Hits, views, likes, subscribes? What does it all mean?
How can SMEs benefit?
YouTube is a huge computer in California which works almost entirely by itself feeding mainly entertainment videos to the world of computer/mobile phone owners. It operates as one of Google’s subsidiaries earning revenue from Google AdSense, a program which targets ads according to content and audience.
It’s all about interaction.
The more people who interact with a YouTube video the more likely it is that Google will include it in the first page of search results, hence increasing the chances that someone who can affect your bottom line will see it.
Notice I say ‘interact’ and not necessarily ‘watch’ the video.
‘Interact’ means lots of things. You interact if you click the play button, like or dislike, (dislikes have exactly the same effect as likes) subscribe to the channel, share or embed the video. In short, you don’t even have to watch the video to register a hit so the number of views displayed on YouTube’s web page is a only rough guide to who is watching.
Do hits matter?
When someone plays a video which is embedded from YouTube onto your website the ‘hit’ will register on the YouTube hit counter provided that your embedded video is not set to ‘autoplay’. (This is to prevent ‘hit counter’ fraud.) So when you see that your video has had 29 hits after two years…well sorry but that will be pretty near the truth. But does that matter? I don’t think so. We recently produced a video which, on the face of it, was aimed at a general audience. In fact it was targeted at a particular buyer in a medium sized pharmaceutical company. In that case just one hit was enough!
By the way, you can buy hits, and there are many ne’er-do-wells out there who will sell them to you. But, YouTube is wise to them and when they catch you – usually within a week – you and your company will be prevented from using YouTube ever again.
What about subscribers?
What happens when someone clicks the ‘like’ or ‘subscribe’ button? Answer: YouTube notices and pushes that video further up the search engine rankings and offers new videos of yours to subscribers as and when you post them. The more subscribers you have the more money you can make from Google. But it’s a bit like Nectar points…you need at least a million before it makes a difference.
That said, hits and likes and subscribes are all good for music videos, retail promotions, new B2C product launches etc. But what use is it to people like you and me who sell primarily to other businesses? Answer: Only as a Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) tool.
Use YouTube to drive people to your website but don’t embed YouTube videos on your website. Why not? Because you are not in control. YouTube can randomly drop pre-roll ads into your video and display ‘related content’ when it’s finished playing – and related content usually means your competitors’ videos. (There used to be a way to prevent this but YouTube has change the rules and the little bit of code that was used is now bypassed)
In most B2B situations the real target audience is very small. Sometimes it might even be a key decision maker in the target company i.e. one person. What are the chances that he/she will spend time searching YouTube for your video? Better by far to target directly with a link to a passworded video and follow up in the usual way. At Meantime Media we use Vimeo for all our hosting and suggest that clients do as well.
Vimeo gives you complete control over how your video is presented. No ads, a customisable player, an accurate hit counter, your logo in place of Vimeo’s etc,etc,
So, for B2B marketing, forget YouTube and ‘viral’ videos. No B2B video ever went viral (i.e. over a million plays within a week) and never will. Concentrate on specific messages which your target audience (and maybe only your target audience) will understand and act on.
Don’t try to mimic tv commercials – they only work on a mass audience with, according to Ofcom, the average mentality of a ‘bright 13-year-old’.
Don’t get hung up on duration. It is true that attention spans are short on the web, but if your audience is really interested in what you have to say they will watch longer videos. Why not make a 30 second intro for YouTube to benefit from all the SEO value and use that to drive people to your website where the longer more in-depth version awaits.
And…. don’t forget…. businesses, schools, government agencies, and other private institutions often block all links to social media sites, including YouTube, due to bandwidth limitations and the site’s potential for distraction.
You don’t want the above screen to appear when a prospective client clicks on your video…
For further information or advice and ideas on the best use of video in B2B marketing email: