Does your business have a presence on YouTube? Maybe it does not show much value or potential for it. YouTube may not be the best fit for the products and services that your business sells. How can you create content on YouTube to not miss opportunities to reach potential customers?
Today’s guest is Adrian Lurie from Dragonfruit Media, a video marketing agency that specializes in working with businesses and creators specifically on YouTube. He explains why your business should be on YouTube and how to drive measurable business growth from it.
Ben: Hey, Adrian. How's it going this afternoon?
Adrian: Good. How are you doing?
Ben: Not too bad. Just getting some things wrapped up before I take off for the Thanksgiving break here.
Adrian: That's exciting. Are you doing some traveling?
Ben: No. A little bit of time off and I'm just going to be hanging out, eating a lot of food, and spending time with my family. Fortunately, I will not have to get on a plane.
Adrian: There you go. Glad to hear it.
Ben: What we're going to be talking about is YouTube marketing and how to actually drive real business growth with YouTube. We're not just going to jump into how to be good at YouTube, or how to go viral, or how to just get a lot of people to watch your videos, but how can you actually drive meaningful growth for a business through YouTube.
The first question I'll throw your way is, if I were a CMO or a business owner who was skeptical about the value of YouTube, or maybe skeptical about the value of video marketing in general, what would you say to that person to win them over to prove that YouTube can actually be a real business driver?
Adrian: I appreciate the way you broke into those two different parts because I think that is an important distinction between why YouTube and then why video content marketing in itself. To talk first about just video, I think it is becoming increasingly clear that video is a huge player in terms of content marketing.
Nowadays, many brands need to be much more than just businesses and distribution centers and others but full-on media companies. Some of the most successful companies are the ones that thrive in this area. You had Zuckerberg almost 10 years ago, anticipating that most of Facebook would be video content. Instagram CEO is now saying, the majority of all Instagram content will be video in the next 10 years, players like TikTok, YouTube. Video is clearly a centerpiece of all online content, and is becoming only more and more of such.
In general, when it comes to using video as content marketing, just to throw some stats out, 50% of Internet users look for videos related to a product or service before visiting a store. Google says that video is 50 times more likely to get organic page ranks than plain text. And landing pages are shown to have 20%-30% higher conversion rates, if there's a video embedded in the landing page. We see more and more studies like this coming out showing the efficacy of video and video content as an effective conversion method within the customer journey.
In terms of YouTube itself, if you're sold on video, let's say okay, I can at least appreciate or understand that video is becoming a more important way to reach customers and to convert customers, YouTube is the video place on the Internet. Honestly, not just video, but YouTube is the second most visited website on the planet behind Google. It's the third most visited search engine on the planet. It is the second largest social media site on the planet just behind Facebook. It has around 2.3 billion active users every month.
I think in terms of creating a marketing strategy where you are actively attempting to reach the highest number of potential customers, you've got the largest public square right here in front of you, using what many considered to be the future of content, just video, That's sort of the case in order to increase your media presence and reach the highest number of people possible in the most engaging way, you might want to be on YouTube.
The last thing I'll say about that—this just made me think of—is the nature of video is highly emotional, and it engages more sensory perception than any other medium. You have written content and then you have just general visual imagery that also maybe uses text. Your engaging site, you might have audio—we're on a podcast right now—you have hearing, but video is really the only medium that also uses time. It's temporal and you can actually tell a story. You can engage people emotionally and bring them on a journey that hopefully leads down your funnel and leads to a conversion.
Ben: For sure. I think a lot of marketers know what the value is. A lot of the stats and things that you provided are great, but the argument that you've outlined here so far is great for anybody who was struggling with this conversation with a stakeholder—their boss, CMO, client, whoever the case may be. I appreciate it. I think you've given listeners a pretty thorough rundown of all the talking points that you might want to hit on just to kind of build the case.
What are some common roadblocks that you see marketers face when it comes to driving measurable growth with YouTube? When it comes to actually proving, once they built a case for YouTube or for video content marketing, what makes it difficult to actually show the impact that it has on business?
