Study: How to make the most of your YouTube channel

Pew Research Center says half of all users on the popular platform are there to learn how to do something. Here are ideas to boost your video strategy.

YouTube channel insights

What kinds of videos perform best on YouTube?

A new study from Pew Research Center says about half of YouTube visitors are looking to acquire a skill. That means your explainer videos and how-to tips are the perfect fit for the popular video platform.

Only about 28 percent say they go to YouTube just to “pass the time.” Accordingly, YouTube might be the wrong platform for a PR stunt or other effort to snag wayward eyeballs. YouTube users report going to the site with a particular purpose, so PR pros and marketers would do well to meet specific needs.

That notion aligns with how some already employ the platform.

The Verge wrote:

This roughly tracks with how I use YouTube. It’s extremely useful to see a product in action and get an assessment from an average user. I’ve definitely looked up from my screen at 3 a.m. in horror after falling down a regrettable YouTube rabbit hole that totally messed up my recommendations module. And while I’d say I rely more on actual news sources for world events, I still check out hot takes on YouTube, too. Personalities on the platform have an undeniable pull, even if they represent an ideology you disagree with.

Perfect for young audiences

The Pew report also shows that YouTube is an excellent channel for reaching younger consumers—including children. Around 80 percent of parents with children under age 11 say they let their kids watch YouTube videos. One-third say their kids watch YouTube videos regularly.

Despite YouTube’s status as an information platform, the site still has problems with fake news and viewer skepticism.

The study wrote:

Around two-thirds of users (64%) say they at least sometimes encounter videos that seem obviously false or untrue while using the site, while 60% at least sometimes encounter videos that show people engaging in dangerous or troubling behavior. And among parents who let their young child watch content on the site, 61% say they have encountered content there that they felt was unsuitable for children.

The site also helps drive traffic for different videos, illustrating just how important optimizing your video can be for achieving wider reach. Users commonly report watching videos that YouTube’s algorithm suggests in its “Up Next” feature.

The study continued:

These “up next” videos are selected by the site’s algorithm and appear alongside or below the video viewers are currently watching. Depending on a user’s individual settings, these videos may play automatically once the video they are watching has finished. Some 81% of YouTube users say they at least occasionally watch the videos suggested by the platform’s recommendation algorithm, including 15% who say they do this regularly, according to the survey.

Source for news

YouTube is an increasingly important channel for users to get their news. Compared with 2013, this year double the number of people visited YouTube to learn about the latest headlines, according to a recent Pew study.

However, many still turn to the site primarily for entertainment. The study identified 50 of the most recommended videos pushed by YouTube’s algorithm, and it analyzed their content. Popular topics were music videos by major recording artists and videos showing highlights from popular television programs and competitions.

The study reported:

Four specific types of content made up a sizable majority of the 50 most-encountered videos in this analysis. Fourteen of these videos were music videos by major commercial artists, typically the “official” video posted to the channel of the artist who created the work. Eleven were compilation videos showing highlights or surprising moments from televised competition shows. Titles like “Top 10 Most UNFORGETTABLE Singing Auditions ALL TIME” and “UNBELIEVABLE! Top 10 Shocking Blind Auditions the Voice 2018” are representative of this genre.

How to build your channel

Based on this data, the easiest way for PR pros and brand managers to build their YouTube channel is by offering informative content. Explainer videos—specifically aimed to connect with users interested in your brand and products—could do wonders for your online presence.

Here are some ideas for videos you could easily create:

  • An explainer video on how to use your product
  • A demo of your product compared against competitors’ offerings
  • A behind-the-scenes look at how your product is made

Remember to offer new information in a fun, stylish format and break away with engaging visuals. Avoid reading a script directly into the camera. No matter how informative your words are, viewers want visual images; save text for your blog.

Finally, don’t forget to optimize your videos. There are plenty of guides out there on how to increase your SEO for YouTube’s unique algorithm. Because of how much traffic comes from the platform’s internal suggestions, this is a crucial part of your video strategy.

How are you using your YouTube channel, Ragan/PR Daily readers?

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