Now ranking as the second largest search engine online, YouTube's reach and influence on consumers can't be understated. Consider the following: over 2 billion videos a day are viewed on YouTube; there are over 480 million YouTube users worldwide; and the average person spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube. More importantly, partner ad revenue on YouTube more than tripled in 2009. Then why is it that the social networking site is often overlooked by marketers, taking a backseat to Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn?
Trying to answer that question — along with ways to make money from advertising on YouTube — was Greg Jarboe, president of SEO-PR, a search engine optimization and online public relations consulting firm, at the recent Online Marketing Summit in San Diego. Here's some of what Jarboe had to say:
Prices to advertise on YouTube are dirt cheap, said Jarboe, adding that it's one of the last bargains out there. Take advantage of the opportunity. Dynomighty Design, a wholesale seller of magnetic jewelry and other creative products, has grown its small business almost entirely via YouTube. All the company did was post a minute-long video demonstrating a magnetic bracelet's features. That first video received 2.7 million views, and within three months generated $130,000 in sales. Dynomighty Design now attributes 50 percent of its website traffic to YouTube.
Create a call-to-action overlay on your video and link back to your website, advised Jarboe. Online retailer Artbeads.com saw a 150 percent increase in referral traffic to its website by simply placing an overlay on its own video — which is free to do, by the way — promoting its weekly specials at Artbeads.com. Just a couple lines of text with a link. To maximize effectiveness, place your overlay ad within the first 10 seconds of the video, Jarboe said. At that point you still have the audience's attention.
YouTube allows its advertisers to go back and edit overlays, title tags and descriptions, but you can’t edit a video itself once it’s posted. In addition to putting a link to your website in your overlay, place the same link within the first sentence. YouTube specifies that you must use http:// when creating your link.
Test out promoted videos. Called the “AdWords for YouTube,” by Matthew Liu, product manager for YouTube, these videos appear in the right-hand column of search results pages on YouTube. You only pay for this service when people click on your video. But there are a couple of factors that you should keep in mind when deciding what keywords to “bid” for, Jarboe said:
- Google AdWords aren't necessarily going to be the most searched terms on YouTube;
- use YouTube's Keyword Tool to get search term suggestions; and
- remember that people search differently on Google than they do on YouTube.
Your video is your creative, so you won't need to create an ad. What your promoted video will need is a 25-character headline, roughly two lines of text that should each be 35 characters and two links — one to watch the video and one to your YouTube channel, Jarboe advised. ReelSEO notes that views of promoted videos helps a brand's organic search rankings on Google. “Spend a little money to promote your videos,” Jarboe said.
Even a modest investment in promoted videos can produce significant results. Jarboe cited a 2010 test of YouTube’s promoted videos that yielded the following data:
- Promotion at 3 cents increased views per day by 30 times when compared to two weeks prior to promotion.
- Partners in the test got 46,000 subscriptions that were directly attributed to sessions with a promoted video click. The cost per subscriber averaged out to be between $4 and $6.
- Users were twice as likely to watch a second video by the partner when driven to the channel page rather than the watch page.
Hosting videos on your own website as well as on YouTube is a waste, said Jarboe. Just cut and paste YouTube’s video code onto your own site, Jarboe advised. It’s cheaper and more effective to do it that way. YouTube will track views on your own site — helping your organic search rankings — if you use its code; it won’t if you don’t use its code.
But at the end of the day, you need to have interesting content that people will watch past the 10-second threshold, Jarboe said. When just starting to post videos on YouTube, keep them to two minutes to three minutes in length. When you get more familiar with video, you can extend those videos to five minutes to 10 minutes. The most shared videos on YouTube are humorous in nature, followed by news-type videos and how-to videos.