Youtube and Google hangouts: effective ways to engage with the audience

Youtube and Google hangouts workshop had been conducted on the second day of International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy, on the 16th of April. Matt Cooke, the Google News Lab expert, had offered various solutions to engage and retain audience in Youtube channel and organize public debates through Google hangouts.

For 10 years of existence Youtube had acquired 1 billion unique users per month, where major part of viewers outside of the U.S. Almost half of YT’s traffic now is on mobile, while only 2 years ago it was 6%. Thus, Google News Lab expert stated, that it is crucial to create video on Youtube which is easily watchable on mobile.

Matt Cooke stressed the importance of engagement with the audience. Youtube channel has always to provide clear and understandable way to subscribe to the channel, remind the user several times to do that. One of the most crucial ways to catch the audience, as to Google News Lab expert, is to create a welcome video in order to provide the unsubscribed user with the brief overview of what is this YT channel about. Creative solutions and personal approach will increase chances to get more subscribers to the channel. Welcome video can be also substituted with live stream, and this approach is successfully used by news network Al Jazeera. Grouping content together, utilizing archive and encouraging prolonged watching will help to increase popularity of the Youtube channel.

Google News Lab expert explained how different news formats can be used for Youtube channel.

Short formats for on-the-go audiences such as daily roundup of 30-60s to a few minutes highlighting the day in news are extremely popular among leading news agencies including Vice News. Short formats help to draw attention of the audience to longer formats including interviews and documentaries which will never expire. Human interest stories are used to promote your channel making people share this content with friends. Live broadcast is a useful way to gain more subscribers in a really short period of time. For example, Ukrainian TV-Channel 5 gained 200k concurrent views on Youtube channel after the government cut their broadcast of Euromaidan revolution on TV.

Google hangout is another useful tool for journalists presented by Matt Cooke during the workshop. It is a digital analogue of ancient debates places, which allow to reach the audience and communicate in informal way. Google hangout is extremely important during the coverage of breaking news when the broadcast time doesn’t allow to invite several experts in order to receive more objective overview or there is no possibility to bring the speaker to the TV studio. The journalist can seat in the newsroom having an online debate with several experts in different places just through the Internet. What is more, after the end of the hangout, it can be downloaded, edited and then uploaded to the Youtube channel. Top world political leaders such as Angela Merkel and Barack Obama, top news services such as BBC and Sky News are already using Google hangouts in order to communicate their audiences in informal way.

Youtube and Google hangouts is the second Google workshop at International Journalism Festival in Perugia, Italy. The last one will be held on the 17th of April and will be dedicated to the usage of Google Maps.

Olena Puzina