15 Tips for Writing YouTube Video Titles That Drive Views

Content Marketing Aug 15, 2023 22 minutes read

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    Peter Caputa

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    Did you know there are more than 500 hours of videos uploaded to YouTube every minute? 

    With so much new content on the platform, getting your video to stand out is no easy feat. 

    And if you want to grow your YouTube channel and get more video views, one of the best ways to do that is by optimizing your video titles.

    You can’t settle for scrollable titles that are easily ignored… you need forehead slappers.

    Fortunately, you can use many tactics to transform your video title and make your audience go from “Meh, I might get back to that later” to “Oh, I just have to see this!”

    We also asked 40 YouTubers to share some of their best tips for crafting an irresistible video title and shortlisted 15 expert strategies you can steal.

    Let’s get into it.


    What is a Good YouTube Title?

    Let’s be clear – the most important thing you need to succeed on YouTube is to create quality videos that are actually worth watching.

    Even if you have the most persuasive video title that gets people to click, it won’t mean much if your content is not as impressive.

    But assuming you are producing quality content, a compelling title is essential to getting more clicks and views.

    YouTube video title

    Once you start putting out quality content, the first step to creating a great YouTube title to accompany it is to pinpoint the exact type of content you’re creating.

    • Is it designed to be inspirational? 
    • To entertain your audience?
    • To educate and teach people something new?
    • Or, maybe it is a sales video designed for conversions? 

    Then, you can follow some of the proven frameworks to match the video style and format. (We’ll share more on that a little later in this post).

    For example, this video from Ahrefs is an educational, how-to style video designed to teach people how to get backlinks on a new website.

    You Tube video example

    They do a great job of making sure both the video title and thumbnail are aligned and descriptive. You know exactly what to expect.

    In addition, this video from Pleasant Green is both entertaining and educational. This title does a great job of evoking curiosity without resorting to outright clickbait. 

    Entertaining and educational title

    Looking for additional tips to grow your Youtube channel and video views? Then, make sure you are keeping an eye on these 17 Youtube KPIs.

    How Many Views Does a YouTube Video Get?

    There are several factors that impact how many views your YouTube video will receive, with some of the main ones being:

    • Content quality: Engaging, informative, and entertaining content tends to attract more views. If your video resonates with your target audience and provides value, viewers are more likely to watch and share.
    • Promotion and marketing: Sharing your video across social media platforms, embedding it on websites, collaborating with other creators, and utilizing SEO techniques can all help increase visibility and reach a larger audience.
    • Audience engagement: Are your viewers liking, commenting, and sharing your videos? Higher engagement signals to YouTube’s algorithm that the content is valuable, which leads to better visibility in both search results and recommendations.
    • Thumbnail: An eye-catching thumbnail is another big piece of the puzzle. Use it to complement the title with interesting visuals and build even more intrigue among viewers.
    • YouTube algorithm: You can’t ignore the importance of YouTube’s recommendation algorithm. Factors such as watch time, viewer behavior, and relevancy to the viewer’s interests influence whether your video will be suggested to a broader audience.
    • Timing and trends: Capitalizing on current trends or timely topics can attract more views. Creating content around popular subjects or leveraging events and trends that are capturing attention is a great way to boost view count.

    That said, we also pulled out some benchmark data from our product that you might find interesting.

    According to Databox’s own Benchmark data, the median number of views a YouTube video gets is 4.58k.

    This benchmark was calculated from anonymized data from close to 200 companies. Do you have a YouTube channel and want to benchmark your video marketing performance, including watch time, average view duration, subscribers gained, and more, against other companies like yours? Join the Benchmark Group for free.


    *Important note: Databox Benchmark Groups show median values. The median is calculated by taking the “middle” value, the value for which half of the observations are larger, and half are smaller. The average is calculated by adding up all of the individual values and dividing this total by the number of observations. While both are measures of central tendency, the median is generally the better measure to use when there is a possibility of extreme values.

