Carla Marshall has 10+ years of experience in video marketing, social media management, content marketing, DRM, and SEO. She was previously Editor in Chief at ReelSEO.com, and as a journalist and video marketer, she's covered news stories, creator journeys, and digital-first publishing initiatives across all the major online video platforms. She is YouTube Certified and a judge for the Shorty Awards, as well as the UK, US, Canadian, Global, and EU Search Awards.
How One Tiny YouTube Channel Generated 1000 Subscribers & 4000 Watch Time Hours in 24 HOURS!
How do you effectively monetize your YouTube channel in just 24 hours? Well, it's pretty simple actually. You pick the richest company in the world and you exploit the biggest tech search blind spot I have ever seen. I love case-studies like this!
But first, let's start with a little story.
Weirdly, I discovered this teeny YouTube channel, whose views had completely blown up literally overnight, because of my yearning for the new Samsung Galaxy Chromebook. I'm one of the few people in the world who gets Chromebooks. I love the fact that they're super light-weight, and even after years of use they never really slow down.
So when Samsung announced the Rolls-Royce of all Chromebooks, with a 4K AMOLED display with a stylus, I was all, "shut up and take my money". Even though it costs an eye-watering $999 USD, and it isn’t even available to buy in Canada (where I’m based).
So, if I can’t get my hands on the new Chromebook, what are the alternatives? I started to search around.....
Now, I was always under the impression that iPads were tablets. These days, however, Apple seems to be touting them as a viable alternative to the traditional computer. But I always thought computers needed a keyboard and at the very least, a track-pad, to give them the productivity you need.
And apparently, Apple now has an answer: the iPad Pro Magic Keyboard, a first-party accessory that attaches itself directly to the tablet.
Despite the price tag of $299 USD, it did capture my attention. But I needed to do the research here. I'm not just going to jump straight into this. But if I am going to do the research, I'm going to do what everybody else does - I'm going to search for it on YouTube.
YouTube Search: The iPad Magic Keyboard
Now, being a tech enthusiast, I assume that when I search for a product such as the “iPad Pro Magic Keyboard”, the usual creator suspects are going to appear: MKBHD, Unbox Therapy, Linus Tech Tips, and so on.
And when I searched for “iPad Pro Magic Keyboard” on YouTube, the auto-suggestion list was full of all of the keywords and phrases you might expect. So far so good.
But on April 19th 2020, that same search didn't return any videos about thw iPad Pro Magic Keyboard from any major tech creator. Not one. And I thought that was pretty odd.
I even checked on the Apple website just to confirm the keyboard was actually out. And it was, although there is a lengthy shipping delay. But on that particular date, I didn’t see any content in the YouTube search results from the creators I know, love, and most importantly, trust.
So let's go back to the YouTube to see what results were being returned to me, the viewer.
First of all, from a VidIQ perspective, we think ‘iPad Pro Magic Keyboard’ is a fairly juicy keyword. Our keyword tool (which you can access by downloading our free extension) confirms that search volume interest is increasing, and there’s not enough video competition to keep up with demand. That’s a win for any creator right there.
No matter which way you slice and dice it, the launch of any Apple product is a massive global event. Which means it is always a BIG thing in the tech community.
On April 19th, YouTube pushed one creator in particular to viewers searching for ‘iPad Pro Magic Keyboard’. Up until that date, MrExitStrategy only had 1.2K subscribers, and was just one of the millions and millions of channels posting random content. The creator didn’t even appear to have any strategy around optimization or a growth, as witnessed in the poor quality of titles, descriptions, and thumbnails.
Then, out of the blue, this TikTok-length video appears on their channel - and hey, it’s all about that Magic Keyboard that every Apple iPad owner is starting to get really, really excited about.
You can see from the VidIQ Historical View Count feature, how the video quickly gained massive traction.
So how did a 19-second video from a tiny YouTube channel generate 75,00 views in twenty-four hours? And how did that creator's videos jump to the top of the search rankings for a very juicy Apple tech phrase?
I think it's pretty simple - the absence of options. I think for a brief moment of time, that video was one of the, if not, the first videos to offer a genuine review of the Apple Magic Keyboard. And with that golden opportunity, the creator did what we always recommend you do, double down on your best content.
YouTube Success: Quantity Over Quality?
There is a well-worn debate that often rages amongst YouTube creators - quantity versus quality. Most will rightly argue that quality should take precedence. But this is a perfect example where I would argue the exact opposite. At least to a certain degree.
When you have everyone's attention, because there is no competition, you should push out as much content as possible because that window of opportunity is not going to last long.
So yes, six videos from MrExitStrategy's small channel in a 48 hour period may seem a little excessive, but when you do a search for that 'iPad Pro Magic Keyboard' and all of the results at the top of the search engine are from the same creator, whose videos are you going to click on?
The videos themselves tell me two things. First of all, this creator really does like his computers. And secondly, sometimes all you need is a mobile phone and something interesting to film. I think, basically, in this situation this creator has two objectives for serving their audience:
- Give the audience more iPad Pro Magic Keyboard content
- Make more videos based on viewer feedback
At the time of writing, MrExitStrategy’s YouTube channel has now generated 972K views, which will undoubtedly get him to 4,000 hours of Watch Time. Of course, he has over the required 1000 subscribers too so he’s now eligible to apply for the YouTube Partner Program.
It is a little concerning that a channel with that many views only has a tiny amount of subscribers. But this is a feature of many, many tech and educational channels.
Well, often viewers just their specific questions answered, they don't want or need to subscribe to the channel after that. And to be honest, the quality of the videos on MrExitStrategy’s channel does suggest that the creator isn’t using any kind of strategy to encourage viewers to subscribe for future content.
So you might see this as a smash and grab. The opportunity was there and the creator grasped it with both hands. So what's going to happen to those search results when all of the other tech creators get their hands on this product?
How Smaller Tech Channels Can Win at YouTube
On April 20th 2020, I did an incognito search for ‘iPad Pro Magic Keyboard’, so that my watch and search history wouldn't influence any results.
And I witnessed a brand new set of well-established super popular creators, such as The Verge, iJustine, and Peter McKinnon, top the search rankings.
To find our hero of this particular case study, I had to scroll way down the list. When you no longer have something unique to present to the audience, quality is always going to win out.
What's very interesting about all of these new videos I saw flood in was when they were published. All at exactly the same time. 9AM EST on April 20th 2020.
The reason for this is, of course, major tech companies will send out new products to the most trusted creators and ask them not to publish their reviews or unboxing videos until a certain date and time.
So all of these big creators, like The Verge (video below), were waiting for that release embargo date to arrive.
But those rules don’t apply to your average consumer who orders a product from a website and just happens to get it before the release embargo. And again, that probably comes down to the unique challenges that the coronavirus is presenting to tech firms right now when it comes to logistics.
Some people just receive their products early, then immediately post about them to YouTube. All of which has created the perfect storm for this particular YouTube case study.
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