A Complete Guide to Using YouTube for Marketing


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Nowadays, most of us rely on video content to discover cool new products and brands – which is probably why so many companies have quickly adapted to this format. Whether in the form of fun tutorials, product previews, or animated videos, these brands’ websites and social channels often feature more than one of these engaging pieces.

However, many marketers don’t take full advantage of YouTube’s opportunities. The platform is more than a place that hosts your videos. Ideally, you can create your own community there where you can interact directly with your users.

But how to do it? In this guide, we’ll take you through the most important aspects to consider when creating your YouTube presence. In the process, we’ll give you tips on not only how to rank your content but also how to make it look great.

YouTube Marketing 101: Keyword Research

Many brands shy away from investing a lot of time and resources on YouTube because they fear their content will go unnoticed. This makes them focus more on their social media and websites, regarding YouTube as nothing more than a useful repository.

This is a reasonable suspicion, but there is a way to overcome this problem: finding and using the very best keywords!

Use tools like Ahrefs and Google Keyword Planner to research the most popular terms around your videos’ topics. These services are particularly amazing for what’s sometimes known as “category keywords,” single terms useful for offering context for your pieces (e. g., “lifestyle,” “tea-lovers,” and so on).

But if you want to be more precise about your search terms, you’d better favor long-tail keywords that reflect user-intent. Take the time to explore and compare YouTube and Google searches for the most popular terms for videos like yours.

Once you do your research, keep two or three alternate versions to use. For example, if your video is about “how to make matcha tea,” “how to prepare matcha” and “matcha tea recipes” are ideal candidates as long-tail keywords.

Using Keyword Optimization to Rank Your Video

Once you’ve zeroed in on the best keywords for your video, you must now figure out where and how to use them. Here, we’ll give you tips on how to take advantage of some of YouTube’s different optimization elements.


Before thinking about titles or descriptions, the first place you should include your keywords is in the tags. With the right tags, you will help the platform to categorize your video and position it in the search results.

YouTube allows you to insert as many tags as possible, as long as they don’t exceed 400 characters. If you want good advice on how to do it, we recommend you do it in order of importance, always based on how a user would search for the terms. So, instead of tagging broad keywords like “software” and “installation,” tag it as “software installation.”


Users are immediately drawn to titles, as they give them a brief glimpse of your video’s content. So, make sure you put enough thought and effort into properly titling your pieces so that they stand out. To achieve this, your title needs to be:

    • Catchy. Don’t settle for any old formula! Try to add words that might spark your audience’s interest. For example, using adjectives such as “amazing,” “epic,” or “best” tends to generate this effect.
    • Relevant. Your title should reflect your audience’s search terms, so it’s crucial to use your long-tail keywords here. Include them naturally in the text, without making them look too forced or artificial.
    • Unique. To prevent your video from getting lost among the tide of content, you need to make your titles distinctive. Here, it may help you to think about your product’s special features: if your solution is “gluten-free” or “waterproof,” inform about it in the text.


Many brands fail when writing their descriptions: either they don’t or they include a mini-essay. This is unfortunate, as the description box helps you both in getting yourself known to your audience and in positioning your keywords.

Include information that tells your viewers a little bit about your brand and solutions. This information should be relevant and, when necessary, accompanied by links to related content, website, and social media handles.

As usual, be sure to add your most relevant keywords to the text so that YouTube’s algorithms can more easily identify and classify your content.


As you can expect thousands of your visitors to come from non-English speaking countries, offering closed-captions to them is a very important option to make your content accessible. So, try not to rely on automatic captioning and take the time to upload your transcript as a plain text file (.txt).

But there’s more. Early on, when crafting your video script, be sure to add as many keywords as possible to increase your appearance at users’ searches. As YouTube’s bots can detect your text file’s content, planning this extra step will greatly help you position your videos.

Key Elements for Content Optimization

What distinguishes an outstanding video from an average one? In this section, we’ll review four key areas to pay attention to when creating your marketing content and optimizing it for a better user experience.

Best Types of Marketing Videos to Rank

No two visitors are alike, as they have their unique backgrounds, pain points, and degrees of familiarity with your brand. Thus, it’s crucial to have different types of videos under your belt to match your audience’s needs and wants.

Among the various types of content, the following have become indispensable to many successful brands’ strategies:

    • Explainer videos. Curious audiences enjoy watching short, informative content to understand in detail their everyday problems. With the help of animation and storytelling, you can bring greater clarity and insight into any question or topic picking your viewers’ minds.

    • Product videos. You want to use YouTube to display your product, explain it, and address potential confusions that your customers may have about it. With the right product video, you can take the time to show all your product’s features and highlights better than with a simple description page or images.

