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Down the YouTube Rabbit Hole

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Cameraman

Bronze Contributor
Read Rat-Race Escape!
Speedway Pass
Sep 25, 2021
102
180
UK
YouTube has sucked me in and spat me out, possibly more confused than ever.

I’ve been publishing videos on YouTube since 2017 but only made slow progress. Originally, I wanted to drive traffic to my website and sell my books with it. I’ve had some success, but it’s been steady with low volumes.

After joining this forum in September 21, I read the post “Figuring out YouTube” here. Following a great exchange with @Andy Black, I realised my videos weren’t good enough and I wanted to do better. My 28-day viewer figures had been falling from around 50k to about 34k. After improving the video quality it’s picked up to around 60k views in the past 28-days.

Although I’ve improved my video quality, I realised in the run-up to Christmas I want to do more. So, taking another great idea from Andy I’m going to use this thread to share my goal, progress, and more likely frustrations, on my YouTube adventure.

Revised Goal for 2022​

Rather than trying to drive a few new subscribers and sales each day, I want to significantly increase the number of views my channel achieves. I’m going to stick my neck out and shoot to quadruple the 28-day views by the end of 2022. If I hit 240k views on the channel in December, I’ll be delighted.

If this doesn’t sound like a large increase for YouTube, here’s some context. My viewing stats have been static/declining over the past few years despite my best efforts. My subscriber growth has also gone the same way.
  • 2018 +6.3k subs
  • 2019 +6.4k subs
  • 2020 +6.1k subs
  • 2021 +4.9 subs

First Steps, January 2022​

My videos are of the “How to” type in the photo editing niche. I’m going to continue with this rather than pivoting away because there is room for growth (I think). It’s also my area of expertise.

Historically I’ve published 1 video a week and intend to keep to that schedule whilst continuing to improve the quality.
I’ve spent January looking through a hell of a lot of data in my YouTube stats and concluded:
  • The improvements I made to video quality have translated to better viewing stats. More people are watching videos to completion. The viewer drop-off rate after 30-seconds has reduced. More people are clicking to watch my next recommended video.
  • But my quality improvements are not translating into more views overall. Most of my views in the first 7 days come from existing subscribers. After that, there is a slow growth for some of the videos. I need to work on my Video Topics, Thumbnails, and Titles to get more clicks from new viewers.
  • Approx. 25% of my channel views come from YouTube Search, 25% from External (of which Google is 80%) and 25% from Browse features. I used to get 30%-40% from YouTube suggested videos a couple of years back but that’s now dropped to around 12%.
If I’m reading the data right, my priority now is to figure out how to significantly increase Browse/Suggested views over the next few months. I don’t think I can achieve my end of year goal without doing this. I've no idea yet how to do this but I'm going to start by improving my Thumbnails, both new and historic.

Sorry if this is a long post but I want to set out the position to have something to look back on at the end of the year.

I’ll be posting updates and thoughts about my progress each month.
 
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Andy Black

Pick a direction. Get started. Keep going.
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YouTube has sucked me in and spat me out, possibly more confused than ever.

I’ve been publishing videos on YouTube since 2017 but only made slow progress. Originally, I wanted to drive traffic to my website and sell my books with it. I’ve had some success, but it’s been steady with low volumes.

After joining this forum in September 21, I read the post “Figuring out YouTube” here. Following a great exchange with @Andy Black, I realised my videos weren’t good enough and I wanted to do better. My 28-day viewer figures had been falling from around 50k to about 34k. After improving the video quality it’s picked up to around 60k views in the past 28-days.

Although I’ve improved my video quality, I realised in the run-up to Christmas I want to do more. So, taking another great idea from Andy I’m going to use this thread to share my goal, progress, and more likely frustrations, on my YouTube adventure.

Revised Goal for 2022​

Rather than trying to drive a few new subscribers and sales each day, I want to significantly increase the number of views my channel achieves. I’m going to stick my neck out and shoot to quadruple the 28-day views by the end of 2022. If I hit 240k views on the channel in December, I’ll be delighted.

If this doesn’t sound like a large increase for YouTube, here’s some context. My viewing stats have been static/declining over the past few years despite my best efforts. My subscriber growth has also gone the same way.
  • 2018 +6.3k subs
  • 2019 +6.4k subs
  • 2020 +6.1k subs
  • 2021 +4.9 subs

First Steps, January 2022​

My videos are of the “How to” type in the photo editing niche. I’m going to continue with this rather than pivoting away because there is room for growth (I think). It’s also my area of expertise.

Historically I’ve published 1 video a week and intend to keep to that schedule whilst continuing to improve the quality.
I’ve spent January looking through a hell of a lot of data in my YouTube stats and concluded:
  • The improvements I made to video quality have translated to better viewing stats. More people are watching videos to completion. The viewer drop-off rate after 30-seconds has reduced. More people are clicking to watch my next recommended video.
  • But my quality improvements are not translating into more views overall. Most of my views in the first 7 days come from existing subscribers. After that, there is a slow growth for some of the videos. I need to work on my Video Topics, Thumbnails, and Titles to get more clicks from new viewers.
  • Approx. 25% of my channel views come from YouTube Search, 25% from External (of which Google is 80%) and 25% from Browse features. I used to get 30%-40% from YouTube suggested videos a couple of years back but that’s now dropped to around 12%.
If I’m reading the data right, my priority now is to figure out how to significantly increase Browse/Suggested views over the next few months. I don’t think I can achieve my end of year goal without doing this. I've no idea yet how to do this but I'm going to start by improving my Thumbnails, both new and historic.

