YouTube Video Optimization Tips Your Competition Doesn't Want You To Know About

If you want to improve your YouTube video optimizaition, this post will show you some hidden techniques for getting better search visibility and video views.

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As we were reading through Google's guide for Google Play app marketing success, we were particularly interested in what they recommended when it came to marketing an app. One of their top tips was to use YouTube.

This is no surprise, since they own YouTube. But that aside, this is still good advice for both large and small app publishers. In this post, you will learn why it is a great idea to start producing YouTube videos to promote your app. Then we will give you some tips for getting the most out of your videos.

The Benefits Of A Great YouTube Channel

YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. If your videos rank well for popular keywords, you can get a ton of free publicity and traffic. Your videos will not only show up in YouTube search, but they can rank well in web searches as well.

There may also be some connection between Google Play keyword rankings and related YouTube videos. We don't have any proof of this at the moment. But it stands to reason that since Google owns YouTube, it may be a factor.

Videos also have the potential to create an emotional connection with people, much more so than any other marketing medium. They can get people excited about your app and it gives them something to share with their friends.

So if you are not using videos in your app marketing, you could be missing out on a lot of organic traffic. But if you don't have a channel yet, let's take a moment to address why. If you already have a channel, you can skip down to the tips.

Just Get Started

You don't know how many people I have spoken to who have been talking for months about starting a YouTube channel. It only takes a couple of minutes to set up and most high-end phones are capable of taking good quality videos.

There is really no excuse.

At the same time, I get it. The barrier to entry isn't technical ability, it's a mental roadblock that most people have about video.

Ask someone to write a blog post, create a Slideshare presentation or send out a Tweet and they usually don't blink twice. But ask them to sit in front of a camera or even just record their voice and they freak out.

If you are apprehensive about making your first video, don't worry, you are not alone. But keep one thing in mind. For every person or company that has a YouTube channel, there are thousands of people who are too scared to get started.

So don't be one of those people who are stuck on the sidelines. Just get started with what you have. You can improve your skills and equipment as you go.

An okay video with 300 views is always better than no video at all.

Now let's get into some tips on how to optimize your videos.

Provide Great Content

The first step to creating great content is to make sure that you have good quality video. It doesn't have to be IMAX quality, but it can't look like it's from the 1950's either.

720 HD video is a good balance between small file size and high quality video. If you produce your videos in anything above 720 HD, the video will look great, but it can take forever to upload. So find out what works best for you, but this is good place to start.

Next, figure out how you can stand out from the crowd. You may not be presenting the most groundbreaking information in your videos, but many times the way that you present it makes all the difference.

Finally, make sure that you are creating content that potential users would be interested in. Try to get into the minds of your users and figure out what they would find educational or entertaining.

One mistake that we see some app publishers make is to talk too much about the development process of their app. Sure, many times they are well written and very educational...but only to other app developers. If you are targeting other developers or investors, then you can create a separate YouTube channel for those videos. Keep your primary channel focused on getting downloads.

Use A Watermark

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If your brand name or logo isn't prominently displayed throughout your video, you should use a watermark. There are two reasons for doing this.

First, you want to provide a URL where people can go to find out more about your app. If someone is interested in downloading your app, you want them to be able to get more information at any point in the video.

Second, people may embed your video on their site. That is great because it gives you more exposure. But if viewers think that the website owner created the video, then you could lose out on potential downloads.

So make sure that you insert a subtle watermark that doesn't take away from your video. Many video editing programs have this capability.

Tell Them What They Are Getting

When you were in school, did you ever accidentally walk into the wrong class on your first day? If that has ever happened, you know how helpful it is when the teacher announces the name of the class in the beginning and gives you the opportunity to leave, if you are in the wrong class.

In a similar manner, you want to make sure that people understand what they are getting into when they watch one of your videos. Give them an out if it is not the information they were looking for. But if it is something that they want to watch, knowing what they will get in the beginning will make the much more likely to stick around to the end.

Get To The Point

Watching a bad YouTube video is painful. The second most painful thing is watching a video that you know will have great information, but doesn't get to the point right away.

You don't have to rush through you videos, but try to eliminate unrelated cat stories or long pauses. Again, try to put yourself into the shoes of one of your potential users. Would they want to watch your video?

Include Calls To Action

It is easy to forget why you are doing these videos. Once you get into how your app works and what it can do, you can get so carried away that you forget to tell people how to get more information or download your app.

In addition to using a watermark, create screens in your video that show people how to get the app and mention it at least a couple of times. If you don't include a call to action in your videos, you are wasting your time.

Keyword Research Tips

Now we get into keyword research. YouTube used to have its own keyword research tool, but now that has all been integrated into Adwords. To search for for video keywords, filter for videos.

