YouTube has been lucrative for many and elevated some to celebrity status.  Videos have millions and even billions of views and can have significant influence but it’s time for a reality check if you expect your product or message video to rank in the top 100 or top 1000 or even top 10,000 of YouTube.

YouTube can and should be a tool for your business if used appropriately with proper expectations.

Reality check #1:  YouTube is entertainment

It’s no secret that music videos dominate the top YouTube view count.

Reality check #2:  Entertainment is in the eye of the viewer

The most subscribed channel, PewDiePie, has over 43 million subscribers and near 12 billion views.  He plays video games and his commentary style appeals to a younger demographic.   Another YouTuber, Markiplier, has over 12 million subscribers and 4 and a half billion views.  A video where he contemplated a banana for 5 minutes without saying a word got over 2 million views.

Reality check #3:  Use YouTube effectively

Use video effectively to present your product or message.  Take the time to think about how to best present your product or message.  Showcase clothing on a model who can move well to show off the product. If that isn’t possible then keep the model still or use a still picture.  We all know barbecue grills clank and rattle as we roll them across the patio so don’t cheapen the product by doing that and, better yet, shoot your video outdoors in a nice patio setting.

Reality check #4:  YouTube can be a tool

Use YouTube as a tool and use it correctly.  Not everything has to be in video.   TV and audiophiles may prefer a written article with images versus a showcase video conversely a teaching demonstration of surround sound tuning may be better suited and easier to follow on video.  Use a teaser video to draw consumers back to your website for additional content either in video, pictures or text. Leverage your YouTube videos by embedding them into your website or social media content.

Reality check #5:  YouTube video can build reputation

The goal is for the consumer to see your business as reputable which, in turn, generates a higher conversion potential.  Present a well thought out video.  Pay attention to how the product or message is presented.  Remember that barbecue grill will be more appealing if seen in the backyard on a sunny day than in the crowded showroom.

Reality check #6:  YouTube is about content

It’s not about what you think is good content or not.  It’s about your awareness of your audience and what they want.  Nobody wants to be sold to on YouTube.  Make a video where there is takeaway information.  Roll out those barbecues and compare models and showcase the advantage of each.  Show which clothing will flatter a particular body type. This reality check goes hand in hand with reality check #4.

Reality check #7:  Don’t get caught up in length, views or ranking

Optimal video length is subjective however it is important depending on what the video is intended to do and where it will be used.  Short teaser videos are great to hook an audience on Facebook or Instagram to draw consumers back to your website to view longer videos.  A hook for barbecues may be “Want to know you’re your summer barbecue grills stack up?  We compare 10 of the best brands at bbqcompare.com”.   The views on the longer videos may drop but those viewers are, most likely, very interested customers who will be walking into your store or clicking the add to cart button.  Longer videos are okay providing the content is on message and interesting to your audience.  Keep reality check #4 and #5 top of mind.

Reality check #8:  Get a perspective

Your business, however great, probably won’t rank as a YouTube channel star or get millions and millions of views.  It is better to have hundreds of views from qualified, potential customers than millions of views from non-customers.

Search YouTube for similar products or brands or reviews and filter by views.  The top barbecue video has over 34 million views but it’s for a “Toy Barbecue Grill Velcro Cutting vegetables Peel and play Cooking Playset”.  25 entries later on page two of the search is an actual “best charcoal grills” equipment review with just 326,000 views.  The views drop into the thousands when specific barbecue models or brands are reviewed.  10 minutes of research can reveal a lot of encouraging perspective.

Reality check #9:  Research similar videos and the competition

You know your customer.  Take an extra step to learn from their comments on your competitors’ videos.  If there aren’t any direct competitor videos then look to others who are delivering content at similar levels or categories.  For example if there are no barbecue videos then look at those who have videos of appliances or furniture.

Reality check #10:  Don’t let this discourage you

YouTube can be a tool for your business.  Don’t try to create a viral video, the funniest video or the most controversial video.  Create content that your customer wants to see.  It’s give and take and if you want to take a bit of their money then you have to give something to them.  Present your product with care and attention to detail.  Take some time to think about the video and plan it before rushing to get it done.  Know your product well and believe in it.  That will translate through the lens to your potential customer.