YouTube’s Advertising Problems

YouTube controversy

Google-owned YouTube has had a pretty busy couple of weeks. And it’s all about advertising and just how tricky it can be.

The first issue that they faced was over a newspaper investigation which found that UK government paid advertising was being run alongside extremist content. Very embarrassing at best and at worst a very expensive mistake: some big hitters (Verizon, AT&T) have suspended their YouTube advertising spend at least for the time being. And these budgets are in the hundreds of millions of dollars – enough to impact the Google share price by $25bn in less than a week.

The second issue that YouTube faced was some controversy around its relatively new ‘restricted mode’. Restricted mode is a filter which can be turned on within YouTube to filter out potentially mature content that you may not wish someone in your family to see. Sounds like a reasonable idea – but how does it work? How can YouTube tell what content is offensive and what isn’t? It is very difficult, even for the big brains over at Google. When the panic was reaching its peak over the first issue mentioned in this blog, restricted mode seemed like a great idea. But it soon started adding a lot of LGBTQ into restricted content, for which it rightly attracted a lot of criticism.

How can YouTube / Google start to get control of the situation and move forward in light of this very difficult period? I think there are four areas to consider:

  • More control over the type of content on YouTube: This is a really difficult one, but one that YouTube needs to step up to. It needs to either define what content is inappropriate (where is the line between freedom of speech and hate speech?) or flag content very clearly that should be restricted – for users as well as advertisers
  • Balance between meeting the needs of content creators and advertisers: YouTube is stuck in the middle but needs to listen to the needs of both – without either, the website will face even more troubles ahead
  • The Google Display Network needs to be tightened up: Advertisers need to be able to clearly define who they are looking to engage with and YouTube needs to be able to deliver against that brief. There will always be a bit of a leap of faith for an advertiser, but running the risk of having your advert appear before an extremist video is a leap to far
  • YouTube needs to clarify what Restricted Mode is all about. It came to prominence as a knee-jerk reaction to the advertising controversy and what they saved in time, they paid for in good-will from viewers and content creators. Clearly explaining what is being hidden and why would go a long way to resolving this.

What do you think that YouTube and Google should do to resolve these pressing issues?

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How to Optimise for YouTube

How to Optimise for YouTube

How to Optimise for YouTube

Well done, you have created a great video – it is creative, smart, speaking in the same language as your target audience and is of course very entertaining.

But how are you going to distribute this work of art? You will have a plan to share the video on social media and even got some paid campaigns ready to go. And of course, you will hold the video on YouTube – after all, we want some of those 4 billion video views per day, right?

However, unless you have optimised your YouTube channel and video, people are going to struggle to find your video in the first place.  So what steps can you take to optimise for YouTube?

Channel Optimisation

  • Description – Don’t be afraid to write a pretty long description here. You should include your 5 keywords which you would like to optimise for, and if you get to the 250-300 word mark, don’t worry – you can break the copy up with paragraphs and bullet points
  • Add links to your other online assets – You can add links to your website and other social networks, so make sure that you do (and check how much traffic YouTube refers, of course!)
  • Impactful images – YouTube gives you the chance to add a large and impactful cover photo as well as a profile photo. The profile image should be kept simple (just a logo to simple head and shoulders photo), so let your creativity flow with the larger image

Video Optimisation

  • Description (again!) – As with the channel optimisation, your video description should not be too short. It needs to include a strong opening couple of lines as the viewer will have to click to see the rest of the description. It should also include a call to action, i.e. what do you want the viewer to do next
  • Tagging – You have the chance to add some tags to your video, so you should add 5 or so tags which are not only relevant to the video but also to your wider optimisation strategy (e.g. keywords for your channel)
  • Thumbnail – If your video makes it to the viewer’s search results, it is likely that the thumbnail will be the factor which entices the user to click on your video. Make it eye-catching and relevant….but not misleading, there is nothing more irritating!
  • Title – The title is really important for your video. YouTube uses it from an optimisation perspective (so make sure that it contains the keywords you are focusing on) and the user will look at it to see if the video matches what they are looking for

There are other more advanced optimisation tips, but just implementing the above will put you ahead of 99% of videos on YouTube. If you have any optimisation tips for YouTube, please leave a comment and share your knowledge!

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5 YouTube Optimisation Tips

YouTube Optimisation

YouTube Optimisation

Video content is one of the most powerful mediums in the digital age.  We are in an era where the volume of information available on devices in people’s pockets is colossal – so, finding an interesting way of communicating your message is crucial, and video is powerful as it combines visual and audio.  But video content can be expensive – you are putting a lot of resource into your communication, so you need to make sure that people can find it.

And that is why optimising YouTube content is so important: simply putting your video on YouTube and waiting for people to view it is no longer enough.  So, what can you do to make your YouTube content more visible on the web?

Titles and tags: There are some basics that you can do for your video which are very powerful.  The title, description, keywords and tags are a great way of explaining what your video is all about – include the keywords which your audience would likely search for in Google.  YouTube is arguably the world’s second largest search engine behind Google, and being owned by Google, there is more and more YouTube content being integrated into Google search results.  Help them out by making your data as accurate as possible.

Support your ‘Call to Action’: As with all communications, you should have a clear idea what you would like the viewer to do next.  And you can encourage the viewer to do this by providing links at the end of the video to any number of actions – see another YouTube video, visit your website, etc.  It is best to keep these links as unobtrusive as possible, but prominent enough to be noticed and actioned by the viewer.

Closed captioning: This is an optimisation that few people know about, so here is a chance to get ahead of the competition!  Search engines have a problem trying to understand what a video is all about, so closed captioning is an alternative way of communicating your content.  Videos with closed content tends to rank better than those without, so depending on the content, this could well be worth doing.

Make your video approachable: All of the optimisation in the world cannot make your video interesting.  So, your video should be interesting, a sensible length (generally the shorter the video, the more likely someone will view it to the end) and with a good thumbnail.  This is where employing a professional cameraman / editor / agency really pays off – they can be expensive, but this communication is representing you, so see it as an investment.

Use your other networks: I know this is quite obvious, but a lot of businesses don’t do this as well as they could.  Embedding a video onto a website is very easy (it’s a tiny bit of code), and when you share videos on social media, those posts often have a better presence on page than just sharing a link – you have invested in this video content, so make sure you get a lot of bang for your buck!