Have you ever seen a video on YouTube and then suddenly a dim colored box appeared on the screen with some text? These are called "Annotations" by YouTube and they're handy for a couple of reasons.
- First, Annotations allow you to make changes to the information in your video.
Most video platforms don't allow you to make changes to your video file. So if you need to change something in your video, you'll have to upload a new version, which means you'll loose your view count, comments and all other interactions. This is especially bad if your video is getting lots of traffic from search and other sources. But YouTube allows you to add and delete annotations on your video which give you at least some freedom to modify the information your viewers see.
- Second, you can link annotations to a URL with what YouTube calls "External Annotations. However, to avoid it's users linking to lots of scammy sites online YouTube requires you to prove that you own the site you are linking to. This means that setting up your first external annotation can be a bit tricky.
Here are the steps you need to follow to setup the first "External Annotation" for your Explainer Video on YouTube.
1. Verify your YouTube channel
This is quite easy. All you need to do is associate a phone number with your account. To do this, follow the 4 steps in the image below: Login to your YouTube account > 1. Click on your user icon on the top right > 2. Click on "Creator Studio" > 3. Click "Channel" in the menu on the left > 4. Click the blue "Verify" button and then follow the instructions.
2. Ad an associated website to your YouTube channel
Once your channel is verified you can add an associated website. To do this, go back to your "Creator Studio" > Channel > Advanced > Scroll down > Enter your URL > Click add. As you can see in the image below.
Once you've added your URL the status will be "Pending" the screen will look like the image below. Click the "verify" link which will take you to a new screen.
On the new screen select your preferred version to verify that you own the domain you're linking up. If you already have google analytics we recommend that you use that option (it's the fastest). If not, you can also use the domain name provider. Google will allow that for almost any domain name providers.
If the verification worked you should go back to the same page on youtube where it should now say "success" with a green light. If it still says "pending" try clicking the "refresh" button. You can also try clicking the "remove button" followed by the blue "save" button on the bottom of the page and then trying to add your domain once again. If your verification failed, or if it worked and your status keeps saying "pending" you may have an issue with using multiple accounts. If that's the case please send us an email to email@example.com with as many details as possible so that we can send you more detailed explanations of what you can do about this.
3. Create your first External Annotation
Once your external URL is verified, create your first annotation by going to the editing section of your video. Again, login to your account, click your account icon, creator studio and then the "edit" button next to your video, as you can see in the image below.
Then click the "End Screen & Annotations" tab to get into the annotations editor.
Now that you're in the annotations editor you can start playing around. You can create lots of different annotation types, but to show you the ropes we'll first create a grey annotation that links to your website.
Next: 1. Click Annotations > 2. Add annotation (select "Note") > 3. Add a text (you can write your website URL) > 4. Check the box "link" > 5. type your URL > 6. Click Save > 7. Click "apply changes". Now when you go to watch your video you will see your annotation and when you click it you will be redirected to your associated website.
Now your annotation is already working, but you can make it even cooler by placing it at the right spot and during the right time. To place it on the right spot you can drag & drop or resize it by using the tiny boxes on it's edges as you can see in the green arrow 1 in the image above. You can change the time that it appears during the video by dragging and resizing the bar below the video near the green arrow 2 in the image above.
And that's it! You've created your first external annotation. Now that you've verified your external url the next annotation should be much easier to do. So have fun with them and let us know if you face any difficulties or if you have any additional questions via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Before we get started with this topic you should know that currently there are only 2 platforms that you need to consider to publish your explainer video. YouTube first and Facebook which is a distant second. Some people may even consider Vimeo but that's only for very niche purposes where you don't care for traffic to your video.
Because YouTube and Facebook are competing heavily for the viral video market there is increasingly less compatibility between the two. You can't post videos from Facebook to YouTube and since Facebook has launched the auto-play feature for its own videos, YouTube videos are barely watched on Facebook anymore.
And that's not all. The two platforms are also experimenting with different formats, which means that you need to create different videos to get the best performance on either of them.
