YouTube is not only the world’s biggest video website and second-biggest search engine (after Google) – it’s also a wellspring of endless, endlessly dizzying statistics.

For instance, 3billion hours of video are viewed on YouTube every month. And in 2011, total video views on the site numbered 1trillion.

If you’re making a video to promote your university, that’s quite the mouth-wateringly mammoth potential audience to tap into, no?

A-ha, but! The only thing as multitudinous as YouTube’s viewership is the amount of video on the site; no less than a decade is uploaded every day.

In terms of duration, that means a single year’s worth of YouTube uploads is equivalent to a period of history running roughly from the death of Abraham to Charlie Sheen acquiring his millionth Twitter follower.

What all this stats-based chicanery signifies is that simply producing a video and letting it loose upon the open seas of YouTube, before hoping it swims like Michael Phelps on an especially good day, is not only not a great tactic when it comes to attracting a significant audience – it’s not really any kind of tactic at all.

As Tyler Bakarich, Director of Operations at video marketers VideoBloom, put it in a recent article: ‘Expecting your video on YouTube to generate views by itself is like expecting a needle to be found in a haystack; not once, but thousands of times, in a haystack that gets bigger with each passing minute.’

But while it’s important to note that more than 60% of YouTube videos receive fewer than 1,000 views (and for all the talk about viral sensations, only just over 2% of uploaded videos are watched more than 100,00 times), there are things you can do to maximise your video’s allure, as the following case study shows…

CASE STUDY: Brunel University, ‘Training with Usain Bolt (Brunel University)

Produced by ourselves for our client Brunel University, this video has been viewed more than 70,000 times since May this year.

Now, such figures are undoubtedly attributable to the stellar presence of that man Bolt, who made more than a few waves in the months since the video went online.

But, by the same token, there’s scarcely a dearth of Usain Bolt videos on YouTube. So what did we do to help this one flourish so spectacularly?

Well, to reveal just a couple of trade secrets, the title itself was created with SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) and SEO alone in mind: it’s always a good bet to go with keywords first (‘training’, ‘Usain Bolt’) followed by the branding (‘Brunel University’).

And then there’s the thumbnail – YouTube gives you a choice of three, and the one we selected (a really bold, iconic shot of a pair of Nikes tensed in the starter traps) immediately lets viewers know this is a slick, action-led video about their running idol.

Take a look at our own student recruitment work here

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