YouTube is a behemoth.
They have a total monopoly of an entire section of the internet – and arguably the largest and most important growing segment of the internet, which is video. Now, before you talk about how much video drives IG and TikTok, YouTube is a different platform because people go there to LEARN new things and RESEARCH before buying a product.
If you look at the transactional value of YouTube visitors vs TikTik viewers… it's not in the same league. Advertisers value people closer to the end of the buying cycle. But, honestly, YouTube dominates all levels of the buying cycle.
In order to market your product or service, you need to get a prospect to DO something. You need to get them to feel something (maybe regret, FOMO, desire, curiosity, compassion, greed) and subsequently take an action.
👉That action is usually clicking on a link.
If somebody watches your video on YouTube but never clicks, that's ok because they are consuming your content on YouTube's platform, but for the marketing needle to move, you need to get that viewer to click on something and take them off the platform. This goal is contrary to YouTube's main objective, which is feeding you a constant supply of videos geared towards what will keep you watching endless videos on their platform.
YouTube knows the most valuable metrics for their platform: watchtime, which means keeping viewers on THEIR platform. And they have a sophisticated system designed by some very smart people to keep you surrounded by enticing video thumbnails just a click away. (There was an interesting section in the documentary, The Social Dilemma where one of the creators of the YouTube Suggest Algorithm, Guillaume Chaslot, a former YouTube Engineer, stated he regretted creating it because it was designed to create polarization.)
It's a good watch if you haven't seen it:
One of my favourite quotes from the movie is:
Algorithms are opinions embedded in code.-Cathy O'Neil Author of Weapons of Math Destruction
But, that's a side note to this topic, which really about getting better and more measurable results from you YouTube marketing actions.
What Action Should Your YouTube Viewers Take?
If your goal is to generate revenue from your YouTube marketing efforts, listen up! If you put up a YouTube video, your main marketing metric should be generating link clicks away from YouTube. You want somebody to click over to your site and download a white paper, or register for a webinar, or click over to an affiliate page (and buy) or go to your online store and buy, or even go to your blog and immerse themselves in your content.
So… are you tracking your clicks from YouTube?
If not, you should be.
The 2 Ways To Get Clicks From Your YouTube Videos
There are 2 main ways YouTube viewers can click your links.
First is in the comments section. This is why you should ALWAYS pin a comment and have a link in that first comment that everybody is going to see.
This is a prime spot to display a short marketing message and call-to-action.
The second way is in your YouTube Description. Your YouTube description is gold, and you are likely not using this space effectively.
So what is the value of your YouTube Description? Well, think of it as an advertiser. The way Google (and subsequently YouTube) makes money is by selling ads to advertisers via a bidding system. This is the same as every social media platform. They are monetized by ad revenue.
Here is a blog post that explains how to run YouTube Ads if you are curious.
And with YouTube, you can see which keywords are more profitable than others (meaning advertisers are willing to pay more per click for each click) by using a tool like WhatsMySerp. This is one way of evaluating which keywords you should be writing more content about.
Some keywords are very profitable:
That is what advertisers are paying PER CLICK, not per lead.
So think of each click you get as worth at least a click from an ad you are paying for, and maybe more. Why might you consider link clicks from your description to be worth more? Simple answer.
Everyone knows when they click on an ad, they might be sold something, but when you click on a link in a YouTube description, the viewer is not sure. Sure, it could be obvious from the text that it's selling something, or that it's an affiliate link, but it might be just informational. A non-incentivized click could be worth even more.
So, are you tracking or measuring the clicks you are getting from your YouTube Description?
I see many people who are not.
“What gets measured, gets managed.”– Peter Drucker
If you don't at least measure your links, you have no ability to improve or make changes to improve your marketing results.
You will never know which links are more appealing to your audience. Guessing is not a strategy. So it's important to measure.
Some people use something like Bit.ly to track how many clicks you are getting. This is helpful, but if you are using the free version of Bit.ly, like most people are, you can't update the links if you want to change the URL they are going to. At some point, this will be a problem and you will lose profitable traffic.
Personally, I use Linkalytics.io which is a link tracker/shortener and which allows even free users to update the links. (Side note: I hate dead links. No matter what happens, you will end up with dead links. It's just part of the internet.) So using a link tracker gets a rough number on how many people are clicking on your links.
