7 Ways YouTube drives new users to SaaS platforms

- September 1, 2014 4 MIN READ

The subscription business model has been around since the early days of newspaper delivery, but with the arrival of the internet these services quickly became more dynamic and creative with what they could offer to consumers in the way of digital business solutions. Today’s subscription / software as a service market reflects this movement and many startups can offer anything from professional marketing solutions such as Autopilot, to interactive school newsletters such as iNewsletter.

Cashflow is important to SaaS platforms as it is to any other business, but it is the way that these services obtain cashflow that could come as an obstacle. SaaS platforms must rely on a constant and steady influx of subscriptions in order to survive as a business.

So how can SaaS platforms help drive their subscription figures? One solution is YouTube. The world’s most frequented streaming video site which was once seen as a means of entertainment now features a host of intuitive tools that SaaS platforms can tap in to to redirect viewers to their site. All you need is a YouTube account, some original content to post up and you’re good to go.

1] Create annotations in your YouTube videos to link back to your SaaS site


YouTube features an effective tool called ‘Annotations’ which helps users increase their viewership, engagement and subscribers. As a clickable pop-up box in videos, it is commonly used to ask viewers to like or share a video or make it easier for viewers to subscribe to the channel by clicking the box.

Subscription service platforms can use annotations to their advantage by highlighting their dot com site or merchandise store, or by simply telling users during the video to ‘click the box below to get your own xxxx product/service’.

This feature is especially effective for video product reviews that the SaaS sells from their site. It can be accessed from the ‘My Videos’ tab of your YouTube account.

There are five different types of annotations you can choose from:

  • Speech bubble: for creating pop-up speech bubbles with text
  • Spotlight for highlighting areas in a video; when the user moves the mouse over these areas (e.g products), the text you’ve entered will appear.
  • Note: for creating a pop-up box containing text
  • Title: For creating a text overlay to title your video
  • Label: for creating a label to call out and name a specific part of your video

2] Google + Hangouts On Air


This is one of the newest features that integrates YouTube and has the potential to drive user engagement and redirect viewers to your SaaS business.

Live streaming is increasing in popularity amongst Youtube with major festivals like Coachella broadcasting to the world for three days over three channels for their entire event. SaaS can now implement this strategy to drive viewers to their site through closer engagement with their potential customers. It can also be used as a behind the scenes showcase as to what your SaaS is about and the team behind it. Instilling that “human quality” to your service is important for standing out in today’s global market – this feature will help you achieve it.

Live streaming

Schedule broadcasts and go live in HD on Google+, YouTube, and your website. It will be recorded and automatically saved on your YouTube channel.

Live conversations

Host interactive conversations with people around the world. Take questions in advance from the community and answer the most popular ones live.

Live apps

Control when your participants are visible, adjust their audio and video, select who’s on the big screen, add custom banners, and more.

3] Beside video ads


Beside video ads are ads that you can place beside the video that is being played on your channel. It uses up valuable real estate on the page and sits on the top slots above the recommended videos column on the right. Advertising your SaaS service in these slots are highly effective as the line of sight of the viewer to the video is on the same viewing plane (no scrolling down to see ads). This enables the viewer to make a clean connection between the video featuring a product and the site that offers it on the right.

4] In Search Ads


In search ads are ads that appear at the top of a results page when a viewer searches for a term on YouTube. If a term for a product review is entered, an SaaS service that sells this product can have their ad show up just above the video, allowing the viewer to see where they can obtain the products.

5] Description box link


The description box link is one of the simplest, most cost effective and often neglected methods of driving more viewers to your SaaS platform. When creating your video on YouTube, remember to add your website to the description box so that viewers can click through to the site after they’ve watched the product tutorial, review or promo.

Try to keep video descriptions under three lines as any more info you’ve added will only show up if the viewer clicks the ‘show more’ drop down menu. One extra click is extra effort that viewers do not need so if they can see your site within the three lines, this will increase your SaaS site exposure.

6] Telling your viewers what to do next


Ensure that at the end of all your YouTube videos, you prompt the viewer on what to do next. It may seem obvious enough but it is another often neglected method that reminds viewers where they can obtain or engage with what they’ve just seen. This method can be implemented alongside YouTube annotations to make the video seem a lot more interactive to the viewer with a simple prompt such as: “click the box on my right to get your xxxx now or click the box on my left to check out the next review.”

7] Call to action overlay ads


Overlay ads are the semi opaque ads that appear at the bottom of the frame as soon as the selected YouTube video begins to play. It can be closed by the viewer though it’s purpose is important for sharing more information about the video content or to re-direct viewers directly to an SaaS site when clicked. Combining this with your videos can again make that crucial connection between product and retailer for the viewer without requiring extra clicks.