Make Belgium great again. *YouTube edition*
An analysis on the YouTube performance in Belgium.
There is a cliché that says: A picture is worth more than a thousand words. Great! But, what if video is worth more than a thousand pictures? If there is one thing 2020 taught us, it’s that video is a vital part of content marketing magic. The new generations want things to speed up. They want fast, flashy content and it should be attention-grabbing and snackable. That’s where video comes in handy, because it’s tasty to the eyes. And YouTube? Well, it’s basically Disneyworld for all video lovers and makers.
An important opportunity for marketers that are using the platform or even those who aren’t. Not to mention customers… If you know that YouTube is one of the top 3 most visited websites worldwide and Gen Z uses this platform weekly – in Flanders 66% (62% male and 38% female) and in Wallonia 52% uses it on a monthly basis – then why are Belgian brands late to the YouTube party?
In case these facts and figures weren’t enough to win you over, keep reading and push that mental play button to discover the ins and outs of YouTube.
The estimated reading time is 12 minutes, so get cozy with a cup of coffee and explore these inspiring insights of Youtube.
Belgium in the YouTube success story
In America the self-made YouTube stars make their living thanks to this platform. Some Dutch vloggers can make a full time living out of YouTube (for example EnzoKnol has 2,49 million subscribers). The biggest youtuber worldwide is PewDiePie, the Swedish Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg. He started with a series ‘Let’s Play’ in which he commented on games. Now he has 107 million subscribers on his YouTube channel.
In Belgium this phenomenon isn’t that known yet. There are some upcoming YouTube stars, but the number of subscribers is still low in comparison with other countries. This is of course due to the multilingualism and the size of our small but beautiful country. The French part of Belgium has a bigger reach thanks to the popularity of French on YouTube (with France as an audience as well). The Dutch and especially Flemish video content lag behind on reach, which can be partially explained by language.
Here is a list of the top 5 youtubers from Flanders:
#1 Céline & Michiel – 505 000 subscribers
Céline Dept and Michiel Callebaut, better known as CEMI, create overall light-hearted content videos for youngsters. Their content differs from vlogs, challenges and music videos. Recently this duo popped up in the mainstream media due to a conflict with another youtuber Acid.
#2 Acid – 445 000 subscribers (newest account after being banned on YouTube: Acid 2 – 283 000 subscribers)
Nathan Vandergunst, or Acid, started in 2013 and still uploads regularly. His most-watched video ‘Worst family pictures ever!’ has 1,3 million views. Besides some controversies about his content and several bans from the YouTube platform itself, the audience loves this 21 year old.
#3 UnaGize – 379 000 subscribers
Rayan Aghassaiy posts videos in which he gives his opinion about everyday subjects. He has over a million views on his most-watched video: a parody of the song Sweatshirts.
#4 Nanou – 291 000 subscribers
The channel of Nanou Philips is all about ASMR. She uses this new trend, which consists of whispering and making specific noises, to relax and calm down her viewers.
#5 Kastiop – 289 000 subscribers
Kacper Przybylski is the owner of the channel Kastiop. He became famous for his daily gaming videos. End of October 2020 Kacper committed suicide, he had been struggling with his mental health.
Top 5 youtubers from Wallonia:
#1 Jeanfils – 1,64 M subscribers
In the French part of Belgium, he is the king of gaming. Fornite has no secrets anymore for this youtuber. He posts an explainer video about these gaming performances daily.
#2 LufyMakes YouUp – 1,53 M subscribers
The channel of Lufy is all about make-up, lifestyle and fashion. She takes her followers with her through her daily life and vlogs whatever comes her way.
#3 Lufy & Enzo – 1,29 M subscribers
Together with her boyfriend Enzo, Lufy is active on another channel (next to LufyMakes YouUp on number two). Nevertheless, this second channel also attracts a lot of viewers. Lufy and Enzo do challenges, Q&A’s (questions and answers) and much more to entertain their followers.
