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  • The essential guide to YouTube Marketing

The essential guide to YouTube Marketing

  • Last Updated : August 17, 2023
  • 10 Min Read

We all know YouTube. It’s the red play button sitting on over a billion smartphones, and the first name that comes to mind for most internet users when they hear the words ‘video platform’. Product reviews, music videos, endless loop of cat videos, there’s a high chance that if you’re reading this, you’ve probably fallen into the YouTube rabbit-hole at some point in time.

Because YouTube is in fact the second-most popular website in the world. But if that number doesn’t boggle your mind, try these: about 5 billion videos are being watched every single day on it and about 500 hours of video content is being uploaded to it every minute! To top that off, YouTube’s exhaustive library of content ensures being viewed in 80 different languages; and that covers a whopping 95% of the entire internet population.

Crazy as those metrics may be, it’s not shocking given how big YouTube has become since its early days in 2005. Today, it reigns as the market leader among video marketing platforms—a position it’s held onto for years now. In 2020 however, the share of video streaming audience has been cut into by other social media competitors networks such as ByteDance’s TikTok that have racked up a large following among the younger demographic, clocking over 700 million monthly active users (as of August 2020).

Knowing how YouTube compares and retains its position as the video marketing giant is something worth analyzing—especially given the steep rise of popularity for video content being observed globally. It’s not easy, with millions of creators trying to capture people’s interests and imagination, you’ll have to not only come up with fantastic content, but also understand the platform before you come up with a YouTube marketing plan. In this blog, we’ll explore some of the ways you can go about it!

The basics

Before we discuss marketing strategies and whatnot, let’s get the basics covered. The first thing that you’ll want to do is create a brand account on YouTube. This is Google’s business version, and with a brand account, you and your team members will all be able to manage the account without sharing passwords.

Once you’ve created a brand account, the next step is to optimize your profile. Come up with a short but accurate bio that lets your subscribers know who you are, and add a captivating banner image.

You should also consider customizing the layout of your channel. The default layout will just list your activities and videos in chronological order and might be difficult to navigate. Enabling customization of the layout will allow you to organize your videos into playlists so you can group similar videos together. Further, you can create channel sections and put different playlists in different sections too. Make sure you add links to your other social channels as well.

You should also think of adding a trailer video to your channel. A channel trailer should be a short introduction to what you do and what content you offer. Assume the viewers have no clue who you are, and then briefly explain what you do. You’ll be able to add the trailer in the “For new visitors” tab of your channel.

One last thing you need to do before setting out to market your brand on YouTube is to decide on your goals. Do you want to increase brand awareness, or are you looking to increase sales from the videos? Are you looking to gain new leads, or do you just want to add help videos to existing customers?

Once you set your goals, you should also consider setting KPIs, or Key Performance Indicators. This could be anything from the number of subscribers to average views on videos, to clicks on your CTA. Setting goals and KPIs will allow you to measure your performance, and you’ll be able to tell if you’re succeeding, and if not, where you’re going wrong and what needs to be changed.

Plan your content

One of the most important things to do is to plan your content schedule on the platform. Uploading consistently will keep you on your subscriber’s radar, and will go a long way in increasing your reach organically. It’s a good idea to try and put out at least one video a week, but the schedule will really depend on your audience, your goals, and the type of content you’re putting out.

If you’re lacking ideas for content, one thing you can do is break up a longer video into multiple smaller ones. Think of a theme, and build content around it. Then, produce smaller videos based on this content instead of publishing it as longer videos that require more production time and make you crunch hours to keep up with your schedule. Smaller slicing of content also has the additional benefit of keeping your audience hooked and coming back to your channel to finish the series, building a longer interaction time with your channel and improving recall.

Types of content

Another way to generate ideas for content is to think of the different types of videos that you can create. Brands on YouTube upload different types of content—some of the most common ones are:

  • Demos
  • Tutorials
  • Testimonials
  • Case studies
  • Interviews
  • Reviews
  • Vlogs (Video Blogs)

    While it’s not necessary for your brand to create videos of all types, keeping these in mind will help you come up with new ideas for content. Ultimately, the content you put out should always fit into your strategy.


If you’re looking for tools to help you create your videos, Animoto is a great place to start. They have more than a million stock images and videos on file, and even have stock music files that you can add to your videos to make them more engaging. There are also quite a few editing tools that you can play around with to make your videos even better.

Planning your content is more than what type of content you’re going to put up and when. You’ll also need to think of five important final presentation elements for each video you put out.

a. Catchy titles (Catchy, not click-bait)
b. Keyword-rich video descriptions
c. Relevant hashtags for each video
d. Intriguing thumbnail image/design
e. Organized playlist segmenting

You should also consider playlists for your videos, to group similar types of them together. This will make it easier for your audience to find the specific content they’re looking for. All of this will impact the reach of your video content, so ensure that you plan them out in advance.

Keywords for YouTube

How do you find the right keywords to use for your videos? Tools like SEMrush and SEOprofiler can help you find the popular keywords for your niche, but there’s another trick that you can use.

Simply search for videos similar to the ones you want to upload, and YouTube will throw the top-ranking videos at you. However, YouTube will hide the tags that these videos have used. Luckily, there are different plugins that can show you the tags your competitors are using to get their videos to rank high. Tools like VidIQ and TubeBuddy work wonderfully for this.

If your audience is from other countries, you may consider adding subtitles to your videos. According to YouTube, two-thirds of a channel’s views come from outside the creator’s home country, so adding captions to your videos can ensure that you’re reaching as many people as you can. If you’re not able to add the subtitles on your own, you can consider using community contributions to help you. This will allow your followers to contribute titles, subtitles, descriptions, or captions for your videos, and you can approve them, yourself. This feature is only available on a per-video basis, so you can try it out on one of your videos and see if it’s to your liking.