So what I did with Linkalytics was setup a “Campaign” called “AMTV Default Text” which tracks all of my link clicks from my YouTube Description box – so I can see as an entire group how many clicks these links are generating. (You can see the screenshot from part of this campaign below.)
And when I changed all my YouTube description links, I was surprised to see how many links were being clicked. The image was taken after about a week and a half after tracking the links from my YouTube Description box from a small channel with only 4K subscribers.
I also got some insight into which links were being clicked more frequently, some of which surprised me. Now that's a good thing because I'm no longer just guessing which call-to-actions in my YouTube Description box are resonating with my viewers – I have actionable data.
I want to point out again, all of these clicks are free. Sure, it takes time and effort to put up YouTube videos and optimize them, but once you do, you start getting free link clicks each month.
And I will say, compared to other social media platforms, YouTube gets me the most free clicks to my websites.
The 2 Parts Of Your YouTube Description
Now let me break down how I see the YouTube Description. There are 2 distinct parts to it.
The first part is the text about the video. This is going to explain in text to YouTube's algorithm and to viewers what the video is about. This is my SEO-pumped description specific to that particular video. I always write a short article/description about the video which I think of as a short, stream-of-consciousness article that I write on the spot.
I also make sure to include 3 hashtags (which YouTube will hyperlink under the video player.) I often include Chapters to boost my video SEO and also to make it easier for viewers to skip to the parts of the video they want to see. This section may include a link or two that are specific to that video.
But the second part of the YouTube description is the EXACT SAME for all my videos. This is the default text description that I set in Youtube here:
And it's important that it's exactly the same for each video. I'll explain why in a second.
This second part of my YouTube description is my money section.
I link to affiliate products that I love and that convert well. I link to landing pages and webinar opt-in pages that will help prospects get on my list and into my funnel. I include a call-to-action to encourage viewers to subscribe, leave a comment, and to follow me on different social media platforms.
With each video I put up, I get more and more eyeballs on these important links every month… for free. It doesn't even matter what the video is about. It will get clicks.
Side Note: Another important reason to track your links and use a link shortener is to create curiosity. A naked affiliate link will chase away clicks, while a cloaked link will encourage clicks through curiosity.
Which would you rather click on?
Pretty obvious, right?
The Secret Of The Bulk Update
Now here's why it's so important to keep it the same for each video: Bulk replace.
You can use bulk replace to update sections of your YouTube Description all at once. And if you put up videos regularly, you will find this truly an oasis in the desert.
Pro Tip: I use a tool called TubeBuddy to do that. TubeBuddy is free, but has a paid version with more features. Use the coupon code AndrewMurrayBuddy to get 20% off the paid version.
If I want to add a new link to my default YouTube Description, I replace the old one and add a new one. And I never have to waste time going through each of my 500 videos one-by-one doing mind-numbing, brain-contracting work.
Here is a video showing how I bulk-update to add a new link to my YouTube default description:
See the kind of time that saves? It's magic! Plus, it allows me to be flexible and test out a new capture page and get traffic to it immediately! It feels good, right?
There is one more thing I want you to know about your YouTube Description links, however, and that is that you can drop a retargeting pixel on everyone who clicks on your links. Linkalytics allows you to add your pixel, let's say for Facebook, and embeds it into the link, with your visitor non-the-wiser.
So while you are getting new clicks, and tracking new clicks, you're building up a list of active people you can run retargeting ads to – who already know who you are.
Retargeting is the easiest and lowest-cost way to drip your toe into the waters of paid marketing. Plus, you don't need to actually “target” your ads, since you are advertising to a very responsive targeting group already. (And targeting is the #1 mistake people make when getting started with paid ads.). So, have I got you excited about the potential you have in your YouTube description right now? What are you waiting for?
Create a free account with Linkalytics right now and start getting more results out of your YouTube videos.
Hey, I'm Andrew. I moved to Lisbon, Portugal from Canada. Follow my journey here.
I also happen to run a SAAS that helps marketers give their shared links superpowers. You can create a free account and start being more productive: Check out Linkalytics here.
I'm passionate about AI and using AI tools to help creators and marketers create better content, faster. Get the jump on AI and discover free AI tools every week.
Read my writings on Medium.
Got a marketing question? Need some direction? Book a call with me.