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YouTube Adventures

January 5th, 2007

YouTube…it’s not the only free video hosting site in the world, but it definitely has the highest profile.

Everyone from Chevrolet to Warner Brothers to Paris Hilton is in the game.

What’s the appeal of YouTube to these big bucks promoters? Are there any guerilla-type YouTube "secrets" us little guys can use to get more promotional bang from the service?

Yes there are…

First, if by some chance you don’t know YouTube, here’s the story in a nutshell:

It’s a free video hosting service with lots of social networking features built in.  Users upload videos and share them with friends, family and fellow YouTubers.

One thing led to another (right place, right time, with the right stuff) and now they serve over 100,000,000 videos a day with 65,000 new videos uploaded daily. Critical mass with a capital "C."  Google needed to be a winner in this space and unable to develop their own, they wrote a check (or moved some stock) and became YouTube’s parent.

YouTube had two massive advantages over everyone else in the free video hosting space:

1. Superior hosting and faster video uploading time
2. Superior social networking tools

That’s the story.

So how do we use this thing?

Three ways:

* Free video hosting

* New viewers from engineering traffic spikes

* Leverage the community

1. Free video hosting

Yes, your videos will have the YouTube logo on them but free is an awfully good price and if your video is promotional, there’s a chance that new prospects might stumble over it.  I’ve put up videos with no promotion at all and just from my tagging gotten a steady – albeit small – amount of  gimme traffic.

2. Get new viewers by engineering traffic spikes

The YouTube system is sensitive to traffic surges. YouTube is not just a passive collection of videos.

It categorizes videos by type and then acknowledges them as: 1) most viewed, 2) top rated, 3) most discussed, and 4) most favorited over the following time periods: 1) today, 2) this week, 3) this month, and 4) all time.

So what?

Here’s what…

If you can make it to the top twenty of any of these categories, you appear on Page One of that category. Top twelve puts you on the page and above-the-fold.

This means people who are browsing through say, the most viewed music videos of the day, will see you your video listed first of the 65,000 videos uploaded each day and the millions the service alread hosts.

Exposure means more clicks which means more exposure which means more clicks and so on.

As with search engine ranking being on Page One of a category is everything, and being above-the-fold is even better.

So how do you pull it off?

If you’ve got a big enough mailing list, you’ve got exactly what you need to win the game.

For most categories, 2,500 visitors or more in the first 24 hours after posting is enough to get you on Page One. 

To get most viewed of the day, speed is everthing. As soon as you get confirmation that your video is up, the race is on. You’ve got 24 hours to get as many members of your list to click on the video link as you can.

If you have a responsive list of 7,000 or more, you can put winners on the most viewed video of the day  list practically at will. How long will 2,500 be the magic number? Who knows, but that’s what it is now. Sometimes it takes a lot more. Sometimes a lot less.

There are other categories within reach too: highest rated, most discussed, and most favorited. Just ask your list members to give your video a high rating, post a comment and add the video to their "favorites" list and presto: you’re a YouTube star – for a day.

But alas,  it’s only for the day. When midnight strikes (metaphorically speaking), your turn back into a pumpkin… actually not quite. You now get to compete for the "Best of the Week": most viewed of the week, most discussed, etc.

It’s a bigger challenge, but still doable. For example, 10,000+ visitors over a week is enough to get you on Page One above-the fold of many categories and again, if you’ve got the list, this is very doable.

Sometimes though "most viewed" is just too high a mountain to climb. That’s where "highested rated" and some of the other user interactive categories kick in.  If you have good raport with your list members, your video is worthwhile and you ask them to get behind your video, they will.

3. The third  way to generate views on YouTube is to become a community member and take advantage of all the tools associated with that.

It can get pretty involved, but it’s one of the secret sbehind the folks who get 100,000 visits and more for bizarre monologues, stupid pet tricks, and other common YouTube fare.

Probably the most streamlined approach tto leverage the social aspect of YouTube is find the folks in the category you want to succeed in who have built of subscribers to their channels. (Yes, you too can have your own YouTube channel.) Introduce yourself and your video to them. They may chose to help spread the word.

