An Analysis of My YouTube Channel

I’ve been uploading videos to YouTube since 2006.  

This was the year we got our first digital camera.  It was also the year when I was doing my Masters degree so I was very interested in all kinds of online services including online broadcasting.  We were also living far from home so it was a potential way to share our adventures with people back home (though my blog posts tended to do that more than uploaded video.)  

The first video I ever uploaded in October 2006 was to play a prank on my mother-in-law.  I liked that clip for a few different reasons and it even ended up being the concluding statement of a presentation I did about the history and future of online video for a class which turned out to be the best mark of my Masters program!

Since then, I’ve uploaded just over 100 videos (104 as of tonight) with a cumulative total of 120,000 views (average of 1200 per video). This has also resulted in a whopping $9.89 in earnings for me over seven years (plus probably lots more earned for the rights holders for the music I’ve used in some of my most popular videos.)

I tend to think of the videos I’ve uploaded as fitting into one of four categories…

The Quasi-Viral Videos (5 videos, 10,000+ views)
No “Gangnam Style” viral videos for me but I do have a handful that have reached a fairly significant number of people each.

My most viewed video is a montage of shots from when Pace was born set to the song “Tippy Toeing” by Loretta Lynn.  These views are almost completely driven by the song and I’m positive that 99.9% of the views are from people wanting to hear this song.  (Besides being the subject of my first YouTube video, my mother-in-law also plays a role in my most successful video having been the one to tell me about this song.)

My second most viewed video is called “Breast Milk Popsicles” and I can’t decide if the views are from new moms interested in a unique way to serve their milk or from pervs who don’t realise that YouTube probably isn’t the best place to go looking for nudity! (Probably a bit of both.)

My third most viewed is called “Google is Good. Libraries are Better!” and was a conscious attempt to subvert a Google ad campaign where people could easily make their own Google commercials to show how good the product was.  I did this by entering some typical public library reference questions and showing how badly Google did at handling them.  This is probably also the only video where I consciously was trying/hoping to get some viral traction and that felt like something that could “go wide” which it somewhat did.  My biggest regret is not spending some more time to ensure the actual Google results I embedded in the video weren’t more consistently ludicrous (although the one about a person wanting to find out about their grandmother’s history which led to a Google result about finding out what your grandma wants at her funeral is priceless!)

My fourth most viewed is a video of my mom (who, like Shea is an RN) doing a doppler exam of Shea to find Pace’s heartbeat in utero.   The fact that this one has so many views helps reassure me that it wasn’t just pervs looking at the second most viewed video and that there is a genuine hunger for parenting/mothering/pregnancy videos on YouTube.  (I know Shea and I watched a zillion different ones both times we were pregnant!)

My final 10,000+ viewed video is called “Riverdance Baby” and frankly, there are a number of this type of videos on YouTube – many with more views and many with less.  I do think there’s a lesson in the importance of how you title your videos if you want views – probably using terms people will be likely to use (“Riverdance”, “Baby”) is better than trying to get too fancy with your titles (“Celtic Dancing Baby” or whatever.)

Popular videos (5 Videos, 1,000 – 10,000 views)
I have another five videos that form a second tier of popularity.  These run the gambit from a montage of shots from my year at FIMS to the beach in front of a Cuban hotel to me wrestling with Pace when he’s a toddler to a brief clip about genealogy to a random clip from a small town mud derby.  A few make sense in terms of people looking for specific information (what is FIMS like?  What’s this specific Cuban hotel like?  What is the purpose of doing genealogy?) while the other two (wrestling, mud derby) show that there are a lot of rednecks on YouTube! 😉

The Long Tail (36 videos, 100 – 1000 views)
The common element to this group of videos is that they’ve been viewed enough that I can be relatively certain they’ve reached an audience beyond my immediate family or the number of people who might click through to watch a video I post on Facebook or Twitter.  This group contains everything from most of my Ryan Meili videos to a few milestone montages (Fathers and Sons, Christmas Baby Reveal, First Day of Kindergarten, First Snow of the Year) that could have broader appeal to people interested in those topics.

Personal Videos (58 videos, 1-100 views)
This final group is mostly comprised of videos of personal moments that probably don’t have a lot of wide appeal beyond my own family and friends.  This is things like a clip of Pace learning to dive at the pool, a montage of daily photos of Sasha or even some videos Pace has made that I’ve uploaded on his behalf.  There are some that I thought might get more views than they’ve gotten (at least so far) but that didn’t “catch” for whatever reason.  My least viewed video (not counting a Lego video I uploaded for Pace just a couple hours ago) has just eight views…and that’s probably a good thing! 😉

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