- Because youtube has started playing videos almost 10 years before Facebook, they are the standard bearer for videos online.
- YouTube is the reason that 99% of all videos today have the same 16:9 dimensions.
- YouTube has by far the most advanced player allowing your explainer videos to be played with extremely low internet connectivity (You can even store your YouTube videos offline)
- Explainer videos on YouTube can be embedded virtually anywhere (except for Facebook where they only show up as a glorified link)
- YouTube traffic is based on search (FB is based on virality). This means once you get organic traffic you'll keep getting it everyday, for ever.. sort of.
However, there's also major downsides to YouTube. Most importantly that there's a lot of competition and it can take a very long time before you start getting organic traffic to your video. Also, this article is about Facebook, so lets move on.
How to make your Explainer Videos succeed on Facebook
Before we get started it has to be said that for your video to succeed on Facebook it has to be a good video, with good information that people CHOOSE to share by themselves. You cannot expect a pure advertising video with zero entertainment or educational value to perform better than any regular picture advertising.
However, being a good video is also not enough. For example, most of our own videos that performed well on the MinuteVideos YouTube channel did not perform at all on Facebook. That's because since Facebook introduced its auto-play function, most people started watching its videos without sound. Here's an example from a video on our Thai Facebook page which has reached 800,000 organic views. You can see on the bottom right of the photo that only 30% of them watched with sound on.
At MinuteVideos we've experimented with a lot of different formats including the subtitles feature that Facebook offers itself. But non of it worked until we started producing videos specifically for Facebook - Then it started to work very, very well. Here's the two three most important things that you need to do:
Your explainer videos need to feature a lot of easily readable text that gives enough information for the viewer to understand what's going on without listening to the sound. Checkout the storyboard for one of our Facebook targeted explainer videos about depression from this link
Your video needs to appeal to a broad crowd. Because of Facebook's algorithms for displaying content on its users newsfeeds, niche topics like "how to write a good business plan" won't work. It has to be something that at least 1 in 5 people finds interesting enough to watch and 1 in 200 will share. Sadly "likes" and other "reactions" don't help spreading your video very much.
If your topic is "kinda niche", it may still work if you advertise it a little. It's important to know that Facebook awards advertising that gets a lot of interaction with highly reduced cost. For example, our video below reached only a few hundred people without advertising, but when we started a $5/day advertising all stats of the video started growing including how much it got shared.
If you're making explainer videos for video content marketing on YouTube we recommend that you don't publish your video right away after uploading.
That's because new videos get a preferred status on YouTube search for the first week after they've been published. To make the most of this it's better if your explainer video already has a lot of views before it is published. This means your video will show up higher in YouTube searches during the first week, which will give it more views, which will give YouTube more data to assess your video and most likely means your video will rank more highly in YouTube search result even after the first week has passed, compared to a video that gets published right after uploading.
The views you get from these early search results are especially important because they will have a higher "audience retention" than views from other sources. That's because viewers who find your video from search usually are looking for exactly the information you are explaining and will therefore watch a higher percentage of your video. This earns your explainer video a higher status in the YouTube search algorithms right from the start.
Read here to see how to upload your explainer video to YouTube as "unlisted"
Once your explainer video is uploaded and "saved as unlisted" you have to get views.
How many views you need before publishing depends on how many views your competition has. It's a good time to publish your video once it has a similar view count to the videos on the bottom of the first page of your desired search terms. Here are a few things you can do to get views before publishing:
Post your video on a relevant Reddit page (called subreddit). Active pages with 50,000 subscribers or more can give you 1,000+ views. If you don't yet have an account on Reddit it might be difficult for you to post your video to some subreddits. If that's the case just let us know and we can post it for you. You can also get some views from posting on Upworthy.com.
