VIDEO CONTENT MARKETING TIPS

YouTube Optimization The Complete Guide With Tom Martin – HEY.com Podcast #11

YouTube Optimization The Complete Guide With Tom Martin - HEY.com Podcast #11

Today Tom Martin of Channel Fuel talks about his great book, “YouTube Optimization – The Complete Guide: Get more YouTube subscribers, views and revenue by optimizing like the pros”.

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GUEST: Tom Martin of ChannelFuel.co. Formerly of the BBC, you may know Tom from his former channel FAQtube. Tom is the author of “YouTube Optimization – The Complete Guide: Get more YouTube subscribers, views and revenue by optimizing like the pros”. You can take his courses here and follow him on Twitter.

HOST AND CO-PRODUCER: Dane Golden of HEY.com | Facebook | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube

SPONSORS: This episode is brought to you by our affiliate partners, including: TubeBuddy, VidIQMorningFameRev.com, and other products and services we recommend. Thanks for your support!

CO-PRODUCER: Jason Perrier of Phizzy Studios

TRANSCRIPT

Dane Golden:
It’s time for HEY.com. This is the podcast where we help you grow your customer community to helpful how-to videos. My name is Dane Golden. Today we have Tom Martin of Channel Fuel. Welcome, Tom.

Tom Martin:
Good evening or should I say good morning, Dane, where you are in the world. Pleasure to be here.

Dane Golden:
That’s right. You’re in the UK. I’m in the US. Channel Fuel is your new company name, but you’re formerly of the BBC, and people may also know you from FAQtube, correct?

Tom Martin:
That is correct. Yeah. I headed up the YouTube network for the BBC for, it must’ve been about five years, some really good times working with some really good channels that you may have heard of, Doctor Who, Top Gear, a lot of the cool David Attenborough stuff that you may have seen. Yet, now, Channel Fuel is my new company, which is primarily a YouTube services business.

Dane Golden:
We have brought you in to talk about your book, YouTube Optimization, the Complete Guide. I’m so excited about this, and I think that I’m somehow mentioned on the cover. Maybe I blurbed it.

Tom Martin:
You are indeed a testimonial on the back cover, I believe, Dane, so a huge thank you to you. For no other reason you should buy it, just to have Dane’s face in your book shelf.

Dane Golden:
Forget your name in print. My name is in print on the back cover. I wanted to go over the chapters and help people understand why this book is so valuable. There’s 10 main chapters. I wanted to go over. Just give a quick summary of each chapter and maybe one point or on each topic. Does that sound good?

Tom Martin:
Yeah, that sounds perfect.

Dane Golden:
All right. Chapter one is watch time. What is watch time on YouTube?

Tom Martin:
I think watch time is widely regarded, if not unanimously regarded, as YouTube’s most important factor when it comes to search and discovery so basically being recommended to users. In its most basic essence, watch time is how long are people spending watching your videos, but it can be a little bit more complicated because there is the actual amount, the pure amount of minutes watched, and then there is the percentage of your videos that are being watched or average view duration.

"You want to appease YouTube and their algorithm by getting people to watch longer." - Tom Martin, Channel Fuel

Dane Golden:
Let me interrupt you because we have a number in YouTube analytics that says watch time, but that is actually a subset of what the overall watch time really is.

Tom Martin:
What do you mean? Sorry.

Dane Golden:
When we have a metric that says watched minutes, watched time or hours, it’s under watch time, but that is not the full extent when YouTube talks about watch time, what they really mean.

Tom Martin:
Yes, it’s a balance between pure minutes watched and percentage watched. What I used to say is, do you think this has changed over time? It’s very important to know that there used to be an equilibrium between how important average view duration was and how important the pure minutes watched or average amount of time watched is. I think that has shifted over time, and now the pure minutes watched I’d say is a slightly more important metric, which is dangerous because obviously you want to appease YouTube and their algorithm by getting people to watch longer, but what you don’t want to do is artificially inflate the length of your videos but then they become uninteresting and then people in turn click away and stop watching. It’s a very fine balance.

Dane Golden:
Just to say maybe the obvious is that when we say minutes watched, watch time, if I paid to have a million views, that doesn’t necessarily help my ranking just because more minutes were watched that were paid.

