Ok, so most of us didn’t necessarily get into social media influencing just for the maths. But, as we talked about in last week’s blog, a good understanding of the data supplied by YouTube analytics is a ridiculously easy way to make your content better.
So, while last week’s blog whizzed through some of the YouTube metrics that are essential for refining your content, this week’s Cheat Sheet is all about clever ways to use those metrics to your advantage.
Figure out a way to enhance your videos’ watch time and you pretty much win at YouTube.
Weirdly though, some content creators who go to incredible lengths to produce amazing videos, often lose all interest when it comes to structuring their playlists.
Applying some of that same thought and imagination to the structure of your playlist creates a viewing experience that invites people to stay longer.
In fact, to give yourself the best chance of increasing watch time, every detail has to earn a small portion of a viewer’s precious time. From making sure the thumbnail for the video is a compelling and relevant representation of your video (the beginning of your viewer engagement journey) to using cards1 to drive viewers into other content of yours they may love (the end of that journey… And hopefully the immediate beginning of the next) every step must be flawlessly thought through if you want to see your watch time take a huge leap.
There’s a delicate balance in all social media influencer marketing between the authenticity of the individual content creator and what an audience wants to see.
It’s a bad idea to be tied to your way of creating content if it alienates your audience – just as it’s a bad idea to abandon your own values to produce something that will be popular, but fake.
This is where YouTube analytics are vital – especially with the vast amounts you can learn about the people who watch your videos.
Now, we wouldn’t expect a scenario where you think you’re creating content for 20-year-old skateboarding males, but your biggest audience is 40-year-old female cheese makers.
But you’d be surprised how many times the assumptions you make about the nature of your audience can be shaken up by looking at YouTube analytics.
Through diving more deeply into your audience demographics you can build a content strategy that a.) has the best chance of engaging your most important audience and b.) is optimised to attract new viewers from your key demographic.
Grinding through audience data may not be the most glamorous thing you do with your day as a content creator, but you need to remember that what you learn about your audience can be applied in creative ways. Understand who’s watching your videos and you become the leading expert in the type of subjects, style, pacing, length (everything basically) that make your content successful.
Ask a creative YouTuber about the most important component of a video and they’ll probably say something like the style.
Ask a successful YouTuber the same question and they’ll say the planning.
In other words, the difference between someone sharing fun stuff on YouTube and an influencer is about setting goals… and thinking carefully about how to achieve them.
And the best place to begin that planning is to understand precisely why your last plan (or the absence of a plan) failed.
YouTube analytics gives you the ability to pinpoint the very second that people are dropping out of your videos. And (see detail, detail, detail) keeping your viewers viewing is the name of the YouTube game.
Understanding your audience retention data helps you identify the weak spots in your content. It also helps you identify the triggers that transform your viewer from a ‘watch this’ to a ‘watch that instead’ mindset. These triggers could be a certain phrase, a change in setting, a shift in topic – anything that they see as a reason to stop, rather than continue, being interested.
And then, as with all of these tips, it’s about looking again at the data to see which of the changes you’ve made worked.
See? Maths is fun after all.