YouTube – The Complete Marketers Guide To The World’s Biggest Video Sharing Website

You don’t need to be an expert to see that YouTube has become something more than mainstream. With over three billion hours of video watched on YouTube each month, it’s the fourth largest site on the Web, and it’s obvious to say that the site has surpassed the internet and has become a part of our social conscious.

Brands have latched onto this and to show just how far priorities have shifted since then, more are launching advertising campaigns online first to gauge reaction before they hit TV screens. You only need to look at events like the Superbowl or the Old Spice “The Man Your Man Can Smell Like” campaigns and look at the number of ads debuting on YouTube first to properly understand this.

The viral nature of YouTube means that while it’s incredibly difficult to create a hit without some things working in your favour. Back in November 2011 at a TED talk, YouTube’s trends manager Kevin Allocca presented the three things that make any video go viral: tastemakers, participation and unexpectedness. Of course, achieving is by far easier said than done, and while you’re not going to come up with the next Nyan Cat, there’s a lot you can do to make the medium work to your advantage.

Tips & Tricks


Found underneath each video, the share button is a lot more powerful than you’d expect. Alongside the option to share on the major social media sites, you can also get the embed code (if you want to play the video on an external site) & shortened link for your video. The handy part about the latter is that not only can you choose to link to the HD version, but you can choose exactly what time you want the video to start. Handy if you want to highlight a particular part of a video.


If your video suffers from shaky camerawork, then this tool is a godsend. Found in enhancements, this feature smooths your videos out and allows for a less jittery experience. Have a look at the before and after videos presented below to gain an idea.

Creative Commons

If you want to place a soundtrack in your video and you’re unsure whether you will be breaking copyright, YouTube gives you access to over 150,000 pre-approved tracks to select from. Simply choose a track and it will play over your video. Be warned though, as the music will play over any previous audio such as voiceovers. 

Create Video Apps

YouTube video maker isn’t the only tool that you can use to create a video. The ‘Create’ section on YouTube allows you to make videos without having to record, upload files or do any editing.


Although YouTube provides automatic transactions, they’re not the most reliable (Exhibit A: the accompanying screenshot). Simply go into editor and upload your transcription. Also, you can adjust the font, font colour and background colour through clicking ‘settings’ on a video’s caption settings.

Tags and Search

It’s a basic tip, but if you want your video to be found, you need to get specific with tags. It’s fine if you want to include general tags like ‘business’ or ‘technology,’ but make sure you have an even greater number of specific tags to help people find your video, otherwise they’ll get buried in the search results.


Handy if you want to provide additional context to what’s happening on screen or link to a page, you can insert speech bubbles, notes, titles, spotlights and labels. You can also make sure the pause the video at a specific point if you want to place emphasis on a particular section or provide a call-to-action.

YouTube Speed Test

If your videos are streaming slowly and you feel that it’s down to your ISP provider, you can visit YouTube’s speed test and compare your city to other cities and countries across the world.


If you want your video to have a different feel, then there are a number of filters that you can apply. If you get tired of applying filters or don’t find one that suits, you can still revert back to its original look.

Video Analytics

Although you can get a quick recap of stats underneath each video, you can get even more detailed stats for each video in the video manager page. Simply click on stats on the right-hand side of a video and you will be presented with a wide range of info including performance, engagement, demographics and discovery.

Creators’ Corner

A fantastic resource for those who just don’t know where to get started or wanting to really improve their output, YouTube provides users with tips on production, editing, promoting and additional tools and resources to help you produce the best videos possible.


If you’re creating video content, it helps to know what tools are at your disposal when you sign up. As mentioned earlier, there’s a substantial amount of traffic coming into the site every day and because of that, there are a number of ways to help promote your channel. Here are some of the main ones.

Promoted Videos

The first is promoted videos which can usually be found on the top right-hand corner when you’re viewing a video. Designed to take advantage of a viewer’s habit to click on the next video they see, Promoted videos are normally triggered by specific keywords which relate to the video being viewed, and if you’re familiar with how Google AdWords works, you will find the same applies here. Your video’s performance can be tracked in YouTube Insights, an analytics tool that is available for all videos.


There are also featured videos, which follow the same format and appear in the search screens, but these are reserved for those brands who have a commercial relationship with YouTube.

Brand Channels

Similar to how Facebook pages work, YouTube Brand Channels brands can drive traffic by engaging viewers and gaining subscribers. The page allows you to customise elements like the background image, the channel banners and the branding box to give your page a unique look. When you load up a brand page, you’re greeted by a main video while also presenting you with featured playlists for you to browse through.

InVideo ads and In-Stream Ads

InVideo ads are transparent overlay ads that appear on the lower portion of your video. Usually they appear shortly after the video has started and can be closed if the viewer wants to. If the viewer does nothing, they will minimise automatically.

In-Stream ads are streamed before a video starts or midway through it. Usually, viewers are given the chance to skip the ad five seconds after they start playing. If a viewer watches 30 second of the ad or watches it to the end, the advertiser is then charged.

YouTube’s Main Brands

PlayStation is the most popular brand on YouTube, and it truly dwarfs the competition, with a mammoth 124,246,048 total channel views – that’s over 77 million ahead of its nearest competitor, Coca-Cola. However, the Sony console fails to break the top ten when it comes total uploaded video views; Angry Birds creator Rovio comes out tops in that category, nearly 300 million views ahead of energy drink Red Bull.

The upper echelons of both lists are littered with familiar names, such as Red Bull, Nike, Nokia, Google and Electronic Arts. The large technology companies listed above are reliant on previews and advertisements of their new products for their millions of views, while Red Bull pulls in views with their uploads that pertain to extreme sports. One name that is surprisingly high on both lists is Old Spice, and it’s fairly obvious as to why.

