YouTube success isn’t just about getting views. It’s also about making sure you maximize the amount of revenue you generate from those views.
Here’s how to get the best ROI on your online videos.
Step 1: Optimize Your Thumbnails
YouTube by default doesn’t let you upload a custom frame. Only YouTube partners, highly trafficked consistent uploaders, can choose their own images.
They used to let anyone upload custom thumbnails in the past, but marketers abused the privilege by uploading unrelated pictures designed just to get clicks. Today, YouTube only lets you select from a number of frames taken from within your video.
To change your thumbnail, click “Edit” to enter the editing menu:
Then scroll down and choose a thumbnail in the “Video Thumbnail” box on the left.
If none of these thumbnails matches what you want your thumbnail to be, trim a few seconds off your video and re-upload it. YouTube will re-sample the video and have a few new thumbnails for you to choose from.
Step 2: Watermark Your Videos
Watermarking does several things. First, it builds your brand throughout the video instead of just at the end. Second, anytime someone embeds your video, you have a chance of getting them to come and visit your website.
To watermark your video, first create a logo in an image editing program like Photoshop. Make sure you save it as a PNG, which supports transparency without aliasing. JPEGs don’t support transparency at all and GIFs don’t do transparency very well.
In a video editing program, just put your PNG file above the video file and wala, your video is watermarked.
Here’s what a watermark might look like:
Step 3: Begin Your Video With a Quick Promo
Ever notice how most popular YouTube channels have a quick, 5 second promo at the beginning? It’s similar to how The Simpsons or Family Guy has a 1 minute song intro in the beginning.
The purpose of the intro is to set the vibe for the rest of the video. It’s like welcoming someone to your brand, your video and setting the expectations for what the rest of the experience is going to be like.
Furthermore, it also makes the video look more professional. Especially if the intro is very well done.
How do you create an intro? It could be as simple as a fly in text with a carefully chosen background. A combination of Photoshop and a basic video editor should do the trick.
Step 4: End With a Call to Action
What do you want someone to do after seeing your video? Do you want them to visit a link? Sign up for a newsletter? Become a subscriber to your channel?
Whatever it is you want them to do, ask them to do it clearly. Put the call to action at the end of your video and make it a good 10 to 15 seconds long.
Why? Because the moment the video ends, YouTube is going to put their own promo for other people’s videos at the end of your video. Instead of sending your traffic to someone else’s video, just put a long call to action at the end.
That way, a visitor would have to stare at the call to action for a good 15 seconds before they’d be presented with the “related videos.”
Here’s what a call to action might look like:
Step 5: Link to Your Channel or Videos in Your Video
Instead of having users go to other people’s videos after watching yours, why not direct them to your YouTube channel or another one of your videos?
You can make links and annotations clickable in your videos. Here’s how.
First, go to “Annotations.”
Then in the drop down box next to “Add Annotation” and select the type of annotation you want.
In the bottom right section of the “Add Annotation” box, click the checkbox named “Link.”
Then select which type of page you want to link to.
Note: Unless you’re a YouTube partner, you can’t link to an external page.
Finally, enter the target URL into the URL box.
Step 6: Put a Link in Your Descriptions
Having a link in your description makes it easy for anyone to click on it, even when there’s no link on screen.
YouTube gives you 1,000 characters to write your description with, a generous allocation by any standard. Great descriptions can help give visitors additional information that wasn’t provided in the video.
The link however should be provided in the first 27 characters. YouTube will automatically display the first 27 characters without cutting anything off. Anything after 27 characters will automatically be truncated and followed by an ellipsis.
This is what a link in the description should look like:
Anything beyond 27 characters will be cut off. If your link can’t fit into 27 characters, consider using a service like bit.ly or tinyurl to shorten your URLs.
These are some of the most important factors to getting your videos to convert on YouTube. Remember, it’s not just about the traffic. You can easily earn more with a video that gets a few thousand views than from a video that gets hundreds of thousands, if the former is better optimized.