YouTube has the lowest ROI of any platform I’ve used thus far.
With about 6 hours going into each of the 10 video I’ve created thus far, and only 1 video surpassing the 100 views mark – YouTube has proven to be a tremendous waste of time.
At least for the sort of content I’ve been producing. I need to change it up and reevaluate what I’m doing as my YouTube channel is not getting any views.
I’m new to making videos, so I have no disillusionment as to the performance and quality of my videos. I’m not seriously expecting to get tens of thousands of views. But 5-10 views on something that took a full day to record, money and expensive equipment like my G7X camera (excellent little device for making videos by the way!)?
- My SEO may be off.
- My videos may simply suck.
- Who knows. Here’s a video I recorded on a potato:
Kidding, I just used a cheap, throw away phone I have that I use as an alarm clock.
I could be unlucky in that I post from Asia and my videos are not in front of an English speaking audience. I confirmed this by sending an email over to videocreators.com.
So this does not work in my favor obviously.
Posting from Thailand, Vietnam, Bali and Laos is not going to help my get in front of the right audience. But this Reddit post confirms that if you keep at it, YouTube will eventually sort your videos out and put them in front of the right audience.
What motivated me to send that email was by simply looking at my statistics. I noticed that 33% of my traffic was from Thailand and this audience was not actually watching the full video. Compared to my American audience that was actually watching the video for about 80% of the full video length.
Well no shit.
My videos are not in Thai and are not targeted for Thais. But thank you YouTube for wasting everyone’s time 🙂
I’ll give it my best try still. But at some point it’s got to result in something more than an intellectual endevor or otherwise I’ll have to simply move on.
What YouTube Wants
Thinking of making videos? This post is for you. I’ve been researching and reading data the last few days to discover what YouTube wants. I find that you need to be on multiple platforms to be successful online and I personally like the idea of building a YouTube channel.
What YouTube want’s appears to be one thing above all else:
Retention Time. YouTube cares about your watch minutes on your videos. It’s not about views anymore obviously as clickbait became too much of a problem. Now it’s about minutes watched and apparently it’s really about minutes watched. Watch 100% of a 5 minute video or 80% of a 20 minute video? The better performing video is now the one where you spend more time on YouTube.
Another way to put is:
15 minutes of a 45 minute is greater than 3 minutes of a 3 minute video. You would think that both videos would perform well but you would be mistaken.
Hunger Games Search Example
YouTube does not see what you make, only how long people watch what you make. Case in point is searching for something like “Hunger Games” on YouTube.
I would expect to see clips of Hunger Games, movie review channels or parodies of some sort.
Not Minecraft animation videos.
But hey, if you know any 10 year old’s you know how huge Minecraft is so this is the new reality with YouTube. Get used to it.
Daily active engagement
Likes and comments appear pointless. Channels that get you coming back everyday are the ones that are getting the bump. Meaning channels that produce content everyday will perform better depending on the competition of the niche.
Case in point is the skyrocketing growth of Unbox Therapy and Brave Wilderness in terms of their viewership and subscriber base. Let’s take a look:
Brave Wilderness (source Social Blade)
Unboxing Therapy (source Social Blade)
Another thing to note, back catalog of videos simply don’t perform as well anymore either. What I mean is videos created last month, last year, 2 years ago and so forth won’t get the views they may have once did under an older YouTube algorithm.
This quite clear when doing a search for almost any topic. The top videos in the search results will almost always have:
1 – Good SEO
2 – Was recently created and published
3 – Is long. 15 plus minutes
Basic bitches will tell you it’s all about those titles and tags man!
Obviously. Here’s something more interesting.
You can’t use copyrighted material in your videos. What you can do is create videos and use super popular phrases as the title of your video that are just slightly related. Sort of like using “Hunger Games” in the title, but your video is a Minecraft animation.
Look at the video below (1 million views and growing). It’s using the words Hulk, Elsa, Spiderman, Batman, DC Comics, Marvel Superheroes in the title.
Uh, spam much? Web pages get crushed by Google for doing this sort of thing. But with videos it’s acceptable apparently.
How many people looking for Spiderman or Batman and find this stupid video for kids instead?
Considering the 40% negative thumb downs, it’s obviously quite a lot!
But YouTube does not care! It’s about retention time and how long we spend watching the videos.
Relevancy matters with Google. But relevancy on YouTube seems to not matter as much.
Hell, it’s not even about quality. People can hate a video and it appears to make no difference in the performance of said video.
Traditional media – A match made in heaven.
The current YouTube algorithm is promoting stuff people watch and will come back to watch day after day. Making YouTube as much a part of your day as was watching TV or Netflixs.
This is a great fit for big media companies who have the production capacity to make videos everyday, but for the average person? We need a different strategy.
Creative Burnout and What to Do
If you’re goal is to become a pro YouTuber, good luck! I don’t want to crush any dreams, but YouTube is giving views to these sorts of videos and channels.
Channels with long, irrelevant content using high value keywords for content where there is a lot of copyrighted content that YouTube can’t show.
As such, YouTube will show the “next best thing.” Case in point are those long Minecraft animation videos targeting the “Hunger Games” keyword or those claymation videos using keywords from Marvel and DC comics.
The other sorts of channels will be from big media companies who have the production capacity to produce a daily video.
You can still go at it with YouTube but you need to be on multiple platforms. A website, a YouTube channel, email list, a social media presence. But this is nothing new. Ask anyone with a website what it takes to build up an audience.
You can’t be just a writer, just a YouTuber, just a blogger anymore. Multiple skill and platforms are needed.
Embrace this reality if your goal is to build something great online.