social media how toAre you using YouTube as part of your social media marketing strategy?

Do you want to reach more viewers and optimize the quality of your videos?

There are a whole host of lesser-known YouTube features that creators need to utilize to improve the quality of their content and expand their reach.

In this article you’ll discover how to use these tools to increase watch time, attract subscribers and drive more traffic to your website.

#1: YouTube Audio Library

How many times have you watched a video online, only to exclaim afterwards that it was “the music that made it”?

Music evokes a strong emotional response in an audience. The right track has the power to create a really magical moment. Choose the wrong audio and you risk killing the mood in the blink of an eye.

It’s tough to find the right music for a video, especially if you’re on a budget. The YouTube Audio Library helps make the job a lot easier.

youtube audio library

Choose background music via the YouTube Audio Library to improve your video’s impact.

Access the YouTube Audio Library through the Creation Tools menu in the Video Manager section of your YouTube account. Filter the list by genre, mood, instrument or duration, and then preview the track. Hit the download icon once you’ve found the perfect song.

The YouTube Audio Library offers over 150 royalty-free instrumental backing tracks for you to use in videos uploaded to the site (or wherever else you choose). It’s the perfect way to increase the impact of your videos.

#2: YouTube Fan Finder

What if YouTube offered you free ad space on its website, directed at people who are likely to enjoy your content? Well, that’s exactly what they’re doing with Fan Finder.

The YouTube Fan Finder program invites you to submit up to five “channel ads” that will target people that the site believes are most likely to love your content and become a regular viewer. Channel ads are short videos that show off your brand and content in an effort to get viewers to click over and check you out.

To get started, all you need to do is upload a channel ad as if it were an ordinary video. Then submit it for review via the Fan Finder page, which can be found under the Channel Settings menu in the Video Manager section of your YouTube account. Once there, click the Select Your Channel Ad button and choose which video you want to use.

youtube fan finder

Fan Finder ads will stay in the queue until approved.

YouTube recommends that you keep your channel ads short and engaging. Use clear and repeat branding throughout so that viewers remember you.

Succinctly communicate what your channel is all about (e.g., is it funny, educational, inspiring, etc.?) and feature a clear call to action (either spoken or as an annotation) to explain why that targeted viewer should subscribe.

Remember, people may have never heard of your channel before, so introduce yourself and grab their attention in the first 5 seconds, as the TrueView ad format that is used is skippable after that amount of time.

#3: Associated Website Annotations

Everyone knows that you can insert a call to action and a link to a website in a YouTube video’s description. However, you can also add a clickable link to a website of your choice using an annotation within the video player itself.

You can do this with associated website annotations. Here’s how:

First, verify ownership of your YouTube account via a quick two-step telephone process at

Next, add your website as an associated website in Google Webmaster Tools, and complete a second short verification process to confirm that you own the domain before you can link it to your YouTube account.

google webmaster tools

Add your website to Google Webmaster Tools.

After that, visit the Advanced section of the Channel Settings menu of your YouTube account (via the Video Manager page). Add your website URL to the box next to Associated Website. If everything has gone correctly, you will see a green Success circle next to the Associated Website box.

successfully associated website

Success! Your associated website link is ready for action.

Now you can add a clickable link directly to that URL within a video. Insert any annotation type, mark it as an associated website link and type your full website URL into the box provided, as pictured below.

adding an associated website to video

Here’s how you add an associated website link annotation to a YouTube video.

If you add a watermark to your videos, one obvious use for this function is to place a transparent associated website annotation right on top of it for the duration of your content.

Alternatively, if the annotation is on the show, you can audibly direct viewers to click on it as a way to drive traffic to your website.

#4: InVideo Programming

After you attract viewers to watch one of your videos, the next crucial step is to keep them watching. You certainly don’t want them to click off and watch a competitor. The key to this is to create a strong brand identity, as well as a regular stream of compelling content.

InVideo Programming, which rolled out in October 2012, helps you reinforce channel branding and drive viewership. It allows you to embed a clickable thumbnail of your channel logo or a video, across all of the videos on your YouTube channel.

To start, visit the Video Manager page and choose InVideo Programming from the Channel Settings menu. From there, you will be able to upload a watermark to display over a video or videos you want to highlight to viewers.

For a watermark, YouTube recommends you use a transparent image with just one color, so that it doesn’t distract too much from the active video.

