We attended a very interesting seminar last week in the Guinness Enterprise Centre – all about the Youtube Partner Program and how to monitise your offering on Youtube. The seminar was part of a series of events run by the Dublin Business Innovation Centre (DBIC) and had representative speakers from Youtube and other companies already using Youtube to their advantage.
Getting on Youtube is pretty important for most online businesses – leaving aside budding directors and film makers, every company who sells a product or service can find some benefit to having a presence on Youtube. Take search rankings as an example. Google prominently display video in their mixed search results. Ranking well for your key phrases in video can really improve traffic to your site and increase visibility online in a competitive environment. A set of well optimised, helpful and genuinely useful videos can potentially get a company good visibility at the top of Google search results (where the equivalent placing in organic site results could take months of hard work). This has become more challenging in recent times, as Youtube now take factors regarding engagement into account along with the more traditional metrics (like video views). However, don’t underestimate the value of a well optimised set of videos on Youtube for your SEO and Google rankings.
There are more obvious ways of making money from Youtube, as discussed at the seminar last week. Youtube’s Partner Program and revenue sharing scheme allows users to opt in to having ads served on their Youtube videos and channels. For channels with lots of subscribers and traffic, the opportunities are endless. Youtube will invite channel owners with lots of traffic to opt in to their revenue sharing scheme – basically, allowing them to run ads along the bottom of each video and within the side bar area next to their videos. As a channel owner, you get a percentage of the revenue generated from these ads via Adsense.
There are negatives – some users feel that this can “turn off” channel viewers as the ads can feel intrusive, which undermines the success of the channel and videos as a whole. However, as display advertising can be found pretty much everywhere you go online now, many feel that Youtube video ads are quite acceptable. Allowing these videos to be embedded in external websites outside of Youtube is a great way of increasing the number of views, and therefore, the potential revenue to be made from ads.
The Partner Program allows channel owners to share in other types of ads on Youtube – like the display ads on the top and right hand side of each page. Again, users are invited to become partners by Youtube. Channels will only be considered if they have unique content, lots of subscribers and frequently updated videos. Users can also avail of increased branding opportunities for their channel and additional functionality (like being able to place links within your channel page content and personalised thumbnails).
The amount a particular channel can make varies wildly – the Youtube reps on the day were keen to point out that the amount you can make depends very much on the nature of your video content (do you appeal to a wide variety of advertisers?) and your category itself (the more niche the channel, the more targeted the ads can be, the more limited your advertisers).
Something very interesting did come from the Q&A session after the presentations. One channel owner asked about future options to allow clickable links within videos which link directly to an e-commerce element online (i.e an external retail website). This would enable users to see a video about say, Nike runners, see a link within the video to “buy these runners” and then be able to click directly on that link and buy from Nike’s website. How cool would that be? We were shown a great example of this type of technology (not available through Youtube yet, this was a custom arrangement) where Awear ran a video with embedded links to their e-commerce site to buy the items on show. We all thought, “wow, that’s pretty powerful stuff…” We were delighted to hear that this technology is being developed at Youtube (i.e. Google) at beta stage, and at should be available to all at some point in the future. On a separate but related note – now that Google has started to open up street view to include the interiors of certain shops, cafes and bars, the opportunities to sell products (perhaps via links, in a virtual online shop) using this same technology seems like a viable next step. Think of the possibilities!
If you are coming to the table with your advertiser’s hat on, then there are lots of ways to generate revenue and traffic from Youtube. From the large scale homepage buyouts (big bucks required) through to promoted videos and ads, there are plenty of options. With some nifty PPC keyword and GA analysis, you should be able to come up with a list of obvious and perhaps not-so-obvious phrases that can be targeted using Youtube ads (controversially this can include phrases relating to competitors too). There can be great gains to be made from this type of targeting on Youtube, and as a guest speaker from last weeks seminar Gareth O’Neill from Zamano pointed out, the average CPC’s from Youtube ads are generally a lot lower than your average on Google search ads. Therefore this can make it quite a cheap and rewarding type of display advertising. Ads can be used to drive traffic to an external website or to a particular Youtube channel, so advertisers can play with metrics and see what works for them. Check out this handy little tool for helping with ad creation on Youtube
Youtube is now the second most used search engine in the world (Google being the toppermost of course). If you haven’t already started using Youtube to your advantage in your business, then you certainly need to start. Whether you are looking to drive traffic to your site, build an online following, promote your products and services, or looking for targeted display advertising that won’t break the bank – Youtube should be part of your plan. They say that a picture can paint a thousand words, maybe a video can make you a million quid? (well, why not plan big!).
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