Sorry if this is a long post but I want to set out the position to have something to look back on at the end of the year.

I’ll be posting updates and thoughts about my progress each month.
Following and good luck.

Added to the master thread here:
 

Cameraman

Bronze Contributor
Read Rat-Race Escape!
Speedway Pass
Sep 25, 2021
102
180
UK
Thanks Andy. I have no idea yet how I will do this so it will be a lot of trial and error. I really appreciate your initial push and the videos you shared on your thread.
 

Cameraman

Bronze Contributor
Read Rat-Race Escape!
Speedway Pass
Sep 25, 2021
102
180
UK

Month 2 Update​

This is my first monthly update documenting an attempt to grow my YouTube channel. I think I’ve learned a few things by experimenting and making mistakes.

Headline figures for the month are:
  • Subscribers = +376 (about the same as last month)
  • Views = 52.2K (down from 60k)
  • Watch Time = 3.3K hours (about the same as last month)

Published Videos​

I’ve continued to publish a new video each week and my style of editing has been consistent with other recent videos. Rather than experiment with “tricks” to get/keep people watching I’ve focused on the subject.

I identified two search topics that are in demand and of interest to my viewers. Both videos flopped with traffic less than 50% of the usual in the first 24 hours and then fell even further behind after that. These may pick up longer-term if they get picked up by Google (this happens quite a bit with my other videos) but I can see from the stats that my existing subscribers didn’t want these videos.

I’ve also produced two demonstration videos. I expected both to do well but one flopped whilst the other was in line with my usual traffic. The difference between the two is the one that flopped used a different photo editing product to the one that did OK.

Evaluation​

My channel covers a wide range of photo editing software but I’m beginning to think this is a mistake. I’ve now gone through my subscriber volumes by video and found the top 20% of videos in terms of subscriber count. These videos were based on just two photo editing products and are responsible for most of my subscribers and views. Interestingly, the video that did OK was based on one of these tools.

Takeaways to Try Next Month​

  • This month’s videos will concentrate on the two products that have historically been most popular with my subscribers. From researching these areas, it looks like there is enough demand to hit my long-term month view target while increasing subscribers substantially.
  • I now want to establish if my audience (and potential audience) have a bias towards a skill level with these products. I’ve always assumed most of them know how to use these products at a basic level but want to expand their skills. This may be wrong, and it may be better to target videos for beginners.
I’ll be posting an update on my findings in another month.
 
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Cameraman

Bronze Contributor
Read Rat-Race Escape!
Speedway Pass
Sep 25, 2021
102
180
UK

Month 3 Update​

Headline figures for the past 28 days are:
2022-03-28_Stats.jpg
  • Subscribers = +391 (slightly up on last month)
  • Views = 59.6k (up 14% from 52.2k)
  • Watch Time = 3.9K hours (up 18% from 3.3k last month)
The increase in views is mainly one video performing much better than usual, but this will drop out next month. This video also played a large part in the watch time increase but there was a large % increase because this month’s videos were longer than usual.

Videos Published​

I’ve continued to publish 1 video a week and views after 24 hours and 1 week are back to being in line with the past or are increasing slightly. This is in contrast with the previous month when I was experimenting with content and the views were down at least 50%.

One video performed much better than the others, but this was expected. It was the review of a new software product where the company gave me early access so that I can time the video to go out with the launch. This always brings in higher views whilst the company promotes the launch, and it also brings in a few new subscribers but lower than other videos.

The other idea that I wanted to try was publishing a series of videos that would build into a course with a new video every 3 to 4 weeks. I released the first two of these, the first of which has consistently reasonable views (for me) and good subscriber rates. The second (only released a few days ago) looks to have lower view figures but subscribers are good, and it might go the same way as the first as views build.

Polls and Stats​

I ran a couple of polls on my channel to find out what software people who visit use and it’s in line with my expectation.

Looking at my stats, most of my views still come from old evergreen content in the How to Niche. Whilst this doesn’t see fast growth, it does continue to perform and slowly increase as I grow my library.

I compared my view figures with much larger channels in my niche. Many of these have 3-4 times the subscribers and get 3-4 times the monthly views. What I hadn’t previously realised is that many of these have published 3-4 times the number of past videos. Perhaps I’m not doing as badly as I thought.

I’ve published quite a few longer videos (about twice the usual length) and the average view duration is less than my shorter videos. I also noticed the view duration increasing sharply at the weekend (double) with lots of returning viewers. My guess is people are waiting to watch them at the weekend when they have more time.

Takeaways to Try Next Month​

Reduce video duration to 8-10 minutes as the 15-20 minute videos take a lot longer to make and have much lower viewer retention. 8-10 minutes seems to be the sweet spot.

Concentrate on producing evergreen content but try to get more eyes on it at launch by improving ideas, thumbnails, and titles.
 

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