Today, I would like us to go through two things together. Firstly, clarify how Youtube works, and more precisely how the Youtube algorithm works, and then, once we have all the parameters, see how to use them to our advantage and gain video views. These are two key components that will help you stand out from other Youtubers and/or creators.
If there is a search engine that, for the last 10 years has become a reference in terms of discovery of emerging artists, artistic showcase for professional singers, musicians, and music videos, it’s Youtube. More than a simple website, Youtube is an opportunity for any artist, beginner or confirmed, to establish its reputation, its brand image and its credibility. Not to mention the countless number of artists who had their first successes as a Youtuber, and who today are known in their country, or even internationally. But the question remains: how to gain views on their music videos? Go on YouTube and let’s get started!
1. How does the YouTube algorithm work?
1.1 How are views counted on Youtube ?
A viewer goes on Youtube, lands on your channel page, clicks on one of your videos, and watches it for at least 30 seconds. Here is the exact path that a user goes through to gain views on Youtube. Gaining viewership on your music videos requires a great mastery of music marketing to increase the click-through rate (the number of people to click on your video out of the total number of people who see the thumbnail). Working on stand-out video thumbnails and catchy titles is therefore, essential.
Many artists will say that “view and subscriber counts don’t mean anything”. They’re right, it doesn’t mean EVERYTHING. But the view count on Youtube, as well as the number of subscribers on Youtube are important. They bring legitimacy to the artist. This is proof that what they do appeals to people and is interesting to watch. So, make sure to include a call-to-action and encourage people to subscribe. But the views on Youtube will above all, inform the Youtube algorithm of the good video quality! This is a very good thing, let me explain why. The goal of Youtube, it is to make people stay as long as possible on the Youtube platform. So if the algorithm considers that your work is liked and makes people stay on the platform, it will make your video content visible to more people. In other words, more views lead to more views.
When talking about making your Youtube videos stand out, we can’t only talk about increasing your views (or click-through rate) with an eye-catching title and thumbnail. There are other equally important factors that can have a considerable effect on the reputation of an artist’s videos and their youtube channel.
First of all, the retention rate (or watch time) is key in YouTube marketing. This is the time that users spend on average in front of your video on YouTube. This is an indicator that carries a lot of weight in the algorithm. Logically, this shows the effectiveness to keep its users as long as possible on Youtube.
It is also important to try to maximize all forms of “reactions” to your videos, namely likes, comments and shares. First of all because engagement pleases the Youtube algorithm, but also because engagement encourages engagement. When choosing between a full and an empty restaurant you will tend to go to the one that the most amount of people are in without even looking at the menu. It’s the same thing if you’re hesitating between watching a video with 200 views and one with 2-million views.
Incentivizing shares (directly or indirectly) also has a strong impact on your overall visibility on the Youtube app. Because, when someone shares your video on their Instagram account, all their followers know about it. So it’s an interesting leveraging tool.
| Also read: How to use Instagram stories to promote your music
In terms of the subscriber count (the number of people subscribed to you) on Youtube, it is more complex. Because a channel with a lot of subscribers will not necessarily be more highlighted than a small channel. Because a high subscriber count does not always mean high engagement rates, these subscribers will not necessarily watch new videos. Therefore, the algorithm won’t feed this to new or existing users. A perfect example of how not pleasing the Youtube algorithm could penalize you.
The Youtube algorithm can be both rewarding and penalizing depending on certain characteristics of your channel and your videos. In summary: aim for quantity, without forgetting about quality!
1.3 How are Youtube trends created?
We’ve spoken a lot about the promotion of videos on Youtube, but how does the platform actually do it? How do you go viral? What are the possibilities that the platform has at its disposal to ensure that a video is seen by a large number of people? Well, here they are:
First of all, there are what we call “suggestions“. When you click on a Youtube video, to the right of it, you have a list of video suggestions from Youtube. It’s like Spotify or Netflix, it gives your video guaranteed visibility if it ends up in this area. The Youtube homepage is also a high visibility area. The chances of a user clicking on your video are effectively increased tenfold because it’s one of the first videos the user will see on the platform. And finally, there is the “Explore” tab. The tab where you will find the “music” section, includes a classification and many Youtube playlists with different categories: future hits, latino, etc. (just like Spotify).
Now, how do you get on the Explore page on Youtube? What about the Home page on Youtube? It’s simple, by increasing the number of likes, views, comments, subscribers, etc. So it comes down to how to get more views on your videos; let’s see how one does this ….
2. How to gain views on your music videos?
Let’s start with the external ways to increase the number of views on Youtube; where the sole purpose is to redirect users to Youtube.
The first source of external traffic that an artist can use is the media. Radio, television or newspapers are channels not to be neglected when promoting your music, and especially your Youtube channel. Speaking of media, the Groover platform is the perfect tool to contact journalists, media, Youtube channels and other music industry professionals who might be interested in talking about your project.
2.2 Social Media (Especially Instagram, TikTok, and Reddit)
Second source of external traffic, social media. As you know, Youtube is quite different in comparison to other social media platforms(Instagram, Facebook or TikTok) because of the perishability of its content. Getting 200 views on your Youtube video in one month doesn’t mean you won’t make 20,000 views the following month. This is not necessarily the case for Instagram, for example. If you want to have a better chance of being featured by Youtube, gain the most amount of views in the first moments of publishing your new video! Once again, because it shows the algorithm the high potential of your video.