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Just like with ASO keyword research, look for long-tail terms that your videos can rank for. Also keep a spreadsheet of your keyword ideas. If the videos that are ranking for a keyword are getting hundreds of thousands of views, then that keyword is probably too competitive. But if there are keywords in which the top ranking videos only have a few hundred views and a lot of monthly searches, then that is a good keyword to add to your list.

You also want to research the tags that popular videos are using. It used to be really easy to view tags on YouTube, but now you have to do a little digging.

First, find a video that is about a related topic and has a lot of views. The more views the better.

Right-click on the YouTube video page you want to investigate. The select "View Page Source" from the menu.

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Then do search for the word "tag" to find all the keywords. The keyword list will look something like this.

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There may be keywords that you can use for your videos. There might even be keywords that you can use for ASO. Record them in your spreadsheet so you can review them later.

Create A Catchy Title

Once you have some keyword ideas, use one of them to create a title will catch people's attention. You can also look at videos with a lot of views and see what they are doing. Then take the strategies that they are using in their titles and apply them to your videos.

Optimize Your Description

A lot of people neglect the description, but that is a great opportunity to add more keywords to your video. Be sure to write at least two paragraphs about your video and add some of the keywords that you found in the research process.

At the top of the description, be sure to include the URL to your website. The first three lines of your description will be seen at the bottom of every video, so make them count.

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If you don't have a website, you can purchase a domain for about $12 and use a service like Bitly to redirect the link to your app store listing or any other page you want to use. The Bitly redirect is a free service.

Since you are using a custom domain, it doesn't look as spammy as using the default Bitly link. You can read more about how to do it here.

This next tip might seem a little weird at first, but you should also include the URL to your video on YouTube and your YouTube channel at the bottom of your video description. The reason is that there are websites out there that simply scan for videos related to their topic, then they automatically embed the video to their website and scrape the entire video description.

Adding your links to the description provides a lead back to your YouTube channel and the potential to get more subscribers and video views.

Don't Forget The Tags

Just like in App Store Optimization, adding your own keywords or tags to each video can help it rank for those keywords. Use about 10 of the best keywords that you discovered in the research process and add them to your tags list. Try to use specific keywords and remember to include the keywords that you used in your title.

Choose The Right Category

There are some people who browse videos by category. Make sure that your video is in a category that is appropriate for the video. If a video would be a good fit for several categories, test each one and find out which one gets the most views. Sometimes the difference can be significant.

Utilize Playlists For Keyword Optimization

If you find some great keywords but don't know how to make a related video, one option is to create a playlist instead. A playlist is a group of related videos that you curate and feature on your channel.

It is a great way to give your subscribers content that they would find interesting and boost the visibility of your channel. Create multiple playlists with keyword rich names and add high quality videos to these lists.

Share Your Video

This almost goes without saying, but don't expect YouTube to do all the work. You might be disappointed.

Although there are a lot of people on YouTube, there can also be a lot of competition. So be sure to share your videos on your social media channels and with other related online groups.

Also consider starting an email list for your apps. It can be a great way to stay in touch with people who are still on the fence about downloading your app.

Track Your Stats

After you put in all the work to create a video, you want to find out what is working and what isn't. YouTube has really improved their analytics over the years and the current version will give you a ton of information about your audience and which video topics are doing well.

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Bonus YouTube Video Optimization Tips

Before we end this post, we will leave you with three bonus YouTube video optimization tips. The first tip is on how to combat video pirating.


If you are creating excellent content, sooner or later there will be shady people who download your videos and upload them to their channel to generate more traffic. But don't worry, you should consider that a compliment and it is easy to fix.

Just file a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) complaint with YouTube and they will look into it. The process usually takes a couple of days and it is painless. Just fill out the form here.

Second, custom cover images can be a great way to make your video stand out in search. If you use the random screenshot that YouTube provides, it probably won't help people understand what your video is about.

When you verify your phone number with YouTube, you will be allowed to add a custom thumbnail image to all of your videos. Create a graphic that tells people about the video and test different versions to see what works best.

Finally, don't get discouraged if your videos don't get millions of views. There are some markets, like fitness, that have the capacity to generate these types of numbers. But other markets may not get as much interest.

You can still do well with a few thousand or even a few hundred views. As long as your videos are highly targeted and very useful to you audience, they can help you increase the number of app downloads you get from organic YouTube search traffic.


To get more information on creating and optimizing YouTube videos, you can visit the YouTube Help Center. YouTube videos can help your app get more exposure and downloads, if you are willing to put in the work.

If you are on a budget and want to learn some ways to create great looking app videos, read this post to get tips on equipment, software and services that can help you get started.

Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comment below...

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Hugh Kimura

Written by: Hugh Kimura, Head of Content

Date: November 2014

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