Understanding YouTube and It’s Purpose

YouTube is all about getting visitors to stay and consume video after video so that they can see ad after ad. According to one small study, conducted by Phil Nottingham of Distilled, only 0.72% of viewers of YouTube channels with URL’s in the description clicked thru to the linked site. What that tells us is, if you are trying to get people to come to your website, YouTube might not be the answer you were looking for. After all, 99.28% of viewers are watching a video and moving on with their lives, according to that data.


Don’t think of Youtube as a pile of videos waiting for your video to be added to it. Think of it as a social media network where each user has a ‘channel’. Whatever videos you upload to your account are added to your channel’s programming. If the only thing on your channel are an assortment of commercials for your company or product, nobody is going to want to watch it …unless of course your product is a really cool robot. Other than that, would you watch a TV channel if it was all commercials about the same company?

YouTube is great if you have a video that has viral potential because it’s amazing or funny, or if you have a series of videos that will teach or entertain your target market and your goal is to build a following of subscribers. Think of how you use YouTube. Would you click on a video that is called ‘Rose’s cafe -the best coffee in town’? Well, you might like coffee, but you probably didn’t go on Youtube hoping to watch a commercial about it. Take a look at what is trending for a clue as to what sort of video content is most interesting to YouTube users. You won’t find commercials …unless they are amazing and have an eye catching title.


More good stuff about Youtube:

YouTube is free, it has somewhere around a gazzillion users, and it’s owned by Google. That means you can bet it’ll be well indexed by Google’s search engine, which of course is the most used search engine in the known universe.


If detailed analytics is important to you, YouTube might not be what you’re looking for. Its analytics are pretty weak compared to Wistia and Vimeo.


It’s easy to embed a YouTube video on your webpage, but is it the best option? The YouTube player is not very customizable and has YouTube’s logo on it, which can make you look less professional.


Also, the YouTube link and the suggested videos that appear at the end of your video are little carrots being dangled by YouTube to lure visitors away from your site and into the black hole that is YouTube. Your potential customer could be lost forever amid a sea of Justin Beiber stage mishaps and funny puppy videos far far away from your ‘contact us’ or ‘buy now’ buttons. That’s not good for conversion rates.


There is another option with YouTube: you can pay for advertising. If your target market is on YouTube (most are), and YouTube’s minimal ad targeting ability works for you, this can totally make sense. However, if you have a very specific target audience, you might be wasting money exposing your ad to a lot of people who have no interest in what you’re selling whatsoever. However, for large scale brand building, running a strictly ads-only campaign on YouTube is definitely worth considering… particularly if you have strong video content and want to reach a broad audience. …and it’s very simple and easy to use.


Tune in to our next blog for more information on using Vimeo to host your video.
Video is one of the most powerful promotional tools for business today and to simply spread a message. Don’t believe me? Check out our blog: The Power of Video for Business: Why a Promo or Explainer Video Makes a Difference.

And if you happen to be in the Los Angeles area and want a promotional or explainer video made that doesn’t suck, hit us up! 

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About the Author:

Tim has worked to produce videos for a long list of clients including Dove, LA Fitness, Dermalogica, and Theatre Communications Group, helping to build upon their brands. He founded Invisible Harness (Video for the Arts) in 2016 with the goal of building a team of talent that is known for producing high-quality promotional media for arts organizations and to ultimately find ways to use video to benefit humanity. He enjoys traveling, experiencing other cultures, being in the company of good people, and singing.


  1. Stuart Morris December 17, 2018 at 7:08 pm - Reply

    Tim, thanks for the great information. I work full time for QVC/HSN and video is a big project, well getting it together that is. Not enough new material on YouTube, self-hosting etc..

    • Tim Neighbors August 2, 2019 at 3:14 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the comment Stuart. Video certainly can be a big project.

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