Trying to figure out how to get more views on YouTube?

Hey, you’re not alone. Brands and creators often struggle for viewers’ attention when they’re in the early stages of channel growth.

But boasting over a billion collective hours of content viewed per day, recent YouTube statistics signal that there’s plenty of attention to go around on the platform.

The importance of growing your viewer count can’t be overstated, though.

Because views often represent a sort of snowball effect. The more views and engagement on any given video, the more likely you are to earn reach and visibility in the YouTube algorithm.

And if you’re hungry for more YouTube views, you’ve come to the right guide.

11 ways to get more views on YouTube

Listen: views don’t happen by accident.

Brands should borrow from the playbooks of well-established channels and likewise familiarize themselves with the best practices of YouTube if they want to move the needle.

Below we’ve broken down eleven actionable ways to increase YouTube videos.

1. Narrow down and analyze your target audience

If you want to grow on YouTube, carving out a niche is a smart first step.

The absolute flood of new content on YouTube speaks for itself. Generic, surface-level videos with no target audience aren’t going to rack up many views.

Given the time and investment required to grow on YouTube, defining your target audience should be a priority as you begin publishing content. To narrow down your audience, ask yourself:

  • Are we focused on introducing ourselves to new customers (think: brand awareness) or educating existing ones (think: loyalty and nurturing)?
  • Should our videos be geared toward “basics” and “beginners” or “advanced users” and “experts?”
  • Do our videos’ titles, thumbnails and tone speak to our target demographic (think: Gen Z versus millennials)?
  • Should we focus on long-form or short-form videos?

Beyond your own research, consider using your YouTube analytics to assess what’s already getting traction.

Screenshot of the native YouTube Analytics Dashboard

For example, you can assess your top-performing content, high-volume keywords and average view duration to better define your audience and content strategy. When in doubt, these insights can clue you in on what to publish next.

2. Prioritize content that educates and entertains

Food for thought: videos targeting “beginners” were up by 50% in 2020.

That’s because the average viewer flocks to YouTube as a way to educate themselves.

And with the average viewer remembering 95% of a message when it’s watched verses remembering only 10% when read, it’s no wonder YouTube is the second largest search engine.

From beauty and investing tips to building a business online and beyond, so much of how to get views on YouTube is about finding a balance between education and entertainment. It’s no surprise that many of the most-viewed videos on YouTube are:

  • How-tos and tutorials
  • “What is” videos that define a concept
  • “Beginner” videos targeting views totally new to a field or activity
Example of YouTube being higher for views targeting "beginner" audiences

If you’re a brand on YouTube, how-to videos are a must-do. These types of videos are perfect for targeting keywords and likewise signaling to viewers that you’re a valuable resource worth returning to (see Sephora below):

Screenshot of a Sephora YouTube tutorial targeted to beginners

3. Craft engaging, must-see video previews (titles and thumbnails)

According to YouTube’s own creator academy, 90% of the top-performing videos on YouTube have custom thumbnails (instead of a random frame capture).

And much like most people read blog posts based on the title alone, the same rings true when it comes to video content.

Previews matter. Your titles and thumbnails serve as an invitation for viewers and an opportunity to pique their interest. These elements are especially important for winning over viewers who might not be familiar with you or your brand.

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to crafting previews that get views on YouTube, but a combination of the following tips can help:

  • Feature a person (subject, narrator) as part of your thumbnail
  • Use hyperbole in your titles (think: “perfect,” “best”) without clickbaiting viewers
  • Include some form of text within your thumbnail (such as a variation of the title)
  • Take advantage of colorful imagery to catch viewers’ eyes

Below are some examples from Kyle Beats (44+ million views) that tick most of these boxes…

Enticing YouTube title examples from Kyle Beats' channel

…and here are a few from Binging with Babish (2+ billion views).

Example of compelling thumbnails can entice more YouTube views from Binging with Babish

See how that works? This approach to thumbnails is something that brands should strive to emulate. Doing so not only makes your videos seem more human but also provides an opportunity to inject some personality into your content strategy.

4. Encourage subscriptions to get more YouTube views long-term 

Not every step of figuring out how to increase YouTube views is rocket science.

Sometimes you just need to ask.

But much like views, subscribers don’t have to happen at random. A brief request or in-video animation at the beginning (or throughout) of a video can serve as a subtle call-to-action to boost your subscriber count.

Screenshot example of a YouTube subscription request in-video

Asking (hint: not begging) for subscribers is a no-brainer for boosting your view count over time. The more subscribers you have, the more views you’ll earn (and more likely you are to be favored by the algorithm).

5. Transcribe and caption videos to expand your audience

Although the platform captions videos automatically, enabling and double-checking your YouTube subtitles is a plus for your view count.

Subtitles are crucial for accessibility and also making sure that your videos are easier to understand for non-native viewers. This makes your views more watch-friendly for all of YouTube.

