YouTube engagement is critical to the success of your channel.

If you do it right, you will build an authentic relationship with your audience and the community as a whole. They will know that they can rely on you for great content that will inform and excite them – and they will reward you for it by returning and converting.

If you do it wrong, you will make your audience frustrated and dissatisfied. You can also view the ROI for each of your YouTube campaign tanks – something you should definitely avoid.

Below are our top 5 tips for increasing your YouTube engagement numbers.

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What is YouTube engagement?

How to calculate your YouTube engagement rate

5 tips to increase YouTube engagement

Bonus: Download a free guide that explains the exact steps A creator has received over 23,000,000 views on YouTube without a budget and without expensive equipment.

What is YouTube engagement?

YouTube engagement is when your audience takes action on your YouTube page or in one of your YouTube videos.

The main measures are:

  • Remarks. These can show when a video is emotionally received by viewers, which can be good or bad depending on the mood of these comments.
  • Preferences and dislikes. Shows whether viewers enjoyed your video or not. It can also provide information about whether or not some kind of video or content direction reaches your audience.
  • Shares. This shows how often and where your viewers shared the video. Shares can be made via various social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) or via messenger platforms (email, WhatsApp, etc.). They are arguably the most important measure of YouTube engagement because they show that your video was so engaging that people wanted to encourage others to watch it.
  • Subscribers won and lost. With YouTube, developers can also investigate whether a video has attracted new followers or deactivated current followers (enough to unsubscribe). This metric is the clearest indicator of the quality of a video.

Creators should always keep an eye on their YouTube analytics to get the most out of their YouTube channel. All data can help inform your channel's growth strategy.

How to calculate your YouTube engagement rate

As business expert Peter Drucker once said, if you can't measure it, you can't improve it.

With the right formula, you can measure your YouTube engagement rate with great impact. One of the most common ways to do this is to measure your engagement rate based on reach (ERR).

The percentage of viewers who interacted with your video or other content after viewing.

First, use the following formula for multiple posts (we recommend at least 5):

ERR = total number of engagements per post / reach per post * 100

Then determine the average by adding all ERRs from the posts to be averaged and dividing by the number of posts:

Average ERR = total ERR / total number of contributions

Voila! You just calculated your YouTube engagement rate. The ERR can give you a solid idea of ​​how appealing your videos are to all audiences (not just your viewers).

5 tips to increase YouTube engagement

Below are our best practices for increasing YouTube engagement. Try some or all of them to see what works for your brand.

1. Nail the preview picture

The thumbnail of your video is arguably the deciding factor in a viewer's decision to view your content, especially when it’s on their phone.

Along with the title, it's the first thing viewers see when they search for videos.

And it's not enough just to select and use an interesting shot from your video.

Preview image of two giraffes having sex

Unless, of course, it is VERY interesting.

You should adjust your thumbnails to ensure that there is a clear, strong image that tells potential viewers about your video as you draw.

In fact, 90% of the best performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails.

Here are a few tips for creating great thumbnails:

Add text

If your video does not contain any particularly eye-catching images, add text to your thumbnail to convince your viewer. Think of it like a second title in your video. How can you use this space to really get your audience's attention?

A YouTuber who has great thumbnails is The Film Theorists.

Series of thumbnails for Youtube videos from The Film Theorists

All of his thumbnails tell viewers what to expect from their video – but just enough to entice them to click on the video to watch.

Also note how consistent the thumbnails are. They each contain the same red font and his logo. This helps with branding and allows your viewers to instantly recognize your video from a list of other videos.

Use the rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a basic principle in photography. It refers to the idea that the human eye is naturally drawn to four points in one picture.

Image of a tree on a lake divided into 9 equal squares

Source: Wikimedia

When you create an image for your thumbnail, you want to keep the most important aspect in one of these four points.

Some examples:

YouTube video image for

YouTube video image for

Of course, this is not a fixed rule. There are many great examples of thumbnails that center the image. However, it's a solid rule of thumb if you're looking for a way to create your thumbnail.

Use the right tools

To make a great thumbnail, you need thousands of dollars of fancy photo editing software and hundreds of hours of training to edit it.

