Videonomics

YouTube: The Gift and the Curse

If only launching a successful YouTube channel or digital video was as easy it may seem. In all of its wonder, the mystery of YouTube, and those that look to invest heavy in it, is the quasi randomness of its success stories.

You can go to YouTube right now and type in “make-up tutorial.” You will get thousands of results varying from 100 views to 30 million. So, why is one more successful than the other? Are there certain video looks, styles, or personalities that gain more traction with the average YouTube viewer? Is the average YouTube viewer that much different from a TV viewer? Are these videos posted at certain peak YouTube times?

When it comes to something as simple as a makeup tutorial it should be fairly easy to separate the weak from the strong, but it simply isn’t so. Videos with high quality camera work and quirky hosts may fail to crack 1000 views, while a video of the same make-up process filmed in bathroom may do 100,000 views in a matter of days.

YouTube celebrity Jenna Marbles recently passed the 7 million-subscriber mark, making her the third most popular channel on YouTube. Brands love her and she’s made a great living for herself. If you haven’t seen one of her videos you can go to her channel and check a few out. It’s very simple: An attractive girl, a few jokes, a camera, and a little bit of iMovie editing, and viola, millions of views per video. But why the unbridled success? But I really can’t answer that question, and neither can most marketers trying to find new avenues to send their brand’s money.

This type of success is not so different from television. Critics and everyone within my inner circle panned the ABC series, The Neighbors, yet it seems to have survived the cutting board. It averaged 6.4 million views in its time slot! Who would have thought that a comedy about green aliens disguised as humans, centering on non-household actors, would be a moderate hit? Yet, it is in this mysterious area that YouTube finds its greatest strength and its biggest weakness. While TV does all it can to avoid randomness, YouTube thrives on just that. However, it’s funny to think that if YouTube were just a little more predictable it could really benefit when it comes to investment dollars.

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