Channel Views                                                                            

1) Playstation         124,246,048                                      
2) Coca-Cola              46,761,145
3) Old Spice              34,379,893
4) Walmart               18,685,497
5) AXE (Lynx)           16,112,917
6) Nike                       13,049,506
7) Nokia                     11,412,083
8) Cartier                  10,989,836
9) Apple                     10,821,178
10) Google Chrome 10,325,227

Uploaded Video Views
1) Rovio                               621,925,202
2) Red Bull                         310,377,983
3) Old Spice                       293,716,206
4) Electronic Arts (EA)    210,294,952
5) Disney Pixar                  180,140,977
6) Google Chrome             145,487,708
7) Nike                                141,017,905
8) Evian                              128,512,656
9) EA (Germany)              118,986,672
10) Sony Music India          115,592,592
[Stats via Socialbakers]

YouTube Music

Good music can make or break a video and there are several options when it comes to uploading a video to YouTube. The first is uploading the video without any music and once uploaded you can go to YouTube Editor where you have the choice of thousands of songs that YouTube have the license to and which you can use on your video.

The second option you have is that you can upload whatever song that you want (providing YouTube has a deal in place with the label) and let YouTube serve ads against the video. The revenue from these ads will go to the record label and although you can have a quality song on your video, the ads are plastered all over the video which takes away from the overall quality of the video.

Mobile Apps

Most phones will have a YouTube app either built in or one that you can download from the app store. The apps provide an excellent experience for viewing content, but are not really built for uploading and sharing content that you’ve produced yourself.

Uploading A Video From Mobile

Go to the video in your Camera Roll and select the video you want to publish. Click on “Send to YouTube.”


Fill out the details including description, title and tags. Also, you can choose if you want the video to appear publicly, private or unlisted.

All videos from mobile will be uploaded in standard definition because they are going over the 3G network and this is the default setting. If you want to take advantage of the fantastic new cameras on your smartphones, you will have to connect to a Wi-Fi connection to upload in full HD.

YouTube Mobile Site

With a huge increase in smartphones, consumers are using YouTube on the go more than ever. Most phones will have an app that you can download, but you can also access the mobile version of the site which offers more functionality than the apps often do. You can engage through comments and watch full HD videos among other things.

The mobile site also allows you to record videos with one tap of a button and those videos are uploaded in full HD phone (if your phone is good enough). This table shows which phones support the mobile experience:

YouTube Remote

YouTube Remote seems like an obvious development for YouTube in this, its seventh year of existence, but it is a symbolic one, also, as more people eschew conventional television and get more of their fix online. By going to YouTube Leanback and downloading YouTube Remote app, you can now remotely control YouTube on your laptop, desktop or internet-enabled television using your smartphone or other mobile device.

Upon accessing the app, you will be presented with two tabs: Search and Recommended, much like you would be upon accessing your account on a desktop, and it’s just as simple to use. From there, a playlist of your selected videos will be created at the top of your remote’s screen to be played on a screen of your choice. The videos will appear in fullscreen on your chosen screen and can be controlled by keyboard/mouse, but that would defeat the point.

The app and the screen are well-synced, ensuring ease of use; it’s very simple to pause, skip, fast-forward and rewind. It’s smart, too. Upon selecting a video, a list of related videos will show up as well as ‘Topics in this video’, which link to Wikipedia, and IMDb profiles of famous parties involved or additional, enlightening web content that you might find engaging. However, if you leave your remote inactive for too long, it will disconnect and will likely re-start your playlist once reconnected, which is frustrating. YouTube have also taken this opportunity to make intermittent adverts seemingly unskippable in spite of the option to does so left teasingly in the lower right hand corner.

Apart from these minor faults, it works much like YouTube normally would, except with additional motion allowed to you, the user. You can like and dislike, share and flag videos as usual, but now you can roam about as you do so, which is always nice. It might be somewhat redundant or convoluted if you’re working at your desktop or laptop, but is sure to be a nice addition for those relaxing at home or hosting any kind of guests.

The YouTube remote can be downloaded for any Android device on Google Play.

Beyond Video

As YouTube tries to keep up with an evolving web and dealing with ‘upstarts’ such as Facebook, they are beginning to adapt the platform to take advantage of new content. We’re seeing more cases of Youtube partnering up with major media brands, artists and sporting events to become the home of live content online.

Its success was on full show when they partnered with the Indian Premier League to broadcast live cricket matches. This was their first major sporting announcement at the time, in 2010 and a healthy 39 million video views to date, this is clearly the right direction for them to take.

Since this announcement, YouTube has explored a number of partnerships such as the Coachella Festival, where they livecast a number of concerts. This also saw them experiment with multi-channel live streams, where users could switch between three channels to view a performance at any one time. Add in the likes of U2 and Barack Obama, who have both featured in live stream projects with YouTube, and it is clear the direction it’s beginning to take.

Rather than simply act as a destination for mass-uploaded content, it’s turning into a major content provider, which it needs to if they want to survive. Facebook is increasingly becoming a default platform for user generated video content as it simply makes more sense for users to go for a one click upload via the Facebook mobile app where they are already connected.

But Facebook doesn’t get video like YouTube does, and it certainly doesn’t get live-streaming like YouTube does, or has the power to. The platform is vast and it may well be turning into a media company of the future, where content is owned by the people, but facilitated and importantly monetised by them. Quite where YouTube’s owned content sits within here remains to be seen, but it’s starting to look aggressive in their tactics.

It has hovered up the top talent on YouTube before by bringing them in-house and giving them production facilities where they can make even better videos. This makes the site even more money and I would expect to see it move into this area more and more. Social media is clearly about the content and YouTube, it seems, now want to own this content like never before.

Stats and figures provided by Infographics from YouTube.

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