You’re probably well aware that YouTube is the web’s second largest search engine, and this means there is potentially a huge audience waiting for you on the platform. That’s all well and good knowing that, but how do you actually go about getting more views for your videos? In this article, we’re going to go through 11 proven ways to drive more people to your videos.
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1. Take a strategic approach
Whether you’re a newbie on YouTube or you’ve already been on the platform for a while, you should look at the approach you’re taking. Is there a strategy behind it, or are you simply creating videos and hoping they do well?
To give yourself the best chance of success you need to understand three key areas:
Your niche focus
Is it a proven niche? Is there an established audience you can reach? These are questions you need to answer.
If there is competition in your chosen topic then that’s a good thing as it means there is an audience there you can tap into.
A good idea when starting is to target a narrow niche. For example, rather than starting a cooking channel, start a channel that focuses on making the best burgers in all kinds of varieties. This does a couple of things:
- Helps you reach a very targeted audience.
- Makes it more likely your videos will be recommended in the sidebar of your own videos. It’s not guaranteed, but if your videos are closely related there’s a much higher chance you’ll get those recommended spots.
You can also broaden out your niche as time goes by.
What makes you different from what’s already out there? People tend to follow people they like, relate to, or share values with, etc. and if you can stand out from the crowd you can build an audience and get more views from people who love what you produce and the different way you produce it.
So whether it’s your style, your content delivery, a unique personality trait, or even where you are from, find how you can carve out your own unique space in your chosen niche.
This ties into your differentiation in some ways, but if you know the reason and the mission you have for your channel you can communicate that with your viewers and potential subscribers and get them to buy into it (and keep coming back to view your videos).
Spend some time establishing your why, and how you can communicate that to your audience.
Focus on these three areas to give your channel a clear direction, and the best chance of building an engaged audience that will continue to grow over time.
2. Build a consistent and memorable brand
First impressions are incredibly important, and this concept is even more true on YouTube where you rarely get a second chance at making one.
When new visitors arrive on your channel or one of your videos, how you’ve branded it can have a huge impact on whether they stick around, subscribe, or move on.
If you create an attractive brand and more memorable experience for your viewers, they’re much more likely to subscribe. This will bring people back to your channel and videos more regularly.
So how do you create an effective and impactful brand? You’ll need to plan out some of the basics, such as:
- Your brand name
- Color palette
- Core message (e.g. a short phrase that describes what your channel is about)
- You general style (e.g. fun, minimalistic, playful, futuristic, etc.)
Once you have those brand elements established, you can create a consistent look and feel across all your channel and video assets which include:
- Logo / Profile picture
- Channel banner
- End screens
3. Choose the right video topics
The best way to choose the right video topics is to simply make videos about topics that people are already searching for. This is especially vital when you are starting out.
When search topics have volume, you know there’s already people looking for content about it. So there are viewers (and potentially new subscribers) you can tap into.
Do the research on topics before you ever hit that record button. Here’s how you can do some keyword research to see what people are actively searching for on YouTube and the web in general.
To get a large batch of initial topic ideas you can use a tool like keywordtool.io. You simply put in a broad keyword (e.g. in the image below you can see we put in “youtube intro”)
Once you have some topics in mind, you can use a tool like Ahrefs YouTube keyword tool or TubeBuddy’s keyword explorer tool which can give you some great insights on the search volume of keywords, related keywords, and the competition levels too.
All essential elements for picking the right topics.
To look at the long term search demand you can also check out Google trends to see if it’s an evergreen, seasonal, rising, or falling topic.
When it comes to picking the topics for your videos, it’s a good idea to go for evergreen topics, meaning topics that will continue to have search volume for a long time.
This is because if you end up ranking in YouTube search for those evergreen topics you can consistently get views to your videos. And the more evergreen topics you rank for, the more this will compound your video views.
You can also sprinkle in content on new trending topics. And after you’ve built a decent-sized audience, you can make videos on topics that your audience has requested.
4. Optimize your videos (SEO)
To give your videos the best chance of ranking in YouTube search, you’re going to need to optimize your video for YouTube SEO.
If you found a good video topic/main keyword in point 3 then you’re off to a good start. You can now use that keyword in the following parts of your video:
- Video title
- Video content
You can use TubeBuddy’s SEO score to keep you on track when you’re optimizing your video elements to give yourself the best chance to show up on the top spots on YouTube.
5. Boost your CTR
It’s important that your video ranks high, but there’s no point to it unless people actually click on your video to view it. This is why you need to boost your click-through rate (CTR) as much as possible.
Having a good CTR will not only get your video more views but also it can help your video rank better and show up in the suggested videos, as it’s a metric that the YouTube ranking algorithm takes into account (along with watch-time).
There are two elements that impact CTR:
- Your video title
- Your video thumbnail
You don’t need to go down the “clickbait” route with your video title, but try and make it as enticing as possible. A good video title usually has the following features
- Your main keyword (Good for video SEO and getting clicks)
- It’s short (Keep it as short as possible without being silly)
- It includes a benefit (A reason for someone to click on your video)
Here’s a good example: How to Make a YouTube Intro.
Short, sweet, and includes a benefit (the knowledge of how to make an intro).
