We asked pros from 60 SaaS businesses to share tips for converting trial users to paid customers. Here’s how they’ve improved their paid activation rates.
Product and Design | Jun 26
Dann Albright on November 14, 2018 • 10 minute read
As we’ve mentioned on this blog before, we’ve hit an inflection point where video is easier to film, cheaper to produce, and easy to measure.
Anyone can record remarkably good video with their smartphone, throw in some after effects in cheap tools like iMovie, and distribute on social channels where algorithms favor the format. (Of course, many companies have more sophisticated setups, but that alone illustrates how easy it can be to have a presence.)
This, in large part, is why so many businesses populate your news feed with video.
Video is everywhere.
According to our research, 41% of marketers say they post new videos to their YouTube channel every week.
36% say they post new videos every month, while another 23% say they post videos, but infrequently.
But, it’s a general rule that when things get easier to produce, arbitrage follows.
There are so many videos and channels to watch and subscribe to that it’s become harder for any one brand to stand out.
Like blogging in the mid-2000s, marketers now look for ways to differentiate themselves through content in order to find an audience.
Before getting into those details, we asked marketers to share how many views (on average) their videos receive.
25% of marketers say their videos get between 5-10k views on YouTube.
So, what kinds of things work for marketers looking to drive more views to their videos? We polled dozens of marketers to find out. Here’s what we learned.
Editor’s note: Want an easy way to track views, watch time, and other important video marketing KPIs? Check out this free, plug-and-play dashboard.
“For Auto Accessories Garage, the most effective method of driving more views to our YouTube videos is with unique content,” says Jake McKenzie. “In our world of automotive accessories, if we can be the first channel on YouTube to review a new product or demonstrate its installation, we can easily net 15K views as opposed to our average of 500 or so.”
“We’ve also noticed if we are the first to YouTube with a specific product, our video often gets featured at the top of a Google search.”
Andrew DeBell from Jam Campus sets two goals for videos: “entertain and educate.”
“It sounds pretty straightforward, but you’d be surprised how many businesses don’t understand this. People go on YouTube to be entertained and to be educated. To increase your viewership, you must create videos that fall into one or both of these categories.”
DeBell adds that marketers should spend the time to plan out content before shooting any video.
“With all of the competition out there, you have to take time to properly plan your videos. This involves researching keywords, understanding the competition, and creating fresh ideas to cut through the clutter. Just like developing a brand and product, a niche offering will outperform a generic one.”
“Just like any marketing campaign, video views benefit from a snowball effect. But before a video can snowball, it needs a push,” says Slavik Boyechko of Digital Filmmaker.
“I’ve found that an initial paid boost is often enough to get the ball rolling. Sometimes even $75 is the difference between a video going nowhere or one that gets a ton of views.”
P5 Marketing‘s Robert Donnell specifically mentioned Google Ads:
“Our go-to method for driving traffic to videos is Google Ads. Our YouTube ad campaigns that are video-based drive traffic to our client’s video for around two cents per click.”
As did The Brian Carter Group‘s CEO:
“Our favorite way to get a ton of YouTube video views for ourselves and for clients is Google Ads for Video. Google owns YouTube and lets you place the ads [to] show your YouTube videos to people, along with a link to whatever website you want.”
“Our cost per view is usually under 6 cents each, but we can sometimes get them under 1 cent per view.”
Carter adds: “If you have end cards and ask for a subscription, this also can increase your subscriber numbers so that new videos continuously drive more organic views from subscribers as well.”
Josh Braaten from Brandish Insights encourages marketers to do “the one thing most marketers were taught never to do: send people away from your website.”
“Promote your YouTube series in social media, on your blog, and in your email newsletters and don’t worry that [visitors are] not hitting your website. Once the new YouTube efforts are paying off, you’ll get more traffic from it than you could ever lose by promoting your efforts with your other channels.”
“You can’t just make a great video, upload it to YouTube, and call it a day,” says BLOOM‘s Ana Cvetkovic.
“You have to share this video (or teasers of it) on your site and on social media and entice people to watch the whole thing on YouTube. Embed the video in your next email, share it on all of your social platforms (multiple times), embed it into a blog post.”
Jay Perkins from Kettlebell Kings uses the company’s nearly 80,000 Instagram followers to get more YouTube views:
“We use our nice following on Instagram to share clips of videos of people using our product and direct our followers to ‘swipe up’ on the same video in our IG story to view the entire length demo and follow us.”
This strategy gets Kettlebell Kings a 10% clickthrough rate when they tell people to check out a new post.