Also, consider that ~70% of YouTube videos are watched via mobile devices. For the sake of reaching people that might be watching muted on smartphones, correct captions encourage those viewers to stick around.

Example of a YouTube video transcribed with subtitles.

6. Publish your videos at the proper times

Timing isn’t everything when it comes to how to get more YouTube views.

But much like sticking to the best times to post on social media, content timing is a point in your favor for reaching more viewers.

According to data from InVideo, the following represents “optimal” publishing times for YouTube based on broad trends:

  • Monday to Wednesday: 2–4 p.m. EST
  • Thursday and Friday: 12–3 p.m. EST
  • Saturday and Sunday:  9–11 a.m. EST

Perhaps what’s most important is that you stick to a consistent, realistic publishing schedule that keeps your subscribers engaged and feeds the YouTube algorithm on a regular basis.

With Sprout Social, you can schedule your social content alongside your YouTube content and figure out optimized timing for both based on actual audience engagement data.

Sprout Social YouTube scheduling with optimal send times

 

7. Fine-tune your channel details to maximize YouTube views

Another big part of getting more views is creating a YouTube account that looks the part.

Viewers are more likely to trust a “complete” and professional profile versus one that looks like it was thrown together or not fully fleshed out. For the sake of branding and likewise improving your YouTube performance, make a point to:

  • Promote a consistent visual identity (think: brand name, logo, banner image, website, social media links)
  • Complete your “About” section and YouTube channel description
  • Make sure your contact information is up-to-date
Screenshot of Sprout Social's YouTube channel About page.

These are small but significant steps to encourage views from folks finding you for the first time.

8. Optimize your individual videos for searchability

Keep in mind that YouTube represents the second-largest search engine in the world behind Google.

And minding your YouTube SEO is central to getting more eyes on your content.

We’re not advising that you keyword-stuff your videos. Instead, look for natural opportunities to target relevant search phrases and boost engagement. This includes:

  • Including keyword terms in your title, tags and/or thumbnail
  • Featuring calls-to-action to like, share or comment throughout your content
  • Completing your video descriptions and including keyword phrases when possible
Example of YouTube video optimization with keywords in the title and the description

Given that you have 5,000 characters to work with, your descriptions in particular represent valuable real estate that you shouldn’t let go to waste.

9. Create playlists to encourage binge-watching

It’s no secret that we live in an era of binge-watching (think: Netflix, Hulu).

YouTube is no exception.

Featuring your videos as part of playlists is a brilliant way to encourage long-term viewing and serves as a natural way for someone to jump from one of your videos to a fresh one. Try uncovering content themes or publishing videos as part of a series that would make sense for a playlist.

For example, you might create a playlist for your brand’s “how-to” content or lessons relevant to a specific topic. Check out how FreeCodeCamp creates playlists of their educational videos, for reference:

Example of a video playlist with high YouTube views

10. Always invite viewers to check out another video

Piggybacking on the point above, someone that’s already shown interest in your content is a prime candidate to watch more.

That’s why YouTube cards and end screens are so popular, serving as a place to invite viewers who’ve made it to the end of a video to keep going down the rabbit hole.

Keep in mind that you need to verify your account to access these features and have at least 5,000 views to appear in YouTube’s suggested results.

Invite users to "watch more" to get more YouTube views when a video is over with video cards.

Again, you can increase YouTube views quickly by seamlessly moving people throughout your channel’s content (and if they have autoplay enabled, it’s a piece of cake).

11. Actively promote your content beyond YouTube

Remember: not all views to your YouTube videos need to happen on YouTube to count.

For example, embedding YouTube content on your homepage or individual product pages is a great tactic to drive up your view count (especially if you have a high-traffic site).

Bellroy's website homepage includes an embedded YouTube video

And of course, video content is among the most shared and popular on social media. Experiment with publishing and cross-posting your YouTube content across networks like Facebook and Twitter to see how traffic from such sources performs against native YouTube viewers.

Publishing videos to social can help you get more YouTube views. This example is from Yoga with Adriene, posting her YouTube videos to her Facebook page.

And with a tool like Sprout, you can monitor the performance of your video content and social content alike. With our platform, you can keep all of your assets in one place to post to YouTube alongside your social networks of choice. Using a single tool like Sprout to create a comprehensive and data-driven social video strategy can help extend the life of your video content as well as build connections across social audiences.

Screenshot of Sprout Social's YouTube Reporting dashboard.

Have you figured out how to get more views on YouTube?

If you want to get YouTube views, you’ll need to put in the work.

But doing so doesn’t have to be a massive uphill battle.

By stacking the tips above, you can create a solid foundation for your YouTube view-count to support your channel’s sustained growth. As an added bonus, many of these strategies can be implemented right now so you can get your view numbers up ASAP.

And if you haven’t already, make sure to test-drive Sprout Social to step up your YouTube reporting and publishing to score those ever-so-important views from social media.