Understanding YouTube #2
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- April 13th, 2015
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of the writer and not Gamasutra or its parent company.
Understanding YouTube is a series of articles helping game developers and marketers understand the platform. If you want to learn more about YouTube and have access to a large contacts’ list updated every week make sure to check out YouTubeForIndies.com.
Understanding YouTube #2
Evaluating YouTube Channels
From my own experience, the most popular way to evaluate a YouTube channel is to look at its subscribers’ count. If a channel has, let’s say, 400,000 subscribers then it has to be amazing and worth working with, and sometimes even paying for a marketing campaign, right?
Unfortunately, the way subscriptions on YouTube work is similar to Twitter or Facebook. You press the magic “like” button and then… you totally forget it exists or don’t bother to come back again. That’s why multiple large YouTube channels have thousands of followers, but half the projected views. So how can we deal with that?
First of all, when evaluating a YouTube channel you look at subscriptions obviously. However, what you do next is you check all of the Social Media channels that the YouTuber you are interested in is active on.
Look for things like posts and tweets’ likes, comments, retweets and shares. See how many people engage with the YouTuber and if he/she engages with the community too.
Of course, there are YouTubers who are so big that it doesn’t matter how many views they have or whether they engage with their communities or not; influencers don’t need that anymore.
But there’s a very limited pool of available YouTube stars and infinite number of smaller channels ready to play your game or test your product.
I wrote in my last article that it’s important to reach out to as many people as possible on YouTube, but from a PR/marketing standpoint it’s always important to communicate with as broad audience as possible whether it’s press, podcast, YouTuber or social media influencer.
Although, sometimes you just don’t have the time or resources like steam codes to share with a large crowd. That’s when you have to choose the best channels to communicate with.
For press, it’s topics and genres they cover. If you’re making a PC game you don’t want to get in touch with a console magazine. What about YouTubers?
I’ve come up with two extremely useful statistics that might help you choosing the right channel for your campaign.
Views on Average
Views on Average (VoA) is basically the amount of people who watch videos on a chosen YouTube channel. I personally measure VoA for the last 30 videos which usually show activity in the past month. However, you can increase or decrease the number of videos you take into consideration.
VoA = Number of total views / 30 (last 30 videos on the channel)
It might not matter much when you do it once before getting in touch with the YouTuber, but if you measure VoA every week you can see how the channel of your choice changes.
You can also go a bit deeper and measure VoA for all videos and a chosen few based on your game’s genre, art style etc. Then you can compare results and see what resonates with YouTuber’s audience best.
User Engagement or Engagement for short is my second trick while evaluating a YouTube channel. What it does is it shows you exactly how many people actually engage with a the target audience.
Engagement = (VoA / Number of Subscribers)*100%
Remember! Engagement formula result is showcased as a percent. The higher the number the better.
Again, measuring the number once might be helpful if you’re in a hurry, but if you start working on your YouTube marketing strategy early and measure Engagement on a weekly basis, you will be able to spot the most valuable channels for your game/product.
Both metrics work well for me and my friends. Let me know if they work for you too! Also, subscribe to my newsletter and get an updated contacts’ list with all statistics directly to your inbox every week!