- Internet & the Web
How to get 1,000 views on youtube?
Your video on youtube
Youtube is a platform which enables users to upload their videos and make them visible for a wide audience for free. Anyone can upload a video and anyone can see your video. There are videos uploaded by people like you and me which have received ten thousand, hundred thousand, sometimes even over a million views.
However, it is not so easy as it seems to get that many views. Many of us will have the experience that after you have uploaded your first video, it doesn't even want to reach that first 100 views. There are videos which have been online for almost a year, which only have about 120 views. That's one view every three days! This hub will give you some tricks and advice on how to create a bigger audience for your videos. The information in this hub is only based on my own experiences uploading videos to youtube and does not give you the ultimate answer on how to create that youtube hit. It just gives you some things to keep in mind when you upload your first youtube movie.
Keep it short!
The first rule in general, especially if you are just starting to upload videos, is keep it short! And that means, really short. Any video longer than 2 minutes is already considered a long video. And most viewers will not watch a movie longer than 2 minutes until the end. Or they will skip through the movie to see if it becomes more interesting towards the end of the video. If you want to keep someone's attention for more than a minute, your video should be really good.
A good length to start with, is around 30 seconds. You will be amazed how much information or entertainment you can include in 30 seconds. Anything up to a minute is also okay, but shorter than 30 seconds is often even better. There are many videos uploaded which are only around 10 seconds long. These videos are often fun to watch and if the user doesn't like them, they won't be angry that you just wasted 10 seconds of their live with your video.
Below is a video of just 13 seconds. This video received more than a 100 views in the first week after I uploaded it. Not much happens in the video, but it is fun to watch. And if you don't like it, you probably won't be annoyed watching it, you will just click on the next video.
Create a good title
Pick a good title for your video! This sounds easier than it is. This also sounds obvious, but I am often amazed how many videos are uploaded with titles that don't tell you anything about the video. The title is the first thing the users reads. You can use the title in many ways to attract the attention of your potential audience.
Here are some things to keep in mind when creating a title for your video:
- The title should describe the video. The title should in a few words explain what the viewer is going to see or what the video is about. On youtube it doesn't work if you use a name for your movie like it is done with films in the cinema. Your movie is not so famous yet that people will associate the name of your film with your video. Especially in the beginning it will be better to see the title as a very short decription of your video, rather than a name.
- Use keywords in your title. Think of a few keywords which describe the content of your video. Then try to create a sentence around these keywords. When picking your keywords, try to imagine which keywords a person would type into the search engine. These are not necessarily the same keywords which you would think fit best to your movie. There is a short movie I uploaded which I called 'Little boy's magic clothes change'. This is a title of five keywords put together which also describes the content of the video.
- Use the title as a question. You can create a question as a title. The video should then of course give a certain answer to that question. If your video is a manual then it is a good idea to start the title with 'How to '. For example 'How to make a recycled money wallet'.
- Don't give false information in your title. It is easy to create a title which attracts a lot of visitors, but your video should present what is promised in the title. If you create a promising title to attract viewers, but your video has nothing to do with the title, the people who clicked on your video, will get angry and will usually leave you some negative comments and a low rating. There is a video which I called 'Fearless little girl diving into swimming pool'. This title probably is a little bit exaggerated, but it describes pretty much what happens in the video and it is also tempting to click on.
- Put the important information at the beginning of the title. You can use a longer title at the page with your video, but next to the smaller thumbnails only a certain amount of characters can be displayed. If your title is longer it will be cut off in the middle and followed by '...'. You can also play with this element and create a title that, when only the beginning is shown, becomes interesting to click on to read the rest of the title. You will have to experiment to find the right combination and order of words to get this effect.
Write a good description
Youtube and many other video platforms offer you the possibility to write a description for your video. Use this opportunity! A good description is especially important for search engines. A search engine cannot view and interpret your video, just like search engines cannot view photos. A search engine can only read words. If you want your video to show up in search results, it is important to write a good description.
A good description describes the video. If you are not sure what you should write, imagine that you are on the phone with someone describing your video to the other person, who cannot see the video. You can write the description in the same way: describe the video, explain what the video is about or what happens in the video. Again, when writing the description, try to use as many keywords as you can think of and use them in your sentences. Don't just put a list of keywords, but pack them into normal sentences which are easy to read.
You can also use the description to add background information. You can explain how or why you made the film. You can describe the situation when you were filming or things that happened during the recording. You should at least put all the credits if they are not in the movie itself. And also if they are included in the film, it is still a good idea to repeat the credits in the description.
You can make links to other websites in the description. On youtube you just need to type the full web address (the url, starting with http:// ) into the description and it will automatically become a link. You can make a link to your website, but it is even better to make a link to a special web page about your video. However, don't make too many links. If you put just one link, chances are bigger that the user will click exactly that link.
Be aware that when the user first comes to the page with the video, only the beginning of the description is shown. It is a good idea to try to make these first few sentences so interesting that the user wants to read more. In general, make sure that the most important information is visible also when just the short version of the description is shown.
