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Down the YouTube Rabbit Hole

A detailed account of a Fastlane process...

Cameraman

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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.
 
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Andy Black

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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

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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

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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

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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.
 

Cameraman

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Month 4 Update​

Headline figures for the past 28 days:

Fig 1.jpg

Views and Watch Time performance has fallen back in the past month. This is a recurring pattern I’ve seen in past years around this time. It then picks up until September so I’m not too concerned. I will though continue to try to drive improvements. Subscriber rates have increased which I'll touch on below.

Videos Published​

I’ve continued publishing a new video each week and will continue. The videos are a mix of topic categories including how to, product reviews and additional lessons for the course I mentioned last month.

Initially, the course did well and then faded whilst the new course lessons performed poorly after a couple of weeks. Other topics that I thought would do well from looking at my past stats did perform well for the first week but then also quickly died off.

Initially, I was feeling down about the performance of the videos and that nothing was seeming to work. Then a few weeks back things started to change. Now with more time for some of my earlier videos, the performance has picked up (for me at least). The course videos in particular are doing much better, and you can see the improvement in the stats.

Fig 2.jpg

This video has also pulled in +257 subscribers in the past 90 days. This probably doesn’t sound like much to many YouTubers but to me, this is a good performance. I believe the reason is that I recommend viewers should subscribe and explain why. I’ve tried this with other videos, and it seems to be having an effect.

Other videos have also begun to pick up. Unlike with my long-term evergreen content, the majority of new traffic is coming from YouTube recommendations.

Fig 3.jpg

The difference with these videos is that I spent time upfront confirming there was a reasonable amount of search traffic on Google and YouTube using SpyFu and TubeBuddy. I’ll be continuing this process in the future to see if it’s genuinely valuable.

Last Month’s Actions​

I’ve reduced video times, in most cases to around 8-10 minutes. I thought my retention through the videos was poor and wanted to improve it. I’ve also begun checking “Relative Audience Retention” stats to see how my videos performed against similar in my niche. Most are above average across the duration with a few dips to average so I’m less concerned.

Fig 4.jpg

This Month’s Takeaway​

I’ll continue to research topics for videos based on searches.

I won’t judge a video performance until it’s over 60 days old.

I want to concentrate on writing better titles for the videos. I don’t put any effort into this, and I know they aren’t appealing enough. My view is that the Thumbnail attracts attention whilst the title is what makes people click.
 

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Cameraman

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Month 5 Update​

Headline figures for the past 28 days.

2022-06-29_09-51-43.jpg

Views, new subscribers and watch time are all down a little this month. This has been an annual pattern for me as the holiday season gets underway so I’m not too worried. I published 4 new videos and will continue with the weekly schedule.

The videos I highlighted last month as examples of ones that were starting to grow have continued to do well although performance tailed off a lot.

Here’s the first.

fig3.jpg

And the second.

Fig2.jpg

Last Month’s Actions​

Last month I said that I would focus on improving my titles. I’ve been reading up on the subject from different sources and can see that many of the titles I’ve used in the past may be good for SEO, but they don’t entice people to watch. A good free resource I’ve found for titles is the Creator Hooks newsletter. You can read the past issues here and there seem to be lots of good examples


I have used the ideas from my research in my last three video titles, and all came in at the number 1 position for the first week. I’m now practising writing titles daily. Once I have a little more experience, I’ll try to experiment with changing some historic videos to see if I can bring them back to life.

This Month’s Take-Aways​

Last month I concluded topic search volume is important when identifying video ideas. The results I’m seeing continue to support this idea. Short-term popular videos are great for stats but the performance fades quite quickly. My best performing videos long-term continue to be the ones on topics that people regularly search for (YouTube and Google). I’m paying more attention to this now and will continue to in future when identifying new video ideas.

Over the past 6 months, I’ve read a lot of YouTube books, watched a lot of “Guru” videos and done a couple of courses. I now see many of the experts on the subject sharing examples of how their student channels have blown up with their help. Many of the books and videos seem that they are part of a marketing funnel. I may be wrong about this but what I do know is that they set big expectations in my mind.

