There are two main sources of potential viewers for your videos outside your own social and family circle.
The first is traditional search engines such as Google and Bing or the internal search function of the video service you are using.
Later in this series I will be covering the specific actions you can take to raise your video’s profile in these forms of search but right now let’s deal with the second source of your potential audience – referrals.
Referrals can come from people inside your sphere of influence whether it be friends, family or contacts through social properties such as FaceBook, Twitter and the many other forms of social media.
Given the right circumstances, those referrals can be a source of further referrals and in a perfect world your video goes viral.
When people talk about videos going viral they are really describing this action of the referral process undergoing a snowball effect in spectacular fashion.
For now let’s assume someone has found your video.
They click play and… they see a blurry, low resolution video with terrible audio.
At this point it is irrelevant as to how good the content of the video actually is.
There are two possible outcomes here.
1. If the person viewing has a close relationship to you they will most likely suffer through the clip so that they can dutifully report that they “loved it.”
What they will NOT do is click any form of “Like” or “Share” button to recommend it to others — the referral.
2. They have found the video in some way but have no connection to you.
They will just click away from the page because they have been conditioned to expect nice clear video with reasonable sound quality.
YouTube and the other services have become quite good over the years at maintaining the quality of the videos submitted to them.
But don’t forget the old editing rule: “Garbage in = Garbage out.”
Every video uploaded to YouTube is checked to see that it falls within the technical specifications they need to run their service efficiently and stream your videos successfully.
Video resolutions, data bitrates, video file types, audio file types and other properties are inspected and if your video does not meet their requirements they re-encode your video so that it does.
Because most people are uploading highly compressed file types such as MP4, WMV or even MPEG2 this process of re-encoding into their file type will invariably result in at least some loss of quality.
So the trick here is to provide your video to YouTube already in the format and to the specifications that they want so that they do not process it.
This ensures that the quality you see on your computer when you make the video will be the same when viewed on YouTube.
So what are these properties?
Well there is a wide variation on what these sites will accept as far as video file types is concerned and they are intentionally vague about the exact properties other than to say use the highest quality possible.
The reason for this is that they are assuming they will have to re-encode your video so they want the best possible quality to do that.
However as I said before they way to avoid this is to provide something they don’t re-encode.
So as a general rule you can use these properties:
Create an MPEG-4 (MP4) video which may also come under the headings of 3GPP or MOV files which typically use the h264, mpeg4 video codec and the AAC audio codec.
- Resolution 1280×720 also known as 720p
- Frame Rate: 10
- Key frame rate: 5
- Video Bitrate: 358 kbps
- Audio Bitrate: 128 kbps
- Audio Format: AAC
If your video capturing / recording equipment or video editing software prevents you from creating this type of video file then follow the instructions listed below and create the highest quality you can, then upload.
Of course “the highest quality” will result in larger file sizes so you may have to experiment with how high you can go before either going too big for the video service to accept or too long due to your internet connection.
The links below are to the relevant pages on YouTube which provide uploading guidance. In my experience if you make videos that would keep YouTube happy then you are probably covered for all the rest.
In the next section of online video tips we will cover how to optimize your videos so that search engines and therefore searchers, can find them.
Part One – Introduction
Part Two – Referrals and Quality
Part Three – Optimizing Your Videos
Part Four – Video Optimization Checklist
Part Five – Optimizing Your YouTube Channel
Part Six – Advanced YouTube Techniques