A description like a website
Think of the description as a small web page for you video and as a possibility to promote yourself. However, keep the description to the point and describe just the video. Don't put too much text about things that have nothing to do with the video.
Below is a video which I created to promote a web project called 'No
Men's Land'. I originally used the description to explain the web
project. However, after a year the video suddenly wasn't available
anymore. The page with the video would still come but the instead of
the video, just the message 'We're sorry, this video is no longer available', would appear.
Because I had many links on other websites to this video, I updated the description to explain that I didn't know why the video had become unavailable and added a link to another video hosting website. Some months later all of a sudden the video was available again, so i updated the description again. With these little updates the description almost looks a little like a website with regular news updates...
Choose the right keywords
After you have added a description, you can add tags. Tags enable you to add keywords to your video, which don't really fit into the title or description. In general for search engines, it is good if the tags, the keywords, are repeated in the title and in the description. I am not sure how important the tags are on youtube to appear on search results. In my experience writing a good description and choosing a good title are at least as important as adding tags.
I cannot say if it is better to add just a few tags or to put a lot of them. In general, when using keywords, it is usually better to use just a few, rather than adding a whole list with anything that is just slightly related. But again, I haven't notice much difference yet on the views of my videos when I changed the tags. In general I try to put just a few, five or six, keywords, which relate to my video in a general way. For example, I usually don't put the names of the people who appear in the video as a keyword, because it is quite unlikely that someone would search for those names. And if someone does search for these names, the video will be found anyway, because I have put those names already in the description.
Ratings and comments
Youtube gives users the possibility to leave comments and to rate movies. The comments can be very helpful to get feedback from your audience. The comments can give you a good insight on how people see your movie. It can even help you to write a better description for your video. It can also make you aware of things in your video, which you hadn't thought of before.
Don't be too afraid of getting comments when you upload your first video. If there are any comments which you don't like, you can remove them anytime. And if you get positive comments, it will just be good for your video. The popularity of a video on youtube is not only measured by the number of views, but also be the number of comments. Take your time to read the comments and to respond to them. Your own comments are not counted as comments so you can add as many as you like, without influencing the number at the top, which shows the total:
>> Text Comments (11)
Sometimes it is better for a video to disable the comments. You can disable them anytime. When there are already some comments when you disable them, the comments which are already there will remain visible. If you want to remove also those comments, you have to remove them by hand. Another option, if you are unsure of getting comments, is to allow comments only with approval.
Ratings also give you an idea how people like your video. However, sometimes it is better to turn off the possibility to rate your video. If you've uploaded a conceptual art video, chances are high that most people will not understand your work and will rate your video just one or two stars, 'because you've just wasted two minutes of their valuable time with your video'.
However, sometimes you might be surprised which videos are picked up by the public. Sometimes the ones which you were not so sure of yourself are the ones which people really like. And the ones on which you spent so much time making them perfect are the ones which just nobody seems to understand...
Adding comments has been disabled for this video
For the video 'Little boy's magic clothes change' I decided to switch off comments. Initially it was possible to leave comments, but soon after I uploaded the video someone figured out how the trick was done and posted a comment explaining the magic. At first I didn't mind that so much, but then I noticed that the number of views was going down. I realized that the video is not so interesting to watch anymore when you know the trick which is shown in the video.
If the trick is not explained, you will probably watch the video a few times, to try to figure out yourself how it is done. I decided to remove all comments and to disable adding comments. Soon after I noticed that views were going up again.
What is your main goal when you upload a video to youtube?
Please rate this movie!
Sometimes you need to animate your audience a little bit to leave comments. If your video is REALLY good, people will probably leave a comment. If your video is REALLY annoying or really bad, people usually also leave a remark. But if you have made a nice, friendly, creative, short movie, people most likely simply enjoy it and then click on the next related video.
Sometimes it's good to ask your audience to leave some feedback or to rate your movie. But don't exaggerate with popup balloons screaming that people should subcribe to your channel. Usually it is enough to write in a comment or to mention in the description that you are looking forward to receiving comments.
Also be aware that when the video is embedded in another website, like the video below, the interface to rate the video disappears. A user can only rate the video if the user is logged on to youtube. So be careful not to put too many banners, that are asking for feedback, inside the video.
Statistics and data
Right above the tab with text comments is a tab with statistics and data. The information in this tab can be valuable information for you to understand how a video is receiving its views. The information under statistics and data for example shows you how the video is discovered. You can see via which related videos the user found your video. And you can see on which external websites the video is embedded and how many views it receives via each website.
If you are the owner of the video there is even more statistical information available for you. Under your account, when you are logged on to youtube, you will find a link 'insight'. Here you can view all kinds of information about each of your videos. Analyzing the statistics can help you to understand how people find your videos and can give you ideas on how to promote your videos.
Promote your video!