    • How-to videos. Crucially, your prospects want to know how to use your product and whether it will suit their tasks and needs. Tutorials are great for demonstrating a process and effectively overcoming common sales objections that customers may come up with.

    • Testimonials. Videos are equally great for conveying a sense of confidence in your prospects and social proof. In video testimonials, you can record the success story of your already satisfied customers, whose unique perspective will be valued by your users.

On Video’s Length

If you follow popular streamers, you probably know that the platform allows you to upload videos that run for hours and hours. But as you might expect, having longer videos doesn’t translate into more views. In fact, about 50% of YouTube views correspond to videos between 16 and 120 seconds long.

Is this the ideal length then? Not necessarily. Although such duration is perfect for trailers, explainers, and product videos, you shouldn’t be afraid to take more time to explain your ideas in-depth.

That’s true of many “how-to” videos out there, averaging five to seven minutes that users still enjoy. In such cases, we recommend breaking up the video into short sections using timestamps.

Enticing Audiences with Compelling Hooks

The entertainment factor is crucial to your videos. Think about it: if in the first few seconds you are unable to immerse yourself in a piece, you will quickly lose interest and continue with your activities.

You must give your users a reason to watch your video and there’s no better way to do that than with a good hook. You can use many smart resources to engage your audience, including:

  • A personal question (“Do you wish you had more time to enjoy with your friends?”)
  • Fascinating facts, figures, and data points (“9 out of 10 people have already tried…”)
  • Breaking the fourth wall with a joke.
  • Introducing users to problems through enticing stories.

The key is in building rapport with your viewers. If you can establish an emotional connection with your prospects from the very beginning, chances are that they’ll stay to hear more about your solutions.

Orient Users with Annotations and CTAs

What are your viewers supposed to do once they’ve seen your videos? Do you want them to buy, subscribe, or keep watching your content? Don’t let your audience guess your intentions—instead guide them to the best course of action with annotations and CTAs.

With annotations, you can insert small custom boxes in sections of your video to direct users to your other videos and playlists or to subscribe to your channel or mailing list. These are better added between the middle and the end of your video, whenever there’s relevant information that could help viewers.

Annotations are greatly coupled with CTAs. Whether you want to motivate your users to “Start Your Free Trial” or “Order Now!”, a short but emphatic line will guide them to the next best step.

Additional Optimization for More Views

So far, we’ve seen what you can do to make your videos more accessible and engaging for audiences. But ideally, you don’t just want to entice your viewers with a single piece—you also want them to start following your content!

Here, we’ll tell you a bit about how to enhance your channel’s looks, so that you can retain ever-larger crowds.

Organizing Your Content

Your home page should give your visitors the promise that they will get the chance to find cool content by following your channel. Luckily, there are many features on YouTube that allow you to fully customize your page and front-load your best content.

    • Channel trailer. This is your introduction to your audience that you cannot fail to capitalize on. Whether you decide to show a preview of your product, brand, or ideas, you primarily want to convey an experience to your visitors of what you’re all about.
    • Thumbnails. You want your videos’ covers to express your brand identity and preserve your channel’s esthetics. Thus, we don’t recommend using the thumbnails automatically generated by YouTube but uploading your own custom images. An awesome thumbnail that looks professional and visually compelling will attract curious users.
    • Playlist. Your channel should be a useful place for users to turn to for valuable information about your brand. By organizing your content in playlists, you can categorize your videos into different categories of interest to your visitors.

Channel Branding Tips

You also need to give special attention and care to your channel’s smallest details. These will make you come across as a friendly provider and help you start a one-to-one conversation with new visitors.

    • Avatar. It’s best to use an image that directly speaks for your company, such as your logo. But if you’re running a personal brand, it’s a great idea to use a profile pic. If you do, make sure that your face can be seen clearly, not ten feet back in the background.
    • Banner. In your cover image, you also want to use your brand colors and logo. But you can use this space to communicate what kind of messages you will deliver. If your brand features an awesome tag line or motto, make sure it has a presence on your banner.
    • About page. Use this section to write down what you will give to your audience, but also to direct users to your other venues. Add clickable links to your website and social media accounts, along with crazy-effective CTAs.


It’s as simple as that! By researching and using the right keywords and customizing your content and channel for your targets, YouTube will become your best ally for your marketing efforts.

Once you optimize your content, there is nothing left to do but promote your videos through the rest of your communication channels. You’ll see that audiences will really love what you have to offer on YouTube.

Victor Blasco
Víctor Blasco is the founder and CEO of the explainer video company Yum Yum Videos. He is also an audiovisual designer and video marketing expert. Aside from running the business, he loves studying Chinese Philosophy and is a real geek for science fiction films and comics!


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