This post was originally published on on July 13, 2017. It was updated on May 25, 2019. If you see comments from before the publishing date, that is why.
In this video, you will learn about the future of making money on YouTube in 2017 and beyond.
After YouTube had made a big tweak to their algorithm, hurting countless creators, there certain things you need to start focusing on to make money off your channel in the future.
Enjoy the video and let me know what you think in the comments below!
Here is how the future looks as far as making a living on YouTube:
1. Focus on a small niche audience
More and more people are getting access to the internet. The more people are on the internet, the more your competition grows.
Also, entrepreneurship is cool these days. People like Gary Vaynerchuk have built big audiences talking about entrepreneurship and how to get started. The more channels like his become popular, the more people will start trying to become YouTubers. This also equals more competition for you.
That's the bad news.
The good news is that the more people come online, the more money you can make from small niche channels. The more general audience channels will become more competitive, but the smaller, specific niche channels will now have more viewers and a better chance to make you a living.
Look at Video Creators. They specialize in helping YouTubers.
Look at Evan Carmichael. He went from posting multiple times per day to dividing up his content into 6 or 7 more specific channels.
2. Experiment with worldwide content
There is a huge rise in new internet users in India. In fact, a decent-sized chunk of viewers of my main YouTube channel, Justin Bryant, come from India.
This is a huge opportunity we should not ignore, especially if you have an educational channel.
Entertaining content may or may not translate to other languages well. It just depends. But, educational content, like marketing and business related videos tend to do pretty well in other countries.
So, I recommend you look into translations for your captions (use a site like Rev) and even dedicated channels with translations for different languages.
Why limit your business to national when it can be worldwide?
3. Do videos that are around 10 or 15 minutes long
YouTube will always help promote videos that keep people on their site longer because that's how they make money.
But, if you make videos too long in an effort to get maximum watch time, you may start sacrificing your Click Through Rate numbers. People simply don't want to watch super long videos on YouTube, for the most part.
Also, the optimum watch time per video right now is around 5-8 minutes. If you can accomplish that on average with 10 or 15 minute videos, you should do well with the algorithm.
On top of that, when a video is at least 10 minutes long, you can insert more ads for higher revenue.
Click Through Rate is a HUGE part of maximizing YouTube results now. The higher your CTR, the more views you get with the same amount of impressions.
If you get a high CTR in the first group that YouTube shows your new video to, they will expand your audience until it starts leveling off.
This means you need to start spending a lot more time on thumbnails and titles for your videos.
To help make thumbnail templates and test them, I recommend Tubebuddy.
5. Fewer Links
Another thing you might want to do in the future when it comes to YouTube is avoid sending people off the site. Even if a video is super high quality, if it tends to send people to another site that isn't YouTube, the algorithm won't be as good to you.
This is why you see top channels with millions of subscribers mostly include music, movie trailers, motivational advice, gaming, crazy stunts, vlogs, etc.
Those types of videos are typically entertaining and many of them can be watched in a row without the need to go to another site or click a link.
6. Mass Promotion in First 24 Hours
Another thing the YouTube algorithm seems to like is when your videos get people to come back to the YouTube site.
This means, you want to promote your new video EVERYWHERE as soon as you publish it.
Share it on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, your email list, etc. to get more traction in the first day.
You should see YouTube promote your video organically a little more if you do this.
7. 3 Main Analytics
To see A LOT more success on YouTube, you have to pay close attention to the numbers in your analytics.
Now, the most important numbers to focus on have changed over the years, but right now you want to look at Watch Time, CTR, and Retention.
Watch Time is how long people spend watching your video. Ideally, you will get this up to 5-8 minutes on average per video.
CTR is the rate at which people click your video in search, suggestions, etc.
Ideally, you want to get this around 8%.
Retention is the amount of people that watch your videos to the end. If you can get around 50% of people to watch your entire video, that would be great!
I predict playlists being extremely important going forward on YouTube.
Because when people are watching a video in your playlist, they're more likely to watch the video to the end (increasing retention), watch multiple videos (increasing views), and see more of your videos in their suggestions feed in the future (because they watch multiple videos by you).
To use playlists for future success, embed very targeted ones on the endscreens of your videos, try them out in video cards, and maybe link to them in the comments or descriptions.
Predictions and trends from 2017:
Total watch time is now king
Don't worry so much about views and watch time per video. The main thing you need to get down on YouTube is your total watch time. If you can increase that each month, everything else will follow.
News, daily vlogs, and up-to-date content will become more popular
It's easy to get a lot of instant watch time and have plenty to talk about over time when you use topics related to current events.
Gone are the days of posting videos once a week or less
You may be able to get away with posting once a week if you put a ton of production into each video like Dude Perfect, but the average channel needs to post content at least every other day now.
Automation should be a huge focus from now on
You need to spend more time producing and planning content, meaning you'll probably need to outsource smaller tasks to freelancers, employees, or software.
Instant results and video promotion will be more important than ever
YouTube's algorithm seems to take a lot of data from your first 48 hours after publishing to see if your video deserves more leverage. Make sure you publish and promote right away to get that early boost.
You need people spending more time on your content than ever
You definitely don't want people leaving your videos to go to other sites unless you have a good reason for it. YouTube wants to make more money so videos that help keep people on YouTube longer are going to be rewarded.
Live streaming can make money but doesn’t sustain after recording
Live streaming can make money from the Super Chat feature and things like that. It also gets you quite a few viewers while the video is recording, but after it's over, not so much. Live videos are only good while they're live.
Longer videos are also important
One thing I've noticed is that people tend to watch around the same percentage of most videos I publish on YouTube. So, if I make a 30 minute video and a 10 minute video, the 30 minute video will almost always get over twice as long of an average watch time.
Try to make thumbnails and titles stand out among competition
Thumbnails and titles are the gateway to watching your video. You could have the best video in the world but without a good thumbnail and title to attract clicks, it won't matter. Learn how to lure people in with these two aspects of your videos.
No, you should not panic and leave YouTube for a “real” job. It still can pay the bills and be a great marketing tool for any business.
You just need to take these tips into consideration now and remember that any future algorithm changes in the future will be to help YouTube make more money.
Realizing this makes it easier to plan for future changes.