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A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend VidCon 2016, in the Los Angeles Anaheim Convention Center, and follow along (mostly) on the Industry track. There was some good, some bad, and far too many takeaways for a single good article, so I’m splitting it up: One for data, one for going back to basics, and one for overall strategy.
If you don’t know what VidCon is, it’s the worlds largest YouTube and Online Video conference/convention, held for its 6th year, in Los Angeles. It features talks, seminars, interviews, booths, networking opportunities and so forth, all focused on those specific areas. It’s attended by YouTube creators and industry folks alike, and of course, their raving fans.
There was particularly one person, Matt Gielen formerly from channel Frederator, who had some amazing insight. But before I get to that, I want to talk about the bigger deal here: USE YOUR DAMN DATA AND ANALYTICS!
I had a chance to talk to a lot of different people, some were creators and others were merely “in the industry” so to speak, but a common denominator was that practically no one really used their analytics or data.
They generally had no idea where their views came from, had absolutely no insight into how the algorithm worked on YouTube, and only opened up Analytics to look at total views and revenue.
What. Wasted. Opportunities.
This was common even with people, who’s panels were directly about data! On Wednesday I had a chance meeting with Glenn Hower at the evening reception, and got to talk a bunch about data with him – he seems like a very knowledgeable person (very interesting questions brought up about cookies and user consent on the internet, in regards to data)! He was the moderator at a later panel on data on Friday, which I naturally attended.
Towards the end of the panel there was a short Q&A session, as was normal, and I had a chance to ask the panellists what they thought was an underused or generally unknown tool in YouTube Analytics – the answer? Viewer Retention.
Now, I suppose there is nothing intrinsically wrong with that answer in the sense that all of YouTube Analytics is underused, but using Viewer Retention (as well as the graph, which allows you to see retention at any point of the video) is, to me, an incredibly basic thing to do. If you’re trying to analyse a specific video, that’s obviously the go-to tool in Analytics to use. The point I’m trying to make, is that even industry experts suggested things that I thought were quite basic.
There were also some people at the seminars/workshops/panels that, honestly, didn’t know what they were talking about. I remember specifically one quote, about the search algorithm, where it was said “Keywords doesn’t matter, it’s all AI (artificial intelligence) anyway.” – I dunno what that man was smoking, but I want in. In that context, I wish VidCon would perhaps have vetted speakers a bit better.
So please, PLEASE, use your damn YouTube Analytics! It’s a goldmine of information!
As I said earlier, let’s get back to Matt Gielen. He had, by a long shot, the most interesting and insightful seminar there, speaking about the data on the YouTube promotion algorithm, that him and his team had gotten while working at Channel Frederator.
I specifically mention it’s the promotion algorithm (for lack of a better word), since the algorithm on YouTube dictates many different things, and how it handles all these different aspects are different from each other. To my understanding, Matt was talking about specifically about how videos are promoted (in various ways) to other users, and not (for instance) about the search algorithm dictating YouTube.
He had a lot of impressive data, but if we’re boiling it down, these were the main takeaways from his presentation:
You can read some more in-depth information on this, in these two articles by Matt himself, here and here. I’ll also be coming back to other points he made, in the following posts over the next few days.
Overall at VidCon, I was very surprised by how little insight most people had in their videos and channels, even industry professionals. I was surprised by talking to everyone, how little people used their analytics data as a whole.