YouTubery Discussion

TomKeegan Sunday, 4/4/2021

Your YouTube viewers and subscriber count isn’t just another vanity metric. Getting more views and subscribers is the best way to promote our favorite virtual sport on the second-largest website in the multiverse.  Why because 70% of the one billion hours of video that people watch on YouTube every day is decided by the YouTube algorithm. Which means that our ability to reach new eyes improves when we have subscribers who are bumping up your play counts, watch time, and engagement.  I guess I would like some insights into what some of you do.  We all put a lot of effort into our production, race tracks, and racing.  So help your buddy out and share your success and failures.  What works and what doesn’t…and by all means…subscribe, watch, like comment….

And now, here is the “formula” I am following.  I don’t feel very successful at it but it is what I am trying to do.  This is based on some YouTubery research and is compiled from several different sources.  However, I feel like some of you have mastered it and I have not.  So suggestions and insights are most appreciated.  Help us all get better so the hobby gains more attention and viewer traction. 

 1. Ensure YouTube basics are up to snuff. 

-A consistent visual identity (your channel icon, YouTube channel art, etc.)

-A completed and informative About section

-Up-to-date contact information (so all your potential customers and future brand partners can get in touch)

 2. Produce fun, entertaining videos for your niche.

Because we are not making videos for everyone. We are here for someone special: Diecast Race fans.  There are several good posts about how to do that in this forum.  Let’s face it we all have our niche within the niche.  I’ve learned a lot from many of you by reading this forum. 

 3. Do your research, and improve your video’s search ranking

Yes, YouTube is a social platform, but it’s also a search engine. And all else being equal, one of the top strategies for getting more YouTube views is optimizing your videos for search.  I feel like I have not cracked the nut on this one.  I feel like I have all the right key words in all the right places (video title, tags, description text, subtitles), but I don’t seem to rank.  Any helpful suggestions here?

 4. Use metadata to get recommended after a popular video.  So basically, this is making sure your own metadata matches that of other popular videos in your niche.  As I understand it the algorithm’s job is to feed viewers one incredible video after another.  Of course, ‘incredible’ is in the eye of the beholder. A better word might be ‘relevant’ or ‘interesting.’  Thus, the importance of matching metadata.

Well. YouTube has stated that the algorithm recommends in order:

 -Videos from the same channel

-Videos that a lot of people like, based on engagement, watch time, and views(we can help each other out here)

-Videos that a specific person might like, based on their viewing history

-Videos with related or similar metadata (i.e., titles, tags and descriptions)

The only point you can control here is that fourth one.  But I think we can all help each other out with the second one by being sure to watch, subscribe and like each other’s videos.  Sort of in the vein of making a bigger pie. 

 5. Draw people in with quality custom thumbnails.  When your potential viewers are in discovery mode—skimming through search results and recommendations—thumbnails are a major part of how they decide what to watch.  Many of you pose cars in very cool photos.  I need to do a better job of taking high quality pictures of my races and the cars in them.  Thanks for your inspiration. 

6. Multiply your views by creating playlists.  I think many of us are doing this.  But just in case you are not.  Organizing and creating video playlists on YouTube is the best way to minimize the chances that a viewer will move on to another channel once they’ve consumed your content.  Why? Because playlists do Netflix rules: as soon as one video ends, the next begins.

7. Direct traffic to your videos using cards and end screens.  Besides playlists, cards and end screens are two of the only tools that YouTubers can use to bypass the algorithm and directly influence our audience’s next choice.  Cards are clickable, interactive areas that appear during the video. They can be polls, but in this case, we’re interested in increasing views, so choose a card that links to another one of your videos (or even better, playlists).  Meanwhile, end screens are visual calls-to-action that you can add to the end of your video to encourage viewers towards a next step. They are valuable because you know if a person has reached the bitter end of your video, they are probably pretty interested in your content.  Using end screens to encourage viewers to subscribe to your channel or visit your website are both good choices. But if you want more views, use your end screen to promote your other videos. (Note that to use end screens, you’ll need to include a few extra seconds at the end of your video when you’re editing it.)

