YouTube has become a staple in the digital world with more than 2.7 billion active users in 2023. 52% of all internet users access YouTube each month. Every company needs a YouTube presence to ensure they are part of the conversation. While it seems simple, setup a corporate channel and upload videos, there is a major trap many companies fall into: uploading every corporate video they can find without a clear strategy.
Countless tutorials recommend uploading a video on a consistent basis, every week or even every day, but videos are difficult and expensive to make, so any video created is immediately added to the corporate channel. These include product demos, new feature announcements, customer testimonials, technical topics, promotional content, and more. This results in a complete lack of focus.
Why a Target Audience Is Important
Understanding and targeting a specific audience is the linchpin of a successful YouTube strategy. YouTube's algorithm aims to present content that is relevant and interesting to that specific user. This relevance is determined by multiple factors, but affinity for a channel is weighted heavily, with YouTube subscribers being a clear indicator of this metric.
When a channel uploads a new video, YouTube will initially present it to subscribers and users who have engaged with that channel’s videos in the past. Their engagement level sets the tone for that video's broader visibility on the platform. If they click on the thumbnail, watch the video, comment, and like YouTube will present that content to a broader audience. If, however, they completely ignore the content YouTube’s algorithm will see it as a dud and bury it where it will only get a handful of views.
If your channel lacks consistency, bouncing from one topic to another, each video has a new audience. Existing audiences and subscribers will have no interest in the next video presented, they will be unable to binge your channel’s content, giving YouTube a clear indicator that the content is low quality.
Consider this Venn diagram representing the target audience for all the content thrown on a corporate channel. In the end, there is no overlap, there is no audience who would appreciate and engage with all (or even most) of the content on the channel.
As a result, it is very challenging to retain and attract subscribers. Beyond subscribers, there's the coveted position on YouTube's Browse Features, a spot that can significantly boost your visibility. But getting there requires a consistent track record of high engagement from your subscribers.
What about search?
It’s often noted that YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Some companies try to rely on search to gain traction on the platform, focusing on quantity and keywords. While it’s true that YouTube is a search engine giant, processing a staggering number of queries daily, the factors for making a top position are different than standard search. Beyond the obvious keyword relevance, YouTube's search algorithm factors in playback metrics, such as average view duration and total watch time. Unless a video boasts strong metrics, primarily driven by your dedicated audience, it might struggle to surface in search results.
Not only will you fail to capitalize on YouTube searches without a clearly defined audience, but you will be limited to the type of content created. Only specific topics that users are already searching for will have exposure. By contrast, a strong audience in conjunction with YouTube’s browse functionality can act more as push marketing, allowing the company to present a new message that the audience may have never considered.
Reviewing Successful Companies
One critical observation from successful brands on YouTube is their structured approach. Instead of a one-size-fits-all channel, they segment their content across multiple channels. Each channel has a unique flavor, curated carefully for a specific audience. Take, for instance, the rise of dedicated developer channels. These channels are starkly different from the main corporate or product-focused ones, offering content that developers find relevant and engaging.
In fact, many of these companies have more than two channels, creating a specific channel for each audience, but then tying them together through unique branding.
What about small companies?
Many companies feel they are too small for this approach. The idea of creating weekly content for one channel feels overwhelming, the idea of having multiple feels ridiculous. The truth is that having a clear persona for each channel is far more important than video quantity or consistently posting.
Consider a company that recently decided to adopt this approach. They took five of their developer-focused videos and moved them to a dedicated channel. The outcome was astounding: the view counts were 10X what was seen on the main channel. This success wasn't a fluke; it was a direct result of serving content in a space where every suggested video aligned perfectly with the interests of the developer audience. Each viewer of a single video could then be recommended another video from the channel and engaged. To the YouTube algorithm, every video was a success. If a single user enjoys multiple videos, they are more likely to subscribe.
The fact is that a stagnant channel with just five focused and well-made videos will outperform a bigger channel with sporadic content.
Navigating the complex waters of YouTube requires a clear vision and strategy. While casting a wide net may seem tempting, it often leads to a diluted message, making it harder to resonate with the people who matter most to your business. By diving deep into the intricacies of YouTube's ecosystem and understanding its nuances, companies can forge stronger, more meaningful connections.
If your company aims to sharpen its YouTube strategy, especially targeting developer audiences, don't hesitate to reach out. Let's collaborate and steer your content in the right direction!