More YouTube Views: 20% more video plays from one simple change


There’s something about putting a video on YouTube and watching the view count climb as more and more people find your message and click play. Think of all that time you wasted hitting the refresh button over and over on your last video.

It’s thrilling because there’s always a chance it will go viral and reach one million views and you’ll finally be able to buy that yacht you’ve always wanted from the bonus you’ll get.

Of course, it never turns out that way. But, according to a recent experiment we ran with a Research Partner, there is one thing you can do to ensure that more people who see your video will actually click the play button.

It’s simple really — almost too simple. But it works. All you need to do is adjust your first frame to something somewhat interesting.

Here’s the test we recently ran on one YouTube video with two different first frames …


As you can see from the slides above, there were two other minor changes, but in all, it was most likely the first frame of the video that caused the 20% lift in view rate.


How to choose the best opening frame for your YouTube videos

Now, I know I said above that all you have to do is adjust the first frame to something interesting, but YouTube places a nasty little constraint on your videos by limiting your first frame choices to four random frames in the video.

To get around this, you can simply add a couple of empty frames to the end of your video and re-upload it.

But no matter how you choose to get around YouTube’s frame restriction, the goal here is to choose a frame that communicates the value of the video at hand. In other words, it should somehow answer the question, “If I am the ideal viewer of this video, why should I watch it rather than any of your competitor’s videos?”

What are some view optimization strategies you use for YouTube? Let us know in the comments …


Related Resources:

Inbound Marketing: Small business builds YouTube channel from the ground up, expands to 40 countries

Inbound Marketing: A pioneering YouTube video strategy

Channel Optimization: 6 quick lessons from shifting to a video-centric format

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