It’s more imperative than ever for you to target mobile viewers with your YouTube content.
Mobile consumption is up 100 percent year-to-year, providing most of the fuel for YouTube’s growing popularity. According to YouTube itself, more than half of the site’s views now come from mobile devices, and the average mobile viewing session is more than 40 minutes long.
You don’t want to miss out on this rapidly expanding mobile audience. These tips will help you optimize your channel for mobile viewers.
1. Frontload your titles with keywords.
YouTube allows you to write video titles up to 100 characters long, but you should aim to keep your titles to a maximum of 70 characters for SEO purposes. In order to capture a strong mobile audience, you need to make sure the important, eye-catching information is at the front.
If you put your keyword within the first 20-25 characters of your title, then it will be visible in the mobile display of the video’s title. Still, you should try viewing the video yourself on a mobile device to test if your titles are appearing properly. You can also play around with your titles to get them to display just as you would like on mobile.
Here is a good example of a funny mobile-friendly title by Youtube legend PewDiePie. The interest-grabbing part of the title is upfront and in all-caps: “YOU WONT BELIEVE THIS CLICKBAIT.” He can’t even be bothered to throw an apostrophe in the word “won’t,” possibly because it would have cut off part of the word “clickbait.” The rest of the information that rounds out the title won’t show up on mobile.
2. Use close-up shots.
Close-up shots are great in general because they allow you to convey emotion and connect with your audience, but they’re even more crucial on mobile because you need to make use of every inch of your viewer’s small screen. Leaving audience members straining to make out your facial expressions makes for a very negative viewing experience. Close-ups will help you to avoid this issue.
This video by Smosh has a concept that could conceivably be difficult to portray, especially on a small screen. However, the creators stick with close-ups and shots from the shoulders-up to make sure that the dialogue and reactions are easily interpreted.
3. Make your audio very clear.
Scratchy audio and background noise are annoying for viewers on any platform, but the effect is amplified for mobile viewers. They tend to be listening through earbuds, which often don’t have the best audio capabilities. Viewers might also be viewing your video while on the go or in a noisy setting.
If you’re not already focused on the sound quality of your videos, you may be lacking in that area and possibly losing viewers as a result. With the increasing move toward mobile viewership, high-quality audio is becoming even more important.
It’s not all that difficult to improve your sound. You can use the free program Audacity to dramatically upgrade your audio by removing background noise.
4. Use YouTube cards.
YouTube added the “cards” feature in 2015 to address the issue that annotations went unseen on mobile platforms.
Now you can include cards in your video. Cards offer limited customization but are actually fairly attractive. The six different types include video links, merchandise, playlist links, fundraising, fan funding, and website links.
Don’t bombard viewers with cards . Especially on a small mobile screen, you don’t want to distract heavily from your video. However, if you haven’t tried out cards yet, then consider adding a fan funding card near the front of your video and a video link card near the end.
This video shows you how to easily add cards to your YouTube videos.
5. Put links in your description.
Putting cards on your videos will help improve the rate at which mobile viewers click through to other videos or choose to support your channel. However, mobile viewers may choose to swipe the cards out of the way. Even if they do want to click the link, mobile viewing makes it virtually impossible to load another page while continuing to watch the current video.
It’s much easier for a mobile viewer to navigate through to related links if you include them in the description of your video. They can look at the links after watching the video, and you can also make it clearer to them what they are clicking than you can with a card.
Here’s another PewDiePie example. The description of this video is loaded with links from an advertiser’s site to a giveaway link to a merchandising site.
With the dramatic rise in mobile YouTube viewership, it’s critical that you aim your channel and your videos towards a mobile audience. These strategies will help ensure you don’t miss out on your share of mobile viewership.
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Matt Cummings grew up in the Bay Area and now attends UCLA. He enjoys sports, music and comedy.