Success on YouTube

How to succeed on YouTube?

Look around the Analytics of YouTube a bit. I could not get any conclusion on what exactly helps getting more people

  • to watch
  • to watch longer time
  • to like
  • to subscribe
  • to share
    • my videos.

      There are various "best practices" touted by some of the YouTube gurus out there, but how do they know?

      Can you really understand that much from the various free and paid analytics tools?

      And what do I need to do?

      With my two reasonably successful web sites I did quite well without being an expert of SEO.

      Sure I know more about SEO than the average person who does not have a web site. Heck, I might know more than the average person with a web site. After all some of my sites have way more visitors than the average web site. However, I am far from being an expert on the subject.

      My strategy with both the Perl Maven site and the Code Maven site was quite simple: Create content that other people need.

      How did I know what people need? I didn't. I just created content about subjects I taught to my students and about subjects I had to search for and where I could not easily find a ready-made answer.

      Luckily there are tons of different technologies available for programmers and the documentation in many cases is far less user-friendly than it could be. Even more so interaction between various technologies fall out of the scope of any single project, but people all the time need to combine technologies. People (at least people like me) need a simple example to copy-paste, but then sometimes they also want to have an explanation around the solution. Wording also matters. While I should use the proper word for each specific technology, but many people, especially those who are new to a subject, don't yet know the proper vocabulary. So in many cases I made sure I use both terminology and I even explain why we have both.

      I also looked at some keyword analytics tool Google provides via the webmasters console.

      But this about succeeding on a blog.

      How do I succeed on YouTube?

      First I guess I'll have to defined what do I even mean by success? Many subscribers? Many views on my videos? Many hours of watch-time? Some other kind of impact? Ultimately, or at lease for now, or rather my "business goal" should be converting more people to be paying customers on my web site.

      But that's way too far off. Especially as currently my Code Maven Pro subscription service does not yet have a lot of content.

      So in the meantime I use low-level measurements. Such as number of subscribers, number of views, and watch length.

      As I understand one of the key measurement tools for YouTube is the watch length. So if I have a 60 min long video watched by 10 at an average of 20% of the video that is a total of 120 min watch time.

      On the other hand if I have a 2 min video watched my 100 people watching an average of 50% of the video length that is 100 min watch time.

      So in the eyes of YouTube the long video that was watched by very few people and for a relatively short period of time is better than the short video.

      Therefore YouTube will show the long video to more people.

      Of course there are a lot more parameters in play.

      And that's what I need to understand. So far I understand that the YouTube search engine is also based on text and not on the content of the video.

      It is based on the

      • Title.
      • Description - it can be long. It can use keywords. It can have timestamps to help people find the right locations in the video.
      • Tags - I think they are hidden from the visitors, but they are taken in account when people search for content.

      There is another key element that impacts on how frequently people will watch the video and that's the

      • Thumbnail - it is not textual, but I hear it has a huge impact on viewers, that drives the click-through rate of the video, that in turn impacts how often it is shown.

      OK, so now that I "know this", it is only a simple matter of using this knowledge to create content, and create meta-information around the content that will make it more relevant to the potential viewers.