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Winter is Coming: Why That’s a Good Thing for YouTube Ads Revenue

winteriscomingLike it or not, summer is long gone, Halloween came and went, and now the leaves are falling. Pretty soon it will be winter, and with it will come an onslaught of ads, gift giving, holiday jingles and peppermint, so much peppermint. Are you prepared?

For YouTube creators, the holiday season is, without a doubt, the most wonderful time of the year. Advertisers are buying more ad space than in previous months. The heightened demand for advertising makes bidding more competitive, as companies are willing to spend more to get dibs on the various ad types on YouTube. This results in a higher CPM, which means your content can be more valuable to advertisers.

So, what exactly is CPM and what does that mean for creators? CPM stands for cost per mille or cost per thousand. It is the unit of measure used by advertisers to gauge how much they’re willing to pay to have their ads served against YouTube videos 1,000 times. The higher that number, the higher your chances of earning more revenue on your videos.

Tip: Take a dive into your YouTube Analytics now while it’s still early. Review your CPM’s from last year. Do you notice a trend? Ask yourself: How many videos did you publish leading up to this season last year? Which video(s) drove the most revenue? What can you do similarly (or differently) this year?

Build your arsenal and be strategic. Below is a list of key performance indicators that you should pay attention to when analyzing your channel’s strengths and weaknesses:

  • Total estimated earnings: Net revenue from all Google-sold advertising sources for a selected date range and region
  • Estimated Monetized Playbacks: A monetized playback is when a viewer is shown at least one ad impression when watching the video. A monetized playback is also counted when a viewer abandons the video during the pre-roll ad.
  • Watch time: Estimated total minutes of viewing time of your video(s) from your audience
  • Videos Published: Number of videos published for the selected content and date range worldwide
  • RPM: Revenue per thousand. RPM is an average measure of how much money you make for every 1,000 monetized views on your videos. To calculate RPM, you take your estimated earnings and divide them by your monetized views, then multiply by 1,000.

Ad types displayed on a video have a definite impact on a channel’s RPM. Some ads are purchased at higher rates than others. Others require different types of actions, like clicks, which can come at a higher cost to advertisers. Click here for a breakdown of the different types of ads served on YouTube.

Seasonality is another factor that has a huge impact on your channel’s revenue. RPM’s will fluctuate around the different seasons in one calendar year. In this blog post we’re referring to the winter holiday season. Other obvious events to note are September’s “Back to School” season, Valentine’s day, and the Superbowl.

So what can you do to take advantage of this winter’s surge in advertising and help bring those RPM values up? Create a release strategy that’s thematic and follows current trends. A tent-pole strategy will help ensure that your channel’s content is on advertisers’ radars and follows search engine traffic trends. It can even help facilitate cross promotion and other editorial opportunities. For more on tent-poling, read our blog post Tent-pole for the Holidays: The Art of Attracting Subscribers & Advertisers.

The events you create content around don’t have to be as straightforward as the events mentioned above. Some communities value very specific things about the holidays, like unboxing and Christmas covers. What’s important to your fans may not always be so easily defined by the change in seasons. Think about what your community values and give them something to talk about. Remember that engagement is key to success on YouTube.

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