So this happened - 1.8 million views. I thought it might be fun to go through a few stats on the video the impact it’s had and of course cover how much money it made.
Why am I even calling this a successful video?
There are videos with considerably more views than this one - you just need to have a look at the MrBeast YouTube channel with his 99.8 million subscribers.
If we look at MrBeast’s most recent 200 videos his average number of views is 73 million - he’s also got a video in there that scored a massive 273 million views.
We’re not even in the same ballpark.
How do we compare to videos in my niche
It we narrow it down a bit to my niche we can have a look at GreatScott. He’s one of the big players with 1.68 million subscribers.
At the time of writing he has 391 videos. His most successful video of all time has 7 million views but his average number of views for his last 200 videos is around 413 thousand.
It’s quite fun to do a bit of anlysis on his most succesul video titles - this is the top 20% titles as a word cloud.
And here’s his bottom 20% video titles.
Looks like his videos that are sponsored by Keysight don’t do as well as his normal content.
Moving even close to home we have The Guy with the Swiss Accent - he covers microcontrollers like the ESP32 and Arduino. He’s got 380,000 subscribers and 422 videos.
It’s also interesting to look at his video titles - here’s his top 20% titles:
And here’s the bottom 20%
Looks like mailbag videos do less well.
Andreas’ top video from the last 200 got 885K views - and his average number of views is around 100K.
My channel only has 24K subscribers and my average number of views is around 28K - if you remove the 1.8 million outlier then that average goes down to just 10K.
|Great Scott||Andreas Spies||Me|
|Average number of views||413K||100K||28K (10K)|
|Best Performing video||7M||885K||1.8M|
|Number of videos||391||422||106|
So, hopefully you can see why I consider 1.8 million views to be a stand out success.
Interestingly if we look at my bottom performing video titles I’ve also got mailbag as a low performer.
What is it about this video that made it a success?
The simple explanation is that the algorithm decided to push it. But that begs the question as to why it was picked. It’s by no means the first video on the subject and there are more popular channels that have covered the subject. Including the Mythbuster’s Adam Savages Tested channel with 5.91m subscribers. Their video only got a measly 198K views.
As always, I suspect it’s a combination of things. The thumbnail is really good:
The title has just enough clickbait to make people want to click, but not so much that it puts people off.
And the first 30 seconds of the video are interesting enough to keep people engaged.
But who knows with YouTube - the algorithm remains a mystery.
How quickly was the video picked up?
For the first few days it seemed to perform pretty much as any other video - there was an initial burst of views from subscribers and then it looked like it would tail off. After 6 or 7 days it suddenly took off peaking about 20 days after upload at over 200,000 views in a day!
It then tailed off with a brief bit of activity in January from India before settling down to just over 100 views per day. It’s stayed at that level of performance since then.
Was there a halo effect from this video?
Did people watch lots of my other videos becuase of it?
Well, this is one of the few times that I’ve seen an end screen and cards have a big impact. When I saw the success of the first video I quickly followed it up with a video explaining how to make your own wireless LEDs.
I added this to the endscreen of the first video - we can see that this led to 20,000 views.
It’s less clear if the video had any impact on my other content - we’ll discuss why that is when we talk about subscribers.
The Comments (Good, Bad, and Just Plain Weird)
The video has had over 2000 comments - there’s quite interesting effect when you start to get more people watching a video - there are a lot of very odd people out there.
And there seems to be a slightly weird obsession with poop:
There are more… It may be related the number of people wanting to eat them:
I guess what goes in must come out…
There are some great comments:
And some less great ones:
But the positive comments far outweigh the negative ones - the internet is actually a nice place - I’m surprised at how nice a lot of the comments are.
What about the money?
So, what about the money - what’s a successful video actually worth?
Well, they are pretty lucrative - in total the video has pulled in over £3,500 over six months.
Is it time to retire? Well, not really, the video only brings in about 20 pence per day now. It’s not a long term revenue stream.
If I wanted to make a living from YouTube I would need to be able to repeat this on a monthly basis for the foreseable future - given I’ve got over 100 videos and this is the only successful one I’ve made I’m not sure this is possible.
Have I even broken even on my hobby?
I did some rough calculations on what I’ve spent since I started regularly YouTubing and and the answer is no - even if I include all the revenue from YouTube plus sponsorship and patreon it’s not even close. I did initially think that I’d made a small profit, but then realised that I’d forgotten to include all the Amazon purchases…
If you include the amount of time I’ve spend creating and filming videos then it’s really nowhere near break even. There’s a rule of thumb that for every minute of video there’s an hour of work editing. On top of that there’s the time spent doing the research and the projects - I could have earned a lot more consulting in that time.
There are some full time YouTubers in my niche, but I’m a long way off from achieving that.
The wireless LEDs video did amazingly well in terms of subscribers, it took my channel from just over 10,000 subs to over 20,000 in the space of a couple of months.
But the problem is, a lot of those subscribers just aren’t interested in my content.
This means that when I publish new videos they don’t click on them.
Unfortunately one of the ways that YouTube works out if you’ve got a good video is to see what your subscribers do. If your subscribers watch the video then it will push it out to more viewers. If your subscribers don’t watch it then the video will quickly die and dissappear.
So, I’ve gained a lot of subscribers, but they all came for a video about wireless LEDs - I’m not sure they came for my normal content.
Rinse and Repeat
Why don’t I just produce more smash hit videos - I should just repeat what I did for the wireless LEDs video. Well, I wish I could - but I just don’t really know what it is about the video that made it popular.
So, I’m going to carry on doing what I do. Which is making videos about projects that I enjoy building and trying to explain things I learn about embedded electronics and software. There will of course be more videos about wireless LEDs, but only if they are relevent to the channel.
You can watch a video version of this blog post here - the animations took ages as I was learning how to use manim so please have a watch!
And you can view the original smash hit video here: