Chris Di Cesare, director of creative programming at YouTube/Google spoke at the 2010 CMO Leadership Forum in San Francisco about how marketers can take advantage of YouTube.
Di Cesare, who has been in charge of marketing at YouTube for about two and a half years, said it is important to note that YouTube falls somewhere in the middle of a video media site and a social networking site. He said the best marketers are able to take advantage of both aspects by connecting to content creators and then connecting with the community. Di Cesare said YouTube has about 10,000 unique content creators and partners. These include sports partners, music partners, news and nonprofits. Each of these partners has a brand channel on the site where they can upload content.
According to Di Cesare, the best way to get views on YouTube is go off YouTube, by which he means getting people to embed a video on blogs that specialize in a certain area. "If you drive the views and then if they're in specific categories, you can get on the 'most viewed' list. When you get on the 'most viewed' list, people will start watching your videos because you're not buried in content; there's a trickle effect. So try to figure out ways of getting these videos embedded in the right places."
Di Cesare's second tip is to release all videos simultaneously. He said many people start with the idea of releasing one video each week, but this often does not get viewers to return. According to Di Cesare, 40 percent of the time after someone watches a video, they click on a related video. If you have a series of related videos already uploaded online, your overall views will increase because people will click on the next one in the series. He also said tagging your videos for discovery is really important, but only when the tags are used correctly. The key is to not use the same tags as everyone else. For example, instead of just using the music tag, use a variety of video categories. This makes it easier for people to find when performing a keyword search.
The next tip is to track effectiveness. YouTube can act as the biggest focus group in the world, according to Di Cesare. If you put up a commercial that is intended to appeal to a global audience, but only people in the U.S. are watching it, you might want to rethink your strategy. As another example, he said some bands find that they're really popular in Germany, so they schedule tour dates there. You can even track the percentage of a given video that is being viewed. If people are stopping the video within the first three seconds, you'll want to rethink the video.
Lastly, Di Cesare said you need to optimize your description and thumbnail. "Just like a good magazine cover that drives people in, you've got to think the same way with the thumbnail, description and what's going to drive people in." One way is to use a provocative thumbnail that will entice people to click.