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200,000 YouTube Views!

So I haven’t posted a great deal on here recently… As some of you may have noticed we’ve not been able to get out much, and that has affected what I’ve been able to do with the car. 

As we sit here today, in March of 2021, the car actually has no MOT and is off the road, SORNed. For those of you outside the UK, that means I have declared the car as being “off the road” with the vehicle licensing authority and means I don’t need to pay any road tax.

We hope to be exiting our UK lockdown soon, so I’m looking forward to getting the car back on the road and in use again soon.

In the meantime we hit a bit of a milestone on YouTube with 200,000 views of the 4 videos that have been released. By far and away the most popular video is the timelapsed build video, which is still getting about 200 views a day.

To celebrate I thought I’d share a few YouTube statistics again.

Views

Since releasing the first Purplemeanie YouTube video, the 2018 Taffia Fish & Chip run video, we’ve released 3 further videos. The graph below shows how views have progressed on the channel in that timeframe.

As you can see, the build video created a huge spike! But the Taffia video and even the other two have done way better than I thought they ever would…

Subscribers

I never really thought we’d get many people subscribe to my videos. Caterham videos are notoriously unwatched affairs on YouTube. And in fact I know that some of the more famous car YouTube channels shun releasing Caterham related content as it can be a challenge to attract viewers. So, I don’t expect to get many subscribers as a result.

That being said I am surprised that we’ve attracted over 800 people that for some reason hope they’re going to get more interesting content from me 😃. I do hope to do that in the coming months and that those subscribers don’t all decide they made a mistake ☹️.

Subscriber uptake in the three years is shown in the graph below.

Again, as you can see, there was a big blip when the build video got released. However, that doesn’t show the whole story, we had well over 200 subscribers before that video went out and there have been more people signing up after the release of that video too. Amazing!

Where have all the views come from?

So, that’s an interesting question. YouTube is a many faceted beast… that also has a mind of its own.

But there are three main ways the people have found to watch our videos, as shown below.

By far and away the biggest source for us is what YouTube calls Browse Features. This is essentially videos being shown on people’s YouTube home page and is totally driven by the YouTube algorithm. The algorithm looks at what you’ve watched before and what else it knows about you, like your age, gender, etc and then shows you a thumbnail of any videos you might like to watch. It also looks at what others are watching and interacting with and will prioritise those videos too. But that one’s a self fulfilling prophecy sort of argument as well. It’s why its difficult for small channels to break through and why big channels get crazy view counts very quickly after releasing a video. Once shown, the thumbnail dictates whether someone is going to watch your video or not and comes down to how enticing you thumbnail is for the video. For a small channel, your thumbnail is your single most important aspect of getting your videos watched. For more on that, see click through rate below.

Secondly, people watch our videos due to YouTube’s suggested videos feature. These are videos that appear down the right hand side of your YouTube screen when you’re watching a video. This is of course again totally driven by “the algorithm” and probably uses similar criteria as for Browse watches.

The last of the main ways people find our videos is via searching for them. This is less driven by the YouTube algorithm and is the one thing you can overtly do to drive people to watch your videos. The tags you use in the video description and the title of the video will affect whether someone can find your video when they are searching for something to watch. But of course, given the number of videos on any one topic, the prominence of your video when someone searches for any key words will also be prioritised based on the algorithm too.

The graph below shows what people were searching for when they decided to watch one of our videos, for the lifetime of the channel, i.e. over the past 3 years or so. Note that the date in the diagram below shows July 2017 as the start date – but I started the channel with the intention of Vlogging the build in 2017, that never happened and the first video released was in the middle of 2018.

In addition to YouTube search, there is another type of search that can result in people watching YouTube videos, i.e. external search… which is predominately Google search. It’s something that’s not a big source of traffic to our videos and I don’t have any analytics to share here, so I’ll leave it at that.

Click Through Rate

YouTube suggesting your video as a thumbnail in a browser or YouTube app, is called an impression. Then when a user clicks on that thumbnail to watch it, the ratio of people who do, or do not, click on the thumbnail is known as the “click through rate”… the percentage of people who click on your thumbnail after getting an impression of it. Those clicks translate into people watching your video (“views”) and so then into hours of “watch time” – subsequently contributing to ”average watch time”.

YouTube uses the digram below to demonstrate all these principles, with users “flowing” through the system from the top of the diagram, being shown a thumbnail, to bottom of the diagram, where someone watches your video.

In historical terms, a click through rate of 3% is not great. But the relevance of that has changed very recently with YouTube changing the way that impressions are calculated. For reference, before March 2021 my click through rate was over 6%.

Monetisation

Monetisation isn’t something that’s a big deal for us. But anyone who asks me about YouTube often also asks how much money I’m making from it. And the answer is a very simple – zero.

When it comes to monetisation, and as of this writing, you need to hit two main metrics to be able to get paid by YouTube when people watch your videos.

Firstly, you need to get 4,000 “watch hours”, in the last 12 months. Meaning you need to have people watch 240,000 minutes of your content in the previous rolling 12 month period. Since releasing the build video, we have easily beaten that metric, and at the current daily rate of about 200 views per day and an average of 9 minutes per view, that’s ~2,000 minutes a day, or 700,000 minutes a year. So at the moment we’re above that 4K watch hour metric and likely to stay above it. Releasing new videos will only tend to increase that metric – hopefully!

The second, and probably more difficult metric, is having 1,000 subscribers. At the moment we’re at about 800 subscribers and increasing by about 40 subscribers a month. So in theory, we’ll reach the 1,000 subscribers in about 5 months. However, whilst its more than possible to increase subscribers when you release a video, it can also go the other way. If people subscribe to your channel because of a particular video you released (like the build video) and then we release something they don’t like, then they’ll unsubscribe. So subscriber counts can be quite fragile, especially when you have only a fewer videos.

And even when we hit both the watch time and subscriber metrics, there is a process by which YouTube have to decide if your channel is able to be monetised. And even then, the amount you get paid per video is not going to break the bank. At 200 views per day we might be looking at maybe $2 per mille (cost per mille or CPM) for car videos, in which case we might earn something like $2 a week. Not exactly going to make us millionaires. But that’s not why we do it.

Why do we do it?

Which brings me to why do we do it, YouTube that is.

Well mainly its because I enjoy making the videos, but its also a great ice breaker. For me the process of making a video brings lots of high tech hobbies together (cameras, video, lighting, sound, software, video editing, image processing, electronics, drones and of course cars) into something tangible I can do with the tech. I also enjoy the marketing side of things (trying to understand why people watch different videos and what YouTube is doing to affect that) and also making something that educates others. I’m never going to be a lifestyle YouTuber, but I do like making things that I think others might learn something from. The youTube stuff has also been a great ice breaker when I meet other Caterham owners and it gives us something to talk about. There are a ton of other ways to achieve that, but YouTube is my ice breaker.

And that’s 200k views. Thanks for reading… and thanks for watching if you’ve seen any of the videos.

Take care. And happy blatting!

John

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