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In The Moment: The Value of YouTube’s Real-Time Analytics

YouTube-logo-full_color (1)YouTube Analytics are an incredibly powerful tool that provide a wealth of knowledge and insight into your channel’s performance. However, normal analytics typically have a delay of 24-48 hours, leaving you waiting to track recent performance. Perhaps you’ve noticed this delay when the view count gets “stuck” at 301+ on a newly published video. That’s just YouTube validating the views to make sure they’re authentic, but if you’ve worked hard to set up a premiere with a partner or are meticulous about tracking video performance, the delay can be a bit frustrating. Fortunately, YouTube recently rolled out a feature to provide real-time analytics for your videos.

Real-time analytics are estimates, but still very useful. For individual videos, YouTube provides two data graphs:

1) Hour-by-hour for a sliding window of the last 48 hours

Screen Shot 2015-01-21 at 3.06.30 PM

2) Minute-by-minute for a sliding window of the last 60 minutes

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YouTube has stated that there is a few minutes of latency between when the views take place and the data populates the graph, but obviously this is a much shorter wait than 24-48 hours for normal analytics. Most importantly, you can use this real-time data to gain valuable intel to improve your channel’s performance. For instance, you could see how initial video views are affected by the time you publish in order to find optimal times to post new videos. Or you could see how views correspond to social chatter and make improvements to your strategy on the other platforms.

To view real-time analytics, head to the analytics section of your channel and click on “Realtime.” To get even more info out of your YouTube analytics, check out our post on vidIQ‘s Google Chrome extension here.

New Year, New YouTube Goals

January 20, 2015 Featured News, YouTube No Comments

With every new year come New Year’s resolutions. For some folks, these can range from: eating healthier, saving money, or breaking bad habits. But what about your YouTube goals? Don’t worry, it’s not too late. Here are 10 New Year’s resolutions every YouTube creator should have, along with reasons for why these resolutions will help grow your audience.

1. Develop a Programming Schedule That You Can Stick To

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Captivate your audience by building a cohesive viewing experience across your channel. Come up with a long-term plan and develop a content strategy that is feasible. One tactic for doing this is to come up with a theme to hook your audience. These can be weekly, biweekly, or monthly — whatever works for you and your channel’s content. Throwback Thursday, for example, is a popular theme that lends itself to pointing toward older content.

Are you unsure as to what time and day is best for publishing new content? Here’s a yearly calendar you can refer to from Tubefilter.

2. Create End Cards

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End cards are a great space to promote additional content, and are proven to be most effective in getting clicks from fans without disrupting the viewing experience. The additional content can be the next video in a series, a link to purchase merch, or a call to subscribe to the channel. Click here for some examples.

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Audits, Insights, Music Key: A Look at YouTube’s 2014

December 9, 2014 Featured News, YouTube No Comments

YouTubePlayYouTube’s been up to a lot this year, all culminating in the launch of their long-awaited subscription service, Music Key. To help you pinpoint the highlights, we’ve put together this chronology of YouTube events to note:

January

YouTube launched a new comment management feature, making it easier to flag, remove and reply to all the comments you get on your awesome videos. This was a direct response to channel creators requesting a solution after YouTube nixed their in-app inbox.

February

YouTube turned itself into an honest wom… erm… service by auditing videos and removing fraudulent views. True fan engagement just can’t be bought.

April

Playlists got some love with new data reports in YouTube Analytics. An essential part to your channel’s success, playlists are a great way to increase watch time, encourage a lean-back viewing experience and cross-promote in interesting ways.

May

Fan Insights launched, giving channel creators additional info on their most influential fans. With more than just your standard numbers, but not enough to put you in the creep-zone, Fan Insights allow you to create Google+ circles of your top fans and reward them in a personalized way for their support.

June

Just as February brought on view audits, June followed suit with subscriber reviews. YouTube removed all inactive accounts from subscriber numbers, inducing a slight dip in subs that month for most channels, but giving you a more accurate picture of your channel as a whole.

July

With mobile-everything growing in spades, YouTube launched a Creator Studio app to open up basic channel management and analytics on-the-go. Because who wants to wait until they get home to see the latest view count on that new video?

August

It’s not just mobile though, smart TVs are making themselves indispensable these days too. So YouTube improved its TV app – starting with Xbox One — with better navigation and channel pages.

October

YouTube’s Creator Academy is awesome. If you haven’t looked through it yet, you now have no excuse: as of October, it’s available in 20 new languages, including French, German, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Turkish, Russian and more.

November

Music Key lands to wrap up the year’s big events. Launched in the U.S., U.K., Finland, Ireland, Italy, Portugal and Spain, Music Key offers features like art tracks, album playlists, topic channels and more. We’ve written about the launch, and gone into more detail on each feature, too.

That’s it! Pretty good year, YouTube. Looking forward to seeing what you have up your sleeve in 2015!

Breaking Down YouTube Music Key (A Bit!)

December 8, 2014 Featured News, YouTube No Comments

YTKeyYouTube, YouTube, oh YouTube. Why are you so complicated?

On November 12th, YouTube officially launched their much talked about subscription service. Since then I’ve had more than a few people ask me what it looks like, how it will it work and what the overall concept is. In short, it’s about a better consumer experience and another revenue stream for rights holders.

But YouTube sometimes feels like a complex web that can be difficult to get your head around. I mean, first there was UGC. Then there were partner channels. And now there’s YouTube Music Key. For anyone who already has the basics nailed, then you can probably skip this post. If however you’re feeling a little (or a lot!) bamboozled by the whole thing, I’m going to try to break it down — A BIT. This should be a starting point from which you can then build and fine-tune your YouTube Music Key knowledge.

