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How to improve your engagement rate on Youtube?

In Influencer Marketing, the engagement rate is a key indicator of the potential and success of a campaign. On YouTube, this rate varies depending on whether it is a macro or micro-influencer. It is therefore useful to know this engagement rate and to look for ways to improve it. And good news, we explain how to do this, right now, in this article.

holding a phone with the YouTube app open
holding a phone with the YouTube app open

What is the engagement rate on YouTube?

YouTube, the 2nd largest search engine in the world

The success of videos on different social platforms shows how much influence this type of content has on Internet users in addition to being a vector of engagement. It is therefore not surprising that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world and that the network is a prime location for Influencer Marketing projects. In 2020, YouTube had around 2 billion users per month and 600,000 hours of video consumed every day. In France alone, no less than 46 million users surf the social platform every month. The impact of Youtube is not to be neglected. The social network is available in 90 countries and in 80 languages. The possibilities are immense for a content creator but also for brands.

Understanding the calculation of the engagement rate on Youtube

As far as Influencer Marketing campaigns are concerned, the potential success of an influence project can be estimated by taking into account the engagement rate. The latter corresponds to the actions of an audience on a YouTube channel or a video. It is one of the key performance indicators (KPIs) of Influencer Marketing and allows to evaluate the notoriety and the commitment of a community towards a video content and therefore towards an influencer.

When an Influencer Marketing campaign is organised on the platform, the engagement rate of potential influencers is one of the main elements checked. The audience is not only watching to learn and be entertained, but also to decide whether or not to buy a product. The possibility of engagement is high, hence the interest of brands in YouTube channels. Note that the average engagement rate on YouTube in July 2021 was 1.7% according to the Social Status analysis tool, compared to 0.75% in 2020. So this is a figure to keep in mind.

It is estimated that a user who comments or even shares video content gives a strong signal of satisfaction with the content they have just viewed. “Likes” have less impact on the platform than comments since they require less commitment from the user. While the calculation of the engagement rate is specific to each social network, on YouTube it is determined according to the formula :

YouTube engagement = (number of likes + number of comments)/number of views of the video

The 3 interactions taken into account for engagement on YouTube

The interactions taken into account on YouTube can be broken down into three distinct typologies:  

  • Likes (“likes” or “thumbs up”) and dislikes (“dislikes” or “thumbs down”) allow the audience to react to a video in one click. This is still a fairly superficial indicator, but it does allow a video to move up in the YouTube search results. They allow you to assess whether or not a type of video is reaching an audience. Regularly monitoring “likes” and “dislikes” is a way of checking that the contact with the audience is still there, but also to quickly get an idea of the overall feedback from an audience in relation to a piece of content,
  • Comments are the level above likes/dislikes. The dialogue with the audience is direct. They enter the YouTube algorithm. Comments require the viewer to be truly engaged and willing to give feedback on a video. The more comments an influencer has under their videos, the more they respond to them, and the more interactions increase, along with the engagement rate,
  • Shares have a much greater impact than the previous two points as they multiply the reach of a video considerably. Sharing is the equivalent of a recommendation on the web.

The more a video adds up to these three elements, the more likely it is to be featured on the platform and to reach a wider audience. The engagement rate is an indicator of the relevance and success of a content. After analysis, it becomes more accessible to better target the expectations of an audience and to position oneself effectively against the competition.

Community size and engagement rate: what is the relationship?

According to Kolsquare’s analysis, KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders) are generally divided into five categories according to the size of their respective communities:

  • Nano influencers, who have less than 10,000 followers,
  • Micro-influencers, who have between 10,000 and 100,000 followers,
  • Macro-influencers, who have more than 100,000 followers,  
  • Top influencers, those with more than 500,000 followers,

Beyond three million followers, influencers are considered true celebrities, they are very active and followed on their social networks.

Engagement rates by type of influencer and by social network in May 2020. Kolsquare

To meet awareness or visibility objectives, brands will naturally turn to macro-influencers. Even if the financial investment is significant, the size of the community of these content creators allows brands to reach a large audience and increase their visibility.

According to a study conducted by Kolsquare in 2020, the average engagement rate of a macro-influencer on YouTube is 1.99% compared to 2.8 to 5.22% for micro and nano-influencers. This is because macro-influencers tend to have less proximity to their communities.

Conversely, nano and micro-influencers have much smaller, but much more active communities. They have a strong connection with their audiences. They are identified as “experts” in the field they are nestled in on YouTube. The audience places its trust in the judgement of the content creator as being authentic. It is worth noting that for an effective Influencer Marketing strategy, the combined use of macro, micro and nano influencers can make sense to achieve various strategic objectives. Macro-influencers bring awareness, while nano and micro-influencers bring credibility and higher engagement.

How to improve your engagement rate on YouTube?

Analysis of the channel and the competition

Improving engagement requires an in-depth analysis of the YouTube channel. What is the audience reached, what is the quality of the content offered, what are the effective techniques implemented by competitors, what is the linearity in the content, what is the characteristic universe of the channel, etc. These are the different questions that must be taken into account in the overall analysis of a YouTube channel.

