Best Way to Promote YouTube Videos for Free

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We’re offering you a free video promotion pattern. We’ve tried to collect a maximum of well-tried information and present it in this tutorial. All the methods mentioned here have been tested on different projects and verified by experiment. Here’s our best practices of how to promote YouTube video for free.

Video Rating Factors

Forums and blogs provide heaps of information concerning YouTube video promotion. They list tens of factors that influence the top selection. However, most of these markers yield a very insignificant influence, and if you just follow this advice blindly, it would be hard to get a weighty result.

We’ve researched over 100 videos and singled out the factors that really influence video ratings. Take these into account, and you’ll learn how to promote a YouTube channel for free.

The most crucial factors:

  • Audience retention. It is much easier to get to the top list if your video is long (10+ minutes) and with a high degree of retention.
  • Optimized header and description. You should include the keys into the header and the first lines of description (see below for details). The description should be as long as possible and, definitely, unique.
  • Number of views. . YouTube can’t just ignore videos that have been watched by many people. Besides, they have a special “number of views” filter.
    *It’s important to keep in mind that fraud views will do you no good. If you pay for bot views, the consequences might not be so good.

Secondary factors:

  • Likes and dislikes number. The ratio of overall number of likes and dislikes to each other and to the number of views. It used to be a very powerful factor, but right now it’s very cheap to fraud boost it. At the moment YouTube only counts natural likes, that is, the ones that come from users who have watched the video, commented on it, or have demonstrated their authenticity in some other way.
  • Users who have subscribed after having watched the video, or during watching it. This factor counts, but only in case the subscriber had interacted with the content.
  • Sharing and adding to favorites. These factors are also easy to fraud boost, so they’ll yield results only in case some social media interaction will take place after the sharing. In other words, if a video got 100 tweets that didn’t get you any visitors, it’s fraud viewing. If it’s got 100 tweets that were retweeted and brought new visitors, YouTube will consider this as a positive dynamic.
  • Embedding videos on popular sites. If a video gets views from third-party websites, for instance, from video plugins – this is definitely a positive signal for YouTube. The same goes for external references from popular sites.
  • File name. I don’t find this factor to be too significant. But if you include a keyword into the video title, it’s definitely not going to make things worse.

Main Aspects of Video Promotion

Audience retention

Let’s begin with the most popular factor that is mentioned in every blog and on every conference.

Audience retention is a percentage-based characteristic. It demonstrates how many people have watched your video to the end. The higher the percentage, the more interesting the video. I don’t think you’ll watch a 10-minute video if it’s no good. And on the contrary, you’re sure to watch a cool one to the end.

Audience retention is YouTube’s basic metric

Keeping your video long or short?

Many people have heard that they have to keep the videos short, as it would be easier to keep the audience. It makes sense, as more people will watch a 30-second chair review to the end, than the same review that would last for 10 minutes.

But is this the best kind of video for YouTube as such? Let’s try to analyze the videos from YouTube’s point of view. It makes money on advertising. The more time a user spends on the site, the more likely he is to watch advertisements.

So what is more profitable for YouTube, to have a 2-minute video with 80% of viewers watching it to the end, or a 30-minute one, that only 50% of viewers will watch to the end? Of course, a 30-minute video is best, as the viewers will spend much more time on the site.

Conclusion: Don’t be afraid to make longer videos. The time that a viewer spends on the site after having watched the video can turn out to be more important than the general audience retention percentage.

SEO Promotion on YouTube and Google

Organic traffic is very important and here are some YouTube video SEO tips. It can become the main source of views for some videos, that is why you should never discard it in YouTube video optimization SEO. Besides, the search traffic is the cheapest one in the long run.

Basically, site and video SEO have a lot in common. Keywords, behavioral factors, interlinking and links are equally important for both types.

Keywords for YouTube videos

Let’s consider the best way to find keywords for YouTube videos. The following is used most often when collecting a site’s semantic kernel:

  • Google keyword tool,
  • Keywords databases,
  • Search prompters parcers,
  • Relevant keywords parcers.

However, when collecting semantics for videos, you should remember that the most frequent queries according to the keyword tool are not always the best choice for SEO.

The thing is that Google allocates different number of top videos to different queries. Some queries might not have any videos at all, while others might feature the whole top video list.

Let’s consider a very simple example. Let’s take website YouTube plugins sphere:

Main aspects of video promotion

The first request is much more popular, and it would appear that it’s better to make the videos fit it. However, if we take a look at Google top, we’ll see that not a single video is featured in the search results.

Meanwhile, there are videos in the top search results of the second query:

Promote YouTube Videos

Let’s consider the following use-case

Let’s analyze a query that puts a more complicated task before us.

Task: you need to collect maximum organic views for a video tutorial on how to get an Instagram Access Token and Client ID (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGMk8daxF08).

Let’s start by selecting keywords by a wide collaboration:

Promote Video

We need to collect a large pool of requests, the larger it is, the bigger segment it will feature, and then filter out the non-thematic ones. Next, let’s run them through the Google Keywords Tool, paying attention to the number of slots allotted to videos.