When my channel hasn’t responded in the way that these experts claim should be possible, it’s felt crushing. This isn’t something that I’ve felt in the past and I now feel that I’ve been steered away from my original objective. I’ll be giving this more thought to produce new goals for what I want to achieve. I can imagine the feeling of being crushed when a video doesn’t perform causes some to give up on YouTube too soon. It also probably encourages others to spend lots of money seeking “expert” advice that may not work.
 
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Andy Black

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Month 5 Update​

Headline figures for the past 28 days.

View attachment 44239

Views, new subscribers and watch time are all down a little this month. This has been an annual pattern for me as the holiday season gets underway so I’m not too worried. I published 4 new videos and will continue with the weekly schedule.

The videos I highlighted last month as examples of ones that were starting to grow have continued to do well although performance tailed off a lot.

Here’s the first.

View attachment 44241

And the second.

View attachment 44242

Last Month’s Actions​

Last month I said that I would focus on improving my titles. I’ve been reading up on the subject from different sources and can see that many of the titles I’ve used in the past may be good for SEO, but they don’t entice people to watch. A good free resource I’ve found for titles is the Creator Hooks newsletter. You can read the past issues here and there seem to be lots of good examples


I have used the ideas from my research in my last three video titles, and all came in at the number 1 position for the first week. I’m now practising writing titles daily. Once I have a little more experience, I’ll try to experiment with changing some historic videos to see if I can bring them back to life.

This Month’s Take-Aways​

Last month I concluded topic search volume is important when identifying video ideas. The results I’m seeing continue to support this idea. Short-term popular videos are great for stats but the performance fades quite quickly. My best performing videos long-term continue to be the ones on topics that people regularly search for (YouTube and Google). I’m paying more attention to this now and will continue to in future when identifying new video ideas.

Over the past 6 months, I’ve read a lot of YouTube books, watched a lot of “Guru” videos and done a couple of courses. I now see many of the experts on the subject sharing examples of how their student channels have blown up with their help. Many of the books and videos seem that they are part of a marketing funnel. I may be wrong about this but what I do know is that they set big expectations in my mind.

When my channel hasn’t responded in the way that these experts claim should be possible, it’s felt crushing. This isn’t something that I’ve felt in the past and I now feel that I’ve been steered away from my original objective. I’ll be giving this more thought to produce new goals for what I want to achieve. I can imagine the feeling of being crushed when a video doesn’t perform causes some to give up on YouTube too soon. It also probably encourages others to spend lots of money seeking “expert” advice that may not work.
Nice! I’m literally trying to figure out hooks that work and aren’t spammy (for LinkedIn).
 

Cameraman

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Nice! I’m literally trying to figure out hooks that work and aren’t spammy (for LinkedIn).
Having spent only the past month trying to learn about this, a lot of available information seems to be thin and/or spammy. It may be my Britishness but a lot of headlines held up as good, make me cringe. I found the analysis in the Creator Hooks newsletter to be quite helpful in constructing my own less spammy headlines.

Another good source of material I found is from Sean D'Souza at Psychotactics Small Business Marketing Ideas: Psychological Marketing Tactics. I read a few of his books and articles in an online library I subscribe to and found myself agreeing with most of what he presents as well as learning some valuable tips. It's still early days because there is so much to try out (probably a good 12 months) but it feels like a good direction.

It's well worth looking at his website as he has some good free articles as well as the paid stuff. If you fancy a read, I found his Brain Audit book excellent and very practical. I'm on my third reading and have pages of notes to try out.
 

Andy Black

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It may be my Britishness but a lot of headlines held up as good, make me cringe.
Lol. I'm the same. It's partly why I like Google Ads... they search "dublin blacksmiths" and the ad headline that works is "Blacksmiths Dublin".
 
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Cameraman

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Month 6 Update​

2022-08-02_15-23-32.jpg

Over this past month, my views and watch time have held steady whilst my new subscriber growth has dropped slightly. Given this is the holiday season and I’ve previously seen a large fall in traffic, I’m quite pleased. My old “evergreen” content continues to pull consistent numbers and I now intend to focus on adding more of these videos.

I’ve also stopped listening to “experts” who claim large breakthroughs are possible if only I buy into their method. This has given me a better perspective on my progress, and I feel less like giving up.

The Light Went On​

I also had a lightbulb moment this month when I suddenly understood something at a deeper level. As I’ve implemented this idea, I’ve found more of my videos hitting the top 3 positions in my recent video ranking.