… What I would say if creating thumbnails weren't incredibly easy.

In fact, there are many great free programs that can help you create beautiful social media images.

One that we suggest is Canva. This is a web app for designing graphics for almost everything from book covers to logos to infographics.

And of course you can also create great thumbnails there.

They actually have preset image sizes for YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. So you can easily design without having to worry about the image specifications.

It's also very beginner-friendly, so no graphic design experience is required to create great thumbnails.

2. Hold dinner parties – no soap boxes

Of course, not literally, unless you have room for a dinner party for all of your YouTube subscribers.

Brands treat social media engagement like a soap box or a dinner party.

Soap boxes are those social media accounts that are self-centered. They simply exist as a place where brands can advertise their products and services – while ignoring data, metrics and customer interactions.

Dinner parties are brands that invite their audience to talk and get in touch with them. They actively listen to and respond to what their audience tells them. A good host of a dinner party knows his guests well.

If you want dinner parties and not soap boxes to take place on your YouTube page, you also need to know your audience well. For this reason, you should spend a lot of time dealing with the needs, desires and weaknesses of your viewers.

What is your viewer struggling with? What do they need to see in your video to inform and please them?

To help you, we've created a comprehensive guide to audience research so you can get to know your YouTube audience on a deeper level.

Think about it: are your friends more willing to deal with you when you invite them to a dinner party? Or if you yell at her from your soapbox about everything you've done in the past few weeks?

3. Respond (strategically) to trends

Trend events on YouTube are great sources of content for your viewers. Not only are they a great way to deliver fun videos to your audience, they're also a solid way to increase brand awareness.

And the more people know about you (about brand awareness), the more they will deal with you (about brand loyalty). How will they like and share your videos if they don't know who you are?

A good example is a trend that I like to call "experts react". Here is a good example from GQ:

In these videos, experts react to films and television programs in which this topic is presented in action. GQ does have quite a few of these videos, but they are certainly not the only ones that are committed to the trend.

Here is a popular example from WIRED:

Smaller developers have also started the trend to great success:

Does this mean that your brand should try to create a video in which experts respond? No, unless you find that it is: a) something your audience wants to see, and b) something that actually works for your brand and services.

(So ​​don't expect Hootsuite to release a video shortly titled, "Social Media Experts Respond to the Use of Social Media in Movies.")

But if the trend definitely meets both criteria, then do it! And have fun with it.

4. Work with other developers

It doesn't matter whether you're trying to increase subscribers to a newsletter, podcast, or your YouTube channel. One of the best ways to grow your audience and increase engagement for your videos is by working with other developers.

After all, loyal viewers trust the creators who subscribe to them. That's why they usually subscribe to them in the first place. So when you work with them, you immediately get social evidence in their eyes, even if they didn't know that your brand existed by then.

However, you shouldn't just work with someone. Instead, find developers who have something to do with your industry (of course, without being a direct competitor).

Here's a good example: When YouTuber Simone Giertz appeared on Adam Savage's Tested channel.

In this case, both creators like to build interesting things. Where Simone creates crazy robots, Savage creates a mix of things from film props to massive nerf cannons. Combine the two and you have a perfect moment of collaboration.

5. Use the right tools

As the old saying goes: Work smarter, not harder.

With tools like Hootsuite, you can publish YouTube videos and track your performance through a comprehensive analytics dashboard. This saves you a lot of time to determine what kind of content your audience likes best.

Another great feature for YouTube engagement is Hootsuite's YouTube comment moderation tool. You can view all comments about your video and delete them if necessary.

You can also view all incoming comments on a specific video. You can then approve or delete the comments before they are published. This is ideal to ensure that you only deal with high quality comments without spam.

The following video shows how the comment moderation tool works.

But maybe you already have a lot of commitment to your YouTube videos and want to pay back the love by getting involved with other people's videos. Hootsuite also has a solution for this. Search for other YouTube videos in streams and connect with other developers by liking, commenting on and subscribing to their content – without leaving the dashboard.

Expand your YouTube audience faster with Hootsuite. Schedule videos and moderate comments in the same place where you manage all other social networks. Try it for free today.

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