This author believes that anyone can succeed on Youtube if only they are willing to put in the work and time it takes to grow a channel to success, and if they are willing to learn from the data.
How many channels are there on Youtube? How many of those channels generate an income for their creators? Answers to questions such as these introduce this very detailed and well-written book about a topic of great interest to many people in today’s world.
First you learn about the history of Youtube, and how it didn’t start out as a video sharing platform at all. It was first envisioned as a dating site. But because the founders of Youtube were able to pivot and follow the data and their audience, they became the founders of the great success story of our time that has been Youtube.
You learn about everything that Youtube pioneered, including sharing the profits of their advertising revenue with creators themselves. This is a huge shift from the old paradigm where only a select few, such as those who run ad agencies, television stations, and other similar venues have the opportunity to earn advertising revenue. Now, everyone and anyone can make money from the ads that run with their content. This was novel at the time, and it still is. Other platforms who are now involved in the video sharing side of social media do not share the profits from ads that run in or with content with the creator of the video, even to this day.
The author breaks down the ways in which the Youtube algorithm is believed to calculate which videos show up in search results, recommended, and up next. Much of this part is an explanation of the data that Youtube collects, which in many cases is available to the content creator. According to the writer, this can help a Youtube creator do many different things. First, the data can show what is working. It can show what is not working. It can show how long viewers watch your video, and what your average percentage of viewing retention is.
Among the items the author recommends a focus be placed on is the day and time your audience is on the platform. According to the author and to the Youtube page on which the data appears, the first two hours after your video is posted are the most important. In the vast majority of cases, that time period will determine whether Youtube’s algorithm promotes and recommends your video to more viewers, or whether this does not happen. If It doesn’t happen, such a video will get fewer overall views. This remains the case over time.
In each chapter once you get to the formula and data sections, which are after section 1 (about the history of Youtube), there is a section of tasks or to-dos. The author guides you through analyzing the available data for existing videos. This book appears to be targeted at people who have started a Youtube channel, and who are seeking guidance. Thus, many of the tasks are focused on analyzing videos over time that have done well.
Through this task, you can see what is working and what is not. For example, retention of the viewer is among the most important things to Youtube, because this keeps people on the platform longer. The longer they are on the platform, the more ads they can see. The more ads they see, the more money Youtube (and creators) are able to earn from the platform. Consequently, Youtube’s algorithm favors videos where people watch for longer and seek out more videos.
While this book is heavy on data analysis, and can sometimes be confusing to those unfamiliar with analyzing data, the writing itself is interesting and engaging. While I am often bored by detailed data analysis discussions, this was not the case with the Youtube Formula book.
Instead, I found it to be quite fast-paced, and thus the entire book went by rather quickly. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to earn a living, or make a career, out of Youtube. It is not an easy thing to do, but ths book will detail ways to boost your chances of success.
From what the author describes, it is possible for many creators to make a success of their Youtube channel if they are willing to put in the work needed in order to make it succeed.
However, what the author tries to stress, algorithms and equations aside, is that your content MUST be really good in order for the platform and algorithm to promote your videos. In other words, produce excellent content, and you can succeed on the platform.
When a content creator comes to Youtube and tracks their progress over time, there will always be a progression of improvement in the content created. This is true independently of the platform and algorithm. If you learn to respond to the information contained in the data and feedback of your channel, you will only improve your chances.
Thumbnails and Titles
One of the most critical items that every video needs is a great thumbnail. The author describes how in the beginning, there were no thumbnails; it was auto-generated. This was not a good thing, and it caused an incredible outpouring of creativity when the thumbnail option was instituted.
The author mentions tools, many of which have a cost associated with them, by which you can split test video thumbnails to see which ones have the best response from viewers. This can lead to improvement in your video’s views, and thus your channel’s success. There are multiple tools shared by the author that can help you generate better titles.
This leads to the second most important item in a video’s success: great titles. Most people choose videos to watch based on the thumbnail first, title second. The title must be true to the video, as click bait channels never do well for long. The better your titles, the more people will watch your videos, if they are shown to the viewers. Tailoring your content to your audience, and uploading videos when they are online, can possibly help you to be recommended by the platform to new viewers. This usually happens when your regular viewers, or your audience, have responded well to a given video; this causes the algorithm to recommend your content to people with similar interests to your core audience, leading to greater audience growth.
Consistency A Factor In Audience Retention
One thing that the author stresses many times is the importance of consistency to viewers. Much of this has to do with niches, and what your particular audience (which if you follow the author you have determined mathematically) wants to see. If you are looking for real success, the author suggests that you tailor your content to your audience, and not to yourself. The videos you make may not appeal to you, but if they are made for your audience and demographic, they will likely do well, as long as you remain consistent.
This book is definitely a good read, and for those looking to start a Youtube channel, it will provide many helpful hints on how you can boost your views. Video improvement over time is essential for everyone, and will usually happen as a natural evolutionary process. As the author mentions, if you have a channel already, and you look at a video from a year ago, you are likely to notice that improvements have taken place in your production and quality, and you may not have noticed it before as it happens subtly over time.
One other thing that the author stresses is that there are very few overnight successes. Consequently, it may take time for you to build a loyal and dedicated audience for your videos. But if you persist, and continue to make content for those who are most interested, while also paying attention to feedback and data, you can make Youtube work for you. If you have the time and the inclination, this book can help guide you through the maze of relevant data offered by the platform, into a profitable and enjoyable time creating content that you enjoy making. That, too, is important, because if you don’t enjoy making the content, you will not continue to press on.
This book will be most helpful to those readers who have a good amount of time to devote to making their dream a reality. All of the suggestions take time and responsiveness, so it is not really an easy journey. But nothing that is worthwhile is ever easy.
This book is highly recommended to those readers interested in learning more about how the Youtube platform works, as well as for those readers looking to foray more deeply into the world of content creation and promotion. It is a pleasant read, with an engaging and interesting author. And if you want to start making money on Youtube, it can give you a good roadmap to the best pathways for your content. I would give the book Five Stars.
Banner Image: Analytics for a successful Youtube channel. Image Credit – Derral Eves