Over the past few months, I’ve been away a lot and needed to create videos in advance to keep to my schedule. Because of this, I decided to release a video that I thought wouldn’t do well, partly to fill a gap and partly to test a theory. It ended up with only 25% of my regular views. I then decided to correct this by releasing one that I expected to do well, and it hit my number 1 spot.

The things that seem to be important are a combination of:
  • The subject appeals to existing subscribers. Whilst all my videos are about photo editing, a lot of my subscribers use Affinity Photo software. The video that didn’t do well was about Photoshop although it might still perform in the future. If existing subscribers don’t watch YouTube doesn’t share the video more widely (at least not initially).
  • The subject of the video needs to be presented or packaged using an interesting idea that makes people want to watch it.
  • I need an eye-catching thumbnail that encourages someone to read the video title.
  • A powerful video title that encourages someone to click and start watching.
  • Once they are watching the video it’s about retention and how long/how much they watch for.
  • When they reach the end of the video do they watch another of my videos?
These are things that I’m going to focus on over the remaining 6-months. I doubt I will hit my original target, but I still want to see where I end up after 12 months.
 

Cameraman

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Month 7 Update

2022-08-31_09-30-51.jpg


Overall views are up around 10% on the previous 28 days due to a series of videos that performed well at launch. Subscriber growth is also up around 10% on the previous period, which seems to be due to older content performing well.

I’m pleased because I haven’t seen the usual big fall in viewing figures and subscribers, I usually see this time of year.

Why Videos Performed Well​

The new launch videos performed well for one reason, they appealed to a lot of my existing subscribers. YouTube seems to test new videos with existing subscribers first. If they don’t show interest, it stops pushing them (unless something else happens to change that).

I must remember, that the views for my successful video come over a period of months or years.

A good example is a recent video about Lightroom which did poorly at launch because it didn’t appeal to my existing subscribers. I've since noticed it was starting to get views.

Realtime Views 1.jpg

The history shows how bad it was and that it’s just starting to pick up around day 60.

Realtime Views 2.jpg

The CTR has also started to climb in recent days from the original 1.9% at launch.

CTR.jpg

Checking how people find the video I can see YouTube Search and External (90% Google) volumes have picked up. I looked on Google in a private browser session and found my video was now listed for the search term I was originally targeting. Success!

I now expect the video to begin racking up views longer term for what is a reasonably popular search term. This is what I wanted and have been getting sidetracked by gurus claiming they can make a channel take off. Positioning my videos for search terms also identifies me as an “expert” in this niche which should make selling my books easier.

Take Aways​

Much of the advice around how to make it on YouTube is geared toward publishing popular videos that appeal on YouTube Browse. If you have a how-to channel that’s more niche this advice probably won’t help and may even hurt your performance.

My thoughts are:

  • Work out your market and the ideal target customer. What problems are they wanting to address/what results do they want to see?
  • Develop videos to meet the demand in a style that the demographic appreciates and wants to watch.
  • Target search terms related to your market and give videos time to start performing. It probably won’t be immediate.
  • Position yourself as a trusted expert to sell your products by giving helpful and genuine advice in the videos and answering questions in the comments.
  • Consistency is key when targeting search traffic. You need to build a library of quality videos that target a range of search terms in your niche.
  • Thumbnails are important to get attention. Appealing titles are vital to get a click. Well thought out video ideas and quality are critical to keeping people watching.
Get these things right and YouTube should do the rest, but it takes time.
 

Andy Black

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Take Aways​

Much of the advice around how to make it on YouTube is geared toward publishing popular videos that appeal on YouTube Browse. If you have a how-to channel that’s more niche this advice probably won’t help and may even hurt your performance.

My thoughts are:

  • Work out your market and the ideal target customer. What problems are they wanting to address/what results do they want to see?
  • Develop videos to meet the demand in a style that the demographic appreciates and wants to watch.
  • Target search terms related to your market and give videos time to start performing. It probably won’t be immediate.
  • Position yourself as a trusted expert to sell your products by giving helpful and genuine advice in the videos and answering questions in the comments.
  • Consistency is key when targeting search traffic. You need to build a library of quality videos that target a range of search terms in your niche.
  • Thumbnails are important to get attention. Appealing titles are vital to get a click. Well thought out video ideas and quality are critical to keeping people watching.
Get these things right and YouTube should do the rest, but it takes time.
Thanks for the update. Very interesting.

