The YouTube Formula




Three times fewer people skip a brand deal on YouTube than they do on TV, because people are usually watching from their phones. (Location 486) - Note: good callout YouTube Sponsorship---

Most creators don’t leverage the video description to its fullest potential. It’s another data point the AI looks at to help with search ranking and discovery. Part 2: Algorithms with (Location 1162)review

Homepage is no longer channel dominant but filled with a mix of videos directly chosen based on individual viewing patterns and behaviors. It now suggests, with uncanny accuracy, what a viewer might want to watch. This is a huge change from its surface recommendations. (Location 1032)review - Note: This could be another benefit of a newsletter

CV uses optical character recognition (OCR) and image recognition to determine lots of things about a video based on what it finds in the thumbnail. It takes points from each image in the thumbnail and, using billions of data points already in the system, recognizes those images, and feeds that information back into the algorithm. For example, a thumbnail including a close‐up of world‐renowned physicist Stephen Hawking’s face is recognized as such in CV, so that video can be “grouped” in the suggested feed along with every other video on YouTube that has been tagged under the Stephen Hawking topic. (Location 1121)review - Note: Include more slides? Also perhaps use more unsplash

The AI does the same thing with the language of the video. YouTube has an auto‐caption feature now, and the AI reads through the words of the caption to gather data as well. So basically going through the video frames using shot lists is like looking at what is visually being said, (Location 1147)review - Note: This is the argument for using Davincis subtitles

Most creators don’t leverage the video description to its fullest potential. It’s another data point the AI looks at to help with search ranking and discovery. (Location 1162)review

Ask yourself what that creator might be doing to get more Watch time and viewer engagement than you. Focusing on the thing that makes you mad or frustrated makes it hard to observe analytically. (Location 1345)review

Each creator has to test upload timing with their specific content to see what works best with their own audience. (Location 1365)review - Note: it feels week.does.better. i need totest weekends as they have seemed to do well

When creators are inconsistent, it is difficult if not impossible to get metrics feedback. Figure out what content resonates with your audience and when, and stick to it. This is how you get metrics data that will show you how to change or improve. (Location 1366)review

Sometimes “wrong” content means random. This is when creators aren’t creating specific content for a niche; they upload whatever they want like they’re throwing everything into Dropbox. Variety channels like this simply are not effective. (Location 1425)review - Note: i wonder if youtubecan readmy.niche

what I now call, “Work Week Analytics.” I document everything I do in the day, everything from checking my email to posting on social media to running errands, and everything in between. At the end of the week, I pull out two different colored highlighter markers. With one color, I highlight everything I hate doing, and with the second color, I highlight everything that wasted my time. Then I hire someone else or several someone elses to do all the highlighted tasks. This will help you stay focused on what you love and what matters, and save you from burnout. (Location 1470)review

According to an article in Promo Marketing magazine (“YouTube’s Teespring Merch Integration Is Paying Off Huge for Content Creators” by Brendan Menapace), merchandise click‐throughs get 30% more traffic than other features like banner links, annotations, and description links. (Location 1614)review

Looking back, they would skip the in‐between stages of brand deals and licensing deals and go straight to ownership. “The audience likes you because you’re passionate about your content,” the McKnights said, “so they’ll like your product because you’re passionate about it, too.” The authenticity goes straight through to the product on the shelf. (Location 1916)review

If you want your videos to get discovered in a sea of millions, keep this thought at the forefront: make data‐driven decisions but always optimize for humans. (Location 2360)review

In order to optimize for humans, I recommend that you define your video with a title that has fewer than 60 characters. (Location 2460)review

Additionally, humans respond to storytelling. Your video should have a story arc. It should begin with you delivering on the promise of your title and thumbnail. After that, you need to reengage the viewer and pull them into your content. This is a great time to share the personal touches: your backstory, your beliefs, and other engaging elements. (Location 2464)review

Doing things like sharing your beliefs puts your viewers in a position to decide whether they agree with you. At the end of the video, you again deliver on the promise of the title and thumbnail, proving that they got what they came for, and you tease a follow‐up video to keep them watching longer. Finally, you interact with your viewers and respond to comments. (Location 2467)review

Task 1: Write out your finish line (your goal) and put it somewhere you will see it daily. Don’t lose sight of why you’re creating, especially in the hard times. (Location 2519)review

Task 2: If you have content on YouTube, go to your real‐time analytics and look through your top‐performing videos. Write down the ones that are more than 6 months old that are still bringing in the most traffic in the past 48 hours. (Location 2520)review

Task 3: Plan, create, and upload a video about the same topic as one of those on the list you made. (Location 2523)review

There is a huge difference between building an audience off of a viral video and building an audience off of your content and your personality. You want a more stable viewership; you want viewers who are loyal to you. The viral video doesn’t attract the same type of viewer as one who would loyally follow regularly scheduled content and personalities. (Location 2564)review