Tom Martin:
No. This is exactly why watch time is more important because back in the early days of YouTube, it was just about views. Obviously that’s really easy to gain because you can sit there and refresh the page yourself or you can pay people all over the world to sit there and click and then click off. Because that was so easy to gain, YouTube decided to be more qualitative in their analysis of a video success, and so then watch time became the golden standard of a video’s quality.

Dane Golden:
For the next chapter, session time, what’s that all about? What’s the difference between watch time and session time?

Tom Martin:
Watch time would be how long people are watching individual videos on your channel, where a session time would be how long are people spending on YouTube after watching one of your videos? This is hugely important. What I would say is it’s impossible to track, which is why some people I think overlook it because there is no session time metric inside of analytics. You can’t track where your users are going after they’ve left you. Nonetheless, it’s super important to keep this up because ultimately, what YouTube want is for people to stay for longer on YouTube. They have no trouble in getting people to the platform. Once they’re there, they want to keep people there for longer because ultimately, they can serve more ads, which is where they make all their money. It’s important that you get people to stay on the platform by watching as much video as you can.

Dane Golden:
Some of the methods of doing that include end screens, info cards, playlists, ways of getting someone to watch one more video after the video they’ve previously watched.

"Ultimately what YouTube want is for people to stay for longer on YouTube." - Tom Martin, Channel Fuel

Tom Martin:
Absolutely, all really, really good ways of increasing session time. Probably the one I work with a lot of create … is in a lot of companies, a lot of brands. What they forget to do is to have a really strong call to action at the end of a video to actually get people to watch another video. What they’ll do is say like, subscribe, share, comment, but not a lot of people actually have a very, very strong call to action to watch another video. They may have an end screen program and it may be on screen, but they may not have a strong call to action if they can watch that there.

Dane Golden:
If you watch some of the major late night shows, I think Jimmy Kimmel does it probably best because he says like, if you click on this next video, I’ll get a million dollars. He always has some pun at the end. I don’t actually know what they are, but he definitely recognizes that there’s some incentive for him or you if you click on the next video.

Tom Martin:
Yes. It’s hugely important. Having a human like Jimmy Kimmel giving a call to action on screen and pointing to something clickable is going to get a much better clickthrough rate than having a graphical end screen or just having it on the screen and not actually calling attention to it.

Dane Golden:
What about YouTube titles? A title is a title, right? You just want to be as descriptive as possible. If you’re a business, talk about whatever it is you’re talking about, or is there something deeper?

Tom Martin:
You do want to get the crux of the video really clearly in that title or you want it to be as clear as anything what the user is going to get when they click, so how to change a carburetor, how to train your dog to stop barking, how to get your kids to go to sleep at night. Very academic, but at the same time, you want to make them clickable and enticing because no matter how good you get at search and discovery, if people don’t click, YouTube will stop sending people your way. You need to make them interesting where you can, and also they need to be based around keywords that people are searching for.

Dane Golden:
We can find these with tools like VidIQTubeBuddy, MorningFame, I think you prefer VidIQ.

Tom Martin:
At the moment, VidIQ is the only tool that will give you actual search volume data, which is why I prefer it to other tools used for the same purpose. [crosstalk 00:09:24]

Dane Golden:
Which level?

Tom Martin:
Instead of giving you a score of 100-

Dane Golden:
Which level of VidIQ do you use?

"Niche is king. That's really, really true on YouTube." - Tom Martin, Channel Fuel

Tom Martin:
It depends which client I’m working for, but generally, if I just need to do the keyword research, which probably would suit most people, then I actually think the cheapest paid version does a fantastic job because it gives you access to the full keyword tool, which the free version gives you limited access to.

Dane Golden:
They’re one of our affiliates sponsoring the show so you can click on the description if you like. Our next item is tags. Now when you talk about tags with people who are not YouTube specialists, they think that tags is the whole thing because they may come from an SEO background, but it’s not. Right?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. Tags for me is I’d say my specialty. I’m definitely in the camp of keywords are really, really important. There are a lot of people in the industry that think they’re not so important. I respect all of their opinions, but I can only go by the data that I’ve seen and my experience and what has worked for me over the last seven years. I played in thousands of videos. A lot of those videos have got success through this keyword system that I like to implement. I believe very strongly in finding keywords that have high search volume, low competition, and then optimizing my videos for those keywords in my tags, descriptions and titles.