Rather than a logo, mine simply says “FREE Social Media Tutorials.” I deliberately colored it blue to mirror an ordinary web link.

invideo watermark setup

Set up an InVideo Programming channel icon to better brand your content.

You can also add a featured video, and accompany it with a caption to further encourage viewers to click and check it out.

invideo featured video example

Set up an InVideo Programming featured video for increased fan retention.

For either option, you can decide when the images will appear; at the start, end or for a custom duration within your videos.

I like my watermark to be present throughout and have my featured video thumbnail appear according to the time that my YouTube Analytics’ audience retention data tells me is, on average, when viewers are most likely to lose interest.

#5: YouTube Live Events

Although Google+ Hangouts on Air has offered live streaming capabilities on YouTube for quite a while, a separate service called YouTube Live Events was rolled out to all users with verified accounts that are in good standing (i.e., no strikes) at the end of last year.

What makes YouTube Live Events different from Google+ Hangouts on Air is the greater set of features it offers. These additions can make your broadcast much more professional than simply using a webcam and built-in mic.

In addition to the basic scheduling options available for hangouts, YouTube Live Events includes the ability to set up multiple cameras and choose your encoder, including YouTube’s own Wirecast program. The free version of Wirecast includes basic switching, transitions and picture-in-picture. You can also add live closed captions and view real-time data, such as the number of concurrent streams and the average watch session length, during your broadcast.

youtube wirecast

Wirecast comes in three versions: Play (free), Studio ($199) and Pro ($549).

To enable Live Events, head over to Video Manager and click the Features link underneath the Channel Settings section. In here, scroll down to find and switch it on.

If you want to schedule and build a live broadcast, return to the Video Manager, choose Live Events from the left-hand menu, then follow the step-by-step instructions.

live event setup

Setting up your broadcast is just like posting a video.

If you plan to use the full feature set available, make sure to check Custom under Type of Broadcast after entering all of the basic info.

Final Thoughts

A few small tweaks using the tools above could make a noticeable difference to your YouTube content and marketing strategy. Start with one tool or jump in and try all five. Be sure to track and analyze the impact using YouTube and Google Analytics. You’ll be pleased with the results.

What do you think? Have you tried any of these tools before? Which one will you try first? I would love to hear your thoughts about what works for you and what doesn’t. Please share your comments in the box below.

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  • Andrew, I need to get serious about doing the YouTube audio thing. So many great opportunities for those who pimp out their videos with music. Fab post!

  • Just verified YouTube account . thanks for revealing such a important and useful youtube features

  • Great features Andrew! Although I didn’t use the audio library yet, I found it really interesting to be able to add background music to your videos. Thanks!

  • $44796859

    Thanks, Ryan! I agree, the free audio library is a brilliant little resource, especially for those on a tight budget.

  • $44796859

    Glad you found the information useful, Sunil. Onwards and upwards from here 🙂

  • $44796859

    Thanks for your feedback, Houssem. Besides YouTube’s own library, another very popular source of royalty-free music licensed under Creative Commons is Kevin Mcloed’s Incomptech site.

  • Get to know lots of insights and interesting Youtube features that really helps me and lots of others business owners in there marketing. Thanks a lot Andrew.

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    Glad to be able to help, Dev! It surprises me sometimes how YouTube hasn’t made more of a song and dance about some of these.

  • Great absolutely great for the video managers both new and experienced one, fan finder was new thing for me, thanks a lot it will help a number of eager people who want to show off their creativity to world.

    This is Divya from MADE FOR HER.
    Thank You

  • $44796859

    You’re welcome, Divya. I hope you’ll see some real benefit after implementing these strategies.

  • Yes off course… Thanks again

  • Great tips….. was unaware of the last 2…thanks!!!

  • Thanks for the great resource Andrew! I usually buy music from iStockPhoto. I checked Incompetech and found some pretty interesting music there. I might use it for my new podcast show!

  • $44796859

    You’re very welcome, Bernadette. Glad you found some information you hadn’t come across before 🙂

  • $44796859

    Cool! I’ve come across several big YouTubers who have used the free music on Incompetech, so it has a fair bit of backing. And as you allude to, there’s some quality stuff to be found there.

  • Seriously, have you listened to the Youtube Audio Library? I would never use that music in my video’s… Also be aware that Youtube first has to moderate the fan finder video and there are certain restrictions. Love the associated website annotations, though.

