Building an engaged YouTube audience takes consistency and attention to the data. Fine Bros followed the approach to become and YouTube juggernaut.
What is an engaged audience?
In a previous article, we discussed what social video engagement means. As the piece made clear, it is more than just hitting the ‘like’ button. Though it is easy to get suckered into the superficial metrics of views and ‘likes,’ the best test of engagement is viewer action. Are viewers willing to watch another one of your videos? Visit your website? Purchase your product or service? Performing these actions are the real test of an engaged audience.
But how do you develop an engaged audience and one that makes you money? It boils down to two basic principles:
- Listening to the data
Brands that follow these principles succeed, those that do not fade into the digital noise.
Every brand needs to have a consistent message or theme to their social videos. The message can be simple. For instance, HBO only publishes content on YouTube associated with its shows. The postings encompass trailers, cast interviews, and behind the scenes clips, all focused around the HBO shows. In this case, ‘HBO shows are great’ is the message, with the overall goal of getting audiences to come to the company’s owned and operated site to subscribe.
Brands that deviate from their message tend to lose subscribers and engagement from their core audience. I have seen this happen firsthand, as creators and brands rush to capitalize on popular trends.
For instance, a channel called OnePercentBetter, produced animated summaries of self-development books and thrived in its first year. However, in the second year the channel changed format and began releasing interviews with other YouTubers. It developed new projects not associated with books or self-development. As a result, the channel began to attract much less traffic. Before the format change, video views were typically in the tens of thousands. After the channel strayed from its core message, average views fell to just a few thousand. The creator behind the channel refocused his efforts on self development and book summaries and the channel experienced a resurgence in interest.
To summarize, if a video doesn’t embody your core message, don’t post it.
Another reason consistency is important is that the YouTube economy favors creators that provide frequent, regular uploads. According to Tubular’s latest report, 18+ years of content is uploaded to YouTube every day. In other words, the likelihood of one video going “viral” is extremely low.
On YouTube, slow and steady is the way to win the race. Publishing two videos a week closely aligned with the core brand message over a year is a much better strategy. Viewers that find and like the content will keep coming back for the latest episode, learn to associate the brand with the message, and have plenty of opportunities to recommend the content and brand to friends.
There is another compelling reason why consistently posting is a better approach. It allows a creator or brand to see how each video performs and hone its strategy.
Listening to the data
YouTube offers a variety of different analytics to help track video performance. A creator can see which videos are the most popular, what part of the world viewers come from, and even at what point they stopped watching a video. Companies like Tubular can provide a much more in-depth analysis. Listening to what the data has to say is the key to building an engaged audience.
Fine Bros Entertainment (FBE) listened to the data to help it home in on the video content that connected the best with its audience. When the channel started, it consisted of relatable scripted and unscripted comedy skits. One of these unscripted comedy skits was the first in FBE’s ‘react’ video series. The series showed famous celebs, YouTubers, and everyday people reacting to YouTube videos. FBE looked at their data and saw that these types of videos were performing exceptionally well. As a result the company began releasing more videos in the series and increased its audience size. The format fit with FBE’s core message – relatable comedy – and was mostly responsible for driving over 18 million channel subscribers.
Other brands are following FBE’s successful approach. For example, Jenna Marbles, PewDiePie, DudePerfect and essentially every other top YouTuber has employed the same: be consistent and pay attention to the data.
Consistently posting videos that support a brand or creators core message will help build an engaged, monetizable audience. Listening to the data will help ensure that viewers remain engaged with the audience.
Why it matters
Chasing viral hits in social video does not build a sustainable audience.
Consistency and listening to the data are the best way to achieve YouTube success.