Video Essentials

Be Seen: Why Metadata Is Critical for Online Video Marketers

Nearly one-third of all people on the internet use YouTube. Facebook video receives more than 100 million hours of views each day and Periscope has amassed over 200 million broadcasts since 2014. These are jaw-dropping statistics and they all speak to the power of online video as a marketing tool.

Of course, growth is a good thing, but the challenge for many publishers is getting eyeballs on their videos. It’s become even more difficult for brands to get engagement, which always trumps views, in my opinion.

As more video gets uploaded and streamed, you can expect it to become even more difficult to get your video ranked and seen on these platforms. One organic approach we take with our clients at Clear Online Video is detailing all or most of the metadata we’ll use before producing an online video. Here are three tips to help with your metadata strategy.

SEO Still Reigns Supreme

Take a look at any of the big search engines these days and you’ll notice that they all offer a video tab when searching for content.  It’s important to realize that search plays a big part in how your audience and customers are getting to your videos. Marketers need to keep this in mind when thinking about producing any online video that’s meant for public consumption.


Every search engine has a video tab.

So what does that mean, exactly? For starters, you need to think about search terms when developing titles, descriptions, tags, topics and content. Ask yourself: What items and keywords is my audience searching for? Try searching for these items yourself to see what shows up in the video results.

This exercise will help you identify any relevant video topics and may offer information on the competition. Check out this past article for inspiration on creating niche video content for targeting your audience.

YouTube, the world’s largest online video site and second largest search engine, claims that some search terms are popular for years and that videos addressing those search queries will have a longer shelf life. YouTube also suggests offering keywords first, followed by branding at the end of your video titles.

While each platform and channel may have its own algorithm, video titles are still one of the most important items to know before posting. Authenticity is key for any search engine, so make sure that your titles represent the content of your videos, otherwise you can be penalized and upset your viewers.

Keywords and tags should also match the actual content within your videos.  Several platforms suggest including keywords from your title as part of your tags. This can help filter your videos even further. Bookmark this keyword tool site and give it a try before posting your next video.

Finally, I recommend you do your due diligence and research other important search variables within your video platform. Some may prefer that you input keywords and tags in order of relevance and may even limit the number of tags allowed. Video sitemaps are also another great tool to provide information on your videos to search engines.

More advanced online video platforms may do some of the heavy-lifting for you when it comes to video sitemaps. Otherwise, enlisting the help of a good SEO specialist would be a wise move as this can be a cumbersome process. However, the end results can be fruitful as your videos get ranked higher in search results.

Don’t Forget About Thumbnails

While text metadata is all-powerful, it’s also important to think about the visual component to your video. Before a viewer clicks play, they’re often shown a thumbnail preview of a video. The size of these images can vary across video platforms and channels. Thumbnails are often referred to as a mini billboard, so make sure the image is compelling and as eye-catching as possible.


The thumbnail is crucial for attracting viewers.

According to YouTube, 90 percent of the best-performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails. Popular YouTube Creator Vsauce always thinks about the final thumbnail image before starting any production. This is a key strategy for all publishers.

Remind the production team or photographer that they should grab images specifically for thumbnails during the shoot. Sure, you can always pull still photos from video clips, but in my experience, it always looks nicer when creating custom thumbnails from high-resolution photos.


Be sure your thumbnail looks good on all devices.

Another suggestion when producing thumbnails is to design for the back of the room. Remember that your thumbnail may appear small on some channels. Therefore, close-ups and tightly framed compositions may be more visible to your viewers, especially for those watching on mobile devices.

My advice is to test your thumbnail on different devices and see how it comes across on those displays. It’s also a good practice to look at past videos to see how some thumbnails may have worked better than others. This can help refine your strategy for future videos.

Use Metadata Info for Promotion


Use relevant hashtags when posting video.

One final tip I’ll touch on for the importance of metadata is in regards to the promotion and distribution of your video. When it comes to video platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Periscope, hashtags play a big part in the success of your video.

Knowing any relevant hashtags that you can tie in or place around your content can make or break a video’s life in the first hours after uploading.

Hashtags act as filters on these channels and help get your video in front of a targeted audience. Take time beforehand to research and gather the hashtags that you can use in your posts and comments. Use this site to see which hashtags are trending.


Add hashtags to titles to play off trending topics.

Hashtags are also a big help when marketing live events. Most industry shows and conventions use a hashtag for their event, so make sure you know what these are and use them when publishing content. You can use hashtags with your Twitter post when broadcasting live with Periscope or even add them to your video titles around trending topics.

Having your metadata prepared and researched before publishing can lead to better results and more longevity for video campaigns.



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