Using SEO to Promote a Movie Launch at the Tribeca Film Festival


Increase in Comments and Engagement on Official Trailer on Youtube

+9,335 Video Views in One Week before the US Premier

In this article, you'll learn from a real-world example how to get your video ranked higher on Youtube and your website ranked higher on Google using search engine optimization techniques (SEO). Want to know more about SEO for your video project? Leave us a comment!

"Website & Trailer Nowhere to be Seen..."

When emmy-award winning director Lana Wilson came to us just two weeks ahead of the Tribeca Film Festival and told us her film's official website and movie trailer were nowhere to be seen online, we knew we had an interesting challenge on our hands.

To make matters worse, the name of her film (The Departure) is similar to one that came out with the same name earlier this year, as well as the hit movie The Departed that came out in 2005. Search results on Google and Youtube showed results for each of those competitors, and nothing for the official movie.

PICTURED: Lana Wilson with her film's subject, Ittetsu Nemoto at the Tribeca Film Festival in NYC.

THE CHALLENGE: Get eyes on the official website and film trailer on youtube.

We targeted keywords related to the movie title, Lana Wilson, Ittetsu Nemoto and the Tribeca Film Festival. With only two weeks to the NYC premier, we needed to see improvement fast.

When we started, the official trailer wasn't anywhere to be found on Youtube. You can see results for the other movie by the same name, and for The Departed.

The official website, where viewers could watch the trailer and get tickets to the NYC premier, was also nowhere to be found on Google.


All search engines, whether it's Google or Youtube, use some kind of computer algorithm to decide what results to show when various keywords are searched on their platform. They want to show the user the best result, and get them the information they're looking for.

#1: Number of subscribers your channel has.

If your channel has lots of engaged subscribers, it's a good sign that you make good content. Building your subscriber base regularly by promoting your channel across multiple platforms (Facebook, on your website, etc) will help all of your videos rank higher.

With only two weeks until the film premiered, we didn't have time to grow the subscriber count of the account that published the official trailer for The Departure. Even though this is the most important metric to consider, it can definitely be bypassed if needed.

To build your subscriber base, there really is no "secret". Here's all it takes:

- Regularly create engaging, professional quality content. Use tools like Buzzsumo and Google trends to find topics that are trending and getting lots of engagement. 

- Include a call to action at the end of every video you produce to tell the viewer what benefit they'll get out of subscribing. For example: "Don't miss our next video! Subscribe now to get our next video first."

#2: Number of video embeds and links.

When lots of trusted, authority websites link to and embed your video it shows Youtube that your video is popular and is more relevant to people searching for terms related to it.

We knew we had to focus our efforts on improving this metric in order to see results for The Departure. We made a list of every blog and media outlet that was covering the Tribeca Film Festival.

Next, we asked each writer to include a link and/or embed of the official trailer on Youtube in their piece.


#3: Quantity of long video views.

Youtube tracks the amount of time each viewer spends on your video. If they see your video is keeping people engaged for the entire length, that's a good sign that your content is interesting to viewers and will give you a boost in the search results.

#4: Comments & Likes

One of the ways Youtube can tell if your video is worth promoting higher in their search results, is by seeing how many people like and comment. The more activity you get, the better.

Comments and likes should happen naturally as people watch and hopefully enjoy your video. You can increase your chances of getting someone to like/comment by simply asking them to at the end of your video.

Asking people their opinion a controversial question related to your video helps (though since we didn't create the video, we had no control over that with the film).

A recent study that analyzed 1.3 Million Youtube Search Results Shows That the Number of Comments a Video Has Strongly Correlate to Higher Rank on Youtube.

#5: Optimize Youtube Video Title & Description

YouTube can't rank you for anything if they don't know what your video is about!

Your title should be less than 100 characters in length, including spaces and should focus on the main keywords you're targeting. We chose "The Departure - Official Theatrical Trailer 2017" because it covered all of the main keywords for this campaign.

You'll also want to write a detailed description of your video in the video description. Video descriptions on Youtube can be up to 5,000 in length before getting cut off, so make sure the most important information is available first.

EXAMPLE Youtube description for SEO

OPTIONAL STEP: Include a call to action in your description.

Since our main goal for the campaign with The Departure was to drive views of the trailer AND traffic to the official website, we made sure to include a clear call to action (CTA) for people interested in seeing the film ("SEE THE FILM").

Your CTA will be most effective if it is clear, simple and direct.

What are you promoting on Youtube?

Let us know what you're working on in the comments below!

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Dan Sevigny

Dan Sevigny is an entrepreneur, digital marketing expert, and the CEO of Spooky Digital. Dan's work has been featured in: Entrepreneur, Inc, Forbes, Business Insider, Huffington Post, FOX 5, PIX 11, News 12, among others! Dan is most interested in using entrepreneurship as a way to promote health, happiness and positivity in the world.

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