I was just thinking earlier that I probably shouldn't post all my TikTok videos to YouTube. Some are me just messing about and aren't related to the content on my YouTube channel.
 
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Cameraman

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Thanks for the update. Very interesting.

I was just thinking earlier that I probably shouldn't post all my TikTok videos to YouTube. Some are me just messing about and aren't related to the content on my YouTube channel.
That might be an idea. YouTube seems to respond to focus.
That said, staying true to your channel aims and objectives is probably more important than trying to please an algorithm.

I just released a Photoshop video that's doing extremely bad. It's less than 50% of my usual views. I'm hoping Google will pick it up for the "Photoshop Smart Object" search term in time. It has reasonable search traffic and the videos currently showing are old.
 

Andy Black

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That might be an idea. YouTube seems to respond to focus.
That said, staying true to your channel aims and objectives is probably more important than trying to please an algorithm.

I just released a Photoshop video that's doing extremely bad. It's less than 50% of my usual views. I'm hoping Google will pick it up for the "Photoshop Smart Object" search term in time. It has reasonable search traffic and the videos currently showing are old.
Saying that... here's how the latest short is doing.

TikTok:
Screenshot_20220901-192147_TikTok.jpg

YouTube:
Screenshot_20220901-192253_YT Studio.jpg
 

Cameraman

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Andy Black

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Excellent.
To me, it looks like the thumbnail made the difference. You want to click to click to see what it's about.
Do thumbnails work with shorts? I thought they auto-played. I think it's because I started controversially and it was only 10s so people probably watched to the end. It has 69 Likes and 12 Dislikes, which indicates to me it might have hit a nerve.
 

Cameraman

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Do thumbnails work with shorts? I thought they auto-played. I think it's because I started controversially and it was only 10s so people probably watched to the end. It has 69 Likes and 12 Dislikes, which indicates to me it might have hit a nerve.
You're probably right, it's just that I saw a bunch of shorts with thumbnails appear on my main screen a while back. I don't go to that section often so I don't know if this is a regular feature or not.
I really must look into this when I have more time - I've found myself experimenting with AI writing tools much of the day.
 

Andy Black

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You're probably right, it's just that I saw a bunch of shorts with thumbnails appear on my main screen a while back. I don't go to that section often so I don't know if this is a regular feature or not.
I really must look into this when I have more time - I've found myself experimenting with AI writing tools much of the day.
Check out the dreamcloud channel for videos about AI tools.
 
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Cameraman

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Month 8 Update

2022-10-03_19-08-22.jpg

Views, watch time and subscriber growth are relatively steady for the past month. This is despite my releasing two videos that I expected not to perform well initially (they didn’t). Much of my performance seems to come from my older, popular videos with evergreen content.

I’ve also realised that if I continue doing what I’m doing my channel will probably keep growing at the same rate. I need to try different things to create a breakout.

Looking at my stats, there are a few important points that I want to record as future reminders:

  • Older videos will break out and begin to perform when Google picks them up and shows them in search results. They then continue to grow consistently. Here is an update on the video I shared last month which had begun showing up in Google searches. This is predictable and steady growth, and I’ve had a few videos do this now.

2022-10-03_19-13-08.jpg

  • New videos get about 80% of their views from returning viewers (max) and 20% from new viewers. Older videos that perform are the reverse of this. New videos have slow subscriber growth whereas older videos with views are faster. I need more new viewers to watch my videos.
  • Someone paid to promote one of my videos over this past month (I don’t know who) about 5 days after it was launched. The viewer count doubled in 8 hours. What this tells me is that there is a large market for my videos that I’m not tapping into.

This Month’s Take Away

  • I want to experiment with YouTube Shorts to see if I can attract new viewers.
  • I’ll spend more time researching search volumes on Google and YouTube with the aim of getting videos picked up by Google search.
  • I’m continuing to invest time in developing better video titles. I’m now using the Monster Insights Headline Checker (Headline Analyzer). When a title scores well with this the video also seems to perform well although it’s too soon to tell how much of a difference this makes.
 