8. Build relationships with your viewers.  According to YouTube, engagement is on the rise. Between 2017 and 2018, 70% more YouTube users said they follow a YouTube creator and interact with their channel every day.  Audience engagement is just another term for building relationships. The end goal here, of course, is just the realistic, organic, and sustainable path to getting more YouTube views.  Ideas for breaking the internet wall, and creating a two-way conversation might include:

 -Reply to comments (it’s polite!)

-Run a YouTube contest

-Make reaction videos

-Include other people’s content in your videos (with their permission)

9. Partner up.  Crossovers, guest appearances, mash-ups, covers: people love that jolt of unfamiliar familiarity. I know some of you are doing this with each other and it is awesome to see the family growing together. 

 10. Promote your YouTube videos across all your social media channels.  I have not done a good job of this.  The GTC Diecast Racing League FB group is a fairly closed set of very focused drivers.  Many are simply in the group to keep track of what is happening in our league.  However, research suggests we should do the following.  Post a short teaser video to your social accounts as native video; and add a link to the full video back on YouTube.  Note that you are not going to want to post the same thing across your social channels.

 There you have it.  This is what I am trying to do.  Any thoughts, recommendations and suggestions are greatly appreciated. Oh...and of course...please check out my channel.  Watch, subscribe, and help us all grow.  

GTC Diecast Racing League



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redlinederby 4/5/21
Site manager

I almost removed this post because it looked and felt spammish, and it might be, but YouTube is something we all have to deal with.

What is your goal?

So everything listed in the post is more or less true and something we've maybe all seen in the past. But the one very important thing missing and not highlighted is, what is your goal?

  • Do you just want to promote the hobby?
  • Are you trying to make money?
  • Do you want YouTube to be your fulltime job?
  • Do you just want to share some fun you're having with cars?
  • Do you want to manage the content, or just create it, or both?
  • Are you trying to sell something?
  • Do you just want a bunch of views and subscribers?
  • Are you wanting to be popular and a name?
  • Are doing it just to learn a new skill and try it out?

Some of the things are just checklist items that you just do as part of the process, but overall, managing and creating content is a big job. And I'm sure we all know that there are people who's daily jobs are just creating content and managing content (often 2 separate jobs). Worrying about "doing it right" can be very overwhelming, very challenging, and requires a big time investment.

So what is "doing it right"? Depends on your goal.

I don't assume everyone that runs a diecast channel is trying to make it their living. I don't even assume everyone is trying to make money with YouTube. Following some "How to be successful on YouTube" checklist will help you think about things, and that's always valuable, but thinking about what success looks like to you is more important. Know what you're chasing...because it's very easy to flameout over all this.

I get burned out and overwhelmed all the time with the What If's, Could Be's, Should Be's, and How To's that comes with producing content. I often have to remind myself that I want this *hobby* to be fun and enjoyable, not a point of constant stress and unrest.

Again, just my 2 cents on what can quickly become an overwhelming timesuck if you're not careful. Know what you want to get out of it all, and then work towards that step by step.

  • My goal is to promote the hobby. Like I said in the post, I think we can get more people interested in this great hobby by figuring out the algorithm. I have discussed diecast racing with people who spend alot of time on YouTube, but have never heard of diecast racing. They think it is a great idea, but didn't even know it existed. So my goal is to let people know what I am doing and ask for insight and comments on how we can all do better at it. Take it down if you feel it is spam. — TomKeegan

I think both posts are very informational.  I do feel that RLD's question has to be answered first before you can move forward with any of the other steps.  

If you're goal is just to have fun with the hobby, views, likes and subscriptions may not even matter to you.  Meaning most of the OP list is obsolete.  If you are trying to make this a job, then everything in the OP is very important.  

You do need to determine what is going to make you happy with your channel before trying to go forward.  If you are putting too much pressure on yourself to produce content and get views, this will become less of a hobby and more of a daily grind.

I'm in it to have fun, so any future videos I decide to make will be solely for my entertainment first.  If I'm happy with it, it won't matter to me if I get 1 view or a million.

Do what makes you happy, but be prepared to put in the work if you're looking to make this a consistent source of revenue.  There are no easy jobs out there.

