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You have probably heard of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) before. But not many people have heard about YouTube SEO and channel and video optimization on the world's second largest search engine. The more a video is optimised, the better it will rank and the more positive its effect on the rest of the channel. In this YouTube SEO guide, you can learn a lot about how to optimise your presence on the video platform. I will take you through all the important steps. Why work with video and YouTube at all? In 2021, video will account for 82% of total internet traffic. At the same time, video consumption on mobile is up 22% YoY. And there is nothing to suggest that growth will stop any time soon. Four times as many consumers would rather watch a video about a product than read about it. Source: Search Engine Land We also pay more attention when we are on YouTube. This is especially important to those who are running advertising on YouTube.     Source: Ipsos/Google, Think With Google, Google Video plays an important role in the user journey because it has become a natural part of the way we search for products and services. Accordingly, YouTube has also become an integral part of the user journey before, during and after the purchase.   You can read more about how to work with your YouTube SEO and strategy in the following sections. How to Create a YouTube Optimization Strategy It is important to have a clear strategy for your YouTube channel and content. As with all other marketing, having a clear strategy helps you make good decisions. There are two main types of content on YouTube. Hygiene content is by far the most frequently used and it is likely this is the kind of content you want to maximise. But there is also hero content, which can be quite extraordinary. Examples of hero content are Volvo's Epic Split and Nike's video with Colin Kaepernick. What is the purpose of your channel? Would you like to raise awareness about your brand? Or are you using the channel as a customer service extension? Are you going to run YouTube advertising while doing organic YouTube optimization? There are many options. Typically, it takes 24-48 hours for a video to be properly indexed on YouTube once it is uploaded. Therefore, it may be a good idea to wait a bit to start advertising, as YouTube does not initially know what your video is about and its relevant audience. Starting advertising right away can have an effect on your ROI. Once you have made your YouTube strategy, you can start breaking it down into smaller - and more manageable - goals and sub-goals. Give each goal a clear KPI so you can see if you are successful with your YouTube optimization. End with identifying audiences. By doing this you go from having a typically generic strategy to having multiple direct measurement points and actions. It is easier to do YouTube SEO when you know how to be successful. Need help with your strategy and goals? Keep track of your KPIs here.   What can be optimised on your videos? There are a lot of things you can optimise with YouTube SEO. This applies to both the channel itself, playlists, and videos. On some things you can have influence directly, while you can only indirectly influence others. You can read more about the most important things to optimise later in the blog post.   This word cloud highlights many of the factors affecting your SEO ranking. Some aspects, like channel age and video age, cannot be changed or optimised. Yet an older video and channel can have an advantage, just as the age of a website also has something to say in regular SEO. The sooner you start with YouTube SEO and optimizing your content, the sooner you can reap the benefits. You can optimise several of the factors that you cannot directly influence. We will tell you more about this in How to grow your channel with YouTube SEO. How to do keyword research for YouTube  Finding relevant keywords for your YouTube SEO can be a little difficult. This is because, among other things, there is no direct access to search volume on YouTube keywords, as there is on Google. But fear not. It is still possible to find keywords and learn more about the keyword volumes. To do this, use the following tools: ·       Keywordtool.io ·       Keyword Planner ·       Google Trends ·       YouTube You identify relevant YouTube keywords with Keyword Tool and YouTube. Keyword Planner and Google Trends will help you determine how big your potential search volume is. Keep in mind that Keyword Planner gives you the number of monthly searches on Google - not YouTube. How to find YouTube SEO keywords? As you can see, there are many steps in a YouTube keyword research. However, it is important that you spend the time to find your relevant keywords as they are crucial to your success. Ahrefs.com also has a YouTube keywords explorer for you to use. Bear in mind that there are many other keyword tools out there. It is important that you constantly think about your keyword relevance. If your keywords are not relevant to the video, your work will be wasted. You cannot cheat your way to relevance. The users and YouTube will decide this swiftly and without hesitation. Do not solely look at volume. At first, go more for niche keywords that are not