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Going Viral: YouTube “Suggested” Videos Are The Trick

October 27, 2015   Posted By Joel Goldstein

Recently one of our clients, which makes something rather routine known as “dust collectors,”inbound marketing methodology found that two of their demo videos had gone viral.  They usually have a few thousand views, but for some reason one had 33,000 views, and the other hand 68,000!  How did THAT happen?

After some research we learned that those videos were listed by YouTube as “suggested” videos, so YouTube served it up on the right side of the viewing pane as a “related video” callout to watch after you finished what you were watching.  So, naturally, we want to know how to become a suggested video.

We were able to find three separate case studies that uncovered recent algorithm changes to YouTube and how they drive what videos should be suggested. Previously, the YouTube algorithm suggested videos based on how many people clicked to watch a video. Now the algorithm for suggesting videos are based on which videos contribute to a longer overall viewing session rather than how many clicks an individual video receives.

What this tells us about our client videos that became successful, is that they were also the most engaged videos that were watched all the way through.

Based on these findings we now know that in order to be suggested, we need to ensure that not only end users click onto our videos but they also stay and watch our videos.  In other words, YouTube is counting the percentage of your video that’s watched (not the amount of time).  So, it’s better if your short video is watched to 98% completion, thinks YouTube.  The length of time in minutes is actually less important than the percentage of viewers who make it to the end.

To take advantage of this, first you need to see which of your videos that are currently successful and begin to make your content relate specifically to what they are targeting. From there we need to ensure that once the end users begin clicking from the other successful videos that we keep them on your videos. This can be done through YouTube “series playlists,” annotations, and carrying over a consistent branded theme to make our own videos relate to each other.  Call us if you’d like help!

Is YouTube and video part of your Inbound Marketing strategy?  Make sure you’re covering all the bases by reading our two-page paper on building an effective Inbound Marketing Methodology.

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