Make More of Your Online Video in 2015

From a viewer's perspective, most of us have YouTube well worked out. Surf a few videos from the home page, subscribe to a few channels, and return whenever an interesting video (or the latest "must-see" cat clip) pops into our feed. Easy. From the creative and advertising angles, though, things get a lot more complicated. There are more than 100 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute and it's hard to cut through that clutter to reach an audience organically.   [caption id="attachment_3297" align="aligncenter" width="664"]YouTube logo big YouTube (and online video) --- Bigger than ever and growing in importance | Image Credit: Rego Korosi[/caption]  

According to eMarketer, U.S. revenue from online video advertising on YouTube was on target to exceed the $1.1 billion mark at the end of 2014. When you think about the fact that YouTube is only one-fifth of the total market for video ads,it's easy to see why digital spending is expected to overtake TV advertising as early as 2016.

The time to move more money into video platforms and their advertising solutions, which has long been heralded as the next big thing in digital marketing,  is very much now.

Be it by features upgrades or acquisitions of outside talent,  everyone from Facebook to Yahoo and AOL is investing in more robust and expansive video ad platforms. Pretty soon competition will be fierce for these spots and it will be more expensive to try new things, which makes 2015 the ideal time to experiment with this nascent but rapidly growing area of online marketing.

Making More of Your Online Video

Fortunately for your business, expanding your video content this year to find what fits (and make more of it) doesn't need to cost the earth. All you'll really need is a recording device, some affordable editing software, and the patience to experiment.

Higher production values admittedly have their place, but we're not yet at a point where customers expect a Hollywood blockbuster from you. In fact, a DIY aesthetic to video content can actually help some types of business achieve style points with their target demographic. If your brand demands more shine and polish, you might want to invest in an experienced video producer, but many small businesses find they have someone on staff with either demonstrated ability in the field or the desire to learn.

Once you have the right person for the job, here are some ideas for how to make more of your branded video in 2015:

  • Expand your repertoire. If you've only been doing one type of video, think about others that your audience might find useful. How to guides are always popular - and highly searched - as are motivational talks and presentations. Think first and foremost about either entertaining your viewer or solving a common problem that relates to your business.
  • Select the right "still." Picking the thumbnail image that comes up in video search results can be tricky, but it's an important part of getting potential viewers to click through to watch. In a sea of videos listed in search results, the ones with the most eye-catching still image will float. (Verified accounts that YouTube trusts get greater choice in the image they can choose, giving you all the more reason to use the platform regularly and have viewers support your channel.)
  • Include relevant links to your website, where possible. YouTube allows a live link in the description field, so use that early on, and you can also annotate videos with links to other YouTube videos, which can help to keep viewers engaged with your wider channel. Whatever platform you choose, understanding where and when to insert links is an important part of using video to drive traffic to your other digital assets.
  • Add transcriptions of your video speech to the description field so that searchers have an easier time finding your content. Note: Similar rules apply to video search as normal search optimization; be accurate, relevant, and no keyword stuffing!
  • Interview and collaborate with others. It takes months to build up a regular following all on your own, so why not supercharge your efforts by tapping into the audience of others? You'll obviously need to know someone with an existing subscriber base - or at least have something to offer them in return for views - but once you make that connection you'll not only reach other viewers, you'l find your partner promoting your video content on your behalf. (It goes without saying that you should do the same for them, even though we just said it!)
  • Experiment with adverts on both YouTube and Facebook. While the former dominates the conversation, Facebook is investing heavily to gain ground on Google's video giant. This includes inserting eye-catching autoplay video content (without sound, unless clicked) into user's timelines , which is proving attractive to advertisers who are already using Facebook's precise ad targeting tools.
  • Keep to a schedule. Viewers increasingly subscribe to channels or creators on their favorite video platform, in the same way others sign up to receive your blog posts as emails or podcasts on their smartphone. If they like your content and find it appearing on a regular schedule, your subscriber base will grow and word of your channel will spread.
Which ideas will you try? If you have others, we want to thear about them! Connect with us on FacebookLinkedinTwitter or Google+ to tell s what your plans are for online video in the year ahead.

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