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YOUTUBE CHANNEL GROWTH HACKS Graphic © WealthPowerBoost. Laptop image – Pixabay (PD)
Make a note of these and share with your social media team: Some of these are gem tactics that few people know about, that can really help snowball your channel!
Key Insight: Youtube’s goal is to keep people on Youtube – predominantly so that they can display more ads and make more money. Essentially, as soon as viewers leave the platform, Youtube stops making money.
The primary way they keep viewers watching is to show them the best content they can, so that they are entertained, educated and have a great user experience. Youtube is very much a “meritocracy” where quality floats to the surface – and it seems that this trend is being amplified recently – perhaps via artificial intelligence? I’ve noticed that I am discovering incredible content more frequently than ever before. Youtube’s algorithm is expert at figuring out what people want and delivering more of it.
Youtube’s algorithm looks predominantly at these main things:
A) Clickthrough rate (on your video thumbnail, which appears in search results, sidebar recommendations, on your channel homepage, etc)
B) Watch time. Did people watch most/all of your video or did they get bored within a few seconds and click away?
C) Session time. Did people “binge watch” lots of your videos, or just one?
They seem also to be looking at comments-to-views and likes-to-views ratios. In other words, the more (genuine) reactions you get, the more the video is recognized as quality content.
With these things in mind, here are the 25 hacks.
1) First and foremost – the obvious one: Make amazing content. The quality of your content is the #1 growth hack by a considerable margin. Youtube content creators are reporting across the board that going all-out on video quality is having a profound effect on their growth.
Keep it interesting, cut out anything that “drags” and do what it takes to keep people glued to it until the end. i.e. “Overdeliver on the promise”.
2) Make The Thumbnail Image Before You Make The Video! When making a YT video, of course the content has to be good but one of the KEY factors in the video’s success is whether your thumbnail (and headline) jumps out of the “sea of thumbnails” and gets clicks. The thumbnail is more important than most people realize.
Look at highly popular channels, go to their “videos” tab and sort by “Popular”. Look at the thumbnails of their top performing videos and compare them to the weaker vids. You will clearly see what works in terms of thumbnails and very often you can see the channel take off as the “thumbnail game” is dialed in! In general:
a) primary colours, high contrast
b) big words, ideally with very few words or even one word only in the thumbnail for instant comprehension.
c) faces showing ‘shock reaction’
d) emotional hook
e) curiosity (“I HAVE to see this”)
f) confusion / “brain jammer”
g) big red arrows pointing at things
Try starting your creative session by going through your video ideas and seeing which one you can make the best thumbnail for. Then use that as a video.
3) Red arrows and red circles in the thumbnail. What can I say, I’ve made bank from red arrows and circles. Truly one of the greatest engagement hacks for an image. Works well when it’s not immediately obvious why the arrow is pointing at a particular thing; which in conjunction with a strong headline, gets the click.
4) Repurpose your top blog posts. Try this hack: If you already have image-based social media and a blog, dig into your top performing images and see if you can make a video literally built around that image and post; half your work is already done!
SESSION TIME HACKS
5) Use “Playlist-Style Links”. First, create a playlist of all your videos, with the winning video in terms of watch time % at the #1 spot on the list. Then when you drop a link to your video, use the “long link” with the playlist code included (“&list=”) – so that when someone views, they are automatically pulled into your playlist, which will inevitably lead to bigger session times.
6) Pinned comment on all of your YT videos links to your other videos – again, use playlist-style links, together with the headline and arrow or similar to catch extra attention.
7) Use the “about box” / information box on your YT videos to promote your other videos. Include a video link on the first line so that it is “always visible”
8) Clickable card at the end of the video recommending other videos, together with a call to action at the end of the video telling people what to watch next. Works best with a sequential series of videos.
There are numerous places on YT where you can get free visibility. Max all of these out:
8) Be well branded and drop excellent YT comments in places where your audience hangs out. Actually watch the video, contribute value to the discussion and don’t be antisocial / spammy! Inspirational quotes work well – so long as they are pertinent to the topic of the video!
