Broadcasters snipe at the quality of YouTube's videos, aiming to hold on to TV advertising. Competing in subscription-based services vs. the likes of Netflix and Hulu would take big content investments. Not knowing YouTube's costs, margins or growth history will make it hard to gauge how it's meeting the challenges -- and the potential for a blow to its value to Alphabet, whose overall market capitalization approaches $500 billion. Alphabet stock closed Friday at 747.60, up 1.5%.
Instead, YouTube success takes time and dedication. Kelli Segars, the co-counder of Fitness Blender, a YouTube channel with over 5 million subscribers, spent two years posting new workout videos every week before she and her husband could quit their day jobs in 2010 to focus on the brand full time. Still, without YouTube, Fitness Blender probably wouldn’t exist. “When we first set out to create free online workout videos, we found that most streaming platforms charged so much to host content that we were never going to be able to break into the industry at all, let alone offer free content to our (then nonexistent) audience,” says Segars.
50. Use tools available through YouTube. “Start by using the tools available directly through YouTube. For example, provide a detailed and accurate title and description to each of your videos, and associate tags (keywords) that are directly relevant.” – Jason R. Rich, 12 Strategies for Promoting Your YouTube Videos, Entrepreneur; Twitter: @Entrepreneur
Typically only offered to large YouTube channels with a wide audience (although not exclusively), another big way to earn cash through YouTube is to get sponsored deals with companies that will pay you to promote or mention their products in your videos. You can earn money this way either as a lump sum of cash the company will pay you for the deal, clicks on the company's link, or on a per-view basis.
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In order to truly succeed on YouTube, you need to approach it differently than other social platforms. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter revolve around both creating and sharing great content with the goal of creating awareness, engagement, and conversation. (That’s a simple definition, but for the purpose of this argument, it will work for now). It’s about actually socializing.
Alternatively, you can also become an affiliate for brands and make residual passive income through commissions from every sale you generate through your channel. This works especially well if you review products as part of your YouTube channel. Since there's no risk involved on the brand's end (they only pay when they make sales), there's usually a low bar to getting started.
Until last month, pretty much any random person could enable the “monetization” setting on their YouTube account and get ads on their videos, allowing them to earn a fraction of a cent for every time a person viewed or clicked on their content. That all changed in January, however, when Google (YouTube’s owner) announced new standards to merit those ads. Now, to be accepted into the “YouTube Partner Program” and monetize your channel, you need a minimum of 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch-time over the past 12 months; your videos will also be more closely monitored for inappropriate content. Meanwhile, YouTube also promised that members of “Google Preferred” — a vaunted group of popular channels that make up YouTube’s top 5 percent, and command higher ad dollars because of it — will be more carefully vetted. (These shifts followed the Logan Paul controversy, as well as a brouhaha about ads running on unsavory content, such as sexually explicit or extremist videos.)
“The first step in producing a video that ranks high in your niche is finding the right keywords. You should find keywords that have YouTube video results on the first page of Google so that your video also has a high likelihood of ranking near the top of the page for the relevant search terms.” – Raghav Haran, A YouTube Video Marketing Guide to Increase Prospects in Your Funnel, Single Grain; Twitter: @singlegrain
There was some backlash over these new benchmarks, but frankly, the vast majority of people who lost their monetization privileges weren’t earning much anyway. Most channels make somewhere between $1.50 and $3 per thousand views, depending on their content and audience, and Google won’t even cut a paycheck for under $100 (or roughly 50,000 views — a pretty tall order for the average 14-year-old posting eyeliner tutorials). In other words, if you were looking for an easy side gig, YouTube was never the efficient choice.
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Today, there are tons of examples of successful, high-profile YouTube marketing campaigns. From Moz and Rand Fishkin’s informative Whiteboard Fridays to Chipotle’s acclaimed series of emotionally powerful animated shorts, there are plenty of brands currently demonstrating just how much potential there is to create value and awareness by promoting great video content on YouTube.
Just like with on-page SEO, it’s important to optimize your video’s title and description. The title is the first thing people will read when scrolling through a list of videos, so make sure it’s clear and compelling -- it should make searchers curious about the content or be instantly clear that your video will help them solve a problem. Do some keyword research to better understand what viewers are searching for. Include the most important information and keywords in the beginning of your title. Finally, keep titles to around 60 characters to keep text from being cut off in results pages.