Adrian: This is probably not the answer that people maybe always want to hear, but I think that the number one problem I see marketers and business owners making is moving too quickly and trying to convert too quickly before establishing trust.
The way my agency thinks about YouTube when we're working with a client is through three categories of content, discoverable content, community-focused content, and conversion-focused content. They're in that order for a reason, and it depends on the size of your channel and how long you've been making content. It's generally really important and this is just another way to visualize a funnel.
Basically, you want to be reaching the highest number of people, building trust, and gaining subscribers with discoverable content. This is content that is not selling anything, it's not attempting, there isn't a CTA leading to your product page, your landing page. You're not trying to sell things right away. You're building an audience, you're growing an organic audience, you're establishing trust, you're looking for other metrics besides simple conversions.
Community-focused content is nurturing. If you're thinking of these as leads, you're nurturing them, you're starting to engage them in videos that are maybe more like in app tutorials, things that are actually a little more related to your product or your service.
Finally, you have conversion-focus content. If you're rolling out a specific campaign, a promo video of some kind.
I think the number one mistake here is people are coming on YouTube and they're thinking this is so great. I'm going to launch my promo video on my YouTube channel that has 500 subscribers and it's going to blow up. Unfortunately, YouTube just doesn't work like that anymore. Maybe at one time, that was possible if you made a clickbaitey-enough title and thumbnail, but now it really does.
We think of YouTube as generally a long-term play. You need to be willing to put in those reps of building trust, building your audience organically, and offering free value. Then they're your super fans. Someone subscribed to your YouTube channel, they have a significantly higher probability than anyone else, in my opinion, of purchasing your product or service.
Ben: Sure. Really the issue is, they kind of want to see the dollar signs a bit too quickly. But like anything with content marketing (as we all know), you really do have to provide value first.
Ben: Once marketers or a marketing team started creating some very value-driven, helpful, informative type video content on YouTube, what are some of the key metrics you would recommend they focus on to prove that at some point YouTube is driving some type of profitable action? Even if it's not directly leading to a sale, it's doing something that might be moving people closer to making a purchase.
Adrian: I think that engagement metrics can become really important here. Likes, comments, and shares are the metrics that I think are most important to focus on when you're getting closer to that conversion-oriented content, where you're really wanting to see, are my videos actually causing people to respond in some way?
In a lot of ways, those are much more valuable than views. If I can say, okay, my video got 10,000 views, that's great. But I don't know if someone watched for 30 seconds and then clicked off. I don't know if my video inspired them in any way. If they liked the video, and your video is about your service or product, that's a pretty clear indication that X amount of people, as a result of this video, have a positive interface with your brand.
A comment, even better. We always recommend for our clients to add a pin comment to any video that they make and then reference it in the video with a CTA to comment below or add a certain comment below.
For example, if you are trying to indicate a certain level of engagement or a willingness of someone to purchase a product, or even want feedback, you may make that a pinned comment on your video, and then you can actually see for each video how many comments you're getting, how many people are responding, what are they saying. These are actual potential customers that you're sort of creating a spokes group with, so that can be really valuable. Then shares, of course, are always a really valuable metric. They're sharing your video, you know that it's leading to more and more organic impressions.
Organic impressions, just right there also can be a really valuable metric to look at. A lot of our clients think about YouTube through sort of their brand value and they're maybe not tracking all the time specific conversion rates from YouTube videos to purchases, but they are looking at their organic impressions. Simply, that's going to show them hey, my brand, the name of my brand, or the name of my business, was in front of X amount of people just because of YouTube, not because of any other marketing. My brand organically appeared in front of this many people.
An example is we have a client who runs an online writing course. He told us specifically, look, I understand that it's difficult to track exactly how my YouTube videos are going to translate directly into purchases of my course, but after working with him six months, we were able to show that just from the videos we produce with him, he had generated around six million organic impressions on the platform. He wasn't sure exactly how many of those lead to course purchases, but he's able to track that his course purchases are going up X amount, and he's able to see these numbers of impressions, and feel pretty good about the fact that his investment in YouTube is paying off.
