One of the most significant metrics on YouTube is click-through rate. In simple terms: What percentage of viewers see your video on the page and click on it.
Why is it so important? Apart from the obvious: reasonable click-through rate means more viewers seeing your content, there’s a hidden element to this issue.
As your click-through rate increases, you are considered more popular and therefore more important by the YouTube algorithm. When that happens, your videos become more visible – even actively recommended. As you can see an excellent click-through rate can be a key to YouTube success.
Since this topic is a bit more technical than our usual material, it might include words or terms that aren’t as known to many YouTubers. Feel free to ask in comments if you need us to clarify anything, but we will try to be as detailed as possible.
One thing that is important to know about YouTube is that it doesn’t cater to creators. It doesn’t look for an audience for your videos
It’s the other way around.
YouTube algorithm screens all the content on the platform for highly relevant videos that the viewers may be interested in. It’s great to be aware of this system because it affects the way you should promote your channel. What is the best way to be seen? Make sure the algorithm finds and recommends you.
Once YouTube knows that there is an active interest in your content, it will start suggesting your videos either through the recommended bar or the search results page. But how does YouTube know that your videos are of any interest?
It’s all about the click-through rate.
The click-through rate is automatically calculated when YouTube thinks that one of your videos may be of interest to a viewer. It shows your thumbnail and title to that viewer and then checks how they respond to it.
If the viewer clicks on your video, great. YouTube recognises this as an excellent response and will suggest your video to more people. But if the viewer doesn’t click on your video, the algorithm will see this as a fail and suggest your video even less.
An average video that has about 5% click-through rate (which doesn’t sound that bad, right?) is considered to be relevant enough to be visible on YouTube. Once you go above that, let’s say with videos with a click-through rate of 10% or higher you are looking at active channel growth.
How do you get to around 10% click-through rate? This can be done by creating better titles and thumbnails. This is exactly why creators put so much time and effort into them to encourage more viewers to click on their content. It’s almost like swiping left or right on Tinder. If the first impression isn’t great, the viewer won’t be interested to know more.
About your titles:
1. Keep it short and keep the viewer guessing.
Your title needs to be appealing and exciting enough for someone to click on it, that’s why having a sharp and concise title is better. No one will spend time reading an overly complicated headline if there are hundreds of different videos to choose from.
2. Be descriptive.
Short doesn’t mean vague. Whatever you decide on, make sure your title describes the actual content.
3. Don’t be repetitive.
This doesn’t only apply to repeating words in the title, but also to copy the general title structure in between different videos. Yes, it can work if you’re running a popular series but shaking things up helps it feel fresh.
4. Match the audience to their interests.
Viewers tend to look for a particular type of content. They circulate certain topics to look for new information. You need to make sure that you know your target audience and target their distinct interests.
A few key notes on your thumbnails:
1. You want to keep them simple.
They are small, and there is not that much space to use, so make sure you go for striking visual impact, not details.
2. Bright colours tend to work better.
Why? Because they are easily noticeable, and they immediately catch people’s attention. You want to differentiate yourself with the thumbnail, not blend in.
3. Add only 2-3 words to your thumbnail.
Since the thumbnail is tiny, the text is not that easy to read. It needs to be short and to the point.
4. Make sure that it has something that your audience is looking for.
You can do that by either making sure that your thumbnails are consistent (they feature you, your logo or a specific layout) or make the topic of the video clearly visible. The third option is to mash the 2 above together to give you a unique and instantly recognizable thumbnail style.
Look at some examples from Markiplier, Indeimaus or videogamedunkey to see what we mean – they have some great examples of spot on tiles and thumbnails.
And remember: you should always be improving the way you do things. Don’t worry if your initial titles and thumbnails are not perfect. This is something you learn through hours of practice and countless uploaded videos. So do just that, create great content and never stop uploading!