YouTube has over 1 billion users and 30,000 hours of video are uploaded every hour. With all this competition, emerging on YouTube gets even more difficult.
But let’s clear one thing straight away. Becoming popular on YouTube is not just a coincidence. If you bring quality content, you maximize the potential of the channel – also by following the advice given in this article – sooner or later your videos will start getting more views and your subscribers grow, daily.
And that is why in this article I will help you by giving you advice on how to maximize your videos and your channel and, consequently, grow faster naturally and increase your authority on YouTube.
But before starting with some good advice, a short dictionary with the definitions of some “technical” terms that I will use in this article.
Call-to-action: The call-to-action is the invitation to the user to take a certain action. On YouTube, call-to-actions generally invite the user to subscribe to the YouTube channel or leave a Like.
Engagement rate: It is a metric that measures the level of interaction that a content on a social media receives from viewers. On YouTube, the engagement rate is influenced by comments, likes and shares and is calculated in relation to the number of views. For example, if there are two videos that both have 100 comments, but the first video received 1000 views and the second 2000, the engagement rate is better on the first video with 1000 views.
Ranking: On YouTube, it refers to the authority and positioning of a video on the platform, especially on YouTube search. The higher the ranking of a video, the better!
Vseo: It is the process and the techniques that aim to improve the ranking and visibility of a video on search engines, in this case, on YouTube Search and Google.
So let’s now move on to the real advice by bringing back a concept that I mentioned at the beginning of the article and that I want you to get well in your head.
Growing on YouTube is a time-consuming process but if a person persists and uploads quality content, sooner or later the channel starts grinding views and subscribers, even exponentially. It can be said that it is therefore a matter of time , but to make the much desired growth of the channel happen the creator must put effort!
It may be that some videos “accidentally” become viral, but there is also meritocracy on YouTube or – it is perhaps better to say – the channels that the YouTube algorithm appreciates the most will receive more visits.
What does it mean? It means that YouTube, using a series of metrics and statistics, evaluates channels. And the channels that its algorithm prefers will receive more visits for the simple fact that YouTube recommends their videos more frequently than others.
In short, all those videos that you find yourself on the homepage, during or at the end of a playback, are not put there randomly but are “selected” by YouTube.
And having a channel and videos that the YouTube algorithm estimates and recommends to users is FUNDAMENTAL for the growth of your channel, and this is also testified by the fact that on YouTube 70% of total views come from recommended videos.
Again: 70% of total YouTube views come from recommended views.
More than twice as much than YouTube search, subscriptions, trending page and external traffic combiner.
And guess who decides which videos to recommend? Yes, you know it and I won’t say it again. The algorithm.
When YouTube decides to show your videos on the homepage rather than in the queue of other videos, it allows you to receive visits from NEW users who have never seen your channel before and can therefore also convert into new subscribers. The majority of the views on Youtube, even for channels with millions and millions of subscribers, come from the views recommended by YouTube and not from subscribers rather than from shares.
And that’s why understanding the YouTube algorithm and improving your channel and your videos also in relation to it, is the FIRST thing to do.
We do not know the YouTube algorithm fully, as it is secret, but the most important and influencing factors are known. This means that, knowing some of the factors that the YouTube algorithm takes into consideration, we can improve or pay attention to certain aspects of our channel and our videos.
Now let’s move on to practical things…(finally!)
Practical tips for growing on YouTube
There are a few key things to look out for for YouTube growth. We can divide these aspects into three main categories
- Video performance
- Visitor loyalty
So let’s dive into these points and see them in detail.
The performance of the videos
The performance of a video is important for the authority of the video itself but not only. Having quality videos on average also benefits the entire channel, with YouTube coming to trust it and recommend its new videos even when, let’s say, they’re not quite the best video the user has published.
For this reason, quick practical tip #1: avoid uploading low quality videos just to keep the channel active or increase the videos count. They might be more harm than bad. Develop for your videos an high average quality.
So how does YouTube measure the quality and performance of a video and how to improve it?
Contrary to what you might think, the engagement rate is not that important on YouTube, unlike other social networks. Especially, the likes/dislikes and comments do not have a relevant weight on the video ranking .
Shares are already of greater importance, because they bring traffic to the platform from external sites. And YouTube loves that.
But above all, what really matters is the watch time, which in the old YouTube analytics was called “audience retention”. That is how long the viewer watches and stays on the video, and is clearly calculated depending on the duration of a video.