    15 Tips for Writing Engaging YouTube Video Titles

    Time to check out the expert tips we got from our 40 YouTube respondents and see how they approach writing engaging video titles.

    1. Make sure your title matches your video content
    2. Know who you are producing content for
    3. Conduct keyword research
    4. Use brackets in your title
    5. Create a sense of urgency
    6. Resist the temptation to use clickbait headlines
    7. Provide a compelling hook
    8. Keep your title under 60 characters
    9. Provide clear value
    10. Use proven headline frameworks
    11. Stick to how-to titles for educational content
    12. Create listicle-style titles
    13. Make sure your video title and thumbnail work well together
    14. Study your competitors’ videos
    15. Talk to Your Audience Using Their Language

    1. Make sure your title matches your video content 

    This sounds simple and obvious, but too many marketers try to get cutesy with their titles and bury the lead. 

    If someone clicks on your video only to find that your content has nothing to do with the title, they probably won’t interact with your channel again.

    Charlie Worrall of Imaginaire Digital says that “a simple, descriptive title is one of the best ways to get clicks on a YouTube video. Many people instantly flood towards clickbait and mystery, and while this is a great way to get clicks, it doesn’t always fit the purpose of the video.” 

    2. Know who you are producing content for  

    You are going to drive a lot more clicks on your videos if you know the ins and outs of your target audience.

    Better yet, if you have the voice of customer data and you did proper research, you can simply phrase their issues as a question and use their own voice to write the title.

    Jonathan Aufray of Growth Hackers also highlights the importance of this and says that the key to engaging YouTube video titles is “putting yourself in your audience’s shoes.”

    “What kind of question are they asking themselves, and is your video answering that question? Once you find the question your audience is facing, put that problem in the form of a question and use that as your Youtube video title.”

    3. Conduct keyword research 

    Keyword research isn’t reserved only for writing blog posts, and the same approach works for Youtube as well.

    Even if your video title is persuasive, it still needs to be in line with what people are searching for in the first place.

    Once you’ve done the keyword research, Ted Liu of Just SEO suggests that the “best approach is to always put the exact keyword as close as you can at the beginning of your video title.’”

    “This way, viewers won’t have to look for it anymore. What they’re looking for is right there, very obvious. For me, the number one rule is not to bury the keyword.” 

    The one caveat of this approach is to make sure you are writing your titles for humans and not robots. 

    “It’s all about using your SEO in a way that is natural,” says Brian Turner of ConvertBinary.

    “When you find your target keywords, put them in the title in a way that sounds natural and without odd or forced syntax. Spammy SEO-riddled titles are a turnoff to users and may negatively impact your optimization. And remember to optimize your descriptions!”

    Editor’s Note: Want a simple way to visualize which videos are performing the best? Then, use this Youtube Channel Performance Dashboard to track subscriber rates, likes, comments, shares, and more video engagement metrics.

    Youtube Channel Performance Dashboard

    4. Use brackets in your title 

    Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a big difference. And this is especially true in video titles where every word matters.

    While it might seem insignificant, we had respondents talk about how these slight changes – like using brackets – brought some great results.

    For example, Scott Nelson of MoneyNerd says that “using brackets in the title boosts my click-through rate and I couldn’t believe the results when I first used it.

    It’s absolutely essential that my title ties in with my thumbnail for the click-through rate to be high. I tend to put a few key buzzwords from the title in the thumbnail.

    Weirdly, having odd numbers in the YouTube title makes my click-through rate skyrocket. Numbers, in general, yield a higher click-through rate, but odd numbers are more effective than even numbers.

    I like to address my audience in my title. I’ve seen this yield impressive click-through rates in the past. Using imperative commands or addressing people as ‘you’ works wonders.” 

    Here’s an example of how Alex Hormozi uses brackets to further build intrigue in his title.

