Not getting views? You think about YouTube wrong!

Not getting views? You think about YouTube wrong! play video
Written by: Dexxter Clark
When you don’t get views on your YouTube video, you must understand two important things:
  • what YouTube is about
  • YouTube’s perspective on promoting videos.
YouTube won’t automatically promote your video when you upload it.

95% of creators misunderstand what YouTube is about

I did a poll on my YouTube channel to see if creators understood what the most important thing is when creating a YouTube Video.
Only 5% knows how to get views on a YouTube video.

The most common myths about getting views on YouTube are:

I have more content on my channel (14%)

A big video library certainly helps with your discover-ability.

Because there are simply more videos to be discovered, and it increases the chance of you blowing up someday.
This is one of the reasons why big channels have an easier time ranking.

But, I’ve found over the years that quantity does not trump quality.
1 killer video can outperform 10 mediocre ones.
While the 10 mediocre ones together probably will take you longer to make than the killer one.

I have a video this week (17%)

Being consistent is important, because viewers know when to expect a new video.
Also when viewers come into a channel and they see frequent uploads, they are more inclined to subscribe when they see that the creator is active and new awesome content like this is coming their way.

However, making a video for the sake of having a video is never a good idea.
It will never be your best video, because the goal was to make a video, not making a GOOD video.

In other words you are not passionate about the video and will not go through the lengths to make it the greatest video on YouTube.

If you have trouble of sticking to a weekly schedule, make it a bi-weekly schedule or a monthly schedule.
But even some of YouTube’s biggest creators don’t create videos regularly, but damn are they good.

Viewers really need to know this (45%)

45% of Surveyees falls into the same pitfall that I fell into for years: “viewers need to know this”.
There is a crucial difference between what people need to know and want to know.
Viewers often don’t know what they need-to-know, but they do know what they want-to-watch.

In other words:
  • Want-to-know will get the click, need-to-know won’t.
  • Want-to-know will keeps viewers watching-till-the end, need-to-know won’t.
Making people click and keep watching is what YouTube is all about.
Which in practice means: to-the-point entertainment served in bite-size chunks of information to get and keep viewers` attention, also for tutorials

But you can use the want-to-know gets people into the need-to-know, the gems, the stuff for books, courses and coaching.

What I also do with my book called: “what big Tubers don’t tell you” and my coaching program “the cheat code”.
While the book is a general set of advice, the coaching program is completely customized to your situation, knowledge level and channel.

I finally have an idea for the video (18%)

The crux lies in the word “Finally”.
“Finally” having an idea, means that you are glad to have an idea, but just having an idea is not something that viewers want to see.
Having a GREAT idea is what makes people click AND watch all the way through.

The squirrel obstacle course by Mark Rober is a great idea, you want to see that.
So good in fact it got him twice multiple million views.

But, how do you know what people want to watch?
Well that is research. Research in your niche.
Knowing what your ideal avatar looks like:
  • What are they interested in?
  • What are their fears?
  • What are their goals?
  • What are their biggest pain-points that avoids them from achieving their goal?
  • etc etc
On the download page you can find you can find a document with questions you can ask yourself about your audience.

This article is about getting views on YouTube’s videos, which is a big pain-point for my audience. This is a big want-to-know.
Your job as creator is to find a good idea for angle to approach the pain-points and motivators in your videos.

I know how to make the thumbnail clickable (5%)

To prove my point I did a massive study with 107 YouTube videos:
I uploaded 102 videos to a new channel with 5 minute thumbnails (my clips channel).
5 videos with good thumbnails to another new channel.

Chunks of videos on the channel with 5 videos are also on my clips channel, so there an overlap in content.

The new channel with 5 videos got me twice the amount of views (26k vs 13k views), 3x the amount of subscribers (520 vs 170 subs) and 2 videos with over 10k views.

The sole reason that videos get views at all, is because of the thumbnail.
Without the click, no view.
No click without a good thumbnail.

While being able to keep viewers in the video is important, having a clickable titles and thumbnails weights much heavier on the promotional scale, especially in competitive niches.

When viewers keep clicking you are able to trigger the algorithms that blow up YouTube channels: Home and Suggested algorithms.

Because thumbnails are so important, big YouTubers like Mr. Beast have at least 2 different title/thumbnail combinations before they even start filming a video.
When they can’t make a clickable title and thumbnail, they don’t make the video at all.

The reason that big YouTubers make at least 2 thumbnails is, if one doesn’t perform, they can immediately swap it out for the other one.

YouTube’s perspective on promoting videos

When you get no views on your youtube videos, think about it from another perspective:
Do you deserve to get views from YouTube’s perspective?
YouTube is a big platform with a millions of videos, millions (if not billions).
YouTube can’t show them all, so it needs to make a decision on what to show viewers.

YouTube does that by putting the needs of the viewers first, by trying to estimate what kind of videos each individual viewer likes.
Because YouTube found out that when people are satisfied, they watch longer on the platform and YouTube earns more money with ads.

How does YouTube measure how viewers perceive a video?

It does that, mainly based on 3 things:
  • how many viewers click on a video (most important)
  • how many viewers watch a video all the way through (still important)
  • how many viewers watch multiple videos on the same channel

Why you?

Now let me ask you 3 very direct and super honest questions:
First, why should YouTube serve your videos to viewers, instead of all the others?
    • If you can’t make people click
    • if you can’t make people watch a video until the end
    • if you can’t return viewers to your channel
If someone else does better job in making viewers click, watch longer and returning?

Is it fair?

