If you want to be more successful as a video creator or maintain the growth of your YouTube channel well into the future, this is where I will constantly share the latest algorithm updates and viewership trends.
Let me know what you think and ask any questions you have in the comments below!
Going Into Late 2018 and Early 2019
1. It's not about the channel anymore
Now, it's about each video and the viewer. You have to get the right type of viewer to watch your video. For instance, YouTube got rid of suggestions by the channel and now has suggestions based on what is similar to what you engage with most.
In other words, YouTube's AI is trying to predict what each viewer will watch and uses signals like how many times you watch one video, whether you subscribe
You have to understand your audience and what they want. If you do, YouTube will promote the videos for you.
Also keep people coming back to YouTube. You can do this by publishing at a bare minimum of 2 times per month. For most channels, a few times per week is better though.
On top of that, there is different data for viewing behavior based on the device you're on. You may get different results based on whether you're on TV, PC, mobile, etc.
Some people, for instance, may watch shorter videos that are more entertainment-based at home on their Apple TV, while opting for more long-form educational content on their computer at work.
Still, suggested videos are the fastest way to grow on YouTube. It's not about the subscribers number you have. It's about the viewer and getting each video suggested to as many of them as possible.
There's a lot of emphasis on viewer history and if they've been highly engaged with similar videos to the ones you have.
2. You need a more long-term strategy now
This means it might be a month or two before your video really kicks in and starts getting a lot of traction.
YouTube is heavily promoting older content now.
You may want to go back and improve video thumbnails, but DO NOT CHANGE META DATA, especially on well-performing videos.
3. You can now look at your impressions vs click-through data
You can improve your views by as much as 3x or more just by changing your thumbnails. And, the best part is, we will now be able to measure this better in YouTube Analytics.
According to Derral Eves, a good click-through rate is 12%. The main thing though is that your click-through rate is better than the competition.
You might try a tool like TubeBuddy for split-testing thumbnails since YouTube still doesn't have this feature.
Also, you want to look at your real-time analytics and test thumbnails based on the numbers you see on there.
In fact, you might have multiple thumbnails and if a video is performing under average, change the thumbnail.
Test 10 – 15 videos that actually get results and experiment with thumbnails as well as titles in some cases to try and improve that click-through rate.
To see these numbers, go to your YouTube Analytics and look for “Impressions and CTR” on the right column under “Watch Time”.
4. Audience retention needs to be a major emphasis
You want to see spikes in true engagement through the video, when you look at your analytics. What is true engagement though?
True engagement is not likes and shares, it is rewinding to re-watch a part of the video, watching the whole video all the way through, or maybe even subscribing while watching the video.
One indicator you want is for 50% of people that watch your video to finish it. A tip for improving this is to cut down on the length of your ending within the video. Stop dragging out the conclusion or just get rid of it.
5. Have lots of crossovers that compliment each other
One of the more powerful things you can do in the future is have a series of videos related to each other. You could turn a long video into a multi-part series of shorter videos, for instance.
Another thing you can do is have multiple channels that relate to each other and cross over. Either way, you want people watching and engaging with a lot of similar content that all happens to be yours.
6. You may want to translate videos
There is HUGE growth coming in India and Asia Pacific regions for YouTube.
The new number one channel besides YouTube's auto-generated music channel (and maybe other auto-generated YouTube channels) will be a Hindi channel. It is about to pass Pewdiepie as of me writing this in October 2018.
The channel is one of the fastest growing on YouTube doing Indian music videos mostly. But this is just one example of the growth of Hindi viewership. Hence the growing importance of translations for English channels.
Translations will especially be important for educational channels because many forms of education can be applied by anyone around the world. When it comes to entertainment, it can be different depending on the genre (comedy, gaming, stunts, etc.).
Translations may not make a big difference now, but should in the future. I mean, why limit your brand to just one or two countries and languages?
You may even do separate channels for languages. Lots of times a Spanish version, for example, will do better because of less competition than the English one.
Update title and description of each video in translated version.
To do translations, go to the “Edit” page of one of your videos and click “Translations” next to “Basic Info”. Then, get the translations made and upload them.
Use a tool like TubeBuddy to tell you the top spoken languages by your audience like it shows in the screenshot below for my channel.
You may also want to do captions that are translated for Hindi or whatever alternative languages are spoken by your audience.
To do this, just go to “Subtitles/CC” on the video edit page. Then, search for the language that you need to upload translations for and get the translations uploaded.
7. Storytelling could be very important to growth in the future
More and more channels are growing quickly with storytelling and more long-form content.
Look at the growth of the series being put out by Shane Dawson covering Jake Paul for a great example. Many of these videos are around 40 minutes long.
Also, look at the Joe Rogan channel. It's doing very well with long-form stories and conversations covering all sorts of topics with guests from all sorts of backgrounds.
Peter McKinnon also has some sort of story in just about every video and has been very successful.
People love stories. They pay attention more than if you just use facts.
That being said, don't just try to tell a story, your content might do worse if it isn't meaningful. Don't force it. Let it come natural.
Try telling stories about you that are true and show transparency or vulnerability. Sharing your struggles resonates with people. Just like you would for anything else, try reading up on the topic before implementing it.
Here are some books for learning how to tell stories effectively:
- Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip Heath
- The Filmmaker's Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide for the Digital Age by Steven Ascher
- The Storytelling Animal: How Stories Make Us Human by Jonathan Gottschall
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