dominated by major international channels. The content and quality of the video has a lot to say, but it is virtually impossible to compete with the very large channels - especially if you are a new channel. Keep in mind the value of Google and video views. Some Google searches naturally return video results while others do not. By spending some time checking this, you are better equipped to have your YouTube video appear in a Google search result. Rich media, such as videos, takes up an increasing amount of space and provides a good user experience. Therefore you should embed your YouTube video on a related page of the website whenever possible – and relevant. You can get the embed code for a video by right-clicking it. You can do this with all videos, not just your own. The addition of videos helps make your site more valuable to users while increasing watch time - which is even more important. There are several different tools that can help track YouTube placements and find relevant keywords. I focus on the free tools in this blog post. How to grow your channel with YouTube SEO It may sound simple, but there are just a few steps to growing a channel. But, as you have probably guessed, that does not mean it is easy to succeed in creating a successful YouTube channel.   This is a simplified user journey on YouTube. Sometimes it can be a long time from when a user first sees your video until she subscribes. And it can happen in minutes in other instances. It is all about creating relevant content that engages the user and adds value for that user. You may ask: ·       How do I get discovered? ·       How do I maintain my target audience? ·       How do I get subscribers? ·       How do I get my users to see even more content on my channel? The answer to each of these questions is quite simple. You do this by making good and productive videos and subsequently optimizing them. Just as you would do with a website. You can have the best content in the world but if the website is not optimised (both on-page and technical), no one will see it. Great content is the foundation on which all successful YouTube channels are built. With YouTube SEO you can take your users through the entire user journey from discovering your video to watching your video and clicking "subscribe" to seeing even more of your content. There are a lot of ways you can optimise your videos in terms of both visibility and CTR as well as guiding users further along, when they discover you. It will be a great waste of effort to get users to watch your video and not retaining them afterwards. As I wrote earlier, there are many factors that influence your rankings and YouTube watch time and retention. The number of minutes and hours users watch your videos is one of the most important factors. You can increase this by creating great content and optimizing it to have more people discover and watch your videos. It is helpful to provide viewers with sneak peeks that entice them to continue viewing other videos on your channel. Never write something in your title or thumbnail that you cannot live up to in the video. Using cards and end screens, you can keep users in your YouTube universe (see example of a good end screen below). Once your video ends, serve new and relevant content to the user. Many people discover and watch new videos that are presented to them directly, so remember to make playlists - and optimise them. I wrote earlier that it is important to have relevant keywords because relevance promotes retention. Yet there will always be some users who will drop out after about ten seconds – especially if the video is not relevant according to the title and/or keywords. Your goal is for each user to watch as much of the video as possible. It is a clear indicator of quality. If most people quit after a short time and no one watches through to the end, it is likely a sign you have either the wrong keywords or a poor-quality video. You can optimise the channel itself (layout and tabs), playlists and videos. Next, I will take you through the most important optimizations for YouTube SEO. Get control of upload, optimization, and subtitles I am not able to address all the possibilities for optimization in this blog post. Some, such as cards and end screens, I will only mention in passing, as entire blog posts can be written about these optimizations alone. Sizes and dimensions of banners, files, and thumbnails are important to keep in mind. The optimal size for a YouTube thumbnail is 1820 x 720 pixels. It all starts with the channel.   Step-by-step Guide to YouTube SEO 1. Create your channel In fact, YouTube SEO starts even before you upload your first video. If you do not have a YouTube channel, create one.   2. Give it a good name Give it a good name. The name is not visible on the page, but it will be used in the channel URL. You can change the name afterwards. The name should be easy to remember and include the brand or company name. If possible, include keywords in the name as well – but do not keyword stuff it. 3. Create a Brand Account  Next, you need to create a Brand Account - not a personal one. If you already have a channel but have doubts about the setup, you can easily check it out. 4. Apply for the YouTube partner program Once the channel is big enough, apply for the YouTube Partner Program. You must have 4,000 valid public watch hours and more than 1,000 subscribers before you can apply for the partner program.   