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16 Apr 2014

Using YouTube Power Features to Market Your Brand

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Yesterday, I discussed how to use Instagram to improve your studio’s brand awareness – a social network we had yet to discuss in-depth here at Game Academy. Today, I’m covering the same sort of topic, except on the YouTube side of things. If you have ever marketed your indie game (and of course, your studio’s brand), then you have probably used YouTube. It’s a cinch to post a video showing off your upcoming game, recording a video of yourself discussing plans for upcoming games, and more. Heck, YouTube has been around for nearly a decade, so if you haven’t begun to use it yet, something is wrong.

Yet, there are a few features (power features as I like to call them) that will allow you to take your marketing efforts on YouTube to that next level. Maybe you have used them, maybe you haven’t, but in any case, you need to keep these features in mind whenever you are marketing your indie games and your overall brand.


Allow YouTube to find fans just for you

How nice would it be if YouTube alerted fans that may enjoy your YouTube channel to check it out? That’s exactly what YouTube is doing with their Fan Finder program. The program allows users to submit up to five different ‘channel ads’ (short videos that detail your brand and your content in order to get viewers to check out your channel – a commercial in other words) that aim to target individuals that YouTube believes will enjoy your content the most.

To start the program, upload a channel ad as you would a regular video. Next, submit the ad for review using the Fan Finder page (select the ‘Channel Settings’ menu’ in your account’s ‘Video Manager’ section, then select ‘Select Your Channel Ad’ and choose the video you want to use for the ad). Keep these videos short (under a minute) yet engaging.

Make it pop, make it snappy, and ensure that you clearly state your brand, the purpose of your channel, and more. Show off game footage! Most importantly? Give the viewer a reason to subscribe to your channel (i.e. include a concise ‘call to action’) within the first five seconds of the video! Viewers can skip ads after five seconds, so you only have a few seconds to hook them.


Include a clickable thumbnail in your videos

Have you ever watched a YouTube video, only to notice there are a bunch of thumbnails at the end of the video enticing viewers to ‘watch more?’ You are seeing clickable thumbnails, and they’re great to use if you want viewers to watch additional videos or jump over to a certain URL (such as your official website or one of your game’s App Store pages).

How you incorporate these links into each video is up to you, but the main thing is you need to be using clickable thumbnails. To use them, jump over to your account’s ‘Video Manager’ page, then choose ‘InVideo Programming’ via ‘Channel Settings.’ This will allow you to upload your own watermark (ensure it is a transparent image with one sole color so it does not distract from the video) that can be displayed over your video or other videos you want to showcase to viewers. The link to use? Again, it’s up to you, but be creative.

Additionally, you can add a featured video and include a caption to entice viewers to click the video and watch it. The InVideo Programming feature gives you the power to decide when and how long images will appear. If you are trying to entice viewers to go to your official website, you may want to keep the watermark present throughout the entire video. The same goes for your game’s page. Whether you are selling it on the App Store, Google Play, Steam, GOG, your personal website – wherever – you need an active watermark throughout the entire video that will allows viewers to click it and purchase your game. Great for ‘Let’s Plays’ and trailers, it’s another useful way to convert viewers to buyers.


Serious about videos? YouTube Live Events is your friend

Not to be confused with Google+ Hangouts on Air, YouTube has a separate service known as YouTube Live Events available to users that meet the following pre-requisites:

  • A verified Google accounts
  • Good standing with YouTube at the end of 2013.
    • i.e. no strikes, no accusations of copyright infringement, etc.

If you meet those, then you can take part in YouTube Live Events. What can you use it for? Well, that’s entirely up to you! If you want to conduct a live ‘Let’s Play’ for instance, then it’s certainly worth a consideration. You can also use the service for launch parties, so the sky is definitely the limit.

The basic model of YouTube Live Events is free. If you merely want to record footage with one camera and mic while having the ability to transition within the video and use picture-in-picture, then the free version of the service will suffice. However, if you want more features, you are going to have to pay.

Paid versions of YouTube Live Events come in two flavors: ‘Studio’ and ‘Pro.’ Allowing you to record video/capture idea from multiple sources, use a green screen, and even take advantage of virtual sets, live closed captions, and more, the service definitely provides awesome features that allow you to make your live stream awesome.

Enabling the service is simple. Go over to ‘Video Manager,’ select ‘Features’ under ‘Channel Settings,’ scroll down a bit and switch the service to ‘On.’ Want to schedule a livestream? You can find the option to do so in ‘Video Manager.’


Do you have any additional tips you use to improve your indie studio’s brand awareness on YouTube? Let us know in the comments below!

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