Using YouTube Video Data to Market Your Medical Practice

July 20, 2012

Here are three ways you can use YouTube’s data to improve your patient videos and better promote your medical practice using online video.

I got a wake-up call recently about the importance of creating my own patient education material. A local large hospital system implemented a patient educational video program for patients having surgery. My patient watched one of these videos (without the hospital notifying me of their video) and learned all about a method of doing her surgery that I don't even do.

I had to undo all that mal-education - an annoyance and waste of time for us both.

Lesson learned: Don’t rely on some faceless, generic organization to educate your patients!

Creating your own videos is easier than ever, and patient education is perhaps the best use of online video for your practice. YouTube is the most user-friendly way to host and get exposure for your online videos. Here, I’ll show you some powerful ways that YouTube can help you improve your videos using built-in data tools.

Most website management companies use an analytics, or data-gathering, program to track things like visitors to your website, which links users click on, and how much time someone spent on a particular page.

YouTube has its own analytics system built right into the YouTube website, constantly analyzing what users are watching and doing while visiting.

If you have videos on YouTube, you have a YouTube channel, and this analytics information is available to you, free of charge.

Analytics data can be invaluable as a part of your online practice promotion efforts. Here are three ways you can use YouTube’s data to improve your videos and better promote your practice using online video.

1. Use YouTube analytics information to discover what topics are most interesting to people.

Remember that YouTube is the second most popular search engine in the world. Instead of searching on Google’s main search page for information, people head over to YouTube and start searching there.

So just as someone might type in "hearing loss" on Google, they’ll type that same phrase into the search bar on YouTube.

If you upload ten videos covering a broad range of topics, you can quickly judge by the number of video views which topics are more popular than others.

Once you know what’s popular, it’s easy to know what to focus more of your efforts on when creating your next video series. That way you avoid wasting time creating material that no one wants to see.

Don’t forget to experiment with different styles of video. In an earlier blog post about ways to get started with online video, I mention a few of these: PowerPoint-style, slides set to music, or just your talking head in front of the camera.

For instance, if you notice that your PowerPoint style videos are not getting a lot of views, focus on creating a more popular style of video next time.

2. Analyze video comments to find out what patients really want to know.

Putting educational videos online is a great way to discover how effective you are at communicating ideas and clinical topics. YouTube’s comments feature lets viewers ask questions about each video they watch.

Are viewers asking lots of clarifying questions? Did you forget to explain some major point in a video? Viewers are usually not shy online about letting you know.

If you notice missing pieces to one of your presentations, that can help you refine and improve subsequent videos. Even further, it helps you with offline one-on-one communication with patients as well.

3. Use analytics data to improve the structure and design of your videos.

YouTube can show you referral patterns for your videos. This data answers the question: How are people finding my videos?

YouTube uses the content and tags of your video to relate it to other videos. Those other videos in turn, link to your video. You can improve the popularity of your videos by looking at related videos and tagging your videos in a similar way.
If patients are finding your videos through Google searches, you’ll know you need to focus more on accurate tagging and good strong titles that make it clear what the video covers.

You can put links on-screen to other videos (like in a series). YouTube can track how often viewers click on those links. That way you’ll know if it’s worth putting them in the video or not.

You can also see what keywords people type in to find your video when searching on YouTube for your topic. Make sure you’re including those terms in related videos to make them easier to find.

One particularly sophisticated tool tracks where people stop watching your video. You can literally tell where people either stop being interested or entertained, or where they become more engaged.

In this way, you can learn from each video and improve subsequent videos using what works and scrapping what doesn’t.

Conclusion

There’s much more to YouTube analytics than I’ve touched on here.

You’ll never see any of the power of this information unless you take the step of producing some simple online videos and putting them on YouTube.

On the other hand, if you or your practice already has videos on YouTube, take a look at your data and start learning how to improve this powerful online practice promotion tool.

Find out more about C. Noel Henley and our other Practice Notes bloggers.