5. Upload your video   Before uploading your video, provide a filename, thumbnail, and subtitle/closed caption (CC) file with a relevant filename that contains your keywords. It is not the most important factor when we look at YouTube SEO, but even if it is a smaller ranking factor, you should include your keywords. It can be the deciding factor in the competition with other videos. Video quality also plays a role. It is important that the quality is good enough - preferably HD or above. Many cameras and cell phones today can film in such high quality that you can use the videos on YouTube. 6. Optimize your video’s title Title is the most important part of video optimization. You can use up to 100 characters and include your primary keyword as early as possible. Secondary keywords should also be used here, and they do not have to be an exact match. It is worth noting that if you stay below 70 characters, your title will not be truncated by YouTube. The most important thing for a title is that it makes the user curious and awakens some kind of emotion in her. A good example of an effective title is this one from REMA 1000.   7. Write a strong video description Your video description must be unique and can hold up to 5,000 characters. We recommend you use them all. There may be some cases where YouTube determines your text is too long, even if you have not used all 5,000 characters. So always keep a few hundred characters below the maximum. In your description, you must describe what the user sees. Feel free to link to products and other videos so there is a natural next step in the description. Also, consider using questions to drive engagement. Be aware that less than 1% of viewers read the description. Even so, you should write in a natural language - not just an endless stream of keywords. It is a good idea to link to your other social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc., and encourage users on those sites to subscribe to your YouTube channel by providing a link. You should use your primary keyword more often than you would in a plain SEO text as keyword density still matters in YouTube. 8. Create video tags You can use up to 500 characters in your tags. Just like with the description, you should keep a few characters clear of the maximum, since YouTube does not always let you use the maximum number of characters. Tags should be based on your keyword research, video topic, relevant searches, etc. and are an important part of YouTube SEO. You should keep your tag strategy as tight as possible in terms of subject matter. Otherwise you end up confusing the algorithm. The image under Description earlier in this article also shows an example of tags for a video. It is the words on the right side of the picture. In this example, there are various flæskesteg (pork roast) keywords combined with sprød svær (crispy crackling) keywords. 9. Add Thumbnails Thumbnails play a huge role in YouTube SEO. 90% of the best-performing videos have custom thumbnails. That is because they can multiply your CTR if used properly. YouTube makes it possible to select between three screenshots when uploading your video. However, you should always make a unique and custom one and it does not have to be from the video. Your thumbnail should: ·       Make a user want to click / watch the video ·       Be unique ·       Clearly tell / show what the video is about ·       Be consistent across channel and brand   These are two good examples of thumbnails. The first clearly shows the video is about flæskesteg (pork roast) in both the image and applied text. Typically, this will be the kind of thumbnail that works best. The second one is from a gamer, Welyn. It is a unique style to him and makes it easy for fans to spot his videos.   10. Add video subtitles - Closed Captions (CC) Subtitles help users know and understand your content, and they also help YouTube robots understand your content. While you must specify the language of the video, it is certainly possible to create your video in one language, for instance English, and have subtitles in different languages. You can add your own subtitles rather than relying on auto-generated subtitles which are not available in some languages. Because speech recognition is not working 100% yet, the quality may vary, so you should always check your subtitles. Use subtitles even if your video is in your audience’s native language. Bear in mind there are many who watch videos without audio. Therefore, subtitles are generally a good idea and they can be switched on/off in the video player if they are not hard-coded. Have you considered live streaming? YouTube is much more than pre-recorded videos. For example, you can also create live streams where you give your users new content while interacting with them directly. Live streaming does not require a large setup and you can live stream with a regular webcam or mobile device. Live streaming basics The most important thing is to use adequate technology. You will not be successful if your internet is too slow or there are problems with the software. As a rule of thumb, you must have the following internet speed if you want to achieve the following video qualities: ·       Standard Definition Video - 3 Mbps ·       720p and 1080p High Definition Video - 5-10 Mbps ·       4K Ultra High Definition Video - 25 Mbps   There are various encoder software products you can use for live streams. Several are verified by YouTube, and it may be beneficial to test a few of them before making your first live stream on YouTube.  