#4 Guizzi – 1,09 M subscribers
Guizzi loves challenges and making sketches. He even makes songs accompanied by a video clip, always with a lot of humor.
#5 Crazy Bomb World – 720 000 subscribers
The core business of this channel is gaming, but the two Belgians who maintain the channel also love to do parodies and chronics about pop culture and movies.
Next to these youtubers, there are some Belgian brands that are going strong on YouTube. Some examples:
First of all there is the channel Volkswagen Belgium with its documentary ‘Off track’. The storyline is about discovering hidden gems in Belgium with a Volkswagen. In each episode there is another place revealed.
On the channel of LolaLiza you can find fashion advice from stylists in the series #AskTheStylist. There is more lifestyle-related content such as DIY videos and make-up tutorials as well. The videos are short and playful and represent the overall brand personality of LolaLiza. They invite women among us to celebrate life as a women being.
Lidl provides its viewers with short videos giving tips and tricks like ‘How to clean celery’ and small documentaries such as ‘Sustainable’ in which they explain their steps toward a more sustainable way to do your groceries. ‘Working at Lidl’ is a pleasing documentary that shows the people behind the supermarket brand. We think it is a creative way to create a good relationship with your employees.
The content of the Telenet channel is adapted to current events like the #SamenErdoor-documentary (related to Covid 19). In each video an employee gives his best tip to survive the lockdown, an idea that creates a relationship with your audience and interact with them. Next to that, Telenet also collaborates with famous personalities to create awareness and to offer infotainment on their YouTube channel. An example we’ve made for Telenet are the Youtube series around Sharenting, in which Kelly Pfaff and others interacts with experts about being conscious of personal data that is going around on the internet.
Curious? Watch it here:
Good to know: the most popular search queries in Belgium are Fortnite, film and music. The game community has always been very strong on YouTube. These insights show us that the entertainment aspect is the most appreciated on the platform.
Crack the YouTube algorithm
Like most algorithms, the YouTube algorithm is a well-kept secret. Still there are some assumptions about how YouTube selects videos for its audience. First of all, recommendations are made with Artificial Intelligence. This way YouTube makes personalized recommendations to keep the user on the platform as long as possible. Those selections are made by labels and categories per video. The AI considers the overall type of content watched per user. It also takes into account how long the users watch and if they watch till the end or drop out after some seconds.
Furthermore, a score is given based on the frequency of uploads on the channel. A channel that regularly posts two videos in a week is likely to have more reach than when there is a video once in three months. The timeframe in which your video becomes popular is also significant. Videos that get a lot of views in no time are likely to be more suggested on the search page.
Lastly, the interaction with your audience (likes, shares and comments) is also important. Channels with more comments and shares are going to appear higher on the YouTube search page. YouTube has two main goals: it wants to help the users to find the content they like and wants to keep the interaction and satisfaction in the long run.
4 easy hacks to get the Youtube algorithm in your favor:
- Provide different formats to upload two times a week
- YouTube is not like television. You should tease your audience to keep on watching
- Make formats that ask for interaction, like a Q&A. Ask your followers to send questions that you will respond to in the next video
- Interact with your followers in the comment section. Respond to their comments and keep the conversation going
What works on the Tube?
- Be useful
Help your audience (potential clients) in need. Besides the funny videos, the entertainment, YouTube also provides a lot of ‘how to’ content. ‘How can I curl my hair?’, ‘How to boil an egg’… We’ve all searched for a video that explains a certain product or action.
Make a short and airy video about how to use your product. In a few seconds your audience understands the function of your product. One of the best examples is Coolblue: in their short review products they explain how to use the products from their webshop. Even the most difficult (think about those bloody printers) are explained in a few minutes.
To make sure that you are really responding to your audience’s needs, use SEO. See which search queries your audience uses to know what they are looking for. Anticipate on their needs and they will return with views, likes and more popularity for your brand.