    Brackets in title

    Related: 10 Tips for Improving Your YouTube Click-Through Rate (CTR)

    5. Create a sense of urgency 

    At the same time, sticking to tried and true copywriting techniques, such as adding a sense of urgency, is another great view booster.

    Urgency is one of the oldest marketing strategies and why it still works wonders today – but make sure you’re not creating it just for the sake of the video. If there’s one thing that will repel viewers, it’s fake urgency.

    Elizabeth Hicks of Ryan Houghton says that, based on his years of experience with digital marketing and YouTube, a title that delivers both clicks and engagement comes down to “urgency, topical keywords, and the wow factor.”

    “Urgency would be something such as, ‘You don’t want to miss XXX.’ Along with topic keywords, for example, a gaming video would be “Fortnite Update.” This, again, is a trending topic and something that people want to click on anyway.

    Finally, the WOW factor is one additional word that will attract attention. For example, words like amazing, incredible, fantastic, new, etc. All these will attract some additional attention.

    Once you have added the three factors together, you get a title such as. ‘You DO NOT want to miss this Incredible Fortnite Update!’” 

    Here’s one example from Semiconductor Investing and Moore.

    Title with a sense of urgency

    6. Resist the temptation to use clickbait headlines 

    If there’s one fool-proof way to fail on YouTube and never build a real bond with your viewers, it’s by using clickbait headlines.

    Sure, you may get a solid number of views the first few times, but it ends up damaging your reputation in the long run.

    Deepak Shukla of Pearl Lemon says that when viewers find out they’ve been misled, “they will immediately click off the video, resulting in decreased watch time statistics.

    The YouTube algorithm then detects you are releasing videos with the view to solely generate views, not provide a solution. If you have any clickbait titles, you should definitely consider changing it.” 

    And if you have a hard time defining what falls under clickbait, Puja Kotecha of Contrast explains that the title “needs to tread the fine line between factual and clickbait. You want to grab the audience’s interest but not miss-sell them on your content.

    A good way to increase clicks is by using lists, such as ‘10 easy ways to increase your YouTube engagement. The viewer then expects the content to be easy to understand and easy to consume with it being split into sections.” 

    Related: 25 Blog Title Examples That Get High Organic Search CTRs

    7. Provide a compelling hook 

    How compelling are your hooks?

    Or, as Clayton Makepeace, one of the best-ever copywriters, would say, “Does it pass the forehead slap test?”

    Compelling hooks are everything in video titles. They should make your audience wake up from the zombified scrolling state of mind and get them to stop and think about what they just read.

    Michael Rounds of PlayPlay also talks about this and adds that “an effective Youtube title grabs the audience’s attention, summarizes the content, and draws the click.

    Your title has to stand out from all the millions of other videos you compete against without falling into the ‘click-bait trap’.

    Here are some quick tips to get more views and engagement.

    • Keep it short: Long titles get cut off in search results. Make it snappy and readable.
    • Use action verbs: Action verbs trigger emotions, and emotions trigger clicks. Read, watch, act!
    • Ask a question: Address the audience directly with a question that tickles their curiosity.
    • Be explicit: Summarize what your video is about with descriptive keywords. And be honest! Don’t disappoint your audience and lose their trust.”

    Here’s how Copy Squad’s Kyle Milligan does it:

    Effective headline

    Related: From Boring to Captivating: Strategies for Improving Your Average View Duration on YouTube

    8. Keep your title under 60 characters 

    YouTube’s search algorithm typically displays only the first 60 characters of a video title in search results.

    By keeping your title concise, you ensure that the most important information and keywords are visible, increasing the chances of getting a click.

    What’s more, shorter titles are easier to read and comprehend at a glance. Viewers scanning through search results or browsing through recommended videos often make quick decisions based on the title.

    Alex Thompson of Festoon House adds that while it is good to include as much information as you can to better describe what the video is about, “the best titles are short and to the point”.

    “Google omits page titles longer than 60 characters, so anything else is cut off in search results. 