Send your video to friends. Copy the link from YouTube and send it via email to everyone you know and ask them to share it too. Send it to your friends on your instant messenger app like What's App or Line. You can also post your video on Facebook, but make sure that you post the link rather than uploading it to Facebook itself, because this won't get you any views on YouTube. You can upload your video to Facebook later. Here is an article on How to make the most out of your explainer video by uploading it on Facebook. Make sure to ask your friends to like your video on YouTube and leave a comment as well. This will help your video rank much higher as well.
If points 1 and 2 don't give you enough views you can get high quality paid views from google search. While regular google ads are usually very expensive, advertising free videos usually gives you a lot of clicks at very low costs. People from paid google ads usually watch a high percentage of your explainer video. Here's the best way to do this:
Promoting your video with Google Ads
In summary you will start a Google Ad targeted to one keyword (or a couple) that leads directly to your video on YouTube. The ad should contain the text "Free 3 min. Video" in the title and a very short description of what's in the video in the Ad description. the description should be related to the keyword the people are searching for). Make them understand that they will get exactly the information they are looking for and don't mention any additional info you might have in the video.
To get started, go to your Adwords account and create a new search campaign, as you can see in the image below. Unless you know what you are doing you should not use display or YouTube/video ads.
Set your CPC limit to $2 dollars per click and your daily budget to $5. This will only give you a few views that are very expensive, but that's where you have to start to understand the competitiveness of you keyword. Let this run for 1 day and then check back. Choose the "all countries and territories" and "English" language options.
When you check back after 24hours you should have gotten some views and you can now see the average CPC that Google Ads has automatically achieved for you. Most likely your daily budget of $5 dollars has been fully used. Now, change your CPC limit from $2 dollars to just below the automatic CPC that google has achieved. for example if the Automatic CPC is $1.35, set your new CPC to $1.3. Let this run for 1 or 2 days and then check back.
When you check back your Automatic CPC will now have dropped even further. Lets say to $0.68. Do the same step again and set your new CPC limit to $0.6. Continue these steps every day until you have reached a CPC level where your daily budget is not used up fully anymore. Once this happens you can set back your CPC to the level of one or two days before. At this point you have achieved an efficient CPC setting and you can now increase your daily budget to a level that you'd like to have.
Once you have purchased your explainer video you can download it right away using the “download” button just below the cart. This gives you an industry standard H.264 encoded video file with full HD 1920x1080 dimensions. You own the full rights to this video and may use it wherever and however you want. You can even re-edit and create new versions of your video.
Regardless of the application for your explainer video, the first thing you should do is to upload to YouTube. YouTube is by far the best player because it seamlessly adjusts the quality of your video depending on the viewer’s internet connection, making sure that your explainer video will always play smoothly. Its also got an extremely cool analytics suite that tells you who watches how much of your video, from where and much more. YouTube is also supported by virtually every platform for embedding on websites, blogs, etc and of course, it’s absolutely free.
1. Signing in/up on YouTube
To upload your video you’ll need a google account. Gmail, Goggle+, Google Drive and many more google services are all connected to one account. If you don’t have a Google account yet we recommend that you create one by signing up for a Google Mail account HERE. Once that’s done, go to YouTube.com and Sign in with the button on the top right.
2. Uploading your Explainer Video to YouTube
Once you’re signed in click the upload button near the top right of the screen and then “drag & drop” your video to the center - the upload will start automatically. While you are uploading your explainer video you can change some of its settings as follows:
The first and obvious things to change are the video title and description. If you want your video to be found via YouTube and Google search these are the two most important items. Pick a name that you like and include terms that you think people will be searching for. Click here to learn how you can find out what people search for on the web.
For the description you can add additional information about your business/product or anything else you think people might search for. If you can’t come up with anything suitable we recommend that you copy the script from your project on MinuteVideos.com and paste it into the description.
You can also enter some tags, but this is not so important. Just add whatever comes to mind and you think is related to your video. The more “niche” the better.
Next, select the most suitable thumbnail from the 3 options below the tags. Read here how you can enable custom thumbnails for your explainer video. The Thumbnail is important because this will be the image that shows up if you embed your video on your website, blog or social media account.