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Cameraman

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Month 9 Update​

2022-10-31_10-50-26.jpg
As predicted, my stats have picked up in the second part of the year. This has been a repeating pattern that I expect to continue until the New Year (unless I stop posting). Views are healthy having covered two new software releases this month. I know that I could generate a lot more views and subscribers on the channel by doing more of this, but I don’t want to. I don’t enjoy making this type of video on a regular basis so doing a few each year is about all that I want.

Whilst I don’t want to judge my success by subscriber count, it’s nice to see them rising. I’m on target to have added around 6k new subscribers by the end of the year. Looking back to the beginning of this experiment, my annual new subscriber grown had been around 6k, except for last year. In that year it had dropped (along with my views) to 4k and I wanted to reverse the trend. It looks like I have at least achieved that.

The video I’ve been tracking in recent reports continues to perform. It has low but regular views since being picked up in Google Search.
Stats 1.jpg

This is great because it was designed to capture a search term in Google and has. It’s extremely poor performance at the start is now around average for its age and I expect it to improve further.

Another video from earlier in this experiment is also performing well. This was also designed to capture a search term and a specific type of subscriber who might buy my books. What I’m pleased with here is the large subscriber growth that’s come from the video. I will need to do more of this going forward.

Stats 2.jpg

It was also my intention to start doing YouTube Shorts, but it hasn’t happened this month. Instead, I’ve poured my time into writing updates for my back catalogue of books. I’ve been putting this off for a few years and it’s now hurting my sales figures. As I need to focus more on this over the next 3-6 months, I’ll be investing less time in trying to grow YouTube.

I will continue to track my progress here but only update the thread every couple of months. It’s certainly been valuable in helping me develop my ideas. I’m grateful to @Andy Black for suggesting it.
 

Matt Lee

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Hey @Cameraman,

thanks for these updates man. I am one of your silent supporters.

Here is another free resource I think you might find useful about thumbnail optimization. He's a pretty underground twitter user but he drops some gold bombs, especially on psychology and the nitty gritty bits of thumbnail creation.


Just curious, at the moment how extensive is your catalog of videos? I'm re-reading your posts and you wrote between the lines that you've been sticking to the 1 video a week schedule and posting for close to 4-5 years now.

Are you about 200-240 videos deep? Are the majority of your monthly views coming from new videos being published or more so content posted previously?
 
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Cameraman

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Hey @Cameraman,

thanks for these updates man. I am one of your silent supporters.

Here is another free resource I think you might find useful about thumbnail optimization. He's a pretty underground twitter user but he drops some gold bombs, especially on psychology and the nitty gritty bits of thumbnail creation.


Just curious, at the moment how extensive is your catalog of videos? I'm re-reading your posts and you wrote between the lines that you've been sticking to the 1 video a week schedule and posting for close to 4-5 years now.

Are you about 200-240 videos deep? Are the majority of your monthly views coming from new videos being published or more so content posted previously?
Thanks for sharing the link. It's much appreciated.

Yes, I have around 280 videos now although about 10 are private.

New videos tend to avarage 1k to 2k views in the first week but then slow.

More of my views come from my older videos. I seem to be running at around 2k views a day on those. It takes about 60-180 days for one of my videos to beging to perform and it's usually because Google Search picks it up.

When I started doing this, evergreen traffic was my goal - I guess that I should be happy but the stats from the big YouTubers always make you want more. :rofl:
 

Cameraman

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Month 10 Update​

This is the update that last month I said I would stop doing. I changed my mind so soon because I want to remind myself of something. There is a 12-month cycle running in my niche and it’s stopping me from seeing progress.

At the start of this experiment and several times throughout, I said that my stats are always poor from around April. They tend to drop off but then pick up again around October. This has been noticeable for me over the past 4 years.

Well, it’s happened again.
2022-11-30_10-35-07.jpg

What’s been different in 2022 is that my stats in the difficult period haven’t been as poor as in the past. In fact, they remained relatively flat. But now we’re in November, I can see that they have picked up and almost doubled.

The problem this creates for me is that my channel looks flat and like it’s not growing when I view a month or 90-day period. It’s hard to see what’s working but when I get it wrong, it hits my figures hard. Now, look at what happens when I compare 2021 view figures.

2021.jpg

With 2022.

2022.jpg

I’m already ahead of 2021 and still have the December viewing figures (traditionally one of my best months) to add.

OK, the channel isn’t growing fast, but I’m taking a lesson from this to not become fixated on short-term performance (or lack of it).
 

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