Embracing Discoverability in a YouTube Context

By Rob Ciampa, Theresa Moore, John Carucci, Stan Muller, Adam Wescott

Part of YouTube Channels For Dummies Cheat Sheet

At the end of the day, YouTube is about one thing and one thing only: Getting people to watch your content. Simple, right? In theory, yes, but your challenge is to help viewers find your channel and your content. That’s what discoverability is all about: Placing your content in front of the right viewers so that they can watch.

Unfortunately, YouTube doesn’t share the secret sauce for getting found, but you can help improve the odds of your videos showing up in YouTube and Google Search as well as in Suggested Videos on the Watch page. What can you do in the planning phase for aiding discoverability? Make watch time an important goal.

Watch time is one of the most important factors that trigger YouTube to put your content in front of viewers. In 2012, YouTube made watch time more important to discoverability than the number of views the video received. So what exactly is watch time? In its simplest form, watch time is the total amount of time viewers spend watching your videos. People who watch your content are telling YouTube, “Hey, this is important stuff; make sure similar viewers know.”

Watch time doesn’t indicate whether your viewers watch the entire video (although that’s a good thing, too) — it indicates that a relatively high percentage of the video is being viewed. How much? Again, YouTube isn’t specific. Note that it doesn’t matter whether your videos are short or long; what’s important is that viewers are engaged. The secret is to make legitimately good content. Good content increases watch time, which increases discoverability.