Make note of reengagement throughout the video, calls to action, video descriptions, and comments. (Location 2872)review

Like these ads and the SNL skits, all good videos follow a pattern: they grab your attention with a hook, hold your attention with reengagement strategies, and leave you with a payoff or unexpected surprise at the end, like the great Darth Vader revelation in The Empire Strikes Back. (Location 3011)review

The hook creates enough curiosity for the viewer to want to know what the episode or video is going to be about. (Location 3045)review

This is where you hide your hidden gem; it’s the biggest value you have to offer, even on top of what the audience came for. Your viewers will come to expect this from you if you do it consistently, which is what will keep your retention up because your viewers won’t dip knowing there is something still in it for them if they watch to the very end of the video. (Location 3082)review - Note: The Goosh Ex: Marvel Postcredit A hidden gem

All the while he’s using zoom work, fast‐paced editing, sound effects, and words on the screen to continuously reengage. (Location 3129)review - Note: i can improve my reengagement with words on screen at key points

If you grabbed a pen and paper and binge‐watched MrBeast’s channel with content creation techniques in mind, you would end up with a really long list of practices that pop. You can do this with any great content creators; (Location 3140)review - Note:todo

Get the companion workbook and find more resources at (Location 3198)review - Note:todo

find two or three other YouTubers that he could meet with weekly to talk strategy and bounce ideas off (Location 3230)review

Look at the videos you have released in the last 90 days. Write down your top‐performing videos and analyze each one using the Four Ws. Look for patterns among them. (Location 3354)review - Note:todo

Imagine seeing 12 images flash on a screen in a fraction of a second. Do you think you can process each image? A team of neuroscientists from MIT have found that the human brain can process entire images that the eye sees in as little as 13 milliseconds. (Location 3456)review

Netflix found that the artwork associated with a movie accounted for more than 80% of people’s attention while browsing. Attention given to titles was secondary and lasted less than two seconds. (Location 3459)review

Curiosity earns the click. Your thumbnail and title combination should make someone scrolling through pause long enough to consider clicking. (Location 3469)review - Note: plant a burning question

The Rule of Thirds Studies have shown that when people view an image, their eyes naturally go to one of the intersection points. It’s easier for the brain to process quickly. It’s good to learn about natural processes like these so you can learn to work with them rather than against. (Location 3488)review

Pay attention to natural breaks when you watch videos on YouTube. Notice when you start to get bored or distracted. Do this on your own videos, too. That point where you start to disconnect is when you want to implement a pattern interrupt. A pattern interrupt resets your mind to behaviors or situations in the video. (Location 3932)review

Task 1: Review your three best videos when it comes to AVD and AVP. (Location 3954)review - Note:todo

Task 2: Analyze using the 50% and 30% rules. How would you make your video different knowing what you know now? (Location 3956)review - Note:todo

As the creator, your first job is to provide a smooth and predictable experience for your current viewers and subscribers. You want to create a feeling of security for them, a “same time, same place, same channel” vibe. (Location 3980)review

As a friendly reminder, always prioritize your strategy for recommendation, since it accounts for three‐quarters of all YouTube traffic. (Location 4035)review

Mobile traffic accounts for 70% of daily Watch time. (Location 4045)review

With every client of mine, I have them make a list of all the frequently asked questions that people ask in their niche or business. You need to do this, too. Don’t worry about arranging the list in any particular order yet, just write down your own FAQs. (Location 4071)review

I like to look at Search as an entry point into your world of content. Most creators and YouTube educators focus on Search and ranking, but for me, I look at it as a funnel for bringing in additional traffic. When you get the initial traffic on your content, you can turn it into consumption traffic, meaning you’ve converted your first‐time viewers into repeat consumers of your content. (Location 4089)review

Choosing your channel’s buckets is really fun. Go to your videos and look for patterns among them. Especially consider your top performing videos and make sure you create a bucket for them. Group similar videos and title each bucket. Refer to your FAQ/SAQ lists you made earlier in this chapter to make sure you cover the important topics. (Location 4280)review

It’s easier to brainstorm new ideas when you’ve written your content down and broken it into categories. When the lists are right in front of you, new content ideas strike more easily. You can also see where you might be lacking content. (Location 4339)review

Data has shown that the best thumbnails include an object and a person. (Location 3558)review

When you drill down on that Netflix research finding that we mentioned earlier, it shows that viewers engage with thumbnails that have people in them. (Location 3558)review

Super Tip: I always want to see how my thumbnail looks compared to other thumbnails. To do a mock comparison, screenshot search results and photoshop your thumbnail in with the list of results. This can be super powerful to see how the viewer would see your thumbnails. (Location 3619)review