Then the last thing I'll say is that, I know Google Analytics does allow you to see if you're tracking clicks on a landing page, for example. You're able to see the click just before arriving at the landing page if you're dropping a link in your description, recommending that people check out a website off platform, then you can potentially track people that are arriving there from the YouTube platform.
That can be valuable. Although we generally encourage people using YouTube, marketers or businesses using YouTube to refrain from doing that until they at least have been able to show significant growth on the channel, just because we know that if your video is causing people to leave the YouTube platform, that's communicating to the algorithm that your video’s ending their session, and therefore is less valuable to YouTube than a video that is keeping people on the platform. We generally actually encourage people not to drop links to landing pages or products in the description until they've really shown a significant amount of growth on their channel.
Ben: Got you. I think that makes a lot of sense. I think that there's a good point you've made there where even if you can't connect engagement metrics directly to revenue, you can correlate them with revenue. I think that's a really useful tip right there.
Maybe marketers, or content creators, or whoever might be creating this content for their business on YouTube, before they even start shooting their first video, what are some ways that they can ensure that the video content that they create is aligned with business goals from the beginning?
Not even thinking about metrics specific to YouTube, but just how can they really answer the question of why we would be on YouTube in general? Why would our business specifically, even setting aside the broader benefits of being on YouTube? How can they really zero in on what YouTube is going to achieve for that business, specifically?
Adrian: The simplest answer (I think) is search your competitors on YouTube. At least one of them probably has a successful YouTube channel. They're doing it and you're not, and they're beating you. I think that's number one. Look at what they're doing. Why are they reaching people?
First find creators that are reaching your audience already on YouTube and then think, do I want that? If this person is getting 50,000 views on a video, tons of likes, tons of comments, they have X amount of subscribers and their primary audience is your audience, then you are missing an opportunity that they are capitalizing on. I think that's a good place to start if you want to be able to envision what you could be doing in a year from now, in two years from now, if you start your YouTube channel today. There's almost certainly someone in your niche that's already doing it and doing it well.
That shouldn't discourage you. That should encourage you. It's definitely not a zero sum game here. Anyone can grow on YouTube. You have a million content marketers or SEO experts who all have hundreds of thousands of subscribers, and they're all saying the exact same thing. There's plenty of opportunity there.
Once you can find that vision, it’s all about (we call this) audience-focused content. It's a four-step process, and it starts with building out a very specific viewer persona or a viewer avatar. This is just like classic Marketing 101, identify your target audience. What's important to understand is that your audience on YouTube might not always be the exact same as the audience of your blog, or the audience of your podcasts, for example. Certainly, the goal is to line those up, is to figure out how can I build an audience on YouTube of people that are most likely to purchase my product or my service?
Start with that viewer persona, this demographic, psychographics. We specifically look at pain points, values, and aspirations, and how those relate specifically to the YouTube platform. Why is your ideal customer going on YouTube? Do they like cat videos? Are they going to look at chess tutorials? These things can inform how you're going to make your videos. So build up that specific viewer persona.
Then think, okay, I know what their pain points are, I know what they're looking for, what is my YouTube channel's specific value proposition? This is going to be different from your company's value proposition. It may be the same, but oftentimes, it's different because you're talking about content. You're not initially talking about what value my product provides? You're saying, what is the value my videos provide?
If you have a water filtration company, let's say you created a great water filter. The value of your YouTube channel is not going to be to provide people with filtered water. It's going to be to educate, and educate people on the benefits of filtered water maybe, or it's going to talk about all sorts of water-related issues. That could be a good performer.
Once you figure out that specific value proposition, you can then come up with what we call content buckets, which are basically content categories. Just your collection of videos that all fall into the same genre that are talking about similar topics. Then once you think of those, that's step number three, you can move on to the final step, which is coming up with your video concepts.
