Wednesday, 24 October 2012

How to Customise Video Thumbnails on Youtube

How to Use and the Case for Using Customised Thumbnails for Your Videos on Youtube

The ability to customise a thumbnail for your video is a relatively new feature on Youtube. Previously you had 3 choices (the image at the beginning, middle or end of your video - these were already selected for you and were not necessarily ideal choices but you could not change or deviate from what was offered ... until now).

The above video tutorial shows you how to customise video thumbnails so I will not retrace the steps here but will discuss other aspects not dealt with in the above tutorial.

The difference between those videos with and those without customised thumbnails is more prominent when you see them together, side-by-side as on your 'BROWSE VIDEO' screen.

In my screenshot below notice the distinct difference between those videos without customised thumbnails and those that have them (the ones ringed by the red, dotted line - follow the RED ARROW in the diagram below).

The latter thumbnails look more professional and more attractive plus you have that added BONUS where you can use that thumbnail to INITIALLY CAPTURE the interest of your potential audience by having an eye-catching IMAGE and a gripping TITLE (you only have a mere 5 seconds to do so) before most people click away and browse elsewhere! Audience attention is, unfortunately, notoriously short online and increasingly getting shorter (too much choice, distractions - social media, games, etc.) unless your content is outstanding. - Videos with CUSTOMISED THUMBNAILS - example 1


Example 2 - Customised Thumbnail -

Notice how that 'thumbnail' looks really good FULL-SIZE (see above video) and how much better compared to the original one (see PIC 2, Top LHS) before we created our own thumbnail (black, red & white theme)?

TIP: Take some effort with your thumbnail especially if you are showcasing a high quality video or if TRAFFIC is important to you. You can also change the thumbnail later to suit your circumstances so using customised thumbnails allow for flexibility and better promotional benefits and opportunities that will pay DIVIDENDS later on down the track, and for an indefinite period as videos tend to have a longer shelf life ... often much longer than most blog posts!

TIP: Place your videos into a PLAYLIST (choose a magnetic title) then embed the URL to that playlist in your blog as well - that way you get to promote the ENTIRE playlist, with the result end up getting more BANG (views) for your video-bucks!  And it's also great for SEO.

TIP: Allow embedding of your videos - everytime someone embeds your video, it gets a free backlink and more traffic (more views).

What about you? Have you started customising your thumbnails yet? 
Observed any changes to your traffic / engagement yet?

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

How To Reinforce Your CHANNEL BRANDING on Youtube

You can now reinforce your Channel's BRAND across ALL your videos and also promote one of your FEATURED VIDEOS within all your uploaded videos. This is a new feature recently introduced by Youtube with huge potential benefits to you as a USER for increasing brand awareness and getting more traffic - how cool is that?!

This is how you enable this feature:
  1. Log in
  2. Go to SETTINGS, then
  3. InVIDEO PROGRAMMING - "Drive viewership to a specific video and reinforce channel branding using InVideo Programming across all your videos"

Branding your channel on Youtube -

2 - Branding your channel on Youtube -

3 - Branding your channel on Youtube -

Watch the video for the rest of the steps. Please note that:
  • You can change your CHANNEL'S AVATAR or LOGO from your current image which is handy as you may have a different group or global brand that is distinctly different from the current one on your YT channel.
  • You can change the LOCATION occupied by your logo or avatar
  • You can do the same for your FEATURED VIDEO except that it cannot occupy the same location as your logo (for obvious reasons).
  • You can adjust the DISPLAY TIME - at the end, or partway through the video (- you decide the exact entry time when it appears, and the duration -), or for the entire duration of the video.
  • The AVATAR and THUMBNAIL of your featured video are clickable links that will take you back to your channel or to the specified video itself.
  • While the changes are universal for now (ie. it shows in ALL your videos) over time, this feature hopefully, may become versatile and customisable and you may have the option of selecting which videos will incorporate these features (as YT has been constantly evolving and improving since it started updating its site from last year).
  • You will notice that there has been considerable beta-testing this year, with YT keeping some while deleting other changes (eg. the light box experiment, the store - in its current format will be going ..., etc.), all the while taking note of user-feedback.
  • This is a good thing and smart move by YT, being focussed on user-experience, for both parties.
  • The site feels more and more commerce-friendly and more commerce-enabling.*
  • What are your thoughts about these new features?
  • How will you use this branding and promotion opportunity for the benefit of YOUR business?
  • And/or for the benefit of your CLIENTS' businesses, if you are managing their video accounts?
  • If you haven't thought much about your avatar/logo or branding now would be a good time to assess its effectiveness. If you have many videos that are not entirely congruent with your overall theme your LOGO appearing in all your videos will allow you to consolidate your brand over all your videos and give you a better chance to unify your (diverse) portfolio. 
  • In general, it's an opportune time for YT users to re-evaluate their BRAND / LOGO for effectiveness (regarding design, impact, simplicity, memorability, message). Nike, Coca Cola, M arches - are some examples of very effective logos - recognised the world over, even in remote areas. 
  • TIP: Research the best logos (usually simple and minimalistic) before you finalise your design.