I try to imagine how the viewer will talk about the video after watching it, even creating imaginary conversations in my mind…. “Did you see that MrBeast video where he ate the world’s largest slice of pizza?” If the title is easy to remember, simple to explain, and easy for the viewer to share, you’ve given your video a better chance of success. (Location 3689)review

titles should capitalize the first letter of each word, and sometimes you should use all caps. Using all caps is one of the easiest ways to grab attention in your title. (Location 3744)review

Amplify the keyword or phrase to take your title over the edge. Use words like: Ultimate, Worst, Best, Faster, Insane, Crazy, WOW, or I Cried. Good amplifying words for educational channels include: DIY, Easy, Step By Step, Simple, Amazing, Quick, and Now. (Location 3750)review

TubeBuddy shows you what search term is ranking, the search volume (searches per month), competition for the key term, and related searches to help you dig deeper. TubeBuddy has saved me so much time! It’s my favorite channel management tool for the research and optimization phase. (Location 3758)review

Kickass Headline Generator is one of my favorite tools to brainstorm. You can put in topics, desired outcomes, undesired outcomes, audience, points in content, and helpful aides, and it will auto‐generate headlines for your video based on your parameters. Download this tool at (Location 3766)review - Note:todo

Trigger phrases can reengage or disengage your audience, so make sure you do the former. Say things like, “Don’t miss the bonus tip at the end of the video,” not, “That’s it for now.” (Location 3820)review - Note: i do see huge dips at.the.end.of.videos. outro

AVD and AVP do not match up perfectly because of the way people consume your video. For instance, I watch all videos at 2× speed. So on a 10:00 video, my AVD would be 5:00, but my AVP would be 100%. For long‐term channel growth, these two metrics are key. The title and thumbnail will get you views, but AVD and AVP will get you Watch time and the right kind of audience. (Location 3835)review

Average Views per Viewer To know how well you connect with your viewers, you need to study your average views per viewer, or AVPV. The AVPV is the average number of times a viewer watched any video on your channel (in channel analytics) or this particular video (Location 3869)review - Note:todo

Look at your endings and outros, too. Keep them short with the goal of getting the viewers to watch another video, preferably yours, fast. (Location 3884)review

However, don’t make the mistake of putting a card in the first third of the video because you don’t want the viewer bouncing too soon and ruining your AVD. (Location 4710)review

Use this to supplement, not replace, your target video suggestion. In addition, take the last 8 to 10 seconds to use a verbal call to action asking them to watch the target video. (Location 4714)review

Tags are less important than your title, thumbnail, and description, but they still help, especially if some of those words are often misspelled by people. For tags, use your primary and secondary keywords and other relevant words. Stay under 300 characters in your tags. TubeBuddy is a great tool to show you relevant tags based on your current video’s content. (Location 4718)review

Power tip #1: Use closed‐captioning (CC). But not YouTube’s auto CC, because it can hurt your ranking and CPMs; it’s just not very good. (Location 4722)review

If the client’s goal is to attract more viewers, I go find a similar creator who can collaborate with my client and organically push the right viewers to our new content. In YouTube analytics, you now can see your crossover viewership listed in “Other videos your audience watched.” (Location 4780)review

Don’t be so arrogant in thinking that your viewers will watch to the end of your video where the product push will be. You need to give them several ways and places to see the product. (Location 4827)review

Task 2: Look into your analytics to see what other videos your audience watched. Make a list of 5–10 creators you would like to do a collaboration with. (Location 4851)review

When you upload a video, you need to track the most important metrics by traffic source. The most important metrics are: Click‐through rate (CTR) Impressions Average view duration (AVD) Average percent viewed (APV) Watch time and views Average views per viewer (AVPV) (Location 4898)review

Look at your CTR as soon as YouTube gives you that data, generally two to three hours after uploading a new video. This is your real‐time data. (Location 4919)review

If your CTR is below the baseline you’ve established, your next step is to look at your Impressions data before you change anything. This is super important because if your impressions have gone up, it means the AI is pushing your video to a broader audience. (Location 4920)review

If your CTR is low but your Impressions are high, don’t change anything yet. Let your content simmer, and see what it does. But if your CTR is low and your Impressions are average or below, it’s time to adjust in real time. You need to change a thumbnail or title now. I recommend switching out your thumbnail first (Location 4924)review

Do you think we regretted having four thumbnails ready in advance? The same thing happened with another client: he uploaded a video, and it just wasn’t performing well. He waited two days before changing the thumbnail, and the video did pick up, but if he had changed out the thumbnail two hours after upload instead of two days, it would have done so much better. (Location 4939)review

When you start watching your AVD and APV baselines, which are usually available 48 hours after upload, notice if they are below or above average. Then go to where you lose viewers in the video or where there is more engagement in the video and try to find a pattern for why that is happening at that point in your video (Location 4949)review