- Be relevant
If you work with influencers (or ‘youtubers’), make sure your product or service is relevant to the main content of the video. Nothing more frustrating than an obligatory sales pitch to convince you to buy a product. Work together with influencers to promote your brand in a suitable way. They can recommend your product because they love using it and we all know: honesty is the best policy. An example of a good collaboration between brands and influencers is that of Albelli and Céline Schraepen (a Belgian influencer with 38 800 subscribers on her YouTube channel). Céline is a real family-person and her videos are filled with adorable clips of her baby. To capture all the memories with her newborn, Céline collaborated with Albelli to create a photo album.
- Be catchy and fun
No need to make a long movie about your products or services. Make it short and catchy. Just like the Volkswagen documentary ‘Off track’ or ‘Working at Lidl’ mentioned above. The episodes only last maximum 5 minutes. The main focus is on visuals. They provide enough information for the audience. So, keep the mantra ‘less text, more visuals’ in mind. An image is worth a thousand words.
How to stand out on Youtube
Don’t be scared by the big boys with the professional equipment and a professional studio. Even small businesses can take advantage of this video platform. All it takes is a good story and a connection with your audience.
Some tips and tricks for your YouTube debut:
- Think quality before quantity. The algorithm is built to make a lot of videos, but that can’t be the reason to make crappy videos. It’s better to make one good content video than three meaningless videos. Identify your audience and their needs. Keep in mind to first make suitable content for them, which ultimately will lead to sales for your business;
- Make a YouTube channel for business. It gives you multiple logins for different managers;
- Learn more about your audience with the Analytics tab. Who is watching your videos and how can you anticipate on that?;
- Select a good thumbnail, it’s the first thing your audience sees. It has to be clear and clickable. Most of the viewers select your video based on a good thumbnail;
- Make a catchy description so that the user wants to watch your video;
- Use the right keywords. Your title should be relevant and correct according to the content of the video, just like the description and tags. This will make your videos appear higher in the search results of YouTube so they will be easier found;
- Use subtitles. When the viewers can’t watch your video with sound, they can at least follow the subtitles on the video. Don’t give them a reason to leave your video;
- Use call to actions like ‘subscribe’ and ‘like’. Make sure your viewers know they can subscribe for free to your channel;
- Recommend another related video of yours by adding it in the i-icon in the right upper corner;
- “Don’t be clickbait”, you have probably heard it before, but don’t be that guy. Using clickbait titles and thumbnails can only damage the expectations of your audience. They won’t trust you the next time they see a video of your brand and in the long run you’ll lose your popularity;
- Cross-promote your videos on the other social media platforms. Share your video on Facebook or mention your channel in your Instagram stories. Let your audience know you are active on YouTube;
- Check the comments. It can give you important insights for further growth. What do the viewers want of your brand? What do they like and dislike? Thanks to the ‘Community’ section you can communicate with them and ask questions. Try to make a small community on your channel. Let the others interact with each other and analyze what they are talking about;
- Collaborate with other brands or content makers: “everybody loves a good collab”. It is not an easy strategy, especially to find a good suitable partner. But it has some interesting benefits: it splits the budget for the collaborating brands and creates more reach for both.
Are you getting excited to create your first YouTube video?
Here’s a list of useful tools to get you going:
Amara is a handy tool to add subtitles to your videos. This online non-profit tool is perfect for subtitling short clips. YouTube also has a subtitling tool integrated into the platform.
Shotcut is an easy-to-use free tool for video editing.
This tool is very popular among youtubers. It is not free but gives you access to a wide range of features to edit your videos.
Creator Academy is offered by YouTube and gives free advice and courses on how to make YouTube videos.
This free browser extension gives you the opportunity to test content (titles, tags, thumbnails…) and schedule videos. It is an overall managing tool for your YouTube channel.
This app is the official YouTube app for creators. You can manage your channel on the go.
This website helps you to create attractive thumbnails for your videos.
Or get in touch with us. You choose the goals and targets, we come with creative ideas and take care of the production.