Youtube: challenge met?

By Hugo LassiègeMay 2, 20246 min read

Challenge met?

4 months ago, I decided to try a new format and create a YouTube channel.

The goal was simple: to reach different people.

I knew it would be more difficult, as shooting a video is far more complicated and time-consuming than writing a blog post. And I said to myself

If I put in 15x more effort, but in the end it reaches 100x more people, I've won.

Did I achieve my goal?

Did I really put in 15x more effort for 100x more results?

And more generally, what can I say about the experience so far?

A different audience

There's no doubt about it, the audience is different. In fact, that's the difficulty: this blog's readers haven't been transposed onto the channel. Nor is there any transfer, or very little, between the people who follow me on Twitter/Mastodon and the Youtube channel.

Only 6.3% of YouTube views are from an external link.

source of views

source of views

Of this 6.3%, a large proportion actually comes from Twitter (38%), the rest from linkedin, YouTube (?!) and Whatsapp.

Numbers aside, I know people who read this blog and don't go on YouTube, and the reverse is true.

Age is different too: YouTube tells me that a significant part of 18% are under 24.

age distribution of viewers

age distribution of viewers

And the majority are between 25 and 34.

I also know this because I'm now being contacted on Twitter and LinkedIn by people at the start of their careers asking me questions about studying or the world of startups.

Even beyond age, the people who leave comments under the videos seem to have diverse professions. I know there are video editors, project managers, a financial controller (!) and a whole bunch of other non-developers.

On the other hand, the YouTube audience is 98% male. I can't compare this figure with the blog, but it's surprising and I can't explain it.

Despite the latter figure, it's a goal that's been achieved. I'm reaching more people, but more importantly, it's growing.

Effort vs. result

Because, yes, you could ask yourself if it's worth the effort.

The first video on "Reasons to join a startup" had 130 views in the first month, compared with nearly 1,500 on the blog in the same month.

(Yes, it was the same content, adapted for video).

But it was expected.

YouTube's algorithm selects which videos to show to viewers, and a small channel has less chance of being seen.

A new video, from a new creator, will be submitted to a smaller audience.

On top of that, YouTube doesn't know how to select the right audience for you. The result is a low click-through rate.

For the few who do click through, YouTube will then look at engagement, the number of likes, comments, shares and watch time percentage. If these figures are correct, the platform will expand the audience and test other niche audiences.

And then the audience stagnates, YouTube progressively decreases the number of impressions, giving this characteristic curve with an acceleration at the beginning, then a plateau.

views over time curve

views over time curve

There's a peak at around 140 days, but I'll tell you about that later.

In short, unless they're incredibly viral, most first channel videos don't exceed a certain visibility because YouTube presents them to few people and often the wrong audience.

Okay, all those efforts for that!?

A video, especially at the beginning when you don't know how to do it, takes an incredible amount of time (when you want to get a good result on the editing). So yes, it's easy to spend 2/3 days editing, and the time/result ratio isn't as good as the blog.

But things are changing.

YouTube keeps track of the engagement of the latest videos, and if you manage to stay regular, the algorithm will propose you directly to a larger audience.

An audience that in any case grows with the number of subscribers who will be notified of upcoming releases, and these same subscribers enable YouTube to better understand who might be interested in your content.

For the last video:

Start of last video

Start of last video

In other words, in 18 days, this video has done 54x better than the first one.

And when that happens, all the old videos are recommended to the newcomers, which explains the spike seen on the previous video.

At this precise moment, we're touching on an important element.

Blogging takes less time.

But the blog can't compete in the long term, because the YouTube algorithm knows how to suggest videos to the right people, at the right time, and, above all, knows how to re-propose old content.

So after 4 months, I have 13k monthly views, versus 2k visits to the blog, which has been around for 20 years.

If I put in 15x more effort, but in the end it reaches 100x more people, I've won.

It's not the case yet, but it's climbing.

Learning and new goals

Numbers are reductive. What was the objective?

And has that goal changed?

Undoubtedly, yes.

My initial goal was to continue the work of this blog, share experiences and contribute to the tech ecosystem. I wanted to reach more people, a younger demographic, who often read fewer blogs.

Except that, in the process, I've learned a lot. I discovered how to film, I discovered editing, I also discovered that my writing wasn't all that good. I discovered that I could improve my presentation skills, qualities that I need in my work anyway.

I also confirmed that blogging and video were two different media, which I could use for different content. Video doesn't lend itself to some of the articles I write. And conversely, some of my writing doesn't lend itself to video. So the two will live side by side.

In short, it motivated me and gave me new ideas.

I want to continue the adventure. I'm still freaking out, of course, because the production time is long and I can't keep up this pace.

I'm starting to think that in the future I should try to earn some income with this channel to finance professional editors, for example, to save time and create better quality videos.

I've already been approached by a company about sponsorship. It's still too early to say, but it's a good sign.

I'm thinking that eventuallycoding/eventuallymaking (blog + channel) could become a medium, that I could try to use to promote other people who want to create content about science and technology.

Of course, it's far too early. It might not happen, because life is what it is.

But yes, the December bet is on.

Side note : The YouTube channel is in french but I thought it was interesting to share the experience here. I'm still wondering if I should start a channel in english. It's a lot of work and I'm not sure I can keep up with it. But I'm thinking about it.

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Written by Hugo Lassiège

Software Engineer with more than 20 years of experience. I love to share about technologies and startups

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