How To Properly Evaluate YouTube Content

Have you got a YouTube strategy? If not, you should probably firstly read our previous post, Why Brands Need To Start Paying More Attention To YouTube.

When you are looking at content on YouTube you notice a few things, this is a short guide to understanding what you are looking at and understanding YouTube content better.

YouTube Numbers Don’t Lie

YouTube is quite an open platform when it comes to publicly available statistics.  That makes understanding content views and distribution strategies much easier.  However, as with anything you need to know what you are looking for before you can evaluate it.  You need to take time to understand YouTube, what each statistic means, how to analyse a channel and it’s general performance, and this is just the very basics.

YouTube content analysis

Here are some questions next time you are evaluating some content or a brand YouTube channel.

  • When was it published
  • How many views has the video got so far
  • How many likes and dislikes
  • How many comments

YouTube Views Are NOT The Key Metric

When analysing YouTube content people often stop at how many views something has.  This is ridiculously short sighted, however whenever we are talking about content “going viral” a view count is easy to measure against.  The problem with view count though is that it can be purchased.  Pre-roll adverts count towards a view count, so brands with deep pocket can buy views essentially.

Here is a quick tip, if a piece of content has 100,000 views, but no likes, or comments, you can bet your life it has come from pre roll advertising.  The cynical of you out there may say that the pre roll ad may not have been used to get on platform engagement, rather to push people away to a landing page; and in some cases you may be right but not in the majority.

Use this example below from British retailer Currys PC World in which they have used a football presenter personality to “sell” their TV’s in anticipation of the World Cup

If you look at the stats, views are really high, half a million at time of publishing. However, ask the rest of the questions I suggest above and you see a more clear picture.

  • 535,000 views
  • 86 likes
  • 19 unlikes
  • 5 comments

As you can see it is hardly ground breaking, it probably cost them a considerable amount in advertising spend, and will definitely just annoyed YouTube users.

Look at most brand produced content on YouTube and in most cases it is usually an adaptation of their above the line adverts.  Many branded channels are just a graveyard for old television adverts.  People are not searching for this kind of content on YouTube, instead they are being force fed it for a few seconds at the beginning of each video that they are actually trying to watch.

YouTube Statistics Tell The Story

Many brands are savvy enough to turn this option off, but if you get the chance you can again start to spot tell tale patterns that brands aren’t getting much bang for their buck on YouTube.  Look along the like / dislike menu bar which includes, “about” Share” and Add etc. One of the buttons on that row shows basic statistics on any video.

This example from British Alcohol brand, Fosters, shows clearly when they decided to put the ad on pre roll (I would guess that it is round about 7th July 2014)

youtube statistics

So next time you are evaluating YouTube content make sure you look at the full picture, it only takes a few more clicks and knowing were to look before you start to understand what is really going on.