Google Keywords Tool

Next, let’s analyze Google and YouTube prompts for the requests «Instagram Access Token» and «Instagram Client ID».

Prompts:

Prompts

Relevant requests:

Relevant requests

Google prompts:

Google prompts

And YouTube prompts:

YouTube prompts

Let’s choose the keys to emphasize to let the video get to the top positions in Google and YouTube. Also, we shouldn’t miss out the rest of the keys, as we mustn’t exclude them from the promoting process.

As the result, we include them both into the title and description, making them look as natural as possible:

Youtube Video title and description

As we can see, the video took the top positions both in Google and on YouTube by all the keywords:

Positions on YouTube by all the keywords
Conclusion: You need to consider all the factors that influence video ranking, and choose keywords and descriptions carefully. It will let you get your videos to the top position and collect organic traffic.

The Tips to Know to Promote Videos for Free?

1. Collecting views.

It is important to get maximum views in the first 2-3 days. It will increase the video’s chances of getting to the top list, or even to the main page. Generally speaking, there’s nothing new here. If you have means to do it, you can order social media publications. If you don’t, you should use all you can – social media profiles, your website, newsletters, etc.

2. Working with annotations and cards.
Annotations are a very powerful tool to achieve a video’s KPI, such as getting subscribers, attracting people to your website, improving a certain behavioral factor, etc.

3. Calls to action/keeping in touch with your audience.
If you ask a user to do something in annotation and comments (like, comment or share), you won’t have to wait long for a result. It is very important to keep up a dialogue with users. This is good not only from the point of view of YouTube, but also lets you know you users better and thus improve your future videos.

Example:

The tips to know to promote videos for free

Active communication lets you discover new ideas, find out what interests the audience and raises channel viewers’ loyalty.

4. YouTube video tags.

I have moved this point here on purpose from the SEO section. Despite the obvious connection, tags greatly influence your video’s chances of getting to Recommended videos. Each video should have the following tags:

  • Channel tags (added to all the videos);
  • Show tags (added to specific shows);
  • Unique video tags (every video’s unique tags).

Example:

hashtags for youtube video

5. Thumbnails.

This is what you need to keep in mind when selecting a thumbnail:

  • Large print. This works well, as it is easy to read in recommended videos and on mobile. However, if you plan to advertise your videos on Facebook, the text shouldn’t take up more than 20% of the thumbnail.
  • Keep thumbnails relevant. For instance, don’t put girls on a technical video. It will lower the audience retention, and the video will go down in the search result list.
  • Feature people on thumbnails. People work best. And people who show emotion work even better.

YouTube Video Analytics

After you’ve published several videos, it’s high time to work with analytics. Even the basics of analytics can give you lots of information. Let’s consider two main factors:

  • Audience retention
  • Realtime

Retention Analytics

Analytics has got two kinds of retention reports:

  1. Absolute Audience Retention – shows the way the viewer’s interest declines while watching the video and compares the number of views for a certain period to the overall number of views.
  2. Relative Audience Retention – compares your video to others of the same length, runs the comparison of the most interesting moments, etc.

Let’s take a good look at each report.

Absolute Retention report

Absolute Retention report allows to realize which types of videos work well and interest the audience, and which don’t. Let’s take a look at two reports:

Absolute Retention report

The first graph shows that most people left straight away. They video didn’t interest them. However, everyone who’d watched the first minute, watched the video to the end. We can draw the conclusion that the video is interesting only for a certain segment of viewers, or that we should change the beginning, as it didn’t get the viewers’ interest.

Absolute Retention

The second graph shows that the video interests the audience. We see relevant views, a good beginning, and no drastic decreases. Probably, the video’s finale should be improved a little.

Relative Retention Report

Relative Retention Report

The example shows that there are leaps. It means that for some reason people come back to a certain moment after having watched it. Obviously, that part of the video is either very interesting or controversial.

YouTube Realtime Analytics

Realtime shows the way the viewers interact with your video over the latest 48 hours. For example:

YouTube Realtime analytics

We see that this type of video is watched in the morning, then the number of views decreases, and in the later part of the afternoon it starts to grow again, up till the evening. In the evening we once again see a rapid decrease.

Here’s another example, we see that the number of views increases from morning to evening:

YouTube analytics
YouTube Realtime report analysis will guide you to understand at what time to release the video to get additional views during the first hours.

Bonus Example

Some channels use the «first-timer bonus” for videos. The point is that a new video gets a bonus during ranking and for several days occupies a higher position in the search results list.

YouTube video promote example

The channels that can’t get to the top videos list by the traffic key use this bonus to get traffic by frequently publishing new videos. A new video takes the previous one’s place in the top list. As the result, one of the channel’s videos is always in the top. This simple method is one of the best ways to promote a YouTube channel.

Conclusion

In our forthcoming articles about best free ways to promote YouTube videos we will take a closer look at analytics and the correct way to create a company’s business account.

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