    I use tools like Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find one or two relevant keywords to include in my title. This helps my videos to rank higher in search results.

    As a headline in a blog post, I make sure that the title of my Youtube videos looks promising to the viewer because titles tell them how they will benefit by taking the time to view the content.” 

    9. Provide clear value 

    Does your video pass the “Who cares” test?

    A value-driven YouTube video title is essential for capturing viewers’ attention and driving engagement.

    It serves as the first impression, and it should clearly communicate the value and benefits your video offers.

    Jenna Carson of Music Grotto says that “YouTube users have small attention spans.”

    “For every search someone makes, there will be lots of videos available. So to ensure you grab someone’s attention, make sure your YouTube title offers value in just a few words – you need to answer why a user should click on your video and what the benefits will be.

    For example, if you are creating a video about a CMS, don’t call it ‘Here’s the top guide to managing CMS,’ show value with something along the lines of, ‘Transform your business and save time, become a CMS expert in 10 minutes.’”

    10. Use proven headline frameworks 

    There are some frameworks that have been working in the copywriting industry for over a century, and you can apply them to your YouTube title as well to see better results.

    However, you need to be able to differentiate the approaches and know which one will work with your specific content.

    Jack Gallagher of JGDigital has shared his framework advice for three popular content types.

    For educational content:

    If you’re looking to educate your audience, Jack says that it’s important you “start the title of your video with ‘How’, ‘Why’, or ‘What as this will help push your video to a whole heap of Google search related queries of people wanting to find out the answer to a particular question or topic.”

    When you want to tell a story:

    If you’re telling a story to the audience – whether it’s a personal experience or reporting on something that happened recently – Jack says that you should “build the title as a cliffhanger.”

    “This way, the audience gets a brief insight into what is being discussed but is prepared for the story to unravel and potentially something important/crazy to happen.

    Using keywords around the event, a controversial question that engages both sides of supporters, and even a time/location stamp can help increase clicks and quality of engagement. ”

    Here’s an example from the dating niche:

    Effective YouTube headline

    For video promotions:

    Want to promote other creators with your video?

    Jack suggests “making sure that the creators/influencers/artists’ names are in the video’s title as that is primarily the biggest indicator of what will be in the video.

    With YouTube being a very personal platform, you want to use people’s aliases/names in the title to draw attention straight away as those names may be recognizable and impactful.”

    Related: How to Make a YouTube Video Go Viral (with 8 Easy Tips)

    11. Stick to how-to titles for educational content 

    While it’s certainly beneficial to constantly test new hooks and angles with your titles, sometimes the good old strategies are good for a reason.

    For educational videos, how-to titles have been the most popular type for years now, and they’re not going away any time soon.

    Janice Wald of Mostly Blogging says how-to titles “immediately let people know you’re solving a problem for them.”

    “YouTube is a major search engine, and a huge portion of the audience uses it to see how to solve certain problems.

    For example, I titled a video, ‘How to Escape from Facebook Jail,’ and I received 200 more views than my next popular video. Important note: Make sure you keep the promise mentioned in your title.” 

    12. Create listicle-style titles 

    Buzzfeed originally made this style of headline famous, and it can still work well today.  

    Listicles are still “in,” and they give viewers a sense of structure. They know exactly what they will get the video and in which format.

    Viewers are naturally drawn to the idea of receiving a specific number of tips as it promises condensed content that they can quickly consume.

    There’s also the psychological appeal – listicle titles tap into the psychological principle of chunking, which suggests that the human brain finds it easier to process information when it is organized into smaller, distinct units.

    Here’s a classic example from BRIGHT SIDE.

    Listicle style title

    13. Make sure your video title and thumbnail work well together 

    The two most prominent aspects of your Youtube video are the title and the thumbnail. These two elements need to work together if you want to increase your number of views. 

    When the title and thumbnail align, they create a consistent and compelling message that does justice to your content.