  • Exactly. I've gotten this hobby to a grind and it wasn't much fun, so I had to back away and rethink my goals and strategy. I always ask myself "so what?" So what if I get 1 million viewers? So what if I have 10,000 subscribers? So what if I have sponsors? If I can't answer the So What's then that aspect isn't critical. Move on and find things that matter to you. — redlinederby
  • Fair enough. I am retired. No need YouTube money if that is even a thing worth pursuing. As I stated in my post. I think with a little effort we can get some of these great channels in front of new viewers and expand the hobby. — TomKeegan

The Chaos Canyon channel has been going for almost one whole year (our first official video launched on the 14th of April last year) and we went into is as fun in the first instance but were instantly hooked and want to make this a full time job (our Goal), and so we have focussed on that and so far I'm very happy with the progress - even though there is a long way to go before it becomes full time.

In our first year we have gained just under 8,000 subs, almost 650,000 views (just over 43,000 hours of watch time) and the channel has earnt just under $1500. To share what has worked well for us over that time, if your goal is like ours, here's the list that we try to follow

  1. Produce the best quality content you can, with what you have. Don't wait till everything is perfect, or you have all the right gear, before you start making videos. You won't have many subs or views to begin with so it's a great time to try things out and get into a groove
  2. Produce to a regular schedule. The thing that I feel has really helped us is that you know when we release our videos, if you are familiar with the channel, so you know when to look and it builds anticipation with your audience. If you produce and post randomly it becomes harder for you to build the engagement with your viewers and they're more likely to miss your next video which can hurt it's popularity
  3. Don't put out so much your audience becomes overwhelmed - If you've followed our channel for a while, you'll remember for a while there we were putting out 4-5 videos a week and now only do 2. This is because our views and subs declined when we put out more. This sounds counter-intuitive but if you have regular viewers who miss a couple of days for any reason, the new videos keep pushing the other ones down in their recommended viewing and less likely to be seen. We found that two videos a week is the sweetspot for us (Sunday and Friday US time). It also gives us a little more spare time as we were otherwise putting in around 40+ hours into filming, editing etc to keep up, now it's down to around 20 - and this is on top of a fulltime job and another secondary employment as a freelance graphic designer, so I was burning out
  4. Thumbnails and video titles can be crucial - This is often the thing that makes the difference in someone clicking your video or not. Have a look at what you watch, and what in the title or thumbnail made you click the video and then try to incorporate that into yours. For us, the things that work are quality shots of the cars (stationary or moving doesn't seem to matter too much), minimal and easy to read text. Too often people try to cram an essay into their thumbnail and it's hard to read so less likely to get clicked
  5. Looking at my stats for the videos, while FB makes up 62% of my external referrals to my videos, overall the external referrals only make up 1.4% of my total views, so a tiny amount overall. Whereas over 90% of my views come from within YouTube - this is from browse, recommendations, search etc. So making sure you have your metatags, hastags, titles etc correct - and key here is don't make them clickbait to get views this punishes you later for short term gain. We have never advertised, bought subs or views etc, this is just from following these steps laid out. In terms of search terms, our top one is (not surprisingly) diecast racing and I strongly suggest you put that in your videos descriptions and tags
  6. Commenting/replying - ok, we used to reply to every comment when we were smaller, and we try to answer a few now but the bigger you get, that becomes impractical as it can take just as long as producing a video, so know where your time is better spent (and I can't even imagine being at like 3D's level where he has 20k+ comments per video, you'd have a full time job just answering each one). Also, the bigger you get the more negative/hate comments you get. We got a lot of hate for "being a 3D clone" "you're ripping off 3D" etc which really hurt because we're not trying to be a 3D copy, we're trying to be the first Chaos Canyon and do things slightly differently (albeit it's diecast racing on a diorama track with two commentators) and you want to jump on and blast them back, but don't. It doesn't help you or your channel to get into a comment war with viewers, Also, don't tell your viewers if they don't like it they can go watch something else, no matter how much you want to. It doesn't help you or your channel. Instead, just smile at the fact their comment and clicking dislike on your video actually help you with the YT algorithm as it all counts as interaction and so is more likely to get you recommended to more viewers :)