Writing a good description and creating a good title for your movie helps you to be found in search results on youtube and in other search engines. It also helps your video to show up in the lists of related videos. But one of the best ways to reach the first 1,000 views for your video on youtube is to promote your video. When you upload your video, youtube can automatically create a message for you on your facebook and twitter account, to announce that you've uploaded a new video. And you'll be surprised how many people on facebook really will click that link and watch that video.
Even if you're not such a fan of facebook or twitter yourself, the people who hang out on these networks usually have the time to really click on that link on your wall and watch your video. When half of your 250 facebook friends view your video on the first day on which you've uploaded it, it will give you a good start of reaching those 1,000 views. Just be careful not to disappoint them with your video, or they will not click again when you announce your next newly uploaded movie on your facebook wall.
Apart from promoting your video in other online networks, you can also send out an e-mail to all your contacts, in which you announce that your new video is online. If you send out a nice, friendly mail, chances are good that people will really click on the link to watch your video. Just don't send an e-mail out every week. Sometimes it is better to send just one mail in which you announce all the videos which you have uploaded during the recent weeks.
Of course you can also send a mail once in a while to remind your contacts of the great videos which you have on your youtube channel, which are there already for more than a year now and which still haven't reached the first 1,000 views. Your friends usually will be happy to watch those videos again and help the number of views go up a little. Just don't send out a mail like that too often. Make sure your audience will not get annoyed by your mails.
Take part in the community
One of the best ways to promote your video within the youtube platform, is to actively take part in the youtube community. That means, view other people's videos, leave comments and subscribe to other people's channels. If you leave a comment at someone else's video, most likely that person will have a look at your videos in return.
If you find users who have similar videos like you, you can leave a comment in which you write how much you like their videos and then just note that you have some similar videos on your channel. Just don't leave comments screaming 'Come and watch my videos'. If you actively take part and leave good, nice and friendly comments, other users will automatically become interested to watch your videos.
If you come across a video which is somehow related to your video, you might consider posting your video as a video response. This does not only help your video to reach a bigger audience, it also helps the other person's video. The number of video responses is also an indication of the popularity of a video.
Create a playlist
Another option to promote your video is to create a playlist. Create a list with different videos, which are somehow related and add your video as one of the videos in the list. If you create a nice mix of different videos and your video is just one of them between the others, people will not even notice that it is your video. Of course you can also create a playlist just with your videos. But if you mix your video with videos from others, chances are better that people will come across your video via one of the other videos in the playlist.
Improve your video
There are many ways to improve your video. Besides writing a good description and creating a good title, there are many more details to be aware of. Below are a few more things to keep in mind. These are all just details and for many videos it is not necessary to take care of each of them. Still it is good to be aware of all the different possibilities you have to improve your video and your online presentation. Here are a few more options how you can improve your video.
Pick a good thumbnail
Youtube lets you choose from three different video stills to display your video in search results and related videos. The video still is the first visual impression a user gets from your video. You uses the images exactly at the first quarter, the middle and the third quarter of the video as video stills to choose from. When preparing your movie, you could add a special frame on these spots, which can then later be used as the thumbnail. In this way you can create a special thumbnail for your video, which will just show up half a second within the movie and most of the time is not even really noticed.
But you will need to experiment to get it exactly right. When compressing, uploading and converting the movie, sometimes the time changes and all of a sudden length of your video is one second different and then the middle frame is not the middle frame anymore. But after exporting and uploading your video a view times, you should be able to get it right.
If you don't want to spend your time to create a special frame just for youtube, or if you've already uploaded your video, you should still have a look at the three video still which are offered as thumbnails and choose the best one as a thumbnail. You can also change the selected thumbnail after some time and see if it influences the number of views your video gets.
One of the ways to open your video for a bigger audience, is to add subtitles. Don't assume that every user on youtube speaks english. And don't assume that your video needs to be in english to become popular. Youtube has a function to easily add subtitles in any language you wish. Only, you will have to do the translations yourself. If your original movie is not in english, it is a good idea to add english subtitles. Also, if the language in the video is difficult to understand, for example if a small child is talking, you should consider to add subtitles.
Subtitles are written in a text file which is uploaded separately to the video. You can upload a translation for as many languages as you like. If the language on the computer of the viewer is set to another language than english and you have uploaded subtitles for that language, youtube will load the subtitles for that language. You can upload subtitles under the tab 'Captions and Subtitles' in the edit menu for your video. On the same page is also a link to a page with help on how to add or edit captions and subtitles.
If you are just starting on youtube don't expect that your video will be a youtube hit overnight. Keep uploading new videos and try to improve your videos. Experiment what works and try to build up an audience for your work. A good idea is to create a separate website to promote your videos. A blog is a very good way to give background information about each video you've uploaded. Add a new post for each video you upload on your blog. Embed the video into your blogpost and make a link to the blogpost in the description of your video on youtube. In general, make sure that your work is present on different online networks and connect them all together. And make sure everyone knows that your work is online. If you have uploaded a great video, that you feel we should all watch, feel free to post the link here below in the comments. Happy video making!