According to YouTube, it has 3 billion users who watch 500 million hours of videos every day. Quite an audience for a channel. But only 9% of small companies use YouTube as a publishing channel. Usually, they have two concerns: it is neither easy nor cheap to make marketing or instructional “how to” videos, and what if no one watches these videos that have been made with great effort and lots of money?

Admittedly, instructional videos may not be as popular as cat videos in YouTube. However, for example unboxing videos that are very close to instructional videos are surprisingly popular. In an unboxing video, a fan of a product opens the sales package of the product and shows what is inside the package. Sounds mad, but people do watch these videos. Why wouldn’t you make a marketing-oriented and stylish unboxing video of your product yourself? That way, you could get viewers to your channel through YouTube’s search.

YouTube is also full of instructional videos made by products’ users, and most of these videos naturally aren’t of good quality. If you want to know what type of subjects are good for videos, search YouTube for instructional videos made by the users of your competitor’s products: you will find many good ideas for videos. Usually these types of videos are made about something that has been difficult for the product’s users. These videos also provide valuable feedback for improving the user experience of your product.

Another approach is to think if there is something in the product that is hard to explain in a written user guide or with a line drawing, series of drawings, or a photograph. Is there a procedure that requires the user to turn the product several times? Is there something complicated in the first start-up or further use that easily causes the user to fail with the task? Make a video of it!

If you end up making an instructional video, think about these three things:

  1. Will you need to update the video later? It is more difficult to update a video than a written user guide.
  2. How long is the procedure you want to show? A video must not be too long. Since it is not a cat video, people concentrate on a video for 1-2 minutes only, depending on their interests and needs. If the procedure is long, make several videos out of it.
  3. Do you need background music or a voice over? What should be the language of the video? Should the video be translated and localised to several languages? Translation and localisation have an effect on the price and length of the video.

An instructional video is not the same as a marketing video, as you truly need to show the viewer how something is done, and after having watched the video, the viewer must be able to do the task as instructed in the video. Remove all unnecessary marketing. However, you can show for example the beautiful design of the product, if that is one of its key selling points.

How about getting visibility for your video? Create your own YouTube channel. You can use the same channel for marketing and instructional videos, if you make a separate playlist for both of them. If you localise videos, create a language-specific playlist. A playlist is important because YouTube seems to rank playlists higher in its search than single videos. The better you learn what kind of keywords YouTube prefers, the more visible your video becomes.

Remember to share your video in social media! You can share it over and over again.

At Adina, we can help you think what kind of an instructional video would suit your product and how you optimise its visibility in YouTube. Interested? Contact us.

– Anu