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How to grow your audience on YouTube - the data driven way

A lot of content creators wonder what type of content to create on YouTube that will get them traction. Here we list down a set of data driven steps that will really help you rank on YouTube. We further list tools, best practices and the best way to reverse engineer your growth.

How to grow your audience on YouTube - the data driven way

Tuesday March 05, 2019,

5 min Read

YouTube is the world’s top video sharing platform. According to SimilarWeb, YouTube receives 25 billion visits a month. That’s about all the people living in on the planet, four times over.

However, with everyone's attention span reducing, people are moving from consuming text-based content to video-focused content.

Given the growth of YouTube influencers over the last few years and brands trying to get ranked on the platform, it is important to devise a strategy that could increase one’s content ranking on YouTube. It is also crucial for entrepreneurs to start moving from creating content based on a ‘feeling’ towards creating content based on data. Knowing what works and what people are searching for only increases the probability of your content ranking higher.

These are the three main principles you should follow to make it big on YouTube:

  1. Knowing what your competitors are doing right can help you rank better and faster
  2. Knowing what people are searching for can help you decide what content to create
  3. Combing the above principles can help you create your YouTube strategy

Step #1: Tools to collect data  

The first step towards ranking high on YouTube is to download tools such as Keywords Everywhere and VidIQ.

Keyword Everywhere
vidIQ Tool

Keywords Everywhere is a chrome plugin that gives you search volume on YouTube as well as Google on a monthly basis. It also gives you information like keyword competition and cost per click.

Also, vidIQ provides you with engagement rate, likes, subscriber ratio, shares, and other important information related to a video. As an example, Mr. Phone, a phone comparison app used VidIQ to grow to 700,000 downloads and 100,000 YouTube subscribers in a year.

Step #2: Know your competitors

Only you know your industry well. So, whether you work in beauty or career counselling, look at the videos your competitors are creating. There should be at least five competitors creating content in your space both locally and globally.

Then, analyse the following:

  1. How often do they create content? Is it twice a month or eight times a month?
  2. How long have they been doing this? This is extremely important. If three of your competitors took three years to reach 100,000 subscribers, it’s important to adjust your expectations and understand that you may not reach 100,000 subscribers in a year. 
  3. What is their style of creating content? Is it informational or emotional? Does it have music in the background or are there overlays between segments in the video? What’s the energy level in the video? Observe these style formats and also check the comments to see what people like most about this content. 
  4. What's the length of their video? Are they consistently creating five-minute videos, 10-minute videos or somewhere in between? Capture the engagement rate using the tool, VidIQ.
  5. How well have the videos been optimized? Does it have a meta description, does the title of the video match the keyword, does it have links at the bottom, is the video transcribed? Get as much data on this as you can.
  6. Finally look at their views to subscriber ratio: If a video has 100,000 views and only 2,000 subscribers, the ratio of views:subscribers is 50X, which is amazing. That also means that YouTube has pushed this content out in a lot of related videos section and it has shown up on search. So, look at which of their videos have high views:subscriber ratio.
  7. Do this exercise for at least five competitors. You’ll start seeing patterns in the points listed above.

Step #3: Create a list of keywords related to your business

For instance, if you want to create videos around digital marketing, write keywords like online marketing tools, keyword research, SEO, Adwords, marketing trends, among others in that space. Extend this to maybe 25-30 keywords. You could also use keywords provided by YouTube on Autosuggest.

autosuggest on Youtube

Step #4: Analyze using Keywords Everywhere

Place the list of keywords in the search bar on Youtube. If you have Keywords Everywhere installed, the volume of search will show up along with the text on the right For example, “online marketing tools” has 2,400 searches/month. 

Step #5: Study results

Now analyze the following results for the specific keyword you searched for:

  1. When was it last created? If any video created more than six months back, there’s opportunity for you to create new updated content. For example, going after ‘marketing trends 2019’ in January might not be easy as lots of videos might have been created around that time. 
  2. See the subscriber to view ratio. If the ratio is supremely high for some videos, there’s an opportunity to create something.
  3. Examine the quality of the content. Check out the video and see if you can do a better job.  
  4. Check out the vidIQ competition score. Are most of the results showing a score of less than 50/100?
  5. Analyse the average views for this result. Is it at an average above 5,000 across all results?
Subscriber to view ratio
Vid IQ

After you’re done studying the data, combine your learnings and create a strategy for your videos. It could be in the form of a Google Sheet or a Trello card, but it should look something like this.

For example, after studying the competition, it would take me one year and four videos per month consistently to reach 50,000 subscribers. The videos should be between three to six minutes long and should be optimized for search. The 48 videos to be created over a year should be centered around specific keywords that have over 1,000 searches/month (Keywords Everywhere) and a competition score of less than 20 (From VidIQ).

Once you've done all this research, you should be able to have a strategy laid out that consists of number of videos to be made per month, title of the video, length of the video, keyword that we will be going after and style of the video. The results can be neatly tabulated in a google sheet.