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How To Gain 3 Million Views In Three Days. AIR Music experience in YouTube video promotion

How To Gain 3 Million Views In Three Days. AIR Music experience in YouTube video promotion


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Andrei Kurtov

3 years ago | 8 min read

Andrei Kurtov,
the head of the AIR Music video label, one of the units of the AIR Creators Ecosystem

Today, YouTube is not just a video hosting service, but one of the key tools for increasing of artist’s popularity. Getting into the trends of a social network is not an easy task. However, staying in the limelight of the audience is an even greater challenge.

As the head of the AIR Music video label, one of the directors of the AIR Creators Ecosystem, I share my experience on how to quickly promote a music video on YouTube and get good results.

AIR Media-Tech has been in the music industry for ten years. The video label AIR Music has been in existence for a little less than three years. We provide a wide variety of services and products used by famous music artists.

In this field, as in any other business, the same laws of promotion, work. Traffic and content monetization become one of the main elements of creativity popularization. In particular, the video content of performers.

The demand for a modern artist is defined by the number of views of his video on YouTube. The amount of content contained there is almost as immense as the number of neurons in our brain. More than two billion users visit the resource monthly. On the one hand, this is a perfect opportunity for an artist to assert themselves. On the other hand, from year to year, the audience becomes more spoiled and content demanding.

The logic is simple: if you invest in video creation, you need to spend money to ensure that your product is seen by as many people as possible. Based on our experience, I'll tell you how to promote an artist's video on YouTube.

By the way, returning to the laws of business - NDAs in the music niche is in the same respect as in other areas. Therefore, attention: all examples are real. Any reference to real heroes is purely coincidental.

Trends are not the only thing. From where to start the promotion?

Some artists still believe in the "superpowers" of the Trending tab, although this mechanism generates on average only 1-3%, in the best cases - 10% of traffic. Viral content doesn't fit everyone. Each client requires a personalized, integrated approach, depending on the brand, artist positioning, target audience and music style.

Since 2018, AIR Music has been actively involved in the promotion, monetization and copyright protection of music artists and labels. One of the demanded services is video promotion. Our parent company, AIR Media-Tech, a global ecosystem for brands and content creators, has been working with YouTube for a decade and has partnerships with more than 3,000 successful bloggers. Among them is the Kids Diana Show. AIR Media-Tech is enlisted to the official top-3 YouTube partners. Experience shows that in most cases music artists' channels and video bloggers' channels require different tools of promotion.

I will explain with an example of a music video. The video appeared on YouTube before the artist's solo concert. Conventionally, the whole process of promoting a clip can be divided into four stages:

  • Drawing up a brief draft.
  • Preparing for the campaign.
  • Launching an advertising campaign.
  • Reporting.

At the stage of brief drafting, we communicate with the artist's team and highlight the key messages:

  • Campaign goals;
  • The target audience;
  • Budget;
  • other features of the campaign.

Our goal was to gain three million views in three days. The artist's team helped with the collection of target audience data and identified six segments. We described each category in detail by gender, demographic, geographic characteristics and interests. A tip for all artists - study your audience regularly. The core of fans can change, and you must be the first to see and detect it.

We also created additional target audience groups:

  • Everyone who had watched any of the artist's videos on their YouTube channel during the last year;
  • All subscribers of the artist's channel;
  • Viewers of the channels that have similar audiences (not necessarily music-related);
  • Visitors of the artist's official website;
  • Visitors of the concert ticket sales page.

Here I will take a step aside and talk about the philosophy of YouTube algorithms. Based on these, we built an advertising campaign strategy.

Why only focusing on the number of views is wrong.

Eight years ago, views were considered significant for YouTube algorithms. Nowadays you need to get high audience engagement (that is, depth or viewing time). It is not the only one, but still a significant aspect of getting into the "Related Videos" and "Featured" sections.

How does the algorithm work? If users watch a video, and in a considerable number of cases watch it up to the end (or even rewatch it several times), YouTube will recommend it to adjacent audiences with similar interests and socio-demographics. The aim of the advertising campaign is to show the clip to the audience that will generate the highest viewing depth. Why is this needed? The higher number of views provides the lower prices per view on Google Ads, increasing the likelihood that the video will receive a significant share of traffic from YouTube recommendations after the campaign ends.

However, it is wrong to focus solely on the number and cost of views. It can "kill" future potential organics.

Having drafted and coordinated two media plans with the artist's crew – with both pessimistic and optimistic forecasts for the cost of views - we started to optimize the clip.