So let’s go back to basics. First there was User-Generated Content or “UGC.” You know, Lizzy Hair uploads a video of her pet stick insect dancing around on its… stick… to ermm… Thin Lizzy. But I own the rights to Thin Lizzy [you wish], how dare that user steal my music? Oh hang on, YouTube has this clever audio fingerprinting technology that matches the video to my track and then places adverts and pays me for it. OK, as you were weird people on YouTube. Use my tracks until your heart’s content. I think we’ve all got our heads round that. Old news.

Then came channels and partnered channels, either directly with YouTube or via a Multi Channel Network or “MCN,” such as The Orchard. Now I can upload my official videos to my own channel and earn revenue on two sides — both audio and visual (even if it’s a static image). My MCN helps increase subscribers, strategise and program the channel and generally create a premium space that’s more appealing to advertisers, which in turn generates more money. And now I treat the whole thing like a social network and make it part of my frontline release campaign. I’m making more money and connecting with my audience on YouTube. Excellent.

So what the #&@$ is YouTube Music Key all about and what do I need to know? I mean, I know it’s a subscription service like Spotify or Rdio, but what’s the difference, how does it work and how can I check it out?

Well, first things first it’s important to make a distinction between YouTube as we know it and YouTube Music Key, which should be considered two separate entities, even though there is no real distinction on the platform itself and therefore, for the end user. We at The Orchard (along with other distributors) have delivered your catalogue to YouTube, as we do for any other digital retailer. YouTube has done two main things with this freshly delivered catalogue:

  1. Each track delivered has been turned into an “art track,” which is the officially delivered high quality audio and artwork and looks like this. YouTube also groups art tracks as albums like this. So now the user can listen to a complete album as they would do on other services. One of the main differences with Music Key is that where an official music video exists (delivered via a partnered artist channel), that video slots in to replace the “art track” in the album playlist. Note tracks 3, 5 & 7 on the Metronomy album.
  2. YouTube has created “Topic Channels” for artists, which are essentially a place where all interesting and relevant content from an artist lives, including “art tracks,” premium videos and even popular UGC content. Think of Topic Channels like artist pages on other services. Example: Metronomy Topic Channel

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Say More With a Lyric Video

December 5, 2014 Featured News, YouTube No Comments

LyricVideoAs YouTube carves out a larger space in the music community, the way music videos are being made and consumed is changing. With millions of artists and creators collaborating constantly, stunning music videos have been made that sometimes challenge typical production conventions. Along with YouTube’s Music Key, there are now multiple forms a music video can take. This combined with a lower barrier to entry has given rise to excellent alternatives you can consider when deciding how to publish your music on an evolving video streaming platform.

Building off of YouTube Art Tracks

With the launch of YouTube Music Key, you’ve probably started to see an influx of Art Tracks in the system (here’s one if you haven’t seen them yet). These simple videos are a great way to get your full catalog out to viewers and improve your chances for discovery. They expand your presence and give viewers more of your content to listen to. But you can do better.

Though a great addition to YouTube’s massive collection, Art Track videos provide a more passive viewing experience. Because the only visual is a static image, typical viewers press play, then move on to something else as they listen to the video in the background. This is still good because you’ve got them listening. However, it cuts down on engagement and your potential to draw the viewer closer.

A creative, yet simple lyric video could give you that extra hook to keep the viewer around your video longer. These typically incorporate animated text synched with audio to guide the viewer through each song. There are some amazing, intricate lyric videos out there, but that doesn’t mean you have to necessarily go that far with yours. A clean and punchy lyric video with nothing but colorful moving text could be all you need to get your fans following along. This sets your video aside from other Art Tracks and gives you more of a unique viewing experience for your fans.

Alternatives to the MTV-style Music Video

For better or worse, the days of tuning into awesome, cinematic music videos on MTV have been swallowed whole by reality TV marathons (RIP). These music videos still exist in part on YouTube and VEVO, but they’re being consumed and advertised against differently than in the old days, making the ROI of a huge video production more questionable. This is both good and bad news depending on how you look at it.

To produce and shoot a classic MTV style-music video costs tens of thousands of dollars. When MTV was the only way to watch music videos, this was a painful, but necessary struggle. Though these types of videos are still being made, they are no longer the unshakable standard. Since YouTube broke down the barriers of entry for publishing videos to the world, indie artists and major labels alike have found better ways to create videos for their music.

By embracing a more open community of viewers and creators, many artists have turned to lyric videos as a fast and cost effective alternative to full video production. Because lyric videos don’t necessarily require a live shoot, location, scheduling and casting can be removed from the process. With less of a logistical headache, these videos are often faster to create and publish, which is huge if tight deadlines are imminent.

Though a great animator could still run up your production costs, you at least have options and some room to work with. By keeping your ideas simple, a good animator can get you an excellent lyric video relatively quickly and for much cheaper than a traditional music video shoot. Make no mistake though, lyric videos aren’t just a cheap hack for indie artists on a budget. Huge pop acts like One Direction and Ariana Grande have used lyric videos to premiere top 40 singles, generating millions of views.

If you have the budget to hire a crew and shoot an amazing music video, by all means, do it. These are clearly the heavy hitters of the music video world, but not always the best way. Conversely, not having that budget doesn’t mean you’re limited to just Art Tracks. If you can create something in the middle with a clever, catchy lyric video, you’ve set yourself apart.

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