YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world, which means that it has immense marketing potential for companies and brands. Here are a few interesting statistics about YouTube:

  • YouTube overall — and even YouTube on mobile alone — reaches more 18-34 and 18-49-year-olds than any cable network in the U.S.
  • The number of hours people spend watching videos (aka watch time) on YouTube has increased by 60 percent y/y, the fastest growth we've seen in two years.
  • The number of people watching YouTube each day has increased by 40 percent y/y since March 2014.
  • YouTube has more than a billion users — which is almost a third of all people on the Internet.

Here's how companies and brands can effectively leverage these numbers to reach more of their target audience.

Establish your goal

Essential to starting any marketing activity is establishing your goals. These will be on the lines of:

  • Brand awareness
  • Drive leads
  • Improve SEO
  • Increase conversions

A mistake that companies make is creating content thinking that it will achieve all of these goals. YouTube would typically be best for brand awareness, i.e. building a community of like-minded, interested people and engaging them.

This does not mean YouTube cannot be used to achieve other objectives, but on observing the best content on the platform, it can be safely concluded that brand awareness is the most suitable objective for marketing on YouTube.

Create content (videos) your audience cares about

Once the goal has been selected, we can move on to creating the content (videos) that will help achieve the goal. Thus, your videos should be:

  • Entertaining, compelling, catchy
  • Valuable and useful
  • Fulfills the needs of the target audience

Based on the above, the content that works best is videos that provide value and relevant information that fulfills a particular need of the target audience.

Use keywords, annotations and cards

When uploading your video content to YouTube, it is crucial for the right people to be able to find your video. This is possible when you carefully use the right keywords that are relevant, not only to your content, but also to your target audience.

Annotations are basically clickable links that you can insert into your videos, and this is a great way to drive people back to your site to help create more leads. Cards are basically the fancy version of annotations. It's the same idea, in that you can include clickable links into them, but they look a lot smoother and more professional.

Choose an enticing thumbnail

Choosing a thumbnail for your video is important because it is the first creative aspect a viewer sees before deciding to watch your video. A good thumbnail can make the viewer click and watch your video.

The best thumbnails are:

  • Engaging
  • Minimal but relevant to the video content
  • Enticing

If you check out the Red Bull YouTube channel you'll see how to do it right each thumbnail provides a glimpse of what the content is about, enticing you to click through to watch more.


Promoting your video across other channels can significantly boost your marketing efforts on YouTube by expanding the reach of your video content. Here are a few elements to consider while creating a promotion plan for your YouTube videos:

  • Write a blog and include it within your post
  • Email your database and include a link back to your video
  • Upload the video to your social channels
  • Outreach to relevant influencers and ask them if they might want to share it
  • Write a guest post surrounding the content of your video and link back to it
  • Pay to advertise your video and YouTube channel
  • Post your video across other channels to help get more views to your content and gain more exposure for your YouTube channel


YouTube offers insights into all of the videos you upload so you can see how many views you've received, who's watching, where they're from, how long a person watched the video for and audience retention.

These analytics are important to figure out if your content is actually working to achieve your goals and to determine if it needs to change and/or improve.