real Partners. In fact, tomorrow they're going to have some first-hand knowledge being handed down by a partner that "uses playlists and annotations to increase views," so keep an eye out for that as well.
The Tips for Partners series began September 21 and promises to "run for several weeks," which means it's going to end eventually. All three so far have been excellent, so I'd encourage you to check it out.