1. Know your audience to improve engagement

To improve engagement on YouTube, you must first understand your audience. YouTube has made available to content creators a tool that allows them to take stock of their audience by analysing the most relevant indicators: YouTube Analytics.

  • Viewing time, which corresponds to the total number of hours spent on each video and the average time per person,
  • The number of views, which counts the clicks on a video for at least 30 seconds of video,
  • Time spent watching the content,
  • Information about the viewers of the video. This can be categorised by age, gender, and geographical location,
  • Interactions with each video, such as likes/dislikes, comments,…
  • The media on which the videos are viewed. Are they viewed from external sources, a YouTube search, video suggestions,…
  • The type of device used for viewing: mobile or computer?

Once this data has been collected, it is important to draw conclusions in order to adapt the content to the target audience.

2. Benchmark competitors

When the audience analysis is done, it is important to check what is being done on channels in the same niche. You have to identify the competitors and then identify best practices: which videos are the most viewed, what is their main format, who do they target, how long are they, etc. But be careful, the aim here is not to copy the content of another channel, especially as the audience of a content creator consumes his or her videos primarily for their identity and their unique universe.

3. Use hashtags

Effective referencing of a channel on YouTube increases its visibility to users in search engines. It is therefore necessary to optimise it by using hashtags in the title and description of the video. They allow videos to be accessible to an audience that is inquiring about a specific topic. Adding hashtags to the description of a video gives it more visibility. Although they are not the main criterion for good SEO, they are nonetheless a determining factor in the positioning of a video in search results. By using, for example, broad hashtags, the possibilities of recruiting a new audience are greater, boosting your engagement rate.

4. Encourage interaction with the audience

As mentioned above, interactions contribute to the engagement rate. Taking the time to interact with an audience in the comments helps to establish links. The influencer seems closer to his community. Including “call to actions“, for example at the beginning of videos, such as: subscribe, like, or comment, encourages the audience to react to the content. This suggests to YouTube that the video is relevant and interesting enough to recruit subscribers, promoting the channel.

5. Care for the videos

Providing content around a topic that interests your audience is key to generating engagement. In addition to this, other determining factors are: the sound, the quality of the images and the editing.

Expand your audience with content creators

When a brand sets up an influence campaign on YouTube, using content creators who are relevant to its values and commitments is a real differentiator. The brand will be able to reach a large audience and target a new audience, especially with macro-influencers. Conversely, a micro-influencer has a smaller audience, but one that is very active and attentive to the proposals they can make and the brands they (re)present. These are communities that convert more easily.

If the brand chooses, for example, influencers with very specific communities such as LGBT, it meets the expectations of inclusion, and can hope to reach another type of audience. By showing commitment to societal issues such as the environment, it captures the attention of younger generations, etc. This logic applies to all the themes in which a brand wishes to position itself. It must be careful to identify the influencers to integrate into its influence campaign. The positioning must make sense and correspond to the values and deep commitments of the brand, otherwise it will drive away the target audience.

Here are some examples of recent engaging influencer campaigns on YouTube:

  • Maybelline and the “Makeup on the way” campaign in 2019: an influencer drives around in a typical New York yellow taxi and has to complete a timed “surprise” challenge, against a backdrop of makeup, thanks to the Maybelline product case of course. Around 30 episodes were filmed with influencers such as Danaé and Léna Situations. Thanks to this campaign, Maybelline recorded twice the click-through rate per impression, 140,000 organic views each month and approximately 442,000 cumulative viewing hours from September 1, 2019 to December 31, 2020.  After months of declining subscriber numbers, Maybelline New York is building a loyal following again on YouTube.
  • Amazon, “This is going to rock!” : Aboard his Volkswagen Combi in Amazon’s colours, the influencer Monsieur GRRR! travels across our beautiful country, during 11 episodes that show us the most beautiful French cities.
  • La Banque Postale, “All star playground“: Pierre Croce takes on different personalities through challenges based on the theme of basketball. La Banque Postale’s YouTube account now has more than 46,000 subscribers and a much higher level of engagement than its competitors. It has become the leading brand on YouTube in its sector.

About Kolsquare

Kolsquare is Europe’s leading Influencer Marketing platform, a data-driven solution that allows brands to scale their KOL Marketing strategies and implement authentic partnerships with KOLs (Key Opinion Leaders). Kolsquare’s technology enables marketing professionals to easily identify the best Content Creators profiles by filtering their content and audience, and to build and manage their campaigns from A to Z, including measuring results and benchmarking performance against competitors. Kolsquare has built the largest community of influencer marketing experts in the world, and offers hundreds of customers (Coca-Cola, Netflix, Sony Music, Publicis, Sézane, Sephora, El Corte Inglés, Lacoste, …) the latest Big Data, AI and Machine Learning technologies to drive inspiring partnerships, tapping into an exhaustive network covering 100% of  KOLs with more than 5,000 followers in 180 countries on Instagram, TikTok, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. As a Benefit Company, Kolsquare has been pioneering Responsible Influence by championing transparency, ethical practices, and meaningful collaborations to inspire change.

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