Now let me ask you second question:
Let’s imagine you’ve have invested 10 years in a YouTube channel, you’ve uploaded thousands of videos
You contributed to make people stay on the platform for millions of hours and made YouTube tons of money.

Do you think it’s fair that some new dude (or gal) comes along and gets millions of views and compromises your watch time, while they had to work so hard to get there?

Channel authority is a ranking factor, I do think that that is fair.

But YouTube does give channels a chance.
YouTube artificially ranks you in between the big channels in YouTube Search for the first few hours to see if viewers react to your video.
If you are doing a better job than them in terms of watch time and making people click, then you will have a high chance of keeping your ranking, otherwise you gradually will rank lower and lower and lower.

Which videos should it show?

Now let me ask you a third question.
Lets say, there are 1000 videos on a given topic YouTube, like “Why do my youtube videos get no views”
How should YouTube decide which videos to show?
There are only 5 or 10 spots in YouTube Search that people click on.
The rest gets little to no views on their videos.

A lot of creators think that when their SEO is good, that they will rank, but what if everybody’s SEO is good?
Then SEO won’t help you anymore!
YouTube still has to make a decision who to rank, wich is still done based on watch-time and how many people click.

And I explicitly said how many people click instead of Click Through Rate, because many creators misunderstand the usefulness of YouTube Click Through Rate.
See my article on why Click Through Rate may be YouTube’s biggest lie.

This is exactly the problem in competitive niches, like gaming, cooking, fitness or the YouTube advice niche.
It is really hard to outrank people that make the best thumbnails and have the most watch time and there are so many videos on the same topic.

Are you playing by the rules?

When we take it back to YouTube’s perspective.

YouTube has responsibilities towards 3 parties:
  • to their viewers
  • to their advertisers
  • to other creators than you
YouTube is still a business.
Capitalism hard at work: YouTube makes money with ads.

Any content that repels advertisers or viewers, is either not promoted or not monetizable.
Any content that can hurt YouTube image, will eventually hurt their viewership, thus their ability to make money.
YouTube has seen 2 adpocalypses already where advertisers walked away.
That hurt YouTube in their wallet.

YouTube is pretty open in what they allow and don’t allow on the platform in their community guidelines.
So a lot of content that lacks scientific evidence, has violence or is sexualizing is off limits.
When you still try to walk the gray area with your content, it is not very respectful towards YouTube’s advertisers and other monetizing YouTube creators that do abide by these rules.

You have to respect that you are on rented land as YouTube creators.
Their platform, their rules, otherwise no views.

YouTube is hard for a reason

Don’t forget when you don’t get views on your videos, that making YouTube videos takes a lot of skill.
Developing this skill takes time and a lot of videos.

You are competing with people who have mastered this skill.
They’ve made hundreds of videos with hundreds of (clickable) thumbnails and studied hundreds of audience retention graphs.
They know what their audience likes and doesn’t like by now.

Blaming the algorithm doesn’t help

Now let’s talk about mindset
When you don’t get views on a video, the second you start to blame the algorithm, you’ve lost already.

You’ve put blame an external factor you can’t control
It will get you frustrated and no views.

When you put the blame on yourself and take responsibility for your own actions, you can do something about it.

I think that good content will eventually surface and find it’s audience.
However that can take a long time and you maybe have to make a lot of content.

Feeling entitled to get views, because you’ve put in a lot of effort, will get you nowhere.
It won’t help you to get views, it will only help you to get frustrated

Instead do this

When you bend the feeling of entitlement into appreciation for what YouTube IS, it makes things a lot more bearable.

Hosting videos all over the world is incredible difficult, which takes up a lot of expensive hardware, and making millions of videos discoverable by millions of users is included.
Everything is free.
For Vimeo or any other video hosting platform in the world, you have to pay and they don’t promote anything.

On top of that, YouTube offers you the opportunity to earn money with your videos.
YouTube shares more than half of their ad earnings with you.
YouTube is the only social media platform that does this.

Is there any social media platform out there where you have the possibility to chat with the support desk?

If you think that the current system is unfair, I’d suggest you to come up with a better one that is more fair to all creators.

What you can do against not getting views on videos

When you take responsibility and want to do so something about getting no views on your YouTube videos, here are some tangible things to work on

1. Fix your channel authority

To fix your channel authority you should make more videos to get you more watch time.
But more important is the next point.

2. make viewers return

Make sure that your videos give viewers appetite to watch more.
Some things you can do is linking up other videos in a pinned comment or your video description.
But also, “sell” viewers another video at the end of your current one in the end-screen.

3. Get more watch time

To get you more watch time, you should study your audience retention graphs religiously and try to improve them with every video.
But more important is the next point.

4. Can people find you?

For informational content that viewers are actively looking for in YouTube Search, it helps to use keywords in your title and video description (often overlooked SEO opportunity).

If you have trouble ranking for keywords, try longer tail keywords: instead of “dog food recipes”, go for “dog food recipes for small breeds”.
The more specific you go, the less videos are on the topic (thus less competition).

What creators often miss is search intent: what do viewers mean when they search something?
They search for topic A, but they actually mean B.
Understanding that they mean B, means you better answering their question and thus longer watch time on your video.

5. Make people click more

This has everything to do with how well you understand your audience:
  • What do they want to watch? (video type, video idea, topic, trend)
  • What makes them click on a thumbnail (colors, visual triggers, faces, trigger words in the title)?

When you are serious about YouTube and want to take it to the next level, take a look at my video training program: Viral Strategy.
The program takes you step-by-step through the process of getting views, subscribers and going viral.

For new creators I included a module that guides you step-by-step through the process of starting, creating and setting up a YouTube channel.

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