While musicians are flocking to digital streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal, many are overlooking the potential a well formulated YouTube strategy will have on their career growth. Building a YouTube channel helps build a following of listeners, empowers you to engage with your fans, and helps increase cross-platform streaming. In this article, we’ll discuss how to best use YouTube metadata to help grow your channel.
YouTube Algorithm – Metadata and Engagement
Like many platforms, success on YouTube is found through fitting in with their algorithm. YouTube ranks videos based on two factors – metadata, and engagement. Metadata refers to elements such as title, tags, description, end cards, and so on. Engagement refers to likes, comments, shares, watch time, and audience retention. We’ll discuss increasing engagement in a later article.
To best succeed on YouTube, you’ll want to optimize your metadata so that your uploads can best reach new listeners. Ensure the title of the video is under 60 characters, and make sure important keywords describing the release (i.e. Official Music Video, Official Audio, etc.) are included in the title.
Don’t forget to add a custom thumbnail. This is imperative when uploading anything on YouTube, from a vlog, to a new music video, to a new single. Even if it is a high quality rendering of the single’s cover artwork, or a frame from the video with a title on top, it will be more visually capturing than the default YouTube thumbnail. In addition, a custom thumbnail helps your video rank. Consistent thumbnails and branding across videos will help build boost click rate, subscribes, and views, which helps rank your video better based on engagement.
The most missed portion of YouTube’s uploads are the descriptions. Make sure your descriptions are between 200-300 words at minimum. If the video upload is a new song, describe the creation process, what led up to the release, if the song is part of a larger project, and any upcoming releases. This is also a great place to place an artist bio. We also recommend adding links to your description. Great ideas include links to where the song can be found on other platforms, a link to subscribe on YouTube, share, etc.
Most artists don’t know what to tag their videos. Make sure to use as many tags as possible – there is a 400 character limit! Add genre tags, terms you believe listeners would search for to find your video, and key themes discussed in the video or song. Don’t put tags that don’t apply to the video! You want to be adding tags that people would search to find your video, not terms you would want people to find your video from (i.e. adding a competitor’s YouTube channel as a tag).
With these tips, your videos will rank higher and perform better, leading to faster career growth and greater exposure of your content. However, metadata optimizations are only part of maximizing your YouTube potential. In a later article, we’ll discuss increasing engagement.