Resources > Blog > Video Optimization Best Practices for YouTube

Whitney Stephens

Senior Manager, Marketing Communications

Video Optimization Best Practices for YouTube

As more and more consumers adopt the “unplugged” lifestyle of consuming their TV and video content via their wireless devices and the internet, brands are scrambling to ramp-up their digital video strategy. Predictions from eMarketer show that digital video spend will increase $5 billion annually by 2018.



But even brands that are wholly sold on the importance of digital video may not be fully versed in how to optimize their content to be the best it can be. For this article, we’ve laid out some best practices on a very basic component of digital video that many people underestimate the complexity of: Uploading to YouTube. With so many steps to consider in the process of going from idea to fully realized video shared online, it’s important not to overlook the basics.

Video Content - It’s important to plan your video content projects end-to-end from the very inception of your project. Before the cameras begin rolling, keep the following points in mind as you plan out the content of your video to have the smoothest upload process possible and maximize your audience potential when you reach the distribution stage.

  • Keep it short – Under 3 minutes is ideal (Average watch length of a single video is 2.7 minutes)
  • Create a transcription of video content to provide captions within the video - Captions are indexed by Google and can maximize the search engine’s ability to understand the subject and relevancy of the video. This also opens your audience up to include the hearing impaired or those without access to sound on their device at the time of viewing.
  • Utilize annotations wisely to enhance the viewing experience – YouTube annotation boxes should be used to unobtrusively add call-to-actions for visiting other pages, videos or content related to your brand. They can also be integrated into the viewing experience, like these choose-your-own-adventure style videos that encourage interaction from the viewer (not to mention are fun to play!)


Video Specs- These are for the content creators, the recorders and editors of your digital video content. Use these best practices to ensure the optimal match between the quality of your original videos and the final product streaming on YouTube.
 

  • Recommended File Type: .MP4
  • Supported File Types
 
.MOV .MPEG4
.AVI .wmv
.mpegps .flv
3GPP

 
  • Aspect Ratio: YouTube uses a widescreen player with a 16:9 aspect ratio. If you want to fit the player perfectly and avoid pillar boxes and letter boxes (the black bars on the left/right and top/bottom of the video) use the following resolutions when recording and encoding your video:
 
2160p: 3840x2160 1440p: 2560x1440
1080p: 1920x1080 720p: 1280x720
480p: 854x480 360p: 640x360
240p: 426x240

 
  • Audio
    • Stereo MP3 sampling at 96khz or 48 khz for best results
    • Avoid stream delays. For example, some video editing tools will inject a start time for the audio stream such that the audio starts playing at some time after the video.  Some tools introduce audio sync issues during this process.
 
  • Avoid interlacing. Most web and mobile video players do not handle interlaced content well.


SEO ­– SEO considerations are important for all types of content. Follow these steps to get the biggest organic reach for your branded videos.

  • Research
    • Use YouTube search auto-fill to generate long-tail keyword ideas. Add these to your descriptions to help rank for less competitive phrases that will naturally drive more highly targeted traffic.
    • Google Trends enables you to take popular search queries and explore traffic patterns over time ranges and locations. In March 2013, Google Trends added YouTube search data going back to 2008, making it another great tool to look at video trends.
  • Uploading
    • Use this checklist while uploading to ensure you’re completing all the vital, index-able description fields for your content in an optimal way. Click here to download the checklist.
 

Branded Video Optimization

Optional Video Optimization


For more information on digital video, or to get help with your brand’s strategy, contact Rise Interactive.

03/11/2015 at 12:00