There’s probably a lot more to the social networking aspects of YouTube that can lead to even more views, but realistically, they look very time-consuming it me and I’m not sure it’s worth the effort.

But here’s the bottom line: 

Even if you’re not Paris Hilton, Warner Brothers or Chevrolet (which pays big bucks for advertising to
drive traffic to its YouTube videos), you can be on the most viewed of the day page, Page One in almost any category you want – if your list is big and responsive enough.

Notice how in Internet marketing, whatever the topic, it always comes back to the list.

Anybody have any insights, experience or tricks of the trade to share about YouTube traffic?


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  1. Jeanne Rejaunier
    January 6th, 2007 at 08:21 | #1

    Another way YouTube stars get viewings is to link their videos to websites, blogs, and to social networks like MySpace. Use the code supplied by YouTube to embed your video here as well as in emails. In the recent elections, 15 short videos I made of a local candidate for County Mosquito Control Board were embedded in a county political site, which in turn drew traffic to the videos on YouTube. In fact, traffic is still watching those videos, even though the election ended two months ago and the candidate lost the election. My son shot a video that got over 15,000 hits in less than two weeks, due to the star of the video embedding it on her MySpace page.

  2. January 6th, 2007 at 09:06 | #2

    Hey Ken,
    I have been using YouTube for a while now
    and it has gotten me quite abit of traffic.
    One key is opening a “directors” account which is free.
    With that account, you can upload a logo AND have a link right to your website next to the video.
    Type “David Dutton” or “David Bullock” in YouTube and see what pulls up.
    I have been doing video reviews of people’s products because of the know like and trust (see david bullock video)
    David Dutton

  3. January 6th, 2007 at 10:50 | #3

    Good stuff- I am not going to get into it specifically, but it’s also important to consider current events/celebrity and how you can apply it to your video and ultimately website.
    I know it may sound cryptic and admittedly I am being that way, but add 2 and 2 and you can capitalize on tons of “current event” traffic that wasn’t there yesterday…
    P.S. I don’t need to mention that each video should have your URL branded along with a specific WIIFM call to action at the end do I? 🙂

  4. January 6th, 2007 at 23:10 | #4

    Youtube.com is an amazing hub. At the beginning of last year there was one video portal to my knowledge (youtube.com). Now there are over 300 dedicated to video.
    I have been using trafficgeyser.com to upload my videos to over 30 different video portals and the results are staggering.
    The amazing thing for me is that the majority of my traffic actually comes from smaller video portals…not youtube.com!
    My results and experience make me wonder as to why Google paid $1.65 billion for Youtube. Don’t misunderstand me. I think it is a great site but I am getting much more traffic on the same video from video.google.com as well as video.yahoo.com than from youtube. Sometimes the tiny little video portals just absolutely rock!
    in my opinion the transition is underway. Text still rules but ten years from now everything will be audio and video will dominate and text will be third in terms of perferences for finding things.
    Youtube is the hub in the video streaming world and I applaud their success and vision. My point is not to overlook the other video portals as they can create an avalanche of traffic to your site as well.

  5. January 15th, 2007 at 14:38 | #5

    Ken, Thanks for this blog and Harald – thanks for the link to Traffic Geyser. Very interesting. Do you know what the latest is on this product ?? Are Michael and Rocket still taking subscriptions ?? Any competitive products emerged ??
    Thought you would be interested in this link to The Venice Project ( TVP )
    https://www.theveniceproject.com/blog/ – the latest creation of the boys from Kazaa and Skype.

  6. March 19th, 2007 at 14:28 | #6

    I have only recently followed Ken’s advice and gotten involved with YouTube. I put together a concept site called “JayToob,” which aims to put together mostly unique, inspirational video that helps with personal development. As always getting traffic even to good videos is a challenge. I saw the comment about being a director, and I think I’ll give that one a try.

  7. March 19th, 2007 at 14:30 | #7

    By the way, the URL for “JayToob” is http://www.jaytoob.com
    Please also feel free to post video to any of the video links shown.

  8. April 7th, 2007 at 23:16 | #8
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