The easiest way to live stream is to use a webcam - no encoder is needed for this. You can also live stream directly from your mobile from the YouTube app if you have more than 1,000 subscribers. With an encoder however, you have additional options that are not available for webcam or mobile streaming, including the option to use multiple cameras. Keep in mind that if you have not streamed before, it can significantly change the way your users view and interact with your content. You make it easier for them (and yourself) by clearly communicating future live streams (also on your other platforms) as well as letting them know, what the subject of the live stream. Live streaming is a golden opportunity to have a more meaningful interaction with your users. You can find answers to most YouTube live streaming questions on Google's support pages.     Use the integrated YouTube Studio analytics YouTube has its own analytics called YouTube Studio. Here you can see the reach, engagement, audiences, and revenue for the videos separately and for the channel overall. You can also see how users find you and how successful you are at converting them.   So dive into the analytics data to learn how your videos, playlists and channel perform. Get a YouTube SEO audit of your channel today If you already have a channel and would like to get started with YouTube SEO, it might be a good idea to have a channel audit first. That way you get a clear idea of where you are right now. When we perform a YouTube SEO audit, we look at videos, playlists, and the channel – the whole package. We then provide recommendations on how to optimise each part. If you need help with the optimizations themselves, we have many years of hands-on experience with YouTube. Contact us today to help you optimise your YouTube performance. 0

The global demand for privacy is one of the most consequential consumer dynamics at play today.   Across the globe, 91% of consumers are concerned about the amount of data that companies can collect about them, [i] and 42% have taken steps to reduce the amount of data they share online.[ii]   In light of this desire for increased privacy, most technology platforms have recently implemented or announced restrictions around data collection and user tracking through their web browsers and operating systems.   For brands and the advertising industry, the magnitude of this evolution is massive.   On the short term, it is undoubtedly a source of conundrums for many marketers and publishers. Processes, ways of workings, legal compliance efforts, technology stacks, customer data strategies – even business models – must be reviewed and rethought to limit business disruption.   Yet, in the long term, it offers a unique opportunity to (re)build trust between brands and consumers around the data issue. Success will hinge on increasing efforts to educate audiences (67% of consumers declare they have little to no understanding about how their data is being used[iii]) and defining a right value exchange that works for all (only 15% of consumers feel they are getting a good value from granting access to their data[iv]).   In the midst of sensationalist headlines, technical solutions still being worked out, and a lack of shared standards to get behind, it is normal for marketers to feel lost and nervous. In a recent marketer survey we conducted, 60% of respondents declared they are not familiar with tracking prevention or are unsure about the consequences on their business, showing that this fast-changing landscape is not fully understood yet.[v]   In this new dentsu definitive guide for global marketers, The Cookieless World, we rise above unique market perspectives and cut through the ambient noise to help you focus on what you should know today and investigate tomorrow to be ready in 2023, when the world will become cookieless.   For more, download the full report today: http://ow.ly/KDTK50FKTaJ    [i] Microsoft Advertising in partnership with iProspect, 2020 Consumer Privacy and Brand Trust Survey, Dec 2019 – Mar 2020, as featured in the report In Brands We Trust, published in April 2020   [ii] Dentsu, Decoding Data Dynamics: Digital Society Index 2020, Global survey of 32,000 respondents   [iii] MMicrosoft Advertising in partnership with iProspect, 2020 Consumer Privacy and Brand Trust Survey, Dec 2019 – Mar 2020, as featured in the report In Brands We Trust, published in April 2020   [iv] Microsoft Advertising in partnership with iProspect, 2020 Consumer Privacy and Brand Trust Survey, Dec 2019 – Mar 2020, as featured in the report In Brands We Trust, published in April 2020   [v] iProspect, iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey, November 2020, as featured in Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated, published in April 2021 0