To get ideas for your video thumbnails, look at the videos that are already ranking or showing up as suggested videos for your main keyword.
Figure out what elements are likely making their thumbnails attract clicks, and see how you could potentially differentiate your thumbnail to stand out too (contrasting colors often work well!).
One fantastic tool that can help you test and improve your video thumbnails is TubeBuddy’s A/B testing tool. With their tool you can easily set up A/B tests where you show one thumbnail half the time and a second thumbnail the other half.
After a certain amount of time you can see some useful stats for each thumbnail to see which one has the best:
- Watchtime per impression
- Average view duration
- Performance in YouTube search and suggested videos
- And more
Your thumbnail and your video title create an expectation. So if you can match your video content to a winning thumbnail you’re going to get more clicks, and higher quality views. Which in turn will likely mean greater watch time, and your videos getting suggested more often. This will result in even more views, and the compounding effect will continue!
6. Optimize for watch time
Watch time is the total amount of time viewers spend watching your videos. It’s an important ranking factor for YouTube, as the more time people spend on their platform, the more ad revenue they can make.
The best way to get good watch time for your videos is to create great content. Here are some other key elements that can improve your watch time:
- Your video intro – having a compelling and attention-grabbing video intro can keep viewers around.
- Thumbnail, title and content matchup – make sure your video title and thumbnail set the right expectations for your video content. If people don’t get what they expected, they won’t stick around.
- Utilize your end screen – put links to one or two of your related videos in the end screen of your videos. This is will not only get more views on your videos but improve watch time, as people will potentially view 2, 3 or even 4 videos in one session.
- Utilize cards – YouTube cards appear in the top right corner of your video. You can use them to alert the viewers to a related video. It’s a non-intrusive way to encourage viewers to watch more of your videos.
- Create longer videos – not surprisingly, longer videos get higher than expected watch time. So you could consider creating longer videos than your competitors for a particular target keyword.
If you get a good watch time your videos will be more likely to show up as suggested videos too, meaning more views for you!
7. Get Subscribers
Subscribers are the lifeblood of any YouTube channel. If you can get more engaged subscribers, then it goes without saying that you’ll get more views too.
How do you get viewers to subscribe?
The easiest way is to simply ask viewers to subscribe. You can do this during the video and also a good place to encourage people to subscribe is with a subscribe call-to-action in your video end screen. If someone has watched your whole video then there’s a good chance they’re primed to subscribe.
It goes without saying that you need to create good quality and targeted content too, to encourage viewers to become subscribers. Substandard content won’t encourage anyone to subscribe.
Another way of getting people to subscribe is by engaging them in the video comments. If you respond to their comments and show you’re willing to engage with them and build a relationship, then viewers will be more likely to subscribe.
The bottom line is, you need to build your subscriber base to have a consistent build-up of video views. If you can consistently grow your subscriber base, it should have a compounding effect on your view counts.
8. Promote your videos
To get extra views for your videos, it’s also a good idea to promote your videos across your various other platforms and channels.
- Social media profiles – if you have audiences on your various social profiles, you can share your latest video with them.
- Email list – if you have a good-sized email subscriber list, you can share the video with them
- Channel trailer – the channel trailer spot in your YouTube channel is prime real estate. You could use it as a space to promote your newest videos for extra views.
- Q&A sites – if there are a lot of questions and discussions on your video topic on sites like Quora and Reddit, you could share your video there. Be sure to create original content there and don’t spam!
- Preview your video in a community post – let your YouTube subscribers know about your upcoming video a day or two before you post to build anticipation. This can can get you more views for your video.
9. Optimize older videos
If you have a backlog of older videos you can also go back and optimize them to try and squeeze more views out of them.
This is particularly effective with older videos that rank in YouTube search.
You can tweak the title, description, end screen, tags, and the thumbnail to see if you can improve things.
TubeBuddy’s AB testing tool is a great option to test the thumbnails of older videos to see if you can improve things. Even if you only improve the CTR of older videos by 0.2% – 0.5% it can add up to a lot more views.
10. Collaborate with other channels
Collaborating with other YouTube channels is a great way to get in front of thousands of new viewers.
You get to reach people who might otherwise never have heard of you, and this comes with social proof too as your fellow YouTuber is essentially endorsing you and your content by featuring you on their channel (or featuring in your channel).
Collaborations work best with the following conditions:
- The other YouTuber has a similar audience but different content focus than you
- You both have similar sized audiences (or preferably they have a slightly larger audience)
- You can find a topic that is interesting to both sets of audiences
The key to getting collaborations is to pitch ideas that will help your fellow YouTuber and their audience.
11. Pay attention to your analytics
It goes without saying that you should regularly check your video analytics to see the health of your channel, what’s performing (and what’s not), opportunities for growth, and much more.
It’s important to look at things such as audience retention, demographics, traffic sources, CTR, etc., but in terms of getting views you should look at what video types are performing well and do more of those!
You can also find untapped keyword topics in YouTube Studio. If you go to the YouTube search section of your YouTube analytics you can see all the search terms your videos are ranking for. Sometimes you’ll see keywords that you aren’t even targeting and these can be great topics for new videos.
So, there you have it! There are plenty of ways you can improve your videos and your channel to give yourself the best chance of getting more video views.
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