“Additionally, in our post-purchase email workflows, one of the first things we let people know about is to view tons of free content about kettlebell lifting on our YouTube channel and it has an image that shows them directly how to subscribe to updates.”
Hyper Projector‘s Eric Simons recommends another social platform:
“Grab a still frame from your video. Make sure it is interesting and relevant to your video. Now, post it in a relevant subreddit. Pictures get views and upvotes. If the picture has value to people, they will want to know more. Here is your chance to say ‘Well actually, I made a whole video on it’ and give a link.”
“This is also a great opportunity to engage your potential audience, which is always important.”
“An extremely simple way to getting more views to your videos is to find blogs that are relevant and post a thoughtful comment on the blog with a link to your video,” says Blake Aylott of Shape & Skin Medical.
“This has gotten us hundreds of extra views on each video we do this for, which helps it rank better, too.”
Seán Connolly from Rebrandly recommends paying attention to your thumbnails, titles, and tags:
“Thumbnail: This is the first element of your video that gets seen by any potential viewer. It has to be immediately engaging and make viewers curious. YouTube recommends a ‘less is more’ approach when creating thumbnails. Use large, clear text and highlight a single object or individual.”
“Title: When titling your videos, be sure to focus on your prime keyword. YouTube recommends putting this keyword at the beginning and then crafting your title around it. E.g., move from ‘5 Actionable Tips to Increase Your Inbound Marketing Leads’ to ‘Inbound Marketing – Top 5 Tips to Improve Leads.'”
“Tags: Be it written or video content, tags are always incredibly important. When it comes to YouTube, the best practices suggest . . . 13–15 [tags]. Overloading your video with irrelevant tags can actually damage its performance in search results.”
Connolly also points out that “your thumbnail and title need to work together. When viewers are searching for videos, YouTube says the decision on what to watch is made in a quick 3-part glance: seeing the thumbnail, then looking at the title, then back to the thumbnail again.”
“Aim for your title and thumbnail to tell a story together—raise curiosity with the thumbnail at first, then give more info with the title.”
Andrew McLoughlin from Colibri Digital Marketing recommends writing “full descriptions as if they were mini-blog posts.”
“That way, you can make it clear what your video is about, and you can include more precise keywords. Your video will then be much more likely to show up in search results, and you’ll see a proportionate increase in views.”
“People who view YouTube today have an abundance of choices to explore, which makes standing out even more challenging than ever before. One effective method of driving more views to your videos,” says SEO Hacker‘s Sean Si, is “creating attractive, straight-to-the-point titles.”
“Users usually already know what they want to see, which means all you have to do is to make sure they would be able to find your videos. This means using the right keywords and presenting the main idea on your titles.”
Remember to treat YouTube as a separate search engine, says Ajay Prasad of GMR Web Team.
“The most effective way [to increase YouTube view] is to set up strong SEO for your videos,” says The Penny Hoarder‘s Khiem Nguyen.
“Choose a focus keyword or phrase that refers to the video as a whole. The keyword should carry over in the title of the video, description, and keyword tags. Along with the main focus keyword, make sure that your supporting keywords are also highly searched with few competitors.”
Kent Lewis from Anvil Media recommends “incorporating relevant keywords into the file name, title, and descriptions.”
(Lewis also suggests syndicating your video across your social accounts, using the audio for a podcast, and transcribing the video for an article.)
“Rank in suggested videos by copying the tags of popular videos related to your video,” says Mackenzie Thompson of National Health Care Provider Solutions.
“View the page source of a largely viewed video, search for the keyword and SEO tags, and use these keywords and tags for your own video. From this, we typically get 10,000–15,000 views on a skills video.”
“The most effective way we have seen to drive more views on your YouTube videos is to make a [blog] around each specific video or series of videos,” says Jurassic Sands‘ Joe Sloan.
“You want to make sure your videos are [embedded] on pages that allow you to provide more SEO value to help them become discovered.”
Using this method, Sloan has seen up to half of the traffic on a video coming from the content page.
Jessica Dais from TakeLessons Live has similar advice:
“For an instant boost in views, make good use of your existing content by embedding YouTube videos into your relevant, top-ranking blog posts. This way you’ll get more bang for your buck on the traffic your site already receives.”
If there’s one thing our marketers agreed on, it was that you have to put in the work to increase your YouTube views.
It might be through keyword research, social promotion, ads, or any other number of methods. But it’s going to take time.
To help get the most out of your videos, Michael Hammond from the Storyboard Media Group shared an outline for a video content strategy:
Which tactics have you tried to get more views on your videos? Which were the most effective for you? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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