So you’ve managed to get 60,000 YouTube views on that video you posted last week…

So many views!

I know, pretty exciting hey? Now, if you’re like most marketers, you think, “YES! My video marketing is kick ass!” and then you start practicing Markie award thank-you speeches in your bathroom mirror.

But I want to ask you a question that has probably already crossed your mind. That tiny voice in the back of your head has surely whispered it, or your CMO has hinted, but I’m flat out just going to ask: So what?

Where did these mysterious views come from? Who is watching your videos? And, as every marketer should question, are these viewers part of your target audience contributing to ROI, or are they just randoms who landed on your content after watching 20 videos of a chihuahua doing yoga?

YouTube Matters

This post isn’t a bash on YouTube – far from it. YouTube is a critical part of your video marketing strategy as it’s the second largest search engine next to Google. Based on a study by Pardot, 72% of product research for a future business purchase begins on Google, so you definitely want to use YouTube to improve your visual search rank, but too many marketers rely on YouTube as their only tool.
Do you want to compete with suggested content?
YouTube is great for search, but it also has lots of potential distractions and you don’t want to lose new prospects to YouTube’s suggested content (especially if they’ve made it all the way to the end of your catchy video and you haven’t paid for pricey publisher privileges).

So let’s take a look at how to make better use of YouTube and your marketing budget by driving engaged viewers back to your website. You want to point people back to your site where they can consume more of your content and encounter clear options to convert. When you supplement YouTube with a video marketing platform, you’ll also be able to find out exactly who your viewers are.

Practical Ways to Drive Viewers to your Website

A lot of brands are starting to use YouTube annotations to point viewers to their own website. Basically, when someone’s watching your video, you can use an annotation like “learn more here” and link your audience back to your home base. Just look what Lowes did at the end of their Christmas lights video:

As you can see, Lowes uses the annotations as a CTA to direct viewers back to the exact products featured in the video.

Annotations are free, easy to use, and they perform better than banner ads. As an example, a traditional banner ad gets a CTR of 0.1%., but with annotations on their YouTube videos, Salesforce achieved an average CTR of over 1%.

The Pros & Cons

Directing people to your site using annotations is both good and bad. Some folks have annotations turned off completely and, technically, if someone watches only 20 seconds of your content and then heads to your site, this can hurt your (non-paid) YouTube search rank based on broken session time.

This is why you’ll want to use your channel branding to point to your website, or do as Lowes does and save the site suggestion until the very end of your video. The links to your site don’t necessarily have to be clickable, they just need to point to where viewers can find more content they can subscribe to if interested.

It’s About Your Intention

Looking to convert viewers?As digital marketing guru Guy Gal shared in a webinar we hosted in October, your objectives will define your actions in terms of whether you use annotations to direct viewers to your site.
If you want branding & awareness: Earned distribution is your priority (Keep ’em on YouTube, just make sure your videos contain great calls to action to drive viewers to more of your content).
If you’re selling something specific to a niche market: Go the conversion route and get people to click over to your site as there’s an opportunity cost when you think about the real dollars behind that intention.

How to Use YouTube in a Strategic Combo!

Previously I said that YouTube is great, it just can’t be the basis for your entire video marketing strategy, especially if you’re B2B. The ultimate combo is where you have a YouTube presence driving viewers to your site, and then have a video marketing platform in place so you can attach identity to viewership once viewers are on your website watching more mid-funnel content. This will help you find out who is watching your videos so you can market to them effectively.

Clever video marketing combo

To help you get the most out of their investment in video, Vidyard began working on a technical integration with YouTube during our original seed funding days, which included Jawed Karim, co-founder of YouTube. Our resulting integration can best be described in the following ways ways:

You can manage your YouTube channel from within the Vidyard platform: Once connected with our service, YouTube channels can be managed from within Vidyard. This includes the synchronization of tags, descriptions, titles, thumbnails, playlists, and security settings. You’ll be able to manage everything from one place with the added insight of video analytics.

We let you brand curated video content from YouTube: With Vidyard you can add a customized, branded skin to any publicly available YouTube video. While the YouTube watermark does remain the video player as per YouTube’s terms of service, the benefit of this functionality is two fold: All marketing functionality of the Vidyard player applies, which includes all of the analytics, interactive elements, lead generation, and social sharing customizations, and you can curate videos from YouTube to put in your very own branded players embedded on your website.

Faster than a speeding annotation!: Annotations are good, but as mentioned, users can turn them off even if you’re clever with their use. With Vidyard you can use an end of video, or a pop-out call to action at any point in your video to prompt viewers to perform actions. You can add optional email gates to the start of your videos to generate lead contact information, and you can see exactly which contacts followed through with your CTA with our analytics.

Pop-out CTAs like the one below are perfect for driving viewers to more of your content, or you can create custom contact forms to include at the end of a video so that leads can raise their hand and give you permission to market to them.
Use an in-video call to action viewers can't ignore

Now for the really good part! Vidyard pulls all analytics data via YouTube’s API to reveal who’s watching your videos, which content they’re particularly interested in, and how long the video held their attention. With this individual video viewing history per lead stored in our Analytics Center, you’ll be able to have highly targeted sales conversations with more qualified leads because you’ll have a visual data-gauge to determine how far along they are in the sales cycle.

Overall, YouTube is certainly a key part of your video marketing strategy, but you need a video marketing platform as a supplement to track whether leads are actually converting. By redirecting viewers to your own website and meeting them there with more videos (and a video marketing platform), you’ll be able to use real-time engagement data to determine how best to approach your leads at exactly the right time.

Jennifer Pepper