It's easy to get lost in the weeds and all these video concepts that I'm making videos about, you go on to other people's channel, they have hundreds and hundreds of videos. With this model, you can look at any single one of your videos and you can say, that video falls into this content bucket, that content bucket is directly tied to my value proposition, and that value proposition is directly tied to my ideal customer. If my ideal customer sees that video, they're likely to be taken through that journey, inspired or educated by my brand, have a positive interaction with my brand, ideally subscribe, and then eventually convert.
Ben: I think that all makes a lot of sense. Are there any tools or processes that you would recommend marketers either use or follow to measure, analyze, and report on their YouTube marketing performance? Is it really as simple as just manually reviewing your performance metrics? Or maybe looking at Google Analytics? Or is there anything else out there that people might want to take a look at?
Adrian: You'll find a lot of tools out there that will kind of help simplify things. It's all in YouTube Analytics though, to be totally honest. They have all the data. They also allow you to export all that data if you want to run your own formulas. We have some of our own proprietary systems, where we kind of scrape data out of the YouTube back-end, and run our own tests to see what the analytics, what the numbers are looking like.
I would focus on click-through rate. Benchmarks by view count is a really important metric to look at. If your video's at 500 views, at 1000 views, at 1500 views, what was the click through rate? This is going to tell you exactly what percentage of people who are looking at your video are actually converting to viewers. That's going to tell you basically are your titles and thumbnails attracting the right person. Are they reaching people? Are they inspiring people to click?
The other really important one is average percentage viewed or just widely known as retention. That's going to tell you what percentage of people are staying on your video to the end and that's very important, especially when we think about CTAs in the video. Most CTAs are happening towards the end so you want to know what percentage of people are still watching in that CTA, and then how many people are actually clicking on that end screen, whether that be to another video, or to a different channel, or whatever the case may be.
TubeBuddy is a tool that a lot of people use. One of the things I love about TubeBuddy is it actually allows you to A/B test thumbnails. You can actually simultaneously upload two different thumbnails, and then TubeBuddy will automatically sort of A/B test them and then let you know which will give you the highest click through rates so that's really helpful.
Another one is vidIQ that offers some cool tools on looking at exactly who your competitors are on the channel, looking at your audience, and what other channels they're watching.
In general, I think if you have enough data on your channel, if you have enough viewers, looking at the audience tab and analytics can be really useful in terms of using YouTube, not just as to track your conversion rates, but also in general, are you reaching the people you want to be reaching? In the audience tab, you can look at the geographical location, age, and gender to see if you're hitting your ideal viewer persona, that ideal customer, and then adjust accordingly.
As I mentioned before and you said, Google Analytics can be helpful as well especially if you are doing paid ads. Most of this conversation, we're talking about organic content marketing on YouTube, those are all organic impressions. If you are doing paid ads, paid impressions on the channel on YouTube, then Google Analytics does have a very well-integrated function where you can see exactly how your YouTube ads are performing, but that's definitely a different ballgame. Not something that we actually really do very much.
Ben: Got it. Really thorough rundown on all of that. I appreciate that for sure. Adrian, it's been great having you on the Show. If our listeners want to find you anywhere online, where would be the best place for people to go?
Adrian: Definitely head over to dragonfruitmedia.co and you can check us out there. We have some great free resources that we put together for any listener. You can go there and we have a five-day email course that'll give you the rundown on how to use YouTube to really leverage the YouTube algorithm to find success, whether you're a creator, or a business marketer. Hopefully some of those free goodies, free resources, will be valuable to you. Definitely head over to dragonfruitmedia.co or if you want to connect with us directly, you can always send an email to email@example.com and we will make sure to get back.
Ben: Very cool. Thanks so much for coming on the show, Adrian. I'm sure that a lot of our listeners will really get a lot of value out of this conversation.
Ben was the Inbound Marketing Director at CoSchedule. His specialties include content strategy, SEO, copywriting, and more. When he's not hard at work helping people do better marketing, he can be found cross-country skiing with his wife and their dog.