  • $44796859

    Haha, Jeroen! 😀 I agree that not all of the free music tracks are winners, but there’s definitely some gems in there to be used as backing music. And hey, it’s free. Good point about the fan finder moderation; best to read the guidelines so that you don’t fall foul of the rules. I’m happy to hear you liked the associated website tip, though. Thanks for your feedback!

  • Wasif Khan

    Looks great….thanks for the tip.

  • $44796859

    No problem, Wasif!

  • These are great tips. Fan Finder was immediately flooded when it released, and has been hopelessly backed up for a very long time. I set up Fan Finder for my new Fortune 1000 client about 6 months ago, who does enough business with Google to grant me a personal advertising rep, and their Fan Finder video still hasn’t begun to serve. Definitely do it anyway! But I wouldn’t be surprised if they canceled the program.

  • Also, associating your website with YouTube is an absolute must for SEO too, not just for annotation purposes (which don’t yet work on mobile – rolling out any day now). Once associated, Google considers your website’s search rank when determining what your YouTube search rank should be.

  • Seanie Condon

    Do you know if you can embed a YouTube Live event into a Facebook event like you can with a video? I know I can later but can it be at time of broadcast?

  • $44796859

    Thanks for the great insights, Jacidna. I’m not surprised that Fan Finder has been flooded with requests, but as you say, worth giving it a go as it doesn’t take a moment if you already have a video ready.

  • Caitlin Van Essen

    Just verified my Youtube account and website. Now looking forward to using the Audio Library. Thanks for a great article. I’ve book marked it for future reference.

  • $44796859

    Nice job, Caitlin 🙂 You’re welcome.

  • I have associated my website and am looking forward to beginning the annotation process. The idea of doing InVideo featuring is a little tough for me since I create videos in multiple categories with associated Playlists. That is unless you can create a separate InVideo experience for all videos within a Playlist. I’m guessing you can’t at the moment. Great post though for sure. One thing I stumbled across recently was the analytics to see where your video views are coming from like Facebook and YouTube. I think many people don’t dig that deep in to their analytics.

  • $44796859

    Glad you enjoyed the post, Michael. You’re right about YouTube Analytics, the data can be really helpful in tailoring your future content.

  • Jennnifer Hammer

    I just started following you on facebook. I love reading your posts. Lots to be learned in the ever changing marketing world!

  • $44796859

    Thank you for your support, Jennifer! 🙂

  • I recently found out that if you are a musician/songwriter that you can make money every time someone plays or uses your music on YouTube. I’ve been too busy to delve into the particulars (I think you have to sign up with TuneCore and I don’t know yet what that entails). Here’s a link for those of you interested:

    Thanks again for the great article Andrew!

  • Wade Yoder


  • David Ed Wilkes

    Thanks for this. I didn’t know about the option of downloading soundtracks. That will be very useful to me, Many thanks

  • Janneke

    I verified my domain and connected it to the channel succesfully, but when I try to add a link for Associated Website, that type of link for Note doesn’t appear. just
    Google profile
    Project vor charity

    What do I need to do to get Associated Website for a link added in that part?

  • Elmarie Porthouse

    Andrew, I have always steered away from YouTube when it comes to my marketing. But now you have me all excited to give it another try. Thanks!

  • $44796859

    Hi Elmarie, glad to hear you’ve been inspired by my blog. Good luck! 🙂

  • $44796859

    Thanks for reading, David, and good luck with finding the perfect tracks for your videos!

  • $44796859

    A very interesting avenue for musical sorts, Michael. Thanks for sharing.

  • $44796859

    Hi Janneke, that’s strange. I can’t be positive about what the issue is, but perhaps the option is just taking a little bit of time to trickle through to your annotations settings.

  • Janneke

    Turned out the activation of annotations wasn’t processed well but once it did all works fine. Thanks!

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  • Paul

    Does anyone know how to add a clickable link to your video description field? I’ve tried everything including adding https:// before the link and mothing. It still shows as text

  • chantal sarunic

    Hello all.
    I am enquiring how I go about trying to find an advertising job? Or designing. Can anyone please give me some advice or know where to start.
    Thank you greatly appreciated 🙂

  • This Is Amazing, Thanks!

  • Smith Kumar

    Hi recently created youtube channel and uploaded few videos…i cant able to see the above listed features….