Using YouTube Videos for Viral Marketing

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Creating a Viral Video

  • Amateur's touch: Home made is just fine: as long as it gets the point across and is easy and enjoyable to watch.
  • Unique content: It needs to be something unique, provocative, and entertaining. With that in mind you should create a video that's either informative, shocking, or funny.
  • Off topic: It's great when a video has something to do with your niche; however the video doesn’t always have to be relevant to your business to be useful. Your main objective is to attract viewers. 
  • Popularity research: Check what's popular on YouTube and what is not. But don't be afraid to try something completely new.
  • Interesting start: Most videos are watched for less than 10 seconds. That means you have 10 seconds to convince the viewer that they should invest 10 more seconds. Therefore, make sure the start of your video is engaging.
  • Keep it short:  The longer your video lasts, the less viral it becomes. Try to keep it between 1 to 3 minutes.
  • Have fun: If you're not having fun, neither will your viewers.

How to Film Video

  1. Tight Shots: The closer you are to a subject, the less distractions will be in the background. Wide shots contain more detail and background movement. As a result this will make your video more difficult to compress.
  2. Lighting: Although this is not the most important aspect of making a viral video, it does make for a more pleasant view. Also, hard lighting with dark shadows and high contrasts are harder to compress and result in larger files. Make sure there are no bright lights (sun or light bulb) behind the subject.
  3. Audio Quality: Make sure you don't have loud background noises. There's nothing more annoying than a dominent background noise. Find a good microphone. Remember that audio accounts for 50% of the experience. The microphone on your camera is good for about 3 feet. Here is a great video on recording sound for the Internet.
  4. Limit movement: In addition to using a tripod, don't constantly move and adjust your camera. Instead of panning, try stopping the recording and take another shot. Don't quickly pan the camera from one subject to another.
  5. Plain Background: To keep your picture uncluttered, shoot your subject against a simple background. Busy background can be reduced by decreasing the depth of field as much as possible. This will throw the background out of focus. During compression this will also help improve the way your subject looks.
  6. Big Writing:Remember that the screen on YouTube will be small so keep your title and any writting in the movie big.

Ensuring a Quality Upload

Here are some things you can do to ensure that the video you upload looks great:

  1. Resolution: Make sure that your source video is the highest resolution possible: MOV or AVI file, NTSC 720x480 or VGA 640x480.
  2. Video Encoder: Use a high quality video encoder. Most video editing programs such as  iMovie, Windows Movie Maker, or Sony Vegas, come with an encoding engine for exporting videos. Recommended encoders
  3. Size Format:YouTube resizes your videos to 320x240 pixels, encodes them to Flash 7 at a data rate of approximately 250 kbps and compresses audio to mp3 (22.050 KHz, monophonic).
  4. Aspect Ratio: Keep the aspect ratio of 4:3, otherwise the quality of your video will  degrade. For the frame width and height use multiples of 16.
  5. Steady Camera:  By limiting scenes with pans, zooms and handheld shots you can increase compression efficiency and reduce file size for faster playback. You can also use a tripod to limit camera movement.

Recommended Settings from YouTube:

  • MPEG4 (DivX, Xvid, SVQ3) format
  • 64k Mono MP3 audio
  • 30 frames per second
    (YouTube source)

Optimizing Video Traffic

  1. Catchy title:This is one of the most important things. It's the videos first impression.
  2. Keep it short: Less than two minutes wins the race: Although YouTube will accept longer submissions, shorter videos (30 sec to 2 minutes) tend to work the best.
  3. No commercials: Avoid including a commercial disguise as a video. These types of videos don't usually go viral.
  4. Tags & keywords: Optimize your videos with tags and descriptive words so that viewers can easily find it. Use lots of relevant keywords to tag the video.
  5. Clear description: Use descriptive keywords and language that people will use when they search. Also make sure to use the correct categorization.
  6. Changing title: To get additional clicks you can change your title after the traffics starts decreasing.
  7. Thumbnail: Since people are visual, make sure you utilize the thumbnail option when  submitting your videos.
  8. Release a series: Publish a number of videos in a row. Let the viewers and site visitors know that there will be a series. This way they are more likely to subscribe to your YouTube RSS feed.

Generating Clicks, Sales, and Traffic

  • Create Offer: at the end of the video, offer a free e-books, research reports, discount, or advertise a contest.
  • Embed URL: In your video place a URL in your video. If the video is interesting enough, they will want to go to the website displayed in the video. If you are putting the URL only at the end of the video, leave it up for an extra 30-60 seconds. The reason for this is that after your video ends YouTube quickly transitions to other video choices. The extra 30 seconds will give your viewer time to type in the URL.
  • Link in description: Insert your URL into the description of your video. This is a useful and effective way for people to click to your website.
  • Video banner:Consider placing a banner at the top or bottom of  your video to help drive awareness.

Promoting YouTube Videos

  1. Social links: If you also post your YouTube video on your blog or website, you can add links to social networking and bookmarking sites beside your video. Social networking links can be RSS feeds, tags, trackbacks, reviews, comments, ratings and direct links such as, Digg, Furl, and StumbleUpon. 
  2. Blogs: Submit your video to bloggers that would be interested in your video's topic - business and social.
  3. Forums: Embed your video into forum threads that you post. Just make sure it's relevant. (marketing in forums)
  4. Social Networks: Post your creation on popular sites such as MySpace and Facebook.
  5. Email: Send the video to your friends, customers, and colleagues.
  6. Invite submissions: creating contests for people to submit their own video is a great way to encourage them to direct their friends and colleagues there as well.
  7. Mass distribution: Post it on as many video sites as you can. Don't just depend on YouTube. You can use services that post your videos to several sites all at once.

List of Other Online Video Sites

Using Other YouTube Publishers

  • YouTube Celebs: Try to recruit a YouTube contributor with a respectable following to talk or incorporate your offering into their next video. Some YouTube members have developed a large following (hundreds of thousands of subscribers).
  • Ask for link:  Request permission from people that already have videos on YouTube to embed your url next to their video. Perhaps in their description or title.

Tracking Traffic

Tube Mogul - This website offers analytics that aggregates video-viewing data from multiple sources. This technology allows you to determine when, where and how often videos are watched. It also allows you to gather competitive intelligence.

Also See


  1. This is One Virus You Need to Catch-
  2. How To Make YouTube Videos Look Great -
  3. How To Make Videos For The Web -
  4. Hire a YouTube Celebrity -
  5. YouTube Help Videos -