What is YouTube Algorithm ?
When it comes to the YouTube algorithm, YouTube has mentioned ” Instead of worrying what the algorithm likes, it’s better to focus on what your audience likes”. If you do that and people watch, the algorithm will follow.So that makes a lot of sense, We should focus on the audience Without question, the audience is the most important thing.
However, does that mean we should just forget about the algorithm? No way, because , when you really understand all of the things, the things you keep hearing about, the metadata, the titles, the tags, the thumbnails, the playlists, the watch time metrics, the more you understand how all of these things are interpreted by the YouTube platform, the algorithm, the more likely you can make decisions that will lead you to the YouTube growth you’re channel after.
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I mean, think about it like this. When you publish a video, all the tedious things that you’ve gotta do, they really determine the likelihood of whether your video will blow up or not. Topics are a great example. Understanding keyword phrases, again, really important, and how well you optimize your video for that keyword phrase. So all of these things really matter, and that brings us to rule number one, one of the most important things to truly understand here on YouTube.
You see, the YouTube algorithm is reactive, and it’s measuring thousands of data points, That means for you, there’s no one metric that you can focus on and do really well with that will ensure the success of your video. A lot of times, people will say, Brian, the video of mine has got great audience retention, and yet the video isn’t blowing up. What’s up? Well, it’s not blowing up because there are so many different data points that YouTube is measuring. And here’s where we’re gonna start diving really deep.
What’s really important on YouTube is how the audience, just like YouTube mentions,” how the audience reacts when you publish a video.” And specifically, I like to think of the audience on YouTube as falling into two different categories, subscribers and non-subscribers. And obviously, to effectively grow your channel, which demographic do you think we’ve gotta focus on? Non-subscribers, also known as nightmare mode, Really hard to publish a video that people that have never visited your channel previously that they really dig and enjoy, And what really matters is what happens when that non-subscriber begins watching your video. What are their behaviors while watching? Do they watch most of the video ?, then click on one of your videos in the suggested video area?
If so, that’s really a boost for your channel. That’s a plus one for you. However, if that viewer would’ve clicked on someone else’s video in suggested videos, that would be a minus one for you,and furthermore, your videos would be less likely to show up in suggested because YouTube is trying to predict what the viewer wants to watch next, what not only they’ll watch, but click on and watch for a long period of time.
And what if that non-subscriber leaves a comment on your video? Well, that’s another plus one for your channel. And what if that viewer returns to that same very video seven days later and watches it again? That signals YouTube that it’s a fantastic video.
You see, there are so many different data points that YouTube measures, and it’s all of the things that truly matter. And at this point, we haven’t talked a whole lot about watch time metrics. That’s the thing we keep hearing about from YouTube. Now in 2018, we started hearing about expected watch time per impression, really complex stuff and hard to know what it means, for sure. Luckily, however, in the summer of 2018, YouTube released new analytical information that really breaks that statement down.
Furthermore, it introduces us to the watch time funnel. Now, if you get anything out of this post, make it this. You see, success can be found inside of the watch time funnel.
There’s two metrics that really dictate:
– the expected watch time per impression
– and the CTR or click-through rate as well as average view duration.
Both of these metrics dramatically impact the watch time a video receives. If your video CTR goes up, you get more views and you get more watch time, fantastic. And obviously, a longer average duration will result in better watch time metrics, and your video is gonna be more likely to get picked up and promoted by YouTube. And this is where we start talking about the competition.
I’ve been talking a lot about the competition in 2019, and well, here’s why. This is what YouTube had to say, Keep in mind that your video thumbnails are always competing against other videos, whether on the homepage, up next, on the watch page, in search results, and even in the subscription feed. Now, that’s a statement from YouTube about the importance of how many people are clicking on your video thumbnails. If it’s not a lot, your video’s gonna struggle. What’s important to note is that part about your video thumbnail is competing against other videos. You see, the fact of the matter is it’s just not the thumbnail. Your video is competing against other videos when it comes to watch time metrics, when it comes to relevance. That’s the key words, the targeting, the click-through rate. There are so many factors that are being measured, and that’s why you can’t compare one of your videos to one of your other videos because each video is gonna be competing against other channels, other videos on YouTube.
And that brings us back to the original question. Why do some videos blow up? When do they blow up? Well, it’s not based on time, It’s based on watch time metrics. And ultimately, at the end of the day, there are kind of a couple, maybe three different types of watch time metrics that really determine the when.
First is what I like to call accumulated minutes watched or watch time minutes. This is the measurement of the overall scope and size of the audience, In order for this metric to really matter, you’ve gotta have a crazy amount of accumulated minutes watched, and this is the advantage that big channels have over small channels. They have the ability to drive a tremendous amount of watch time minutes. However, like hang on, some of you are like, this is, I can never compete. You totally can because if that was the only way videos ever blew up, there would be no new channels that ever really grew because only big channels that were able to drive lots of accumulated watch time would be able to win. And this brings us to audience retention. YouTube has gone on record many times mentioning that videos with above-average audience retention are more likely to get featured in search and suggested video locations, and this is why this is so important for smaller channels. You see, even just 100 views with really high or above-average relative audience retention, well, that would paint a really clear picture to YouTube that over 100 individuals, 100 viewers really like this video a whole lot. And this is how it works. Relative audience retention shows a video’s ability to keep viewers compared to all other YouTube videos of a similar length. So when YouTube says the video’s ability to keep viewers, think about it like this. 100 people click on your video, your video. How many of them drop off and how soon? So in this example, my relative audience retention was high, meaning most of the viewers didn’t drop off.
Think about 100 viewers that watched the majority of the beginning of the video, and YouTube sees that, and they promote and push out the video to a bigger audience. That’s how small channels become big channels, relative audience retention. And that brings us to the goal. The goal isn’t just to publish a video, it doesn’t count. Just because you published a video doesn’t matter. It only matters when the audience really reacts in a positive way. The more likes, the more comments, the better the watch time metrics, the better the relative audience retention, all of these things add up and that becomes the goal.
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