What is audience development?

Audience development is the process of growing and keeping an audience, having the right strategy to connect to your audience, and keeping them coming back for more of your content.

Video is one of the most powerful tools you can use to build an online audience. It’s important that the content you produce reaches the right people. There are now 500 hours of video being

uploaded to YouTube every minute, which means viewers can easily get lost in a sea of content. So it makes sense to do everything you can to connect potential viewers with your video content.

You can target your content to key audiences across different channels by sharing content across various social media platforms, and via email and website embeds.

Watch time

Watch time is the YouTube algorithm for suggesting videos that lead to a longer overall viewing

session over those that receive more clicks. It is the amount of time in aggregate that your viewers are watching your videos.

Watch time is one of the most important metrics for video promotion and discovery on YouTube.

Indeed, it is the number one metric that YouTube uses to suggest videos to viewers. This means that videos that lead to longer watch times get recommended more.

So bear in mind that the amount of time viewers are watching your videos for – the total number of minutes or hours – is the main metric that YouTube prioritizes.

Video Discoverability and Optimization

Optimizing videos for search

Discoverability refers to how easy it is for people to find your videos when they search online. To

increase your chances of being found, you need to optimize your video content for Google search.

This should be part of your search engine optimization, or SEO, strategy, and doing so effectively will help you to target people who are looking for answers online.

Always keep in mind that your video content can be the answer to someone’s question. In other

words, your video could be the solution that someone is looking for.

Remember that YouTube videos also appear within Google search engine results pages, or SERPs.

People can play the videos directly from Google without even needing to go to YouTube. So it is

important to do everything you can to ensure your video appears high in the list on the SERP.

The role of keywords

Keywords are an essential part of any SEO strategy. When developing video campaigns, it’s

important to carry out keyword research to get an idea of what terms people are search for. This in turn can inform your content decisions, and give you ideas for How-To videos, for example.

Remember that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. When you do proper keyword research when developing video content campaigns, you help to ensure that your videos are being discovered by the right audience. You can use YouTube’s auto-complete feature to see suggested titles for your videos. You can also use Google’s Keyword Planner, Google Trends, and YouTube Trends to help with your keyword research.

Factors that affect search results

Three factors affect search results:

            •           The first is metadata. This is the data, or information, that you attach to the video. Examples of metadata include your tags, video descriptions, and video titles.

            •           The second factor is watch time. This is the amount of time that viewers watch your content for.

            •           And the final factor is relevancy. How relevant is your metadata to your content? If your tags are not relevant to your content, you will see high abandonment rates and your relevancy will be low.

Optimizing your videos is the best way to make sure your content gets discovered by the right



Write engaging and relevant video titles that attract the right audience. You also need to ensure that your title is optimized for searches.

With limited plain text for search engines to crawl, the title of your video is probably the

important SEO factor to consider. Video titles need to include relevant keywords, while still being

compelling enough to encourage clicks and views.

Tips for creating video titles

Titles help your audience and YouTube make sense of your content. Here are some tips for creating video titles:

            •           Make sure that your video titles and your thumbnails tell a cohesive story and align with each other.

            •           Use relevant keywords at the beginning of your title.

            •           If you need to put your brand in the title, make sure it’s at the end.

            •           Avoid misleading titles. This will cause abandonment and hurt your relevancy.

            •           Keep your titles concise, so they don’t get cut off by the character limit of 100 characters.


Aim to design eye-catching thumbnails that attract attention and correctly identify the content.

Tips for creating thumbnails

Thumbnails are the most important aspect of any video’s release, other than the content itself.

Remember that in most search results, thumbnails will be much smaller, so your images need to be clear and easily recognizable.

Tips for creating thumbnails

Here are some tips to keep in mind when creating thumbnails:

            •           Make sure your thumbnails clearly represent your content.

            •           Reinforce the title of your content with your thumbnail.

            •           Take a couple of pictures in high resolution when shooting your video that you can use later for thumbnails.

            •           Make sure your thumbnails look great in both small and large formats.

            •           Use close-ups of faces with expressive reactions to grab the viewer’s attention.

            •           Make sure your thumbnail is visually impactful, and that it stands out from other thumbnails.

Hooking viewers

With video, your goal is to hook viewers right from the beginning so that they keep watching until the end. This will increase your all-important watch time.

As soon as your video starts, you need to tell viewers what they can expect from the video. The first few seconds are crucial, so avoid long introductory animations. Keep your audience engaged by asking questions and inviting participation throughout the video.

Video Descriptions

The video description helps the viewer, as well as the YouTube algorithm, understand what your

 video is about. The description appears underneath the video within the YouTube watch page. Only the first 120 characters or so will be visible to viewers, so they will need to click on ‘show more’ to read the rest.

Each video should have at least a 200-word description, not only to create context and value for the viewer, but also for SEO purposes. You should use the description box to let the viewer know what they are about the watch, give them a reason to watch, and let them know what to expect. It’s also crucial to provide a website URL here if you are promoting a product, event, or blog.

Tips for writing video descriptions

Here are some tips for writing descriptions:

            •           Use at least a couple of keywords in the first few sentences to help with search engine discovery.

            •           Try not to drive your audience away from YouTube in your description. YouTube wants

            viewers to stay on YouTube. If you drive too many viewers off the platform, YouTube will

            penalize your videos and stop them from being recommended. Avoid including links to

            external sites that are not your own site.

            •           Use the description box to link to your website and social media profiles.

            •           Include relevant search keywords in the description, just like you do in the video title.

            •           Include transcripts of your videos, if you have them, for search engine discovery.

            •           Use chapter markers if your video is long.

            •           Work to the limits of video titles to ensure they don’t get cut off.          

   •           Include a strong call to action, or CTA. Effective CTAs that encourage engagement include inviting viewers to become a subscriber, or to visit your website for further information