YouTube is a free video-sharing website that makes it easy to watch online videos, on which users can upload videos they have created or have found  to share with others. YouTube came into existence in 2005 and soon after was purchased by Google for approximately 1.6 billion dollars, even before it was making a profit.

What is YouTube?
Learn more about Google’s online video platform

YouTube’s statistics show that it has over a billion users, with 800 million people visiting YouTube each month. As of November 2015, it was reported that 500 hours of content was being uploaded to the site every minute.

In order to watch YouTube videos, users must have the most up-to-date browser and a good Internet connection. YouTube can also be watched on a mobile device via the YouTube app, which is downloadable through Google Play (Android) or the App Store (iOS), although YouTube video will quickly drain the data allowance.

Some premium content on YouTube – movies, TV shows and live events – requires a faster connection and greater processing power to ensure optimal streaming speeds.

Users don’t need an account to watch YouTube videos, but it does help make the most of what it has to offer.

To post videos to YouTube, it is necessary to have a Google account. Anyone who uses any Google products such as Gmail will have a Google account. Once registered with YouTube, users can save videos to watch later and set up a YouTube homepage that shows their favourite YouTube channels, as well as receive customised recommendations for YouTube videos to watch.

It is very easy for a brand or individual to create a personal YouTube channel to promote their business. Every time they want to post a video they have created, they can upload it to their own channel. This will allow users to subscribe to their channeland permit their business to send emails to those who subscribed. Adding their website’s address within the description of each video and linking videos to Twitter, Facebook, Google+ or any other site will increase exposure. The official YouTube Help channel has several videos to show users the specifics of using the YouTube interface.

To leave a comment on a YouTube video, users scroll down the page to find the appropriate field underneath the video itself. Users can then write their comment in the comment box and submit it by clicking the ‘Post’ tab. The process is almost exactly the same regardless of whether you’re commenting via the YouTube website or app. All comments on YouTube are public, and anyone can reply to a comment that a user posts. If users see a comment that they think is inappropriate, they can flag it as spam or abuse.

If a user wants to create a playlist (a collection of videos) using YouTube, the process is simple once logged into YouTube. Users can add any video they want to a YouTube playlist by clicking the appropriate tab.

To upload videos, a user must choose an appropriately formatted video file that is stored on their computer. Once the video has been uploaded, users are encouraged to both describe the video and assign tags to it, as well as select the preferred privacy settings. By using the appropriate keywords in the title and description, the content is more likely to show up on search engines. Once the video has been appropriately marked up, users can then publish the video on YouTube, when it will become visible to other users.

In order to build a successful YouTube channel, a brand needs to be very clear and defined for the appropriate audience. Everything from thumbnails to colour schemes has to be consistent with the branding on other media platforms.

Another advantage of YouTube is users can edit videos once they’ve been uploaded onto the site, using YouTube’s free Video Editor tools.

One reason YouTube is so popular is the sheer number of videos a viewer can find. YouTube is primarily about user-generated content. Aside from videos from major TV networks and movie studios, users will find a wide range of home-grown content available on YouTube – cat videos, cookery demonstrations, fashion tips, product reviews and comedy skits. Done correctly, a YouTube video is an effective way to raise the profile of a business or an individual.

YouTube is now one of the most popular marketing channels online today, and businesses have started to wake up to the opportunities. YouTube is also the de facto second largest search engine after Google (Google owns YouTube). Users will always find YouTube videos at the top of a Google search on any topic, so there is a direct link between online video and search engine optimisation (SEO).

YouTube is often used to help promote businesses. YouTube features many ‘How to’ videos that businesses and individuals use to inform customers as well as to promote their business and showcase their knowledge and skills.

YouTube videos are easy to embed directly into an individual’s or a brand’s website or blog. This will increase the amount of time people spend on a website and help grow a captive audience. Also, Google’s algorithms consider how many times a video is viewed, and embedded video views get added to the ‘Views’ tally on YouTube. This is important to improve the performance of the video within search engine results.

YouTube videos can be shared across almost all social networks, including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, to encourage people to like, rate, comment on and share video content.

YouTube has evolved to become an extremely important content-sharing tool and now provides a great opportunity to further a brand’s reach as part of its digital marketing strategy.

Nick Lewis Communications can provide a variety of services relating to YouTube to their clients. To find out, please e-mail info@nicklewiscommunications.com or call 07970 839137.