Tuesday, 11 November 2014

Determine your channel's learning potential - response to the YouTube Creator Academy's Determine your channel's earning potential

Chloe Brett from Street Child in Liberia
This post will add some ideas and build on the topic of Audience Retention and Average View Retention at YouTube. I have posted twice before on 25 Oct 14 and 11 May 14.

There will be three case studies taken from +Khan Academy+Street Child and +SunKissAlba.


YouTube do an awfully amount of work to help creators - but is that really to help them or polish YouTube into being a streamlined and effective delivery mechanism to deliver advertisements?

As an educator, I can only really look to take the word earning and turn it into learning. And by that I mean, look at some audience theory and provide some ideas on how everyone can be more effective.

In today's upload we have earning potential that becomes Learning Potential. Remember there are many channels at YouTube that carry no ads, one example is +Khan Academy.
If we subtract the monetary goals, impressions and ad formats we're left with something a little more clinical and academically pure. We can keep the trends and behaviours of fans.

A good teacher craves assessment with the ultimate goal being teaching someone something they will never forget. For me, that's delivering a video that gets watched to the very end.

I've spoken before how Audience Retention (Ar) and Average View Duration (Avd) stand head and shoulders above all other analytics data. And in our busy online society, it's also one of the most forgotten about features.

I'm not anti Ads, far from it - my own channel carries Ads and as a modest creator youtube has paid me some dollars. My point here is to ask again: What is a fair Audience Retention % and a fair Average View Duration?

Case Study One, Khan Academy
a typical khan academy video


I looked at the channel where thankfully, the stats are turned on to reveal this table. We have a dozen recent videos with an Average View Duration of 3:04 which is 43%.

For an educational channel, I would have expected a much higher percentage. Remember, this is a very small video sample. I wonder what would happen is all Khan Academy videos were three minutes - would the Audience Retention % rise? Of course it would. To make that happen, videos will have to be really well crafted and not a second wasted. Educationally that is a real challenge.

There is one most watched video that has 1.7m views called You Can Learn Anything and has 1:10/1:30 = 78%. There is another recent video, of an interview which has 6/48 mins = 13%. Unfortunately, older videos of more than two years will not show the required data.

VideoViewsAverage ViewTotal video timemath sum average/totalAudience Retention %
most recent 13,31802:0705:450.3736.8
most recent 22,89901:2002:430.4949.1
most recent 34,49302:3606:340.4039.6
most recent 44,22304:1710:330.4140.6
most recent 54,20604:1808:270.5150.9
most recent 65,23503:0706:280.4848.2
most recent 74,32304:3509:050.5050.5
most recent 84,03502:5406:080.4747.3
most recent 93,78801:2404:570.2828.3
most recent 103,03605:0011:420.4342.7
most recent 112,64103:0107:570.3837.9
most recent 125,53902:1805:460.4039.9
khan academy47,73603:0407:100.4342.65

Khan Academy was started at Youtube on 17 Nov 2006. It has 476, 333,655 views and holds 4,341 uploaded videos. There are 1.9 million subscribers. Note: most recent 3 is 6mins of 48 mins, that's why it's 13% (I had a format issue in sheets). Link to Most Recent Videos - see for yourself.

Case Study Two, Street Child
screenshot from vlog 5 | street child


From 27 Oct to 2 Nov, +Chloe Brett from +Street Child travelled to Liberia to report on Ebola Orphans. Each day was represented by +Sky News as a series of video diaries (Street Child website Sky News and the BBC interview).

I wish to include Street Child as a mini study for two reasons - 1, To raise awareness of a worthy cause and 2, To address what happens when a sensitive subject appears on video and what the audience may or may not do.

I've highlighted vlog 3 as it has the lowest audience retention of 50%. At 1:19 point in the video, Chloe talks of sadness, quarantine and a family member who has died. the question I have is: What can be done to ensure the audience receives the message? It's not a coincidence, in my view, it's the average point that the audience stop watching.

Views - data as 8 Nov 3pm ukAverage View DurationWhat happens at point of avd?Total timeaverage/ totalPercentageTitledate
2,71300:2300:550.4241.8Chloe vlog 127 Oct 2014
74700:1600:180.8988.9Chloe vlog 228 Oct 2014
80801:19sadness02:380.5050.0Chloe vlog 329 Oct 2014
75600:4501:080.6666.2Chloe vlog 430 Oct 2014
45901:0402:110.4948.9Chloe vlog 531 Oct 2014
71400:3600:480.7575.0Chloe vlog 61 Nov 2014
35300:4701:140.6463.5Chloe vlog 72 Nov 2014
6,55000:4401:180.6262.04playlist

You will notice a column called What happens at the point of avd? This is the next part for me (and you) to watch each video to feel what happens and and why.

If I had one wish, it would be to work with people and organisations to make sure a video message like this is produced and scripted to maximise it's effectiveness. YouTube is a valuable resource that has so many brilliant features - all we need do is slow down and think (for this to happen).

You can donate to Street Child at: street-child.co.uk/donate.

And I know Google are also committed to to make the world a better place ie +Google for Nonprofits (google.com/nonprofits and www.google.org).

Note: I've reached out to Street Child and Chloe, so far I've not heard back - that's all good. It must be a hectic time delivering much needed humanitarian and educational support to those suffering during the Ebola crisis.

Case Study Three, SunkissAlba

click  image to enlarge
On 7 Nov, YouTube Creators released Reach a Global Audience which featured Alba Garcia, a vlogger from New York explaining how she's fluent in English and Spanish which has lead to the creation of her two channels for beauty, fashion and health.

I was interested to see if there was a difference in Ar and Avd for the English and Spanish speaking channels.

I looked at twelve videos from the main channel and all fourteen videos from the new Spanish channel. There was little difference with Average View at 3:15 and Audience Retention at 52.5%.

Remember this is public data, so all I'm trying to do is understand and help. I reached out to Alba on twitter and in email (no reply as yet). The main question I asked was, Have you thought, or do you have any expectation on what you feel is a fair % for your audience to stay for each video?

That's why I called this post earning versus learning as for a creator like Alba, having 455k subscribers and 20 million views everything may be running smoothly.  But, if lots of hard work goes into making these videos, then an average length of 5-8 mins with a 3 min average view cannot be that efficient can it?

I have no idea at all how to make a beauty video, but I guess being very strict on the edit will be a first step to either 1, getting the average view duration higher or 2, decreasing the length of a each video.

In all the Creator Academy videos, we hear so much said about Views, Likes and Comments, but very little on how long a viewer stays to watch.

In my next post, I'll be looking at how to make some videos that follow the inverted pyramid style of story telling.

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