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Understanding YouTube #1 - Debunking myths

by Albert Palka on 04/06/15 01:29:00 pm

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The following blog post, unless otherwise noted, was written by a member of Gamasutra’s community.
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Understanding YouTube #1

Debunking 5 popular YouTube myths
 

PewDiePie - Brofist

When you think about YouTube you think PewDiePie, Total Biscuit, Markiplier and dozen other top-rated channels which, according to unmeasured opinions, can make or ruin a game. 

Every game developer on the planet, without a marketing budget, wants these people to play his or her game to become another overnight success similar to the one Surgeon Simulator or Goat Simulator had. 

But the reality is 99% of indie games will never become as successful as these two. Most of them will never get noticed and vanish among thousands of others released daily. However, not being featured by the biggest channels on the planet does not mean your game cannot guarantee you a stable income.

YouTube is one of the best channels to promote your game, increase its visibility and acquire new fans and potential customers. All you have to know is how to use "the second biggest search engine in the world" properly. But the truth is, most of us don't.

In Understanding YouTube Part 1 we will focus on 5 popular myths game developers and marketers worldwide believe to be true and will explain why they aren't.

Myth #1 - Only the biggest channels matter

Wrong! Although the biggest channels can make or break a game, it's super hard to actually make them pay attention to your project, especially when you're not paying them real money at all.

You have to be super lucky to get a featured video, be one of the top developers on the globe making AAA titles or create a unique game that will somehow appeal to both the YouTuber and his audience.

Solution? Think bigger! 

YouTube consists of millions of channels ranging from one to hundreds of thousands of subscribers. Can't get someone with 18,000,000 subscribers to promote your game? Approach 18 YouTubers with 1,000,000 subscriptions each.

Didn't work? Try 180 YouTubers with 100,000 subscriptions each. The amount of people with great content is almost infinite. Use it to your advantage.

Myth #2 - Smaller channels aren't worth your attention

Wrong again. Smaller channels usually have more engaged and active audience following every video. Also, small channels usually deliver high-quality content because they care and know that without high production value they won't be able to compete with the bigger ones.

What is more, smaller channels usually know the big guys and can help you reach out to them, but that's something you'll only know once you establish a relationship.Let me give you a real-life example.

When I was just starting out working with YouTubers for one of the brands I was responsible for, I booked a review from a YouTuber with 100,000+ subs. Two days later he stopped talking to me and decided to cancel the deal. So what happened?

A day earlier I was contacted by a really small channel (500+ subscriptions). I had some spare marketing samples and decided to help him out. What I didn't know is that both guys knew each other and the bigger one got angry because the smaller guy got something the bigger one liked more. 

Obviously, we had a discussion and made changes that satisfied both YouTubers, but that was when I've learned that you cannot underestimate little channels because they can get you in front of their friends quicker than you could ever imagine.

Myth #3 - Every YouTuber is interested in your game

Nope. Sorry. They are not. Unless, your game is good or gets him/her interested.

The thing is, in order to expand their channel, YouTubers have to play new games. They don't want to buy them so they expect to receive game codes' for free. 

However, giving away a free code doesn't mean YouTubers will instantly start playing your game because their audience want something else. For instance, someone who's playing real time strategies won't be interested in your first-person shooter.

When approaching influencers you have to be very picky; choose only those that play games similar to what you're offering. That's how you increase your chances of getting noticed.

Myth #4 - If he's not responding then he's probably not interested

Guess what? Wrong! YouTubers receive hundreds of e-mails every day. Fans, haters, business inquiries - everything can be found in YouTuber's inbox. Trust me, I've seen a few.

This is where you have to act like a good salesman. When someone doesn't answer, you try again, and again, and again.

When I was working in a licensing department and a developer didn't respond to my e-mail I've sent him another one next week, and the next week after that and so on. After a couple of e-mails, they would eventually reply. This is the same exact strategy you have to use here.

What if a YouTuber doesn't have an e-mail? Use Social Media accounts: YouTube, Twitter, Twitch, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. Any place that the YouTuber is at you should be too. Eventually, you will get an answer.

Myth #5 - The number of subscriptions matter

This is probably one of the biggest mistakes people make all the time; they think subscriptions matter. They do, sort of, but in order to evaluate the channel properly you have to take into consideration not only subscriptions, but also Social Media statistics, fans' engagement and watch how a YouTuber interacts with his fans.

For instance, YouTuber with 1,000,000 subscribers is big, right? Yes. But how many people watch his videos? 20,000? 30,000? That's not a lot. 

At the same time, a channel with only 150,000 subscribers can have over 100,00 views on every video he/she posts. Now that's a good number! 

There are certain statistics and Key Performance Indicators that might help you evaluate a YouTube channel. And that's what we'll focus on next time.


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