WEDNESDAY 18 NOV 2020 10:08 AM


From conducting research reviewing one hundred FTSE-listed company's YouTube channels, Stuart Stubbs explores the lessons from some of the biggest names in the world

With around two billion users worldwide watching over one billion hours of video each and every day, it is safe to say that YouTube makes for an ideal communication tool, yet very few companies embrace the video platform and its full potential.

Take for example almost every company listed in the FTSE 100 index, 93% of them have a YouTube channel but nearly 60% do not have a managed home page or even make use of the video platforms’ basic features such as a channel trailer (and that’s just considering a channel's main landing page). So, having a YouTube channel is great, but when there are over 30m other channels out there, it’s what you do with it that really counts.

From conducting our  own research reviewing 100 FTSE-listed company's YouTube channels, here’s what you can learn from some of the biggest names in the world to improve your YouTube presence.

Only 15% of FTSE 100 companies are putting in the time and effort to design custom thumbnails for their videos instead of opting for YouTube’s autogenerated selections. Creating custom thumbnails that are visually compelling, structured, consistent and, most importantly, do not feature people’s open-mouths and/or illegible text, can help attract users to your content, encourage them to click through to watch and even promote an overall positive brand identity, just to name a few benefits. So, get creative and make the most out of your miniature marketing posters – add some vibrant colours, an overlay, your brand logo for example – this will definitely help you stand out from the crowd.

As YouTube is the second-largest search engine, it’s important to optimise your metadata, including titles and descriptions. These are used to index videos correctly and can help to maximise search, promotion, viewership and so on. What do we mean by optimised? We mean compelling, clear and consistent (remember the three Cs). Let’s talk titles first. Eighty percent of FTSE 100 companies have considered their title format, meaning they haven’t used random, one-worded headlines. This is especially important as titles are one of the first things a user sees, so ensure they are exciting, contain key words and follow a clear and consistent format. Next are descriptions; 84% of FTSE 100 companies do not include a full and detailed description that follows a predefined template or consistent structure. That’s a huge missed opportunity as descriptions help users understand what the video is about, let them get to know your company a little better and direct them to further their user journey. Therefore, to get the most out of your descriptions, concisely describe your video, channel and company in concise sentences and include additional links to your channel page, subscription and any other content (e.g. website or social channels).

Having an optimised platform can affect viewership, watch time and engagement on your YouTube channel but it’s important to understand that it goes way beyond that. A well-optimised channel which uses additional interactive features including end boards and info cards can help to extend the user journey by driving action, encouraging viewers to watch more content or visit websites and other channels etc. Not utilizing such features, like most of the FTSE 100 companies (98% do not use info cards; 99% do not use end cards), can leave viewers in the dark and abruptly end the user journey.

Here at Navigate Video, we understand the power of YouTube and believe that first, it shouldn’t be left out of the marketing mix. And second, it needs to be done right. With online video increasing in usage and more companies turning to YouTube, it is now more important than ever to focus your efforts on your channel and ensure your content is the best it can be.

Stuart Stubbs is the founder of Navigate Video