Dane Golden:
What I hear you saying is find the topics, not just the tags, but the topics that are really not being covered as much and then make a video about them and then make an accurate tag that describes that that’s underserved. Is that what I hear you-

Tom Martin:
Yes. That’s exactly right.

Dane Golden:
Does it influence the topic even?

Tom Martin:
Yes. I always advocate before you start a channel, you should know what keywords you want to target. In the process of finding out what keywords you should be targeting, you’re a lot of the time going to get a lot of not only the top keywords, but you’ll start to get a lot of long tail keywords. These are the keywords that again are a lot less search volume, but they’re very low competition and they’re hyper relevant to whatever niche you’re in. Say, for example-

Dane Golden:
Is it multiple words? Is that the full … what long tail keywords is?

Tom Martin:
Yeah, exactly. If we took an automotive how-to channel, in your broadest keyword terms that you would be trying to rank for maybe like car maintenance or car repair or car DIY or cars how-to, and then your long tail keywords that you’re trying to be target for in an individual video level maybe how to change your oil, how to … You can tell that I’m not a petrol head. How to-

Dane Golden:
What if I put in a word like drifting is hot right now, and that’s cars, except I don’t have a video that’s about drifting. What happens?

Tom Martin:
Basically, YouTube loves to see channels with authority on a certain subject. If you’ve been making how-to videos for the last five years and all of a sudden, you make a video on drifting, even though it may get lots of search traffic, it may be really underserved in terms of competition so it’s really a hot keyword to target. If you’re not an authority on that topic, then it doesn’t mean that you’re going to automatically rank for that just because it’s high search, low competition because YouTube are going to want to surface videos that are from channels that talk about drifting all of the time.

Tom Martin:
You have to bear in mind, and I believe that Morning Fame is a tool that does this well, even though I’ve not used it myself, is they not only tell you what keywords you can be targeting, but they also say based on your history of the videos or how likely are you to actually rank for this keyword. I think you may not necessarily need a tool to tell you that whether you’ve been an authority on a subject or not for a certain amount of time, but-

Dane Golden:
What I hear you saying also is that as a channel, you need to decide what you’re going to talk about or what you’re going to focus on and don’t talk about everything under the sun.

Tom Martin:
Absolutely. Niche is king, or you might say niche over there in the US, which is helpful for the term, the riches are in the niches. That’s really, really true on YouTube. I would say to anyone before you get started, find your little corner of YouTube, set up still there and really just concentrate on that because YouTube loves really hyper-focused channels that talk about specific topics for years on end. Instead of just saying I’m going to talk about pets, you say I’m going to talk about dogs, but not only am I going to talk about dogs, but I’m going to talk about puppies, and not only am I going to talk about puppies, but I’m going to talk about puppy training and how to train your puppy.

Dane Golden:
Only Australian Shepherds.

Tom Martin:
Well, you do need to be careful not to put yourself into too much of a small corner, but the beauty of keyword research is that you can actually find out that stuff so you can see if there is an opportunity or not because it might be that that corner of YouTube is empty.

Dane Golden:
Chapter five, the expanded guide to YouTube thumbnails. Just give me one tip that people don’t realize about how important YouTube thumbnails are because they’re very important. What is one thing someone can do to improve their thumbnails?

Tom Martin:
Obviously, I think it would be to make a custom thumbnail as opposed to choosing one of the auto-generated selections that YouTube give you when you’re uploading a video. That is by far and away the most important thing to do, is not to just take what you’re given and make something. Having said that, you don’t need to be a Photoshop wizard. You don’t even have to have Photoshop. There are free tools that you can use like Canva, which I think is excellent. If I was going to give one tip to how to creating community out there, of which I was one for many, many years, is not to use text too much. When you do use text, don’t duplicate the title of your video on the thumbnail because very, very rarely would the thumbnail be seen out of context and not next to the title. What you’re doing really is wasting an opportunity.

