How to Optimize Your Video for a Global Audience

Guest post by Erica Sunarjo

As 2019 nears its end, it is safe to assume that video content has been on a continuous rise. And, with 1.9 billion YouTube users worldwide, there is no wonder as to why content creators have expanded their reach beyond the limits of their written blog posts. While it is true that YouTube is not the only place where you can post video content and reach viewers, it is probably the most popular one.

When it comes to reaching broader audiences, creating good content is not the only thing you need to focus on. In order for your videos to get a high number of views, you need to ensure that your videos are optimized for a worldwide audience.

Imagine this: you put up a great video, with the content solely in English, but the message of the video can appeal to anyone. Sure, those who understand English will have no problem understanding your message, but what about the rest of the world? Out of almost 8 billion people on this planet, only 360 million are native English speakers. But optimizing your content to go global is not only limited to language. What about people with hearing deficiencies? How will they be able to understand your content? Going global is about making your videos available for nearly anyone, but how exactly can video optimization can help you do so?

Research, research, research

Just like any good plan, the number one thing you need to do is thorough research. The most obvious type of research would be of geographical nature, to find out where most of your viewers come from. Most YouTube views come from Asia and Latin America, meaning English may not be the only language you need to incorporate in your videos.

After geographical research, you need to also find out where in the world is your type of content most popular. Different cultures are interested in different subjects, meaning you will also need to adapt your content based on these findings.

Last, but not least, you need to have a clear audience persona in mind. This will help you understand your viewers and what they might expect from you. If you know who is listening to you, there are much higher chances you will also know what to speak about.

Video titles, descriptions and captions

If you want to go international, you will have to start creating content of international interest. This does not necessarily relate to the actual subject of the content, but with how you deliver it.

If you want to reach people all over the world, you need to make sure your videos are easily accessible to them. This means that you need to start optimizing video titles, descriptions and captions for the areas most of your viewers are coming from. If, for example, you see that the majority of your audience is speaking Spanish, you may want to translate the video description in Spanish as well.

YouTube also uses captions, which work similarly to subtitles. Most YouTubers have started including transcripts of their videos in captions, to also help those who can not listen to the video understand its content. Those captions can be translated into multiple languages, to extend your reach even more. This does not mean you need to start learning French or German overnight, but always make sure you have an accurate language translation. You can easily use online resources for that. And, the best part about YouTube captions is that they are all indexed, both the primary and secondary language ones. This means that, if people look for something online in their native language, your video will pop up in their results, and this is your first step in going international.

Add subtitles to your videos

YouTube is not the only video-sharing platform out there, so what is there to do if you don’t have the option to use captions? Then add subtitles to your videos. Subtitles can be set out in multiple languages, but my advice would be to focus on the first two regions that bring out the largest number of visitors.

Subtitles will help viewers understand you better, even if you only chose to upload them in English. People may have a hard time understanding your accent, especially if you, or them, are not a native English speaker, but with subtitles, everything gets clearer. Subtitles help not only with dialogue comprehension, but they also boost concentration and engagement.

Subtitles can also help people with hearing deficiencies watch and understand your content. This will make them feel much more included and acknowledged.

Acknowledge your international audience

Once you start building up an international audience, you also need to nurture your relationship with it. One way to do so is by using keywords that appeal specifically to them, in their native language. This way, when they want to search for you, they can easily do so. Translating keywords is extremely beneficial, but it does not mean you need to start stuffing your description or tags with the same word in 10 different languages. Again, two or three, including English, should be enough.

Remember that, when going global, you will also need to start considering different time zones. What might work for your U.S. audience, may not work for your European one, so make sure you always choose a release time suited for all regions you are targeting. Additionally, if you can’t manage to do so, you can also support your video release with a social media post, targeted towards your secondary audience.

Global video optimization is certainly not rocket science, but you do need to keep some things in mind in order for it to be successful. Translating your videos so that the message reaches as many viewers as possible may be one of the most important aspects, but it is certainly not the only one that will help you reach international audiences. Making sure your content is easily accessible through search engines, as well as uploading them according to the time zone of your targeted audience are also key factors when it comes to going global.  

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Erica Sunarjo got her start as a freelance writer for a number of online companies – e-commerce and writing services, including Best Writers Online. Since then, she has branched out to copywriting for multichannel marketing campaigns for clients from a variety of sectors and has become an expert on creative and successful campaigns.