YouTube is certainly alluring – it’s difficult to refute that. Being the juggernaut of video content on the world wide web, your Google Account Management team will almost certainly try and convince you that it’s the missing, supplemental piece to your PPC program – actually, they’ll convince your client of this, and then it will be up to you to try and figure out how to make it work. Unless you begin your YouTube journey with a defined strategy and set of goals, it’s very unlikely that YouTube will be your missing conversion messiah coming to rescue you from the fiscal cliff.
The truth is: yes, YouTube is sexy and fun, but if you begin your video strategy with a few clips targeting a handful of preset audiences, more than likely you’ll blow through 5K in a few days with little to show for it. As such, here is a collection of relatively quick (and simple) steps you can take to make your launch into YouTube a little more strategic.
Step 1: Have your Google AM upgrade you to a brand channel page. Brand channel pages have a handful of features not available on standard pages that make them worth your while.
- Channel Banner – This appears at the top of your brand channel page and is only available for brand channels. The great part about the channel banner is that includes a click-able image map, allowing you to redirect visitors to your own website or conversion funnel.
- Channel Navigation Bar – Displays the channel title, a channel subscribe button for visitors, the number of current subscribers, and the number of video views in the channel. It can also include tabs for navigating to different pages on the channel.
- Main Content Area – This area includes your video player and your set of featured playlists (the main content area has a variety of templates to choose from depending on your goals.) A great feature to keep in mind is the use of customizable backgrounds on your brand channel, if you have a product or promotion you want visitors to know about don’t be afraid to work that language onto your channel page.
- Sidebar – Not many people take real advantage of this – the sidebar is an easy way to provide links to your other social networks – realistically, anything you want potential customers to know about. If your goal is free trial sign ups, put a link for it here.
Step 2: Set Up Better Analytics. Unless you’re blown away by being able to see how many people viewed your video, you’ll probably want to integrate your YouTube channel into Google Analytics. Fortunately, this is relatively painless..
- Assuming you have an existing GA login, go in and create a new account. Although you could go in and create a new profile within your existing account, a new account ensures your YouTube data doesn’t get rolled into everything else..
- Go through the account set up process – analytics will eventually display code that provides a profile ID in the format “UA-#######-#.“
- Log into YouTube and go to your channel page, go to the “Info and Settings” tab and enter your GA profile ID in the Google Analytics account ID field. Data about your brand channel should begin populating in GA moving forward.
Step 3: Take advantage of YouTube’s Conditional Redirections. CR is an advanced setting under the “Info and Settings” tab when you edit your channel. Redirections allow you restrict access to your brand channel based upon a (logged in) user’s language, age, location, or gender. CRs are particularly useful if you (e.g.) don’t sell your product in country X or wish to cater to a particular audience (those under 18 years of age etc.) Below is a brief description of each optional CR:
- Locale – Specifies user’s language and geographic location (based upon browser settings and IP address.)
- Age – Tied to DOB associated with the logged in user’s account.
- Gender – Only applies if the user specified gender while creating their Google account (they are not required to do so.)
- Redirect Location – Allows you to a) completely block users from your brand channel that are from a specified location, gender, or age or b) redirect these users to an alternative channel.
The real challenge with YouTube is making it apparent that you want viewers to do more than just view – customizing your brand channel is an easy way to add links to (e.g.) your free trial sign up, or to simply advertise your product in the background/headline to give it a little more visibility to end users.
At this point, most of us are familiar with call to action overlays – text ads (essentially) that can appear in your videos that can direct users to external websites (if your goal for YouTube is more than just brand awareness, you should certainly be using these.) Recently, YouTube has released a custom annotations beta – as mentioned in Evelyn’s post, Adwords for Video – FAQ – that gives you another way of utilizing call to actions if you’re conversion oriented. As mentioned by Evelyn, Juicy Couture uses annotations extremely well to advertise a variety of clothes (providing users with links to direct purchase off the video itself.) Bottom line – annotations are fun and allow you to interact with your viewers, whether or not you’re trying to sell anything. Check out the Fortune Teller video for some 2:30 in the afternoon entertainment:
So go forth, create your video campaigns, but be smart about it. Instead of targeting multiple audiences, select one or two, layer a keyword set on top of it and start creating a list of managed placements once you get a little volume. YouTube is a fantastic medium to reach a large audience, but most of us want more than viewership…implement some of these easy steps to better express and measure your audience’s reaction to your product offering.