Tom Martin:
I would say if you’re going to put text on a thumbnail, what I would do is choose some text that compliments the title and also helps to sell the video. It’s almost like a second headline that you can use. Because the text on that thumbnail isn’t indexed, you can get a little bit more interesting and you don’t have to be so academic and so keyword focused.

Dane Golden:
We’ve gone through five chapters. There’s 10 chapters in this book. I want to take us now through a lightning round. I’m going to say the title of the chapter. You give me two sentences of what that chapter is about. Sound good?

Tom Martin:
Perfect.

Dane Golden:
Chapter six, video descriptions. What are they?

Tom Martin:
These are the text boxes that can be fully customized underneath your video. In terms of tips, again, make sure your keywords are in there. Secondly, don’t use these to just spam people with links, taking people to Facebook and your course and your book and your Instagram and your Auntie’s wedding business. Keep everything hyper-focused and try and keep people on the platform.

Dane Golden:
Chapter seven, nine ways to optimize your YouTube channel page. What’s one tip about that? Real quick.

Tom Martin:
Absolutely have a trailer for unsubscribed users that gives a great reflection of what they can expect on the channel and has a very strong call to action to subscribe.

Dane Golden:
Chapter eight, optimizing at the time of upload.

Tom Martin:
I would say using a tool like TubeBuddy or VidIQ. Make sure you’re hitting all of the best practices. As you upload, strong title, strong thumbnail. Make sure that you’re focused on all of the keywords that you’re trying to rank for.

Dane Golden:
Because the video gets ranked essentially within YouTube and pigeonholed right away and re-optimizing after doesn’t have the same effect.

Tom Martin:
Yeah, it can help, but it certainly won’t help as much as being primed with all of the best practices when you upload.

Dane Golden:
Chapter nine, optimizing for international audiences. You being in the UK, I’m in the US. Maybe the spelling is different. What else?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. Really, this is more about foreign language audiences. If you know that you’ve got a market that maybe speak Spanish, then you can do … The most basic thing would be to translate your titles and descriptions and your captions into Spanish so that they can be more easily discovered by a non-English speaking audience.

Dane Golden:
Chapter 10, optimizing for mobile views. Everyone is looking at this on their computer, right?

Tom Martin:
Absolutely, no. I know you’re playing with me, Dane, because it’s the biggest screen. It’s continually growing. I heard a stat recently that in my home country of the UK, it’s up to 75% of views-

Dane Golden:
Are mobile?

Tom Martin:
Yeah. I think generally, it’s way above 60% generally. You need to just remember that people are watching on tiny, little screens. Anywhere you’re using text, make sure it’s legible at small sizes, graphics, legible at small sizes. You need to have good audio because if people are listening through teeny speakers or really bad quality headphones, then it’s going to show all of the flaws in your audio. People will forgive bad visuals, but they will not forgive bad audio, especially on mobile.

Dane Golden:
Amazing, Tom. YouTube Optimization, The Complete Guide. We’ll have a link in the show notes. To get our show notes, by the way, just google Hey and Tom Martin.

Tom Martin:
Hey, Tom Martin.

Dane Golden:
That’s right. Tom Martin, how can people find out more about you and Channel Fuel and the book?

Tom Martin:
You can go to channelfuel.co. That’s dot-C-O where you can find more about me and the services that I offer, which are mainly audits of YouTube channels and keyword research services. The book, you can find it on Amazon. Dane will have a link to a local store in a bit. It’s available globally on Amazon, and that’s a Kindle version and also a paperback version.

Dane Golden:
Excellent. Thank you, Tom Martin. My name is Dane Golden, and I want to thank you, the listener, for joining us today. HEY.com is about helping you grow your customer community to helpful how-to videos. How do you do this? By sharing your expertise, because when you share your expertise in a way that helps your customers live their lives better or do their jobs better, you’ll earn their loyalty and their trust and their business. Thanks to our special guest, Tom Martin of Channel Fuel. Please subscribe to us on your favorite podcast app and on YouTube and wherever you watch social video, and please follow me on LinkedIn. Until next week, here’s to helping you help your customers through video.

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