With so many tracks popping up in the last year, and so many of us being inspired by 3D, there will be a lot that try to copy him, or other successful channels, but just try to make it your own, rather than a carbon copy. Make your track look different, have your own theme etc and try to do it your way and in the style that makes you comfortable. And most of all, even if you are trying to make it a job like us, still try to make it fun and not a chore - that's the whole point of doing something cool like this :)

We also try to help other tracks by featuring them in the DSPN reports, because we believe that as the wider sport/hobby grows with new viewers, everyone reaps the benefits as it is content to be consumed, not a physical product. This means we aren't trying to compete to sell a single use product, we are providing entertainment for the masses and so far, even the likes of 3D, Ghostjerker etc with their large subs are still only scratching the surface of the worldwide audience, so there is plenty out there for everyone.

  • Thanks. More power to you guys. Love your channel and the DSPN. I have no desire to make this a fulltime job. However, like you said, with all the channels popping up I think we have a real chance to grow the hobby if we can help each other with the algorithm. Obviously everyone here on Redline is passionate about diecast racing. So I figured where else to post my thought about encouraging all of us to support each other. I very much appreciate what you added to the discussion. — TomKeegan
  • That's a great checklist that will help anyone making YouTube content. You guys have evolved wonderfully over the past year and it has been great to see. But as you noted, putting out content frequently is no joke and requires a lot of time and effort, especially if you're shooting to make it fulltime. Hope you can live the dream! — redlinederby
  • Thanks Brian. It's been such an awesome ride so far and we absolutely love doing it, which is why we'd like to do it full time. We'll keep pushing and trying new things to get that big break that'll give us the momentum required to make it work :) — Chaos_Canyon
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redlinederby 4/5/21
Site manager

Great point about making a schedule for yourself...if for no other reason in that's where I suck the most at this whole thing. I just don't create enough video content to warrant a schedule, sadly. My content revolves around mail-ins which isn't even monthly. I'm trying to come up something that will be fun and motivate me to do more weekly(ish) racing so we'll see.

Your referral stats are also interesting because it highlights the bubble that is YouTube. It's not surprising at all, just fascinating that they've engineering the thing to be that good at throwing more (relevant) content at you.

But I guess it all boils down to time, man. Time to create, time to produce, time to manage social media, time to deal with emails, time to plan, time to ship, time...time...time. I'm rather envious of y'all that have jumped in with both feet and are putting forth the effort to try and make this your job. My stones just aren't big enough to make that leap ;P

  • Time is always the kicker. I have been saying for two years now that I'm going to jump in and get my channel off the ground. But the time is never found. Life has a way of getting in the way. I'm hoping now that I have my own space to build tracks and race my cars I can finally get around to making a video or two. We'll see. My family just got bigger, and we all moved in together in a new house. So, there's always something else that has to be done, and like I mentioned before, I want to have fun doing this. I don't want to do it half way because I'm trying to cram it into a few fleeting minutes I have on a random weekday evening. — CTR_Crimson_Twins_Racing
  • Indeed. I wish I had done more production prior to having kids! It would have helped build a better foundation that I could have tried to keep up. But I'm also mindful that I want to be able to walk away from this hobby at any given time if need be (even if I come back). That probably holds me back more than it should. — redlinederby

The thing is, you don't have to put out weekly content, in terms of schedule. If you only do once a month but everyone knows that your content comes out on the first of the month, or first Friday of the month ro whatever you choose, the same thing applies. They'll get to know that and roll with it. If you look at other large channels in other, semi-related genres, like Luke Towan, he does some amazing work and it's not practical to do it weekly but his videos always do very well.

