1. Why the first 15 seconds of your videos count the most

 2. Annotations

3. Regular Schedule and Frequency

4. Cross Promotion and Collaboration

5. Social Media

6. Thumbnails

7. YouTube Ads

8. Metadata


Attention spans are very short, especially in the YouTube community where there is so much content. Hook viewers right from the start by cutting down on intros and getting straight to the point.

  • Compelling Content
    • The first thing the viewer sees should be compelling. Let your personality show.
    • Welcome the audience and spark the viewer’s interest.
    • Tease the rest of the video with some fun outtakes or just a funny tidbit to come.
  • Track your Audience Retention
    • Use the tools available in your YouTube analytics. Click on the video you want to analyze and go to ‘Audience Retention’ on the left hand side. This should give you a better understanding of how your videos are performing in terms of engagement and drop off.
    • Try different approaches and see what works best to keep people watching your videos and decrease early abandonment.
    • The average retention span is 42% of the video


Annotations help maintain your viewers, increase community actions on your videos, and acquire more subscribers. Use annotations to share more information with your viewers.

  • We recommend you use three annotations per video:

    1. “Thumbs Up/Like” the video at the beginning

    2.  “Subscribe” in the middle of your video􀀀

    3. “Check previous videos” at the end of your video 􀀀

  • Your videos should always drive a secondary action (the primary is to watch the video); Baked in visuals during and as an end slate on the video can be linked using annotations to drive traffic to your website/products or additional pieces of content

➔ Remember that not everyone makes it to the end of the video, so be sure to have annotations throughout the video

➔ Subscribers on average will watch over 18+ videos over the lifetime of your channel compared to non-subscribers who might only watch 1-2

➔ Even if your original content message doesn’t directly tell viewers what to do next, you can align your title, annotations, description, and social promotional strategy to get the desired effect

*set annotations to open a new window when clicked



3. Regular Schedule and Frequency

  • Release your content frequently on a recurring schedule, and maintain activity on the channel. React to trending topics with relevant content.
  • A consistent audience requires consistent content. When you release videos on a set day of the week, your subscribers know when to check in.
  • Consistent videos drive more traffic as people become accustomed to tuning in on a specific day to watch the channel.
  • Ask your network manager what current days are best for uploading your videos.

4. Cross Promotion and Collaboration

  • Collaborating with and promoting other creators in the community can be one of the most powerful ways to reach new audiences. Other YouTube creators are a critical part of your community on YouTube.
  • Create a strategy to cross-promote your content to relevant audiences. Find and reach out to channels with similar audiences for collaborations. Collaborate with channels that attract similar demographics . Appear, guest-star or contribute to other channels and vice-versa. Leverage each other’s audience to find new viewers . Record video chats, hold Hangouts on Air, or incorporate video from a collaboration partner on your channel. Use annotations, playlists, links in description and clear direction within the video to help the viewer watch more. Be active on your channel during any cross-promotion period. Interact with new viewers. Feature your best videos or playlists when you expect a lot of new viewers might be visiting your channel. Make sure to have an effective programming schedule after cross-promotions. The content you publish in the weeks after gaining new subscribers will determine if these new viewers remain subscribed and active with your channel.
  • Think holistically about your YouTube community. Sure, it includes your most avid fans and followers, but it also includes other YouTube creators. Identify similar or relevant channels and invest in these relationships. Accessing new audiences on YouTube begins with finding the channels where those audiences are already engaged. It’s a good idea to identify similar or relevant channels with whom to work on cross-promotion and collaboration in a mutually beneficial manner. Though, first you must do the work to build your content, your channel, and your audience into something that other channels will want to support.
  • Work with other creators and cross promote content between channels.
  • Cross promotion directs viewers to content or channels, and collaboration with other creators can be one of the most powerful ways to reach new audience and build views.
  • Create a strategy to cross promote your content to relevant audiences. Find and reach out to channels with similar audiences to plan creative collaborations.
  • Use Social Media to cross promote.
  • Collaborations must have clear annotations and links in the description to subscribe to the guest channel.

5. Social Media

  • Use social media to build and engage your audience AND to drive traffic to your video. You can also edit your share settings as you upload your video.
  • Social networking should also be used to chat and reach out to the community – follow people and interact

YouTube and Google+ have merged together. Make sure you create a Google+ account.

Pinterest has such high referral rates to other websites; each channel should have their own Pinterest account to pin content

Facebook remains the largest social networking site. Fan pages are a great place to communicate and engage your viewers.

People like to see the REAL YOU. Tweet regularly to update your followers on your life. Viewers tend to warm to people they can relate to.

Instagram is a creative space to post up your content ideas through pictures. Share your content with your fans and have fun with it.


Your thumbnails act as mini marketing posters for your content, and are important to attracting clicks on your videos.

Create custom poster frames to be uploaded along with the video file.

  • Clear, in focus, hi-resolution (640px x 360px min, 16:9 aspect ratio)
  • Bright, high-contrast
  • Close up of faces work well
  • Foreground stands out from background
  • Accurately represents the content



Bright, big words


Words are cut off, can't tell what the video is about

Bright, clear, appealing


Fuzzy image, unclear what the video is about


If you already have your video ready to upload, the process of setting up a YouTube ad is fairly simple. First, you’ll need to upload the video to your YouTube account, then log into your Google AdWords account and create a new Online Video Campaign.

You’ll be given a number of options, such as delivery, networks, language and ad scheduling, all of which are easy to select through the provided form.

Once the basics are set, the quality and value of your advertisement may depend on your targeting options. You’ll be able to select your demographic groups based on their age, gender, location, language, previously viewed videos, interests, keywords or previous visits to your website, along with video placements on YouTube and Google’s Display Network. Then choose the categories users within your demographic are likely to view.

You’ll also need to sync your YouTube account to AdSense, as you will also be paid any due revenue through your AdSense account. This also opens up a broader range of analytical data, allowing you to keep track of your campaign.

Finally, ensure your ads are enabled for monetization. After uploading the video, select the "Monetization" tab (located on the upload page) and check the "Monetize my Video"box.

Select your format and press save changes. Your video will be reviewed by YouTube staff who may require further information regarding commercial licensing.

The "Monetize my Video" box can also be checked through the video itself. Open the video’s page, then click the "Edit" or "$" button. The check box will appear, select and save changes and you're all set.

Just a reminder the longer the ad is (i.e. non skippable) the higher the rate of drop off from people leaving the video. Non-skippable videos are 50% more likely for someone to leave the page than skippable.

8. Metadata

Metadata helps YouTube index your content and is critical to building views from search and suggested videos.

  • Titles
    • Make your title compelling. The first 3 words of your title are the most important as they are the words that show up as the title in the ‘featured’ and ‘suggested’ columns on YouTube.
  • Description
    • The first 3 sentences in your description are the ones you see when you are watching a video in the video view page. Layout the most compelling info first. Include links to your blog and social media outlets at the top of the description. Links should include http:// to make them hyperlinks.
  • Tags
    • Your tags should include everything you feature/talk about in your video starting with your YouTube name followed by the most important/most searchable. Use commas to separate your tags.