Once you upload the videos on to your channel, think of the different places you can cross-post them to. You may consider embedding your videos in your blogs, or your brand’s websites. The videos can also be uploaded to other social channels like Facebook and Twitter for further reach.

Learn from your competition

Chances are that your competitors already have an active channel on YouTube. This gives you a great opportunity to analyze and understand which videos work and which one’s tank. You can then use this information to create your own content strategy.

Also, be sure to keep an eye on the comments on their videos. You might find opportunities to jump into the conversation, and sometimes, there might be a comment or two that directly mentions you. Reply to these comments and make sure that you’re actively engaging with the community.

It’ll also help to keep an eye on their video descriptions, so you can understand what keywords they’re using, and maybe try to incorporate the same into your videos.

Pro tip: To find relevant competitors in your space, research the popular hashtags and keywords in your industry and filter through the brands posting or are being mentioned under these.

Leverage Stories, Lives, and Community posts

YouTube Stories: The Stories format is nothing new, and it’s also one of the several ways in which you can keep your channel audience updated on YouTube. Unlike networks like Instagram, Facebook, and even Twitter (Fleets) where you can find the popular 24-hour disappearing content, YouTube Stories stay on your profile for 7-days.

Content creators on YouTube with over 10k subscribers can post Story updates and anyone can comment under it and have discussions that can be publicly viewed. You can add stickers, location markers, and tag people in your Stories, as well as engage with in the comments thread below each YouTube Story.

YouTube Live: Remember, YouTube is the second most looked at website in the world. If doing a Live video is part of your marketing plan – be it an interview, a BTS footage or an event-stream, YouTube is a fantastic place to position it for a niche audience. To go live on YouTube head to the YouTube creator studio, verify your account and go live from both your phone or your desktop. With the rise of suitable smartphones that can shoot high quality videos (Even 4k!) YouTube lives are an easy-way to bring your audience in on what’s happening in your neck of the woods.

Community Posts: For any channel (barring children-focused content channels) with over a 1,000 subscribers, YouTube permits Community Posts, which is the “feed” space within the video library giant, as is found on social media platforms in general that carry different content formats. Here’s where you can share videos, GIFs, images, write lines of content, mention people, start a discussion, run polls etc.

Explore YouTube Ads

If you have the budget for it, you may consider using YouTube ads to accomplish your goals. There are six kinds of ads you can use:

1. TrueView These ads can either be in-stream or discovery. They can be skipped after the first five seconds, and appear either before YouTube videos (in-stream), or on the homepage, related videos section, or on the search results page (discovery).

2. Non-skippable – As the name suggests, these ads cannot be skipped by viewers. You’re given a time limit of 15-20 seconds, and this longer format will let you tell a more nuanced and deep story about your brand.

3. Bumper – Non-skippable ads come with a downside. Users are often put off by these advertisements, and may get frustrated very quickly. Bumper ads are a way around that. They are technically non-skippable but only last a very tolerable six seconds. If you’re using bumper ads, you’ll have to be able to tell a great story in a short time. For inspiration, you can take a look at YouTube’s selection of the best 20 bumper ads.

4. Overlay – Overlay ads can either be text or an image. They refer to the small banner advertisements that you’ll see running at the bottom of a YouTube video.

5. Display – Display ads appear right above the suggested videos list while people are watching videos on YouTube.

6. Cards – Cards are small pop-ups that have CTAs that you can set to appear within the YouTube video. These first appear as small information icons at the corner of the video and may have a text overlay when hovered over. When clicked, the icon reveals the full ad that you wanted to display. These ads are non-intrusive, and appear only when clicked.

You can set up YouTube ads using a Google ads account. You can create video campaigns on YouTube that are focused and tailored to achieve the following marketing goals. Because you’re using the Google adwords to achieve this, YouTube is only one among various placed for your ad content to surface.

  • Sales
  • Lead Generation
  • Website-traffic
  • Product and brand consideration
  • Brand awareness and reach
  • Other

Once you select an ad goal, you can tweak the budgets and select areas where your ads can show up—search results, channel pages, videos etc. Similar to Facebook Ads Manager, you can also fine-target the content for demographics that suit your ad material, like languages, countries, age-rating, sensitivity, interests, etc.

Collaborate with platform Influencers

According to Google, 6 out of 10 subscribers would follow advice on what to buy from YouTube stars, over TV or film personalities. That’s the power of a social media influencer. Partnering with influencers can provide a massive boost to your brand, and bring a lot of their subscribers to your channel.

You can leverage the attention received from the influencer campaign and create ads to capitalize on it further. However, if you decide to use influencers in your campaign, it’s best to give them as much freedom as you can. The more control you try to have over them, the less genuine the campaign will seem, and their followers will catch on.

When picking a YouTube influencer to collaborate with,

i. Utilize the advanced search filters and look through interests, subscriber count etc.
ii. Compare their subscriber count to views per video. Subscriber count alone doesn’t matter if their followers aren’t showing enough interest in their content anymore, or not viewing their videos.

If you’re able to find the right YouTube influencer to partner with, and if you can create a successful campaign with them, you’re sure to see a spike in your reach and engagement from their efforts.

YouTube continues to stand as an indispensable platform for many creators and brands with a focus on video content. Success on YouTube will take time and patience, but if you’re able to put in motion the ideas presented in this guide, you should get a good start.

That’s it from us for today! Hope this helps your video marketing journey, be sure to share your thoughts or feedback in the comments below. 

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  • vishal.muralidharan

    Content writer at Zoho Social, stand up comedian, and lover of dogs. I read a lot.

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