  • True. I'm trying to put together something other than mail-ins that will keep me creating on a more regular schedule, even monthly. — redlinederby
  • You could always do an ongoing race series, like our Canyon Outlaws, where the same cars race regularly and viewers get to back their favourites. Relatively easy on the drag track and doesn't require new cars all the time — Chaos_Canyon
  • Yeah, I'm heading down that route a bit. Worried about engagement of that type of thing but you're proof people will get engaged with it. — redlinederby

My goal is to give people a place to race cars and a place to view diecast racing. I don't check any boxes or promote my videos in anyway but here on RLD and half of the settings you mentioned I'm not even aware of. 3dbotmaker and Ghost Jerker are the exceptions. I wish more channels were about racing personally but maybe that's just me. I do watch the popular channels but I feel like YouTube is flooded with people trying to become the next big thing and some of the roots of the hobby are lost. I know guys who make videos about racing that don't get nearly the views that say a video to promote a certain Mattel toy would and therefore they have gotten away from racing. To each his own but if it's all about views, likes and subscribers then it is impossible to be mostly about racing.

Just my opinion and we all have them.

  • 3dbotmakers last KOTM finals got 217,000 views. Just before that he did a Minecraft race that I couldn’t get through 30 seconds of that got 1.2 million views. Tell me, how long can Adriel continue making KOTM mail in races, which at his level must be a huge task. When he can just promote popular products, not worry about mailing out cars, and get 5 times the views.? — BlueLineRacing
  • It is a lot about the topic. 3D has a Super Mario video that got a ton not because it's racing but because it's Super Mario. That will nab more casuals for sure. Racing is niche, lets face it :) If money is the goal for a lot of folks then they'll all head to being more general. — redlinederby
  • The other thing is that 3D has a Patreon (which I am not a member) so I'd be interested to know the demographic of people who are paying him directly through that. I suspect those are the more "hardcore" people that like the straight up racing, thus he should cater to them even if Minecraft gets millions of views. Millions of views don't mean anything if you can't cash in on them when people are paying you $3/month for exclusive content otherwise. The Minecraft/Mario stuff ends up being more about being a commercial to get eyeballs that will hopefully lead to other racing (and paying). — redlinederby
  • Yes it is all about the fun and enjoyment of racing. I do want to keep that in mind and I am enjoying the discussion. I am loving this new hobby of mine. I wish I had done a better job of expressing myself in the original post. What I was trying to say is there is an algorithm that helps get views, more views causes the algorithm to feed your video to other people, getting diescast racing videos in front of other people means the hobby would grow. I spent some time figuring out the YouTube Algorithm. It dawned on me that the hobby of diecast racing could grow with a little bit of mutual support amongst the track owners. I am not saying we will all become another 3Dbotmaker, but I would not have known about diecast racing if it hadn't been for 3D's videos. How did I discover it.....the algorithm started putting his stuff in my feed and thank goodness it did. What I wanted to do with my post was encourage all of you race track owners to support each other by watching, liking and commenting on each others videos. Post a comment and tell a guy he is doing a great job on commentary, encourage him about his editing work, or offer a suggestion for improving. All of those things are interactions that not only help the channels algorithm function better but also help the guy out in general. Lets face it this is a labor of love that most of us will never see a dime for in compensation. But a nice encouraging word and a pat on the back goes a long way and we help YouTube spread the word about what we are doing perhaps getting a cool video in front of the next person to be hooked on diecast racing. It doesn't have to be done all at once and you can spend as little or as much time as you like. What I am doing is going down the video channel listing here on this website and checking out some of the videos. Liking the ones I like and commenting. — TomKeegan
  • Well, there is something for everyone in diecast racing. I enjoy much of it, but my favaoured views would sit alongside BLR. — CutRock_R_Marc_D

There is definitely something here for everyone and that's the way it should be. I just think that now that the hobby has evolved to what we see today, you have to separate the things 3dbotmaker is doing from the actual hobby of diecast racing. Once you have 500k subs then it's less about racing and more about making a living. I watched a less than 10 minute diescast racing video the other day that had three commercials in it. The channel was relatively small, approx 1000 subs, and the race had less than 200 views. Not sure what that was worth monetarily from YouTube but it was enough to make me move on to something else with all the viewing options out there.

  • Pennies add up but there's definitely a balance to it. My channel isn't even allowed to monetize yet so I have no idea how much control someone has over the quantity of ads. Although the debate between what 3DBM is doing and the "actual hobby" could be an interesting one. I guess you know things have evolved when you can start to sub-genre things. — redlinederby
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