If you want to understand how to generate traffic on your channel and get more subscribers, you need to start with the fundamentals of creating an engaging channel and videos, and figuring out what does YouTube value most. If you want to crush it on YouTube, it's probably important to know what YouTube values and rewards so that you can play by their rules and achieve the most out of this platform.
So, what does YouTube value most? Most people think it is either subscribers or views, but it's been known for some time now, that on YouTube, what matters most is actually the minutes. On the video analytics option of your YouTube channel, minutes are at the top of the list, and that is not coincidental.
The reason is that YouTube realized a couple of years ago that although views are important, they are not the most important parameter to determine if a video is engaging or not. By adding a tricky “click bait” thumbnail and title, people will click on a video and get a lot of views and that's meaningless. If a one minute video was watched a lot for a second, or even 10 seconds, that is an indication for YouTube that this video wasn't interesting enough, that it's not engaging, or that it's not helpful or useful for viewers.
In other words, watch time is YouTube's best indication for your video engagement, interest and value. The more watch time your video gets, the higher your videos will rank on YouTube’s search list, thus more people can watch your video and most importantly, more people are exposed to your channel and can subscribe to it.
Create a good video, and people will want to hear and see more content, they will enjoy it and eventually, they will subscribe.
Usually, before viewers read the title of a certain video, they have a quick look at the video’s thumbnail. This requires you to be consistent, meaning you must build your thumbnails attentively and learn to that well.
This might be common sense for those that have been on YouTube for a while, but it's not necessarily common practice. One of the thumbnail goals is to be enticing, interesting and capture the viewer's attention. One mistake users often make is having their thumbnail read the same thing as their title. Since the thumbnail is small, using a lot of words can look messy and hard to read, as opposed to using one or two words (optimally four at the most) for a short, professional and concise thumbnail.
Before anyone watches your video, he or she has to read your title, so obviously you must do title SEO (by adding your keywords in your title for example), and you have to very clear about your video's topic. Your video's title and the thumbnail are your video's introduction to the viewer and are your main method of making a great first impression - it is a very brief summary of what is it you're talking about, and it must be “spot on”.
The Hook -
Just because potential viewers click on your video, that still doesn't mean they are going to watch it through from start to finish. The first 15 seconds of your video are the most crucial, and they are your video 'hook'. Your hook should be interesting enough to keep a viewer all the way through the video. It’s most likely that if viewers watch the first 15 seconds of your video, they continue to will watch all of it. These odds usually increase after 30 seconds of watching - making these are your critical moments. Make them count!
Your main objective on YouTube is to generate views, which will generate subscribers. In order to achieve this, you’ll need to create good content – it’s as simple as that, right?
Basically, you constantly need to ask yourself: how you can make your content even more engaging? How can you make it half as long yet twice as strong? What are your video's dead spots (meaning are there spots that people could lose attention)? What could make potential moments for people to click out of your video?
The thing is, you can answer a lot of these questions just by looking at your analytics. After a video is posted, head over to your analytics and carefully study your audience retention. You can easily see where people “drop out”, for instance, and by using this valuable information you can optimize your videos.
If you are in the center of your videos and all your viewers see is you, you'll probably notice that retention tends to drop whenever your face isn’t showing. That makes perfect sense since people are watching your videos because they want to watch you! In these cases you may want to consider “splitting” the screen whenever you’re showing something (a product, a view, anything!) - so 80% of the screen is whatever it is you want to present to your audience, and other 20% of the screen is you, keeping the eye contact going. Improving your content really means getting more watch time, which can ultimately get you more subscribers.
Although some of these tips are common sense and a little bit “obvious” to some, that still doesn't mean that they are common practice, and you know how the old proverb goes: practice makes perfect. By mastering the fundamentals, you will eventually reach “perfect”.
Jim Rohn, one of the world’s greatest motivational speakers, once said: "Success is neither magical nor mysterious. Success is the natural consequence of consistently applying the basic fundamentals". We just can’t help but wholeheartedly agree!