9) Playlist empire. Youtube playlists can come up in search results and sometimes people will filter for them if they are looking to watch more than one video. You want to be in those results. Use search autocomplete to see what people in your niche are already searching for, then create several playlists with “exact match” titles and populate them with all the top videos (by others) in your niche. Some of that traffic will click through to your channel. If you have a relevant video (or more than one), even better; pop that into the playlist at the top of the list! You can create a ton of playlists and this is a super easy way to get ranked for your keywords really fast! Use slightly longer-tail keywords to get top rankings more easily and get discovered by new viewers.
10) Shorts. Potentially huge visibility hack. Never underestimate the power of shorts; and bear in mind that Youtube allows you to monetize them since 2023! You need 10 million Shorts views in the last 90 days to be eligible. Try making shorts from your existing videos by finding the most-replayed part (or another part that has the strongest impact) and making a new “excerpt short” with a super strong headline and image. Shorts can pull massive traffic into your channel if done right.
EXTERNAL VISIBILITY HACKS:
12) Use “playlist links” (see #5) everywhere else in your empire, not just on Youtube.
– Similarly, if you are linking to your channel directly; adding ?sub_confirmation=1 to the end of your channel URL (not your video URLs!) pops up Youtube’s channel subscription box – which should lead to more subscribes! This is a neat growth hack.
13) Pinned post on your Facebook page promotes your channel. Include the playlist-style link. Note don’t use “images with play buttons in them” on Facebook to encourage clicks as it is categorized as “false functionality” and can result in a page ban! You can do it on your own blog though.
14) Instagram bio includes the playlist-style link (use a URL shortener) + call to action.
15) Email your list announcing new videos and include the playlist-style link.
16) Link to your videos in Facebook post comments (i.e. “author comment” on your posts on your own page, not spam!) NOTE: Posting direct Youtube links typically doesn’t get much viral traction… I’m guessing FB downgrades links to other social platforms but don’t tell them I said that. 😉 For better results, create a viral post (or run one of your best existing ones) and put your video link in the comments rather than the post.
17) Put your YT link in your bio of other social media i.e. TikTok.
18) Make simple infographics from your videos and/or blog posts and post them on Pinterest linking to your video “for the full tutorial”. Works well with “Top 10” style content.
DRIVE TRAFFIC FROM YOUR BLOG:
19) Embed your video in your blog, then take a screenshot of the result and place that image instead, with the playlist link (see #5) embedded in it. Clicks on that video will take people through to your channel, leading to more views.
20) (aggressive) – use a WordPress popup plugin such as Popup Maker and set up the main popup area as one image / screenshot with your video playlist link embedded in it. Use the target=”_blank” attribute (look this up if you don’t know how to use it) in your link so that it pops the Youtube channel open in a new tab and leaves the existing tab open, which will lead to higher metrics.
If you use a popup, don’t overlay the “close button” on the popup because that will piss people off 😉 but overlay the screenshot and the words so that anywhere they click except the close button takes them into your YT playlist. Set the popup to only appear once a week once people have closed it, if it continuously appears people will get annoyed! I’m picking up hundreds of new subscribers and tens of thousands of views using this method.
21) Use your sidebar. You can have a sidebar section “Our most popular videos” with the top 10 links in there. You can also screenshot your playlist from the Youtube sidebar and drop that in the blog sidebar: with a click taking the visitor through to the real playlist.
22) Make your own “Taboola-style” video block. You can also create a “block” under your posts with banners to your top videos. Again, give it a good headline “Our Most Popular Videos” or similar.
PAID TRAFFIC (WITHIN ToS)
23) Youtube Ads (expensive!)
24) Facebook ads / boosted posts / sponsored posts to a blog post with the YT video embedded, but (as with #19) the embed code section has a div overlay or uses a screenshot so that it pops the video open in YT when clicked.
25) Any other ads that can send mass traffic to your blog post with the YT video strongly presented as the main feature.
Note – driving traffic to YT from outside has pros and cons. The best audience to promote a YT audience to are people who use YT a lot, so pushing “outsiders” from other sites onto Youtube means less of them will be habitual users, which can harm your future metrics when less people see your new video drop. But then again, the ones who choose to sub will probably be habitual YT users and a large % of the world uses it anyway.