How to prepare the visual component of the YouTube channel for release

The cover of the video is a significant and often overlooked part of the campaign. The artist's face must be visible. It has to contain a minimum of text and legible font.

In our case, we optimized the description before publishing the clip. Usually, this is a text of at least 350 characters about the video creation history or about the sources that inspired the artist for this video work. We also added screensavers, tags that people can use to find the clip, and useful links - channel subscriptions, social networks, playlists and other videos.

The purpose of hints and end screens is to complement the video viewing experience, not to disturb the viewer. They can be placed several times throughout the video, but so as not to overlap the artist and significant parts of the clip.

We advised the artist's crew to attach end screens to previous music videos so that older videos could lead the audience to new content. In the description of past works, we added a link to a new video. On the day of release, the profile picture and banner of the channel were changed under the general style, and the clip was placed on the channel's trailer.

Increasing audience engagement: the price of the issue

To get the necessary metrics, we combined two advertising tools - In-Stream ads and Video Discovery ads. The first gives good depth of viewing, the second - engagement in the form of likes, comments and new subscribers.

We use Google Ads for promotion. This tool has its own characteristics. For example, a clip must be submitted for moderation within at least two working days (the sooner - the better) before the release date. Videos will be put under review according to Google Ads and YouTube Community Guidelines. It is advisable to understand them before writing the video script.

Google Ads is a contextual advertising auction. The price is affected by various aspects:

  • Competition among the number of advertisers currently running campaigns;
  • Seasonality (in January the price is always lower, in December it is higher which is driven by the seasonal purchasing power);
  • Geography (the more economically developed a country is, the more expensive are the viewing costs);
  • Audience (the more solvent the audience segment is, the more expensive are the views).

To prevent the campaign from being intrusive to the audience, we limited the number of impressions per user. As a result, we received 50% more views from the planned goal and saved 10% of the budget for promoting other videos. The Discovery format noted a great depth of views - two to three times higher than the average. It depended majorly on the artist's recognition.

Why didn't we use seeding services? Firstly, YouTube algorithms react negatively to them. Video hosting has introduced a rule: videos that get at least 50% of their traffic from internal YouTube sources (recommendations, playlists, subscriptions, etc.) can get into trends. Secondly, the targeting capabilities of such services are more scarce compared to Google Ads.

Music is not only an art, but also a business. Any well-organized business has marketing costs. To promote the video, you need to lay at least 25% of the production budget, optimally - 50%. The more expensive the video, the more money you need for its promotion.

On YouTube, the artist competes with the content of the whole platform - blogger videos, journalistic interviews, travel shows and gameplays. An interesting music video can get lost among thousands of formats. Therefore, plan your promotion costs at the same time as your production budget.

The most important period for attracting initial traffic is 48 hours after publication. At first, we actively track the depth and cost of views for each audience segment. If any group shows low statistics, we turn off this segment of the target audience and reallocate the budget to more engaged positions.

After the release, it is recommended to write and pin a call-to-action comment under the video. Ask people to rate a new video work, a single, the look of a musician - anything that encourages them to leave a review. Feedback from the artist is also important. We ask you to like the comments you like, to answer direct questions in them if the artist's image provides it. The moderation of comments accompanies the entire advertising campaign and continues after it. It is better to delete only those reviews that are not related to the video or the musician, or contain insults and profanity.

Collecting statistics for the future strategy

As a result, we prepared a detailed report with data from YouTube Analytics and Google Ads collected from the cities and devices on which viewers watched the clip. The information was broken down by gender, age and interests of the audience, types of advertising and its effectiveness. Using Google Ads analytics, we estimated which audience segments gave the highest quality in terms of viewing depth and cheap views. Quality traffic reflects audience retention time. This indicator helps to build a future promotion strategy.

Clients often ask, “We have X dollars. How quickly will we hit YouTube trends? " We always oppose such a goal. Neither Google Ads nor any other legal promotion tool can give a 100% guarantee of hitting trends. From the standpoint of quality traffic, this method is ineffective. For each user, the feed is built individually according to his preferences, and the Trending tab is the same for all users of the selected country. Some services guarantee to hit the desired tab, but then artificial traffic comes into play. Subsequently, there may be problems with the security of the channel, and for the artist, this can cause a loss of reputation.

The main rule of YouTube success is consistency. The more frequently videos appear, the faster the artist's channel develops. It is important to not just get one-off record numbers, rather the goal is to estimate the result by a growing audience waiting for new content.

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