Quick quiz: If you have two videos, which one of the following has a better watch time?
Video 1] 50 Minutes long, 5 Minutes avg. watch time, 10% avg. watch time
Video 2] 4 Minutes long, 3 Minutes avg. watch time, but 75% avg. watch time.
If you answered video 2, then your answer is correct and you quite understand the importance of watch time and how to evaluate a good result, that depens also on the length of the video.
According to our experience and YouTube data, for a 5 minute video a good watch time would be 70%, so around 3.5 minutes. That would be better than most videos.
In a practical way, how can I improve the watch time? I think it is obvious that the quality and the content of the video itself are fundamental but I still give you some important and valuable advice to improve it.
3 tips to improve your watch time
1) The first 10-20 seconds of the video are the most critical . If you look at the statistics of your videos you will notice how in this fraction of time the greatest percentage of abandonment of viewers occurs. So, in the initial part of the video you need to give the viewer something. You need to attract immediately their attention and give them a reason to stay.
The intros are cool and give a more professional look to the channel, but I don’t recommend using intros that are too long and within 5 seconds already introduce the content .
2) Once the critical moment has passed, it is important that the video retains the user even in his continuation. When editing the video it is therefore a good practice to think also as if you were the spectator: avoid too long “dead” moments, keep the video entertaining.
3) As said, an important contribution comes from editing. To increase the quality of the video and therefore the watch time, make sure you have quality raw footage (whether it is vlog, voice-over or gameplay) as well as editing . Cut dead moments, make the video more interesting and catchy with (good) music, effects and animations. A good video montage definitely gives that extra boost, retains the visitor longer and increases conversion!
The loyalty of the viewer
With visitor loyalty I talk about how the new visitor interacts with the channel.
It is an important metric because it keeps the visitor on your channel and therefore on YouTube. YouTube wants the user to enjoy the experience and spend as much time on the platform as possible and this is why the loyalty of new visitor is very important.
The visitor loyalty can be divided into two types. The first is how long the visitor stays on your channel , the second is the conversion rate of new visitors to subscribers.
Time & Conversion.
Type 1) Viewer retention (how long the visitor stays on your channel)
It’s his loyalty to the channel following the very first view of a new visitor. So, how long the user stays and interacts with your channel, perhaps while taking a look at your homepage and watching more of your videos.
This is also why it is important to have a high average video quality , so that if the user, having enjoyed the first video, also appreciates other videos in the channel and continues his stay.
It helps to have a nice and eye-catching look of the channel with curated thumbnails, banners and profile photos that also surprises the user. Don’t be just another channel, be unique and stand out. And a quality banner and channel’s customization is a great way to deliver that message. They don’t need to be photoshop masterpieces, but it is important that they give personality to the channel .
Finally, to increase the tima a the new visitor spends on the channel, it is also good to organize the channel and advise or indicate to the user the content. You can do this bu using your playlists and a personalized homepage (with featured video, description of the channel), as well as using end screens in videos that recommend your best videos or related to the video itself.
Maybe it was a bit of a messy explanation, so let me explain that in a practical way.
The goals are to:
- Address the user to the content of the channel he is interested to (or related to the video he just appreciated)
- Tell him what the channel is about in a fashion way
The practical solution is:
- Use niche playlist for similar videos (like same videogame) or video series. This will also help YouTube understand the similar videos on your channel and recommend your videos in a better targeted way
- Use a catchy, interesting description to tell what you channel is about and what the user can expect. If he likes the niche, there are more chances of converting him to a subscriber or watch more videos. You are some sort of seller, and the product is your channel. Be creative and give it value
- Other than the description, banner and thumbnails are a great way to deliver this message – and make the channel look more professional.
- Use – Always! – end screens. And use them in a smart way. Which means, suggest related video or your best videos. But priority goes to related videos as the goal is to catch the visitor interest and make him stay. You want him to click on that new video.
Type 2 viewer loyalty (conversion of new visitors to subscribers)
The other aspect of “visitor loyalty to the channel” is the conversion of new visitors into new subscribers.
Very important. For your growth as a YouTuber and for the algorithm as well.
It is normal that most new visitors will NOT subscribe to the channel but having a good ratio of new visitor to new subscriber is important and is a metric that YouTube considers. It indicates how much the user likes your video and channel and then decides to subscribe to watch future videos. It also means that the user has one more good reason to…yes, get back to YouTube platform.
