Nothing brings out the toxic part of your audience on YouTube or elsewhere quite like having the balls to call out problem behavior from those viewers that YouTubers are allegedly always supposed to kiss up to. The comments on this “me having cojones” discussion have been quite telling in terms of confirming what I already suspected about a demographic in my YouTube audience that is responsible for the most negative and toxic responses that I’ve gotten to my uploads over the last 10+ years.
The concepts discussed herein are quite simple. YouTube breaks from the mold as a video-hosting site, and that’s one of the reasons why it has done so well. Rather than operate like a server farm where you are renting storage for content, the site runs like a giant TV network following the usual business model of traditional media. Sell advertising, strike other commercial deals, and use the revenue from this to acquire and deliver content that draws people in, grows the audience/traffic/activity, which then lets them negotiate for better advertising revenue, etc. etc.
Ad blockers cut directly into that, and although I know why people use ad blockers, like pop-up malware and invasive advertising on certain websites, for a long time I thought the people using ad blockers on YouTube were trying to screw YouTube.
I was wrong – they are most likely screwing YouTubers instead.
As usual one can’t discern the inner workings of YouTube because that’s kept under wraps to keep people from knowing exactly how to play the system, nor can one talk about the money they make from YouTube ad revenue sharing per the terms of service, but without mentioning any actual earnings amounts some numbers in my channel’s own analytics for January have me thinking that ad blockers serve to help bury videos and ultimately hurt the YouTube channels that people allegedly support.
First, let’s talk about 2016. The most viewed video was Windows 8 Vs. The Dellasaurus with ~42,000 views which put it over 100,000 views total – my first video to ever break that milestone. Yet despite all that activity the ad revenue was horrendous for the year compared to the #2 video on the views list – First Impressions Of The Magic Chef Portable Dryer. ~33,000 views and a ton more revenue. This continues with the #3 video. Geekhouse Laundry With The Magic Chef Portable Washer at ~32,000 views and the most ad revenue all year by quite the margin, but no dollar amounts of course. 🙂
Windows 8 Vs. The Dellasaurus, however, pales in comparison to Geekhouse Laundry in terms of watch minutes, the new standard for whether YouTube promotes a video or not. 145 grand versus 136 grand for the year, suggesting to me that Win8 Vs. The Dellasaurus’ recent success will be more of a flash in the pan. Lest we forget, Win8 vs. the Dellasaurus is from 2012. It took half a decade to get as popular as it is. The laundry videos were uploaded at the end of 2015 and are both at or approaching the 40k views mark, increasing faster than Dellasaurus did in the same time period.
Dellasaurus is a fluke, and so are its followups. For the most part the only tech videos on the Top 10 for the year are Dellasaurus videos – the sole exception being my response to the Tek Syndicate drama – so the tech videos actually making it into the rankings are riding the coattails of this megafluke known as the Dellasaurus.
I can confirm this with my recent experience with long streaks of tech videos. With all the hassling I get from people about how I should never ever ever ever make anything but tech videos, the flatlining view counts that hit about 300 maybe and then die tell a completely different story. It’s like nothing I do matters anymore when it comes to technology and YouTubing, even though I like technology and YouTubing.
The laundry videos, meanwhile, practically promote themselves. They also happen to smoke the crap out of all the tech videos in the top list for revenue. Coincidence? I think not.
This trend continues into January 2017 as my frustrations with the lack of channel growth have mounted. Here’s the two videos I was talking about in the discussion. January’s a dog month for YouTube trying to pay its bills via advertising and commercial deals, but even in this dog month we have this sort of stuff going on.
Geekhouse Laundry – not a tech video – 2805 views. The Pentium G4560 RadioStyle Podcast – Tech Video – 2168 views. Both in the 2-3 grand range. Without mentioning any amounts the ad revenue difference is literally dollars and cents.
This pattern continues, as does the pattern of the laundry videos practically promoting themselves on YouTube even though I fancy myself as more of a multimedia guy. This is hardly a coincidence. Considering how YouTube pays its bills, why would they want to promote dog videos whose ad revenue is wrecked by ad blockers except for massive activity flukes like Dellasaurus?
This explains a lot, and gives me a path forward should I want this YouTube channel to get to the point where it can challenge any 925 job that I have in terms of whether I need the 925 job, but that doesn’t necessarily mean abandoning tech videos.
Another key difference is demographics. The laundry videos are more evenly represented in terms of men and women watching. Matter of fact it seems like whenever the ladies show up things get amazing. 😀 Go girl power!!! 😀 LOL. 😀 However I think besides more equal gender representation as opposed to the usual tech dudefest the laundry videos represent a more mainstream demographic that is less likely to use ad blockers, so this presents an opportunity to continue making tech content by focusing on presenting it to mainstream audiences, like helping people get over their technophobia. That would actually be something I would love to do. I like helping people get over their fear of computers. It may insult the intelligence of the toxic nerds clubbing my channel’s knees with their ad blockers, but it’s business as usual, a.k.a. demographics as usual.
Let’s fast forward to this week where I finally decided to start catering to this demographic again after formally apologizing to them via pinned comments. Watch time is, in this order: Washer video at 964 watch minutes, dryer video at 865, Geekhouse Kitchen at 763. Intel Is Its Own Worst enemy is way down at 438. The tech videos drop off A LOT from there in this new gold standard for which videos YouTube promotes.
For views, the top 3 are all appliance videos. Dryer – Washer – Sunbeam Hot Shot. In that order. Ad revenue has a big drop off for Geekhouse Kitchen, most likely due to tech video people with their potential ad blockers representing most of the views thusfar. When that switches over I expect things to change.
I wonder if this is why BBISHOPPCM regularly takes a break from tech stuff to review something in his kitchen. 😀
Regardless, this is where my entrepreneurial drive and formal business background will kick into gear. I’m curious if I can get to the point where I have enough mainstream videos that I can start paying for tech toys for the tech videos with money from helping the mainstream crowd. Perhaps some of the folks biting their tongues to not call me a sellout who are bellyaching about my candor might want to keep that in mind.
At the end of the day, every business or other public-facing thing has to answer the demographics question. Who do you want to attract, and who do you want to repulse? If you don’t answer this question, life will answer it for you, and you may not like the answer. Better to answer it yourself. I may upload content with the deliberate intentions of repulsing some of the more toxic individuals who are complaining about me calling out users of ad blockers, but this is something I ultimately have to take charge of, as opposed to continuing to be victimized by it.