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Happy 15th birthday, Youtube!

14. February 2020

Congratulations are in order for YouTube. Three former PayPal employees registered the youtube.com web address exactly 15 years ago, on Valentine’s Day, in 2005. That is indeed a long time, but somehow we feel like it’s been in our lives forever. 

Me at the zoo is the first video ever to appear on YouTube, and it was uploaded by one of the site’s co-founders Jawed Karim, on the “jawed” YouTube channel. This nineteen-second video was shot at the San Diego Zoo and it features Karim in front of a few elephants.

YouTube has come a long way from back then. Google bought YouTube in 2006 and it now operates as one of its subsidiaries. It is now the largest and most popular video platform on the Internet, and the second biggest search engine in the world (after Google Search). Over 500 hours of content are uploaded to the platform every minute. Let that sink in.

Moreover, the usage statistics are absolutely mindblowing. There are 2 billion monthly active YouTube users. 73% of US adults use YouTube. One billion hours of content are viewed per day. 


The YouTube Experience

The way we use YouTube is perpetually changing as well. If back in 2007 we only used it to watch funny clips and maybe upload our holiday footage, it has now become one of the most important players in the Entertainment Industry. Many people consider YouTube videos a means to unwind after a hard day, just like one would watch TV… back in the day. 

YouTube and selected creators earn advertising revenue from Google Adsense, which targets ads according to site content and audience. YouTubers such as Pewdiepie make fortunes through posting original video content.

Almost all of the videos on the YouTube platform are free to watch, but exceptions are starting to appear. These exceptions include subscription-based premium channels, as well as YouTube Premium and YouTube Music.

Why should you use Youtube to boost your business?

In the meantime, YouTube is probably also where your audience can be found. People of different ages, from all over the globe, love watching videos online.

Before doing anything else, make sure you have a YouTube Strategy. Just like in the case of any other platform, you should set up your exact goals. So what are you trying to achieve with your YouTube Channel? Brand awareness, conversions, traffic to your website?

In any case, we advise you to start your business’ YouTube Channel with videos showcasing your core values so that people know exactly who you are. Then you can create "how to" videos on your product or service. After you earn a loyal audience, you should move on to showing them case studies and video testimonials, so they have a reason to stay with you.

Don’t forget about SEO!

You should know how to advertise your YouTube channel and help your audience find your videos easily, in the search results, through a simple Google search. Pick the channel keywords that represent your business and content the best. Make sure you choose the right titles and descriptions for each video that you upload. Also, do not forget about the custom thumbnail, as it is the first thing your target audience sees. Make it interesting.

Watch time is a very important part of your SEO. YouTube will promote those videos that people watch for a longer time, rather than those which are opened and then immediately closed. 

It is also crucial that you engage with the community. In that regard, leaving unanswered questions in the comments is a big nono. The more comments you get, the better.

Another good idea would be to organize all your YouTube content into playlists, as they appeal to viewers’ desire to binge-watch. You can also use calls to action to increase sales, drive traffic or maybe just engage people on the actual channel.

What about YouTube Ads?

So if you want people on YouTube to know about your product/service, there is also the paid advertising way: video ads. But you have to learn some things about this platform if you don’t want to lose money. Just as with any other platform, it is important that you know your audience and target your ads accordingly.

Before you start your video campaigns, you should take into consideration YouTube’s Ad Formats, and choose the one that is right for you:

Display Ads - images that appear to the right of the video the user is watching, above the video suggestions list, on desktop only.

Overlay Ads - semi-transparent text/image ads that appear on the lower 20% of the video, on desktop only

Skippable Video Ads - the most common type, viewable before or during a video, skippable after 5 seconds

Non-skippable Video Ads - 15-20 seconds non-skippable videos the users must watch before they can view the main video.

Bumper Ads - up to 6 seconds non-skippable videos the users must watch before they can view the main video

Sponsored Cards - content relevant to the main video - such as the products featured in the video.

The skippable ads are also known as TrueView in-stream ads. You don’t force people to watch them in their entirety. But if they are interesting enough to captivate users in the first seconds, you might be surprised about how many of them will choose to stay.

YouTube also has an Ad building tool that may help you create your own video ads.  After a bit of practice, you should manage to create successful video campaigns, and even promote your YouTube channel through them. In this case, you will then gather organic interest from your own subscribers. 

Happy Birthday YouTube, and thank you for the free content. May we all grow bigger together!

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