To optimize the conversion of new visitors into subscribers, all the advice above applies, but I will add the important advice (or trick) to use call-to-actions to “remember” or “ask” the viewer to subscribe to the channel.
If you use your voice in your videos, obviously you can do it this way, but without exaggerating and being insistent. The advice is to say it only once or twice and in the final stage of the video, perhaps briefly indicating to the user why to do it.
Ok, you tell me to subscribe to my channel, but why? Giving the visitor a good reason to subscribe beyond simply saying “subscribe”, which he hears in every video on YouTube, has a better effect and delivers even better results!
A simple example could be “subscribe to my channel to not miss new videos like this one, because every Thursday I upload a new episode to fortnite. And the next one, will be special”
In the absence of the voice (or BEYOND the voice, why not?) You can use graphic call-outs, which are short animations added during video editing.
You can do them yourself or select and purchase customized call-out packs (animations) on this page, which during editing will then be very simple to add and increase the engagement rate and in particular the conversion rate from visitor to subscriber … as well as the quality of the video itself!
Finally, YouTube offers the option to add a icons at the end of the video where you can add your channel and videos. So remember to leave some space at the end of the video for the final screens. An excellent combo with the final screens are the animations (call-to-action graphics) that also during the video remind the user to subscribe.
Persistence and frequency of uploading. Being active and uploading with a good frequency in recent years has become an important factor for YouTube, to the point that YouTube even deactivates monetization for inactive channels, which have not uploaded videos for too long.
So, even if your channel doesn’t generate views, don’t get discouraged and persist , because sooner or later the work will pay off, especially if your content is quality and curated.
This might sound as very cliché advice, but is probably the most valuable of this article if you actually listen to it. Most YouTubers (of course!) do not get the traffic they were expecting to and quit their YouTube journey too soon. Enjoy the process and enjoy creating content even if not many people are watching it. Over time, you will have more videos, the channel more authority and the views can only go up.
I talked about editing, algorithm and organizing the channel, but in my opinion persistence and upload frequency are the most important aspects on YouTube . Look at it like this, each new video increases the chances of reaching new viewers and “making it” on YouTube, on the contrary, stopping uploading or doing it sporadically reduces the chances of going viral.
It is normal that after a few months that a channel has been opened it does not receive thousands of visits and subscribers. It’s very rare for that to happen. And if you think that you need just a lot of luck to become big on YouTube, you are wrong!
In a practial way: This does not mean “upload video at full throttle” and to prioritize quantity over quality. But avoid periods of inactivity that are too long and above all have a regular uploading schedule . For example “once a week on Monday afternoon”, also letting subscribers know when videos are uploaded to increase their loyalty and view velocity.
Answering a common question…
How often should I upload on YouTube? (minimum)
It depends on the niche and how long does it take you to create a video. (For exemple, gameplays take much less than animations).
But try to upload at least once per week. 2-3 times per weeks is great. Uploading everyday is good too, if you are able to do so without lowering quality.
In summary, these are the aspects that are taken into consideration by the YouTube algorithm to recommend videos to users (and which therefore allow you to receive new visits, subscribers, and grow quickly and organically)
I have listed them in order of importance.
- User loyalty – the time they stay on the channel after the first visit, browsing the channel and watching other videos.
- Watch time of a video and the average performance of all videos
- Active channel – no need to post videos every day, just avoid long breaks
- Conversion of new visitors (views) into subscribers or new views
- Engagement rate, mostly from shares of the video and secondly comments
From a practical point of view, these are some of the tips I talked about in the article to improve the authority of the channel.
Practical advice (not in order of importance)
- Curate video thumbnails
- Curate banner and profile picture
- Having a channel with a well-defined type of content (niche specific)
- Good quality video editing
- Call-out and call-to-action, both vocal and graphic
- Immediately attract the viewer’s attention in the first few seconds
- Avoid intros that are too long
- Take advantage of the final screens
- Organize the channel into playlists
- Use banner and description to make channel unique and attractive. You are the seller of your channel
- Regular uploading frequency
- Let subscribers know when new videos will be uploaded
- Avoid long periods of inactivity (2 weeks max)
That’s all! I hope this article has served you and you can apply the advice to your channel in the future and improve its ranking over time.
If you want to know better how the YouTube algorithm works, read this updated guide about it.
If you want to buy a custom animation pack (call-to-action) to increase the performance and quality of your videos, visit this page!
Thanks for reading, and best of luck on your YouTube journey! 😉