This article is authored by Chris Philp, VP, Lead, SEO and Karen Kysar, Senior Director CX Strategy.    Advertising campaigns are not the only ways for brands to get consumers’ attention. Guiding them when they search for information, helping them to learn more about a topic, and assisting them in accomplishing what they want are powerful means for brands to capture their interest and to influence what happens next.   To design valuable, consumer-centric experiences that will be noticed by their audiences, marketers should focus on three priorities: correctly interpreting intent, solving users’ problems and delivering on expectations.   Understand intent Correctly interpreting intent is not just about observing consumers’ search activities and the various tasks they perform throughout the day, but also about understanding their reasons and the context around them. First-party data is a good place to start. For instance, website analytics inform about the kind of audiences you attract, CRM data show who buys your products, and customer support data cast light on consumers’ struggles. To complement these data sources, ad hoc surveys can capture consumers’ attitudes, motivations and triggers. For example, running a large-scale quantitative survey of first-time moms helps understand what their everyday looks like, where they are seeking advice, and how they handle caregiving issues. To give voice to that data, small-scale user studies enable you to hear directly from first-time moms (e.g., the types of searches they perform). As privacy regulations give consumers more control about how their data is used, we anticipate that consumer surveys will see renewed interest from brands. By encompassing what audiences express and how they interact with your brand, this approach makes it possible to truly know audiences as people. You can then develop actionable portraits rooted in data which help identify areas where your brand is well positioned to win with content and develop content roadmaps that truly address your audience needs.   Solve a problem To help consumers solve a problem, start with a shift in focus from the brand to the consumer. It is about adapting the brand response to the consumer moment, and recognising that all these moments are not necessarily about purchasing a product. For instance, Google has identified four pivotal micro-moments: I want to know, I want to go, I want to do, I want to buy. When first-time moms look to soothe their crying infants, they will often turn to search engines. The keywords they use carry a lot of intent and emotion. A search for “swaddle” may be about looking for a product, while a search for “swaddling” may be about looking for information on whether it is safe. In both cases, these keywords are proxies for the underlying problem: how to get a baby to sleep through the night. In the search engine result pages, results for the “swaddle” query are centred around products – which only partially addresses the bigger problem at play – and there is a lot of advertising competition. Conversely, the query “how to get a baby to sleep through the night” returns the “Interesting finds” component, which provides users the option to land on a content page. For brands, it is an opportunity to demonstrate they understand people’s intent and context, and to provide a valuable solution rather than focusing solely on the product and transaction. From telecom companies developing guides around improving Wi-Fi reception to water treatment companies educating consumers about contamination of water, this approach using value as the key factor to capture attention is applicable across all industries. By understanding intent and assessing the search engine results page and content types delivered, brands can much better assess not only the problem, but the best suited format for delivery, too - whether that is a video, an article, an image or other.   Deliver on expectations Delivering on expectations means ensuring that you are not only showing up when people search, but also that they can convert easily once they land on your website. This requires acting simultaneously in two dimensions: the user experience (UX) and the technical side. There is an important difference between a website that looks clean and a website that is truly user friendly. Analytics can help you detect the most problematic bottlenecks of your website. Then, user testing can help you understand the various reasons behind these bottlenecks, such as a frustrating product catalogue organisation, or an impractical checkout. These insights can help you address the most urgent pain points through A/B testing, and ultimately improve your UX. From a technical standpoint, there is a host of aspects to consider, starting with site speed. Site speed is fundamental in user experience, and has a strong influence on bounce rate and conversions. Marketers should regularly monitor their site speed, using online tools such as Google PageSpeed Insights. Additionally, UX plays an increasingly important role in search engine rankings. From May 2021, page experience signals (e.g., mobile friendliness) will be included in Google Search ranking. Simply put, UX is not only important for making the most of the attention of people who reach your website, but it also conditions your ability to get the attention of additional users through search results!     As one marketer out of two (48%) declares that not being consistent across every element of the consumer experience is a main challenge for long-term trust in their brand (iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey), strategic use of content presents a true opportunity to bring the experience together - from attention to transaction - by making the most of consumer intent and context through value.     This article is excerpted from the report Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated. Download it now for key insights on how brands can make the most of brand and performance to accelerate their growth. 0

