VidCon London: Everything You Need To Know About YouTube Success in 2019
"Every platform in the world just wants you to spend more time on their platform. It's how they earn revenue."
YouTube success can be boiled down to one simple concept: keep viewers on the platform by uploading content people enjoy watching, so they come back to YouTube regularly.
If you can do this, YouTube's algorithm will reward your videos - and you're likely to see your number of viewers (and subscribers) grow strong.
This was the general takeaway of everything Matt Gielen discussed during his talks at VidCon London. In case you aren't familiar with his work Gielen is the Founder and President of Little Monster Media Co., an agency that helps companies and businesses build their audiences on YouTube.
At VidCon London he gave three very insightful talks about the video-sharing platform: "The 8 Formats You Must Know to Build Your Audience on YouTube", "How The Algorithm Works" and "What Makes a Good Thumbnail?"
While it's tough summing up everything he shared with us at VidCon London, we've rounded up the "cliff notes" of what you need to know about YouTube, its algorithm and best practices in order to succeed on the platform in 2019 - according to Matt Gielen.
Check it out below and be sure to follow him on Twitter @MattGielen
Focus on your Click Through Rate (CTR) and Average View Duration (AVD)
Forget about trying to grow your channel by hosting contests, snagging shout-outs from other YouTubers and promising to do giveaways once you reach X amount of subscribers.
According to Gielen creators should be more concerned with their videos' Click Through Rate (CTR), followed by the Average View Duration (AVD) of their videos if they want to grow their channel and go viral.
What’s a Click Through Rate, you might ask? How does it affect my channel?
A Click Through Rate is determined by how many people view your video in their feed (i.e see your video’s thumbnail and title) and then decide to watch it (by clicking on it). Think of it as the “impression conversation rate” but for YouTube.
It's also relative to how many impressions your video receives. Even if a small group of people come across your video, but are all quick to click on it and watch it your CTR can be considered high.
The Average View Duration (AVD) is the average amount of time viewers spend watching your video. It’s more important than the number of viewers in total who watch your video.
It's also the second most important factor (after CTR) in determining who the algorithm will recommend your video to on YouTube.
Confused? Think of it this way: it’s better to have fewer viewers clicking on your videos and watching them for longer periods of time, than a ton of viewers watching your video for only a few seconds.
It’s the combination of CTR and AVD that really impacts whether YouTube’s algorithm will suggest your video to other views, therefore allowing for more people to see your content.
Forget about YouTube SEO. It’s a waste of your time.
Spending hours trying to incorporate keywords in your titles, caption, and tag? Unfortunately, YouTube's algorithm doesn't give two hoots.
According to Gielen, YouTube SEO doesn’t work.
There's no way to "trick" the algorithm into thinking your video should be more "visible" or "discoverable" than a video with a stronger click-through-rate.
You're better off putting the effort into creating a great thumbnail (think of them as mini-movie posters, but for your videos) and an excellent title (that accurately reflects what’s happening in the video).
Avoid clickbait-y titles at all costs, along with titles that inaccurately describe what your video is about. At the end of the day, it's all about converting those initial "impressions" into viewers.
Ditto for Likes, Dislikes and Comments.
If your videos tend to get a lot of hate and "thumbs down" you can breathe a sigh of relief.
How your video ranks within YouTube's algorithm is not affected by the number of likes, dislikes or comments it receives.
"The reason why is it's incredibly easy to fudge those numbers," Gielen said. "It's not a true representation of the enjoyment or the outcome that people are seeking on a video, just by looking at likes or dislikes."
Understand the Taxonomy of Digital Video
According to Gielen, almost every YouTube video on the platform can be classified into eight different formats:
- Music Video
This formatting system, developed by Gielen and his team, is known as the Taxonomy of Digital Video.
The most successful YouTube channels are pro’s at combining two of the formats listed above, making “hybrid” style videos (whether they realize they’re doing it or not.)
“Make a hybrid-format [video], in a style endemic to the platform, with good talent. If you do that, you’ll be way ahead of the vast majority of YouTube channels,” Gielen wrote, in a web article for Tubefilter.
He used Lilly Singh as an example at VidCon London.
“She did something that felt so incredibly fresh and new on the platform – and brought a lot of humor to it – that her audience just absolutely exploded,” he said.
“She married an element of Narrative format to Commentary through sketch comedy.”
Personality Matters. A lot.
“There’s never been a major media organization in the history of the world - and I’m talking about the big ones here - that hasn’t been built without personalities or character,” Gielen said, during his “8 Formats You Must Know to Build Your Audience on YouTube” talk at VidCon London.
“It’s how we form a relationship with a brand or with a show.”
Take Lilly Singh, for example.
While anyone can create content that is a hybrid of two or more formats listed above, Singh’s audience tune in to get their dose of IISuperwomanII.
At the end of the day, there are three reasons why a viewer would want to watch your video: they like the format and/or style, they're interested in the topic, they like the talent (i.e. the personality) or a combination of all three.
This means if you really want your videos to succeed on YouTube, you need to ensure there’s a decent amount of character in front of the camera.
Want to soak up more of Matt Gielen's YouTube wisdom?
Check out Little Monster Media Co.'s YouTube channel or read more of Gielen's articles on Tubefilter here.
What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below.
Image credit: Tubefilter, Little Monster Media Co.