How To Hack YouTube Video Titles To Get More Views – TubeTalk Podcast #57

How do you hook your YouTube audience with your title? How do you optimize your video titles? How do you build title templates?


Tip #1: Hook Your Audience Using Your YouTube Video Title

Tim Schmoyer says that titles are one of the most important things to think about for your YouTube video. If you’ve spent countless hours shooting and editing the video, the title is worth spending some time on as well. The tile and thumbnails are the billboard that will entice someone to click (or not).

Tim tries to write titles that pitch the value of the video, not just explain what the video is. For instance, instead of using “How to set-up two-factor authentication on YouTube” you might say “How to prevent hackers from taking over your YouTube channel.” Tell viewers why they should care by eliciting their emotions and showing value.

Tip #2: 7 Ways To Optimize Your Video Titles

Dane Golden pointed to Mark Robertson’s video from a couple of years ago on “How to OPTIMIZE your video TITLES & Headlines ” – it still holds up!

  1. Don’t be deceptive: Deceptive titles can get you a community guidelines strike or a low watch time, both of which can harm your account and search engine ranking.
  2. Experiment with titles now and later: The title field is not permanent. Feel free to change it multiple times during the life of the video as different keywords trend.
  3. Take Advantage of Current Events: If it’s January, and you’re doing a video about snacks, try calling it Superbowl snacks (if copyright permits).
  4. Keep in mind title character limits: YouTube titles can be 100 characters, but YouTube search shows just 70 characters, and Google search shows only 55 characters, including spaces. Keep it short.
  5. Try ALL CAPS, some CAPS, and special characters: Experiment with variations with capitalization to find out what gets you the most views. Special characters can also be included in titles.
  6. Study Magazine Headlines: Magazines, and now click-bait Facebook headlines, have mastered the art of getting your attention. Example: “This Is The Personality Trait That Most Often Predicts Success.”
  7. Prime and Odd Numbers: Prime numbers and odd numbers catch people’s attention more, just as if you saw a traffic sign cautioning you to slow to 17 miles per hour.

Tip #3: Build a Video Title Template

Matt Ballek said that many brands will title their videos with the brand name first, followed by the name of the series, followed by what the show is about. Matt said that instead you should have your most important keywords and the unique part of your title come first, in case it gets chopped off. Save the branding for the end. Otherwise all your titles might appear to be the same.

Also, the title should work in cooperation with the thumbnail, because the two account for the majority of your click-through rate. One example is the Vsauce video with a solid yellow thumbnail and the title “This is not Yellow.”

For thumbnail text, Matt generally likes to have it slightly different that the title, with the graphic text within the thumbnail boiling it down to just a single keyword.

Matt says it’s important to test titles on your top performing videos and A-B test them from time-to-time using YouTube Analytics or YouTube TrueView. With TrueView you can create different ads with the same video, using different variations of the title and thumbnail, even though the video it points to is the same (you would use in-display ads). Then you can see which click-through rate is better.

Tim says that after about a week, the meta data isn’t as important, and YouTube ranks the video based on the activity of those who have watched it, rather than the meta data.