Sharing on your other social media platforms may help you gain this initial push. Essentially, using your existing community (small or large) to gain views on your new videos. Making an Instagram story, post or TikTok that shows the most thrilling part can be interesting, right? Always redirecting your audience with a link is super powerful.
| Also read: How to attract and create a community of Youtube?
2.3 Organic search engine optimization on Google: SEO and website
After talking about advertising (paid traffic) to promote videos on Youtube, let’s now talk about SEO. SEO is a key tool to bring traffic organically on your content. It is a matter of asking the following question: How to optimize music videos on YouTube?
Carefully crafting the title and description of your video is essential. I also invite you, under the description, to add important keywords, adwords and hashtags that the audience may be looking for. This is key for the Youtube SEO!
Don’t forget one important thing: a Youtube video can also be referenced on Google! Optimizing your videos and overall YouTube account is key (don’t forget your Google account too!). The Tubebuddy extension or Answer the public website are ideal tools to know the most searched keywords on Youtube and Google. Use a keyword tool to improve your search results.
With Youtube for Artists, you can take a deeper dive into Youtube analytics and discover more about your audience and overall performance. There is also Youtube help and tutorials that will help you and your channel to be as optimized as possible.
| Get your music known on Youtube, thanks to Youtube for Artists
3. Why is visibility on Youtube important?
I invite you to put all these tactics into practice today for a good reason: they are valuable. Making thousands or tens of thousands of views on Youtube is not only about satisfying your ego as an artist. Many other benefits await for you. First of all, you will prove your legitimacy as an artist to the general public, just like the restaurant. You will not be able to become a reference in this industry without using Youtube. Moreover, you can use your Youtube channel as a showcase. What better way to convince a music label or producer to trust you than a growing Youtube channel!
Getting a lot of views on Youtube is also a good opportunity to progress artistically! Why? Because you can easily turn your videos into a goldmine of feedback. Youtube is like a showroom, on stage 24 hours a day, and where people come and go continuously. Imagine the progress you could have if you leave a “tell me what you think” on the door of your gigs!
Don’t hesitate to use the Groover platform to get quick and easy feedback from hundreds of qualified music professionals.
4. How to find ideas for YouTube videos ?
4.1 Do you need a big budget to create good quality videos ?
When an artist wants to make a music video, the first obstacle they will have to face is deciding how much to invest to create this piece of content. A good director, competent cameramen, but also a nice location, a dozen extras or special effects specialists … all of this is expensive.
That being said, as an emerging artist, there are simple ways to drastically reduce your expenses for your next video. First of all, as far as framing and editing is concerned, I can invite you to go to audiovisual schools. Knowing that many students can or must do professional internships during their studies, you understand that by offering students to collaborate, it’s a win-win situation. You shoot your video for free because the internship is unpaid and the student has the opportunity to rent professional equipment for free at his school, and he has a professional experience to add to his CV (nowadays, recruiters give a lot of importance to this, and take less and less students who leave school without professional experience). This tip is a real nugget! It has worked for almost all the artists I have coached with LYD’R Coaching. Don’t underestimate this possibility.
| Check out: 9 Tips for small budget music video productions
That being said, as an emerging artist, there are simple ways to drastically reduce your expenses for your next music video. First of all, as far as framing and editing is concerned, I invite you to go to audiovisual schools. Knowing that many students can or must do professional internships during their studies, you understand that by offering students to collaborate, it’s a win-win situation. You shoot your music video for free because the internship is unpaid and the student has the opportunity to rent professional equipment for free at their school, and they have professional experience to add to their CV (nowadays, recruiters give a lot of importance to this, and take fewer students who leave school without professional experience). This tip is a real hidden gem! It has worked for almost all the artists I have coached with LYD’R Coaching. Don’t underestimate this possibility.
Finally, you can also plan to shoot several music videos at the same time in the same location. How about renting a restaurant? Shoot a first scene in the main room, a second one at the bar, and then a third one in the kitchen!
4.2 How and where does one find ideas for music videos?
When it comes to video design, many artists spend a lot of time and effort comming up with an idea for a buzzworthy video. You want your video to be out of the ordinary, I can understand that. But is the virality of a video clip necessarily proportional to the complexity of the basic idea? I don’t think so. Nobody will tell me that Christine and the Queens’ videos don’t work. However, any artist starting out has the budget to make the same.
If however, you are really short of video ideas and even after 2 days spent on Youtube looking for inspiration you still have nothing, do one simple and effective thing: a lyrics video. Filmora is a good tool to make a quality animated clip, with your lyrics scrolling. You can also add a passage where we see a video of you singing. It’s very easy to do and believe me, it’s much better than a simple still cover image.
To sum up, if there was one question you could ask yourself today to move forward, it would be this: how can I make my next content on Youtube make people stay on Youtube longer than my competitors? Find the answer and in 2 years you will be on top, I guarantee it. Gaining views on your clips is accessible to everyone!
No matter the discipline, no matter the project, the logic will always remain the same: offer quality, offer value to the people around you, and you will be rewarded.
Now it’s up to you. Be consistent, and enjoy what you do…
-Translated by Betty Gonzalez Gray-