One important last setting that you need to choose is if your video should be PUBLIC or PRIVATE or UNLISTED. If it should be public you can go ahead and click the blue “publish” button. If you don’t want it to be public, then you might like the “unlisted” option. Unlisted means that anyone can still see the video if you send them the video’s link, but it will not show up in any search engine. This means that it’s almost impossible to find unless someone sends you a link to the video. You can also set the video to “private”, which lets you set a password.
If you are using your explainer video for content marketing purposes we recommend that you first set this to unlisted, so you can rack up some views before actually publishing your explainer video. Read this article to learn more about publishing your explainer video for video content marketing purposes.
Once you’re done with the settings and your explainer video is uploaded you can click “save” or “publish” (depending on your settings) and then you will be taken back to the “Creator Studio”. The creator studio is basically the dashboard for people who upload videos to YouTube.
4. Dashboard and Analytics
There’s a lot of cool things in your Creator Studio, but we will have a separate section for this. For now what you need to know is that this is where you come to make changes to your explainer video. You can change the status back and forth between private/unlisted/published, change the cover image, add subtitles or even delete your video. The analytics for your explainer video will always be about 2 days delayed. So once you start sharing your video it’s best to wait a few days and then come back to see who is watching it.
Fun fact: YouTube applies voice recognition to every video so it can understand what’s in it. That’s why Explainer videos which rely heavily on the voice perform very well on YouTube search. This is especially true for Explainer Videos by MinuteVideos.com because our voices are very high quality and we keep the background music at a minimum, which makes it very easy for YouTube’s voice recognition to understand what’s in the video. In fact you can see the results of the voice recognition on your video by going to the subtitles section of your explainer video (Go to: YouTube.com and login > Click the user profile on the top right of the screen > Creator Studio > Click the “Edit” button next to your video > click the “Subtitles & CC" around the top center of the screen > Then click the “english (automatic)” option just below the big blue button to the right of the screen). If you want to make sure that all the content is recognised correctly you can even start editing the automatic subtitles from this window.
Once it's on YouTube you should start distributing your explainer video. We recommend embedding the video prominently on your website, sharing it via email to your family, friends and colleagues, sharing it on social media, instant messengers like What’s App and anywhere else you can think of. You can get lots of views and feedback by sharing it on Reddit and other link sharing sites can also help. Sharing on Reddit is difficult if you have a new account, so let us know which "subreddit" you'd like to share it to and then we can do it for you with a MinuteVideos account. The easiest way to share is to copy the URL link that comes up when you’re watching your video on youtube. Most platforms, messengers, and website embedding features will recognise a link from youtube automatically and embed your video right away. Please let us know if you have any problems with that.
Once you have shared your video we recommend that you wait a few days before checking back on YouTube to look at your analytics. Once the numbers are in, here’s what we like to look at:
To get any analytics Go To YouTube.com and login with your account, click your profile picture on the top right and click “creator studio” > Then click “analytics” toward the bottom of the menu on the left. After that you can click on the items listed below:
- Audience Retention (go to the Creator Studion)
This shows you how much of your video your audience is watching. If more than 30% are watching your video to the end you’re doing great! You can also click on the “relative audience retention” button to the top left of your video to show how your explainer video is performing compared to videos of similar length on YouTube.
- Traffic Sources
This shows where the people are coming from to watch your video. If they are coming from your website this will show up under the “external” label. You can click on that to get a breakdown of the exact websites where people are watching your video and even click further to see which countries, gender and much more. Once your video gets picked up by YouTube search you will be able to see which search terms people are using to find and watch your video.
- Watch Time
This is the main analytics report from YouTube that shows you how many minutes of your video is being watched. From here you can click on the numbers to get a very detailed breakdown on who is watching your video, from where, at what time and much more.
Thank you for reading this article. If you have any questions on what else you can do with your explainer video please email us to email@example.com and we will get back to you right away.