The new iProspect Future Focus report explores the intersection of consumer attention, commerce and data.    Today, we officially launch Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated as the essential read for conscientious marketers seeking to explore and exploit the latest consumer and industry advancements for brand growth. The 75+ page report addresses some of the most pressing aspects of modern marketing including; the battle for attention, wholesale changes in data privacy, and the emergence of assisted commerce.  Combining evidence-based research with interviews and responses from over 200 brand marketers in 29 countries, the Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated report delves deep into the challenges and opportunities faced in the current global climate and within the immediate media landscape. And, convenience and relevancy of media to the consumer is key, as 61% of marketers, polled for the report, considered ‘building a highly convenient experience for the consumer’ as the most powerful lever to generate business growth.i    The content of this sixth edition of the Future Focus series typifies the intricacies of bringing brand and performance together to achieve growth.     “Despite the challenging times we live in, I believe there have never been so many opportunities in media. With our new and unique approach of performance-driven brand building, we are firmly optimistic about the future and resolved to make it happen, today. With Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated as their guidebook, I hope all marketers will be able to leverage the growth potential afforded at these significant intersections of media, data, commerce and culture.”  Amanda Morrissey, Global President of iProspect  The findings showed that around 2 in 5 marketers (42%) still think the linear path to purchase is as relevant today as it was decades ago, despite the rise of digital. While at the same time 32% of marketers feel that expanding commerce capabilities is important for the 2021 roadmap, however 26% see this as one of the most difficult challenges this year.ii  Future of Branding 2021 In addition to discussing and dissecting the impact of major global industry trends and innovations, the report spotlights the relevancy and opportunity for brands, regardless of sector, to capitalise on these seismic shifts in the media landscape. Examples of the report’s advice and guidance for marketers worldwide include:    Commerce is Everywhere   Organisations should strive to build and maintain an accurate picture of their commerce capabilities across five key dimensions: desirability, availability, findability, buyability, and repeatability. This will help them define the most profitable commerce model for their brand, better integrate their e-commerce and stores into an actionable omnichannel strategy, explore new growth channels, and turn media opportunities into transaction opportunities.    The Battle for Attention   Brands should consider factoring attention into their media optimisation and measurement efforts to elevate the impact and efficiency of their investment. To maximise audience attention, they should ensure the content and experiences they design truly align with consumer intent, and that the campaigns they develop do not relegate diversity and inclusivity as afterthoughts.  The New Data Playbook   On the data front, organisations should embrace the new privacy-conscious world by re-evaluating the value exchange they offer to their audiences and anticipate technological changes to minimise business disruption. This is the occasion to explore opportunities for automation, evaluate the quality of the data they collect and process, and more broadly reflect upon how data is effectively used to inform decisions.    The last point is of particular significance as the report found in some circumstances there are huge disparities between what the consumer and brand marketer think, when it comes to assessing data value. Only 9% of marketers believe helping a company improve products or services is an incentive for consumers to share their data, while 44% of consumers believe it is a good enough reason to release personal identifiable information (PII) to the brand.iii   Download your copy of Future Focus 2021: Brands Accelerated now.    -----------------------------------------   [i] Proprietary omnibus survey: iProspect, 2020 Global Client Survey, 12 Oct–11 Nov 2020, 202 respondents. [ii] Proprietary omnibus survey: iProspect, 2020 Global Client Survey, 12 Oct–11 Nov 2020, 202 respondents. [iii] iProspect 2020 Global Client Survey (Oct 2020) and iProspect and Microsoft Advertising, Consumer Privacy and Data Survey (Mar 2020) 0