Some happy medium that allows community-building with direct, uncomplicated, commerce activity and easy, non-restrictive networking and 'friending' may be the social media model of the future? Time will tell when we see how these social media giants perform. A business-friendly, social media platform is likely to have a more profitable model and therefore a better chance to survive and thrive, in the long run over other types of less-monetizable models.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Interesting Social Media Statistics

Wonder where Social Media is going? Or even if it's here to stay?
Some Interesting Socialnomics To Note:

World's most watched social media series by Erik Qualman.
This is based on the #1 Best Seller Socialnomics. Version 3

Monday, 1 October 2012

How To Select a Good Product and Affiliate Network

great customer service - http://surgeyourprofits.blogspot.comMake Money Online by Affiliate Marketing: 

One of the fastest ways to start an online business is to promote other people's products as an Affiliate where you get paid a commission for each sale, if you do not have your own products to promote.

There are many affiliate networks and products these days but how do you select a good one?


My Suggested Checklist:

  • Before you even think of making a single dollar of profit check that you can find HIGH QUALITY PRODUCTS that are on offer at a network.
  • Test these products yourself if you can, BEFORE you recommmend them to your list!!
  • If it is a membership product with recurring fees, how good are they when a customer cancels say, after a while ie. been paying recurring fees each month.
  •  Do you get a prompt response when you cancel, as fast as when you purchased?
  • When you get no response to an initial request how long does it take before you get a response and after how many attempts? Put yourself in your customer's shoes, if they want a refund or want to cancel an ongoing fee. What happens when you follow-up your first follow-up (ie. followup #2 and #3, etc.) - find out how long before you get a response, and a satisfactory response at that!
  • You don't want to subject your customers to UNNECESSARY frustration and delays when it comes to refunds or cancellations - good follow-up customer service begins AFTER the product is purchased. This is even more important if you intend your product or your affiliate link to be referred and recommended to the buyer's friends and the rest of their community, online and offline - that is, their circle of influence (everyone has one). Some of your customers could be those 'movers and shakers' on your social media sites - you know, that small percentage that's responsible for getting you more likes on FB, more tweets on Twitter, more comments on Youtube, more subscriptions, etc. so you don't want to lose or alienate your voluntary CHEER-LEADERS who have alot of influence on their and your followers and who are rooting for YOU - and for free!
  • Your (ongoing) reputation is worth more than the sale of that one product - anytime - it is EVERYTHING.  So don't be tempted to turn a blind eye to the weak aspects of a particular product or a vendor's after-sales service or lack of, because your list and your reputation is worth more than that - even if the COMMISSION looks lucrative.
  • Remember to treat your database, email, or cellphone list with the utmost of care - treat them as GOLD because they are worth their weight in gold.
  • EMAIL ADDRESS OR CONTACT BOX: Your Affiliate Network Website should also have easy options for reaching and contacting the Affiliate Manager, in the event that you or your customer discover some issue with the product or the after-sales service.  Some of the CPA Affiliate networks have very good managers where it's easy to email them directly and who will email you back promptly. If there is no easy way to contact them (except by PHONE!!) then that's a red flag  - when they are offering digital products it's paradoxical to find only phone numbers (what about international affiliates???) and for one country only, and no email address or no Contact Form or one that's well hidden away!  In other words how good and/or accessible - really - is their customer support? and affiliate support? Or is your Affiliate Manager a Phantom? Or worse someone who appears on a SALES drive but disppears when SUPPORT is required?
  • Find a better network to promote if the AFTER-SALES SUPPORT or the AFFILIATE SUPPORT is glaringly absent. If the Network does not look after its affiliates, its likely that they will NOT look after YOUR CUSTOMERS and vice versa!!
  • You've invested precious time, money and elbow grease to promote and/or purchase their products, you don't need to be messed around when it comes to getting AFTER-SALES SUPPORT. This should be easily forthcoming and fast too - whether you're their affiliate or their customer or both! If you have to wait 2 or 3 days or more, find another network to work with, seriously. (The after-sales support is really crucial. Every seller is sweet PRE-SALES but the ones who honour their customers with oustanding AFTER-SALES service following purchase of a superior PRODUCT/ SERVICE, even if it's a request for a refund or cancellation, is the kind of vendor to JV with. This kind of vendor will very likely also dole out that same stellar SUPPORT to you as an affiliate when you need it.)

CUSTOMER SERVICE: An example of great customer service is CMC. Every email gets a helpful and relevant response within minutes without going to their website to hunt for their contact form! Their service is EXCELLENT in terms of quality and speediness. They have truly raised the bar for their competition. In today's fast-paced world you cannot afford to respond tardily or your competition will pip you to the post. When email is instantaneous taking a week to respond is to commit harakiri.

  • What about you?  In this ongoing GFC-enviroment only the best will survive and thrive.  How are you differentiating your product or service from your competiton so that your offer and yours alone,  JUMPS OUT from the gazillion offers to STUN YOUR AUDIENCE with its brilliance?
  • NO-BRAINER: That's the product that your customer will flock to BUY! and the one to PROMOTE.  And if you are into product creation, the kind to DEVELOP.  Don't waste your time and energy on anything mediocre ...  the Net is littered with carcasses that FAIL to deliver on their promises! You're better than that!  To succeed on the Net and earn online, remember to aim for EXCELLENCE ... in everything you do. 

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