    Sandra Craft of Think Impact adds that the combo is critical because these are “the first elements a viewer sees. If the title is decent, but the thumbnail isn’t, you minimize the chances of them clicking.”

    The best approach for writing a YouTube title is to check what kind of titles popular YouTubers use. Youtubers with over 1 million subscribers usually know which titles convert the best. They’ve already tested all variations and found the winning formula.” 

    School of Life is a channel that does this extremely well.

    Video title and thumbnail

    PRO TIP: Using reporting software can help track the performance of your YouTube video’s title and thumbnail, allowing you to make data-driven decisions about what works best for your audience.

    14. Study your competitors’ videos  

    Creating videos in a silo is silly.

    There is a good chance that someone has created a video similar to the one you are about to create. So, why not learn from it? 

    Rohan Kadam of Vital Feedz is one of our respondents that do this, and he shares his approach: 

    “While creating a YouTube title for my video, I start out by browsing YouTube and checking out what titles my competitors have used for videos that are similar to the one that I am about to publish. 

    Once I find the relevant video titles on YouTube, I narrow them down to the top 5 videos and mainly look at how many video views they have and also what’s the lifetime of the video (When was the video published). 

    Once I do this, I just choose the best video title from the narrowed list and I create a slight variation of the title. 

    For example, if I want to rank on YouTube for the keyword How to Cook Ribs in a Crock-Pot, I would generally frame my title in two ways:

    ‘How To Cook Ribs in a Crock-Pot (Easy Way To Do IT)’ or ‘How To Cook Ribs in a Crock-Pot (Top 3 Ways).’” 

    15. Talk to Your Audience Using Their Language

    Pretty much every viewer cohort in the world has its own slang and specific phrases that they use regularly.

    Words that you might need to explain to an “outsider,” but viewers who share the same interest will immediately recognize it and consider you as one of their own.

    For example, if you’re posting content in the cryptocurrency space, words like mooning, bagholder, FUD, and HODL would instantly position you as someone who’s knowledgeable on the topic and is in the “inner circle”.

    So why not use that to your advantage when writing video titles?

    Engage a conversation with relatable words and phrases, and make them feel like they’re about to listen to one of their own.


    Stay On Top of Your YouTube Performance with Databox

    Coming up with compelling video titles that will persuade viewers to click and engage with your content is a crucial part of a good YouTube strategy.

    But it’s just one of the necessary components.

    To truly stand out on YouTube and build a loyal following, you need to keep an eye on several more key metrics alongside video views.

    However, YouTube’s interface doesn’t really make tracking key metrics easy for the users.

    Finding your way around the different reports can take up hours off your schedule, and you’ll probably need to create separate spreadsheets to compile all of your most important data for analysis.  

    Why do that when you can simplify the entire process with Databox?

    Databox makes sure you can have professional and understandable dashboards at your fingertips in a matter of minutes.

    All it takes is three steps:

    • Pick one of our 100+ integrations and connect your data source
    • Choose which metrics you want to track and drag and drop them to the screen
    • Watch as your metrics transform into stunning visuals with just a few mouse clicks

    We have 400+ templates you can choose from if you want to instantly get the dashboard up-and-running and just customize it with your own data.

    But you can also build it from scratch in case that’s what you need, and you don’t need any coding or design knowledge.

    Once the dashboard is ready, you’ll be able to get real-time insights into everything that’s going on with your YouTube performance in one place.

    And not only will your reporting process be cut down to just a few minutes, but you’ll also get a more understandable view of your performance (which shareholders and executives will appreciate).

    One more thing…

    You also get access to our Benchmark Groups product, where you can look up data on how your competitors are doing in terms of YouTube metrics (or any other platform you’re interested).

    Sign up for a free trial and put your YouTube performance tracking on autopilot.

    Article by
    Filip Stojanovic

    Filip Stojanovic is a content writer who studies Business and Political Sciences. Also, I am a huge tennis enthusiast. Although my dream is to win a Grand Slam, working as a content writer is also interesting.

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