The team here at InVideo sat down with Mr David Walsh, for an Exclusive Webinar.
Mr Walsh, also known as Mr YouTube, has an unmatched sway in the YouTube world because of his expertise in building a YouTube channel, scaling it up, getting it to 30,000-follower mark as soon as possible. He’s a YouTube expert, an excellent strategist, and he has helped thousands across the globe scale their YouTube video marketing efforts and expand their reach.
Here is an account of our insightful session with David at the end of 2019.
InVideo: Hey, David! Can you give us a glimpse into your journey so far and let our audience know more about who you are and how you got here?
David: First of all, thank you for inviting me to this interview. It’s always great to be able to help more and more people to grow their YouTube channels, whether it’s for fun or full-time business.
Back in 2013, I had a web development business, and I was dealing with high-end membership sites for clients. I had unfortunately hit a roadblock since no new clients were coming in at the time, and my wife wasn’t working at the time either. Self-doubt kicked in, and I questioned my ability as a marketer.
I usually work out to drive these thoughts away. So, I went for a run one morning, and I asked myself, what was bringing in the client? The answer was my YouTube videos. The quality of the video wasn’t great, I wasn’t consistent either, but the quality of the content was quite good. And so, those four videos brought in four clients, which was worth about $10,000 worth of business.
I decided to make more YouTube videos, then and there. Another interesting fact was that all of my clients came through YouTube videos, and they were all from San Diego. I thought about it and realized that I couldn’t do membership sites because I could do about 10 or 15 videos, and then I’m stuck. This is because consistency is a big thing when it comes to YouTube. So, whatever you’re doing on YouTube, you need to think of it as a long term thing, like at least 12 months.
InVideo: That holds for a platform like YouTube. So what happened next?
David: I decided I’m going to do YouTube because I can learn it, and then also teach it on my videos, so that’s what I did. I put up my first video on February 19, 2013, and it just went from there. I got 1000 views on that video on the first day and got an additional 75 subscribers on that first day. So I thought, hmm, there’s something in this YouTube thing.
InVideo: That sounds like the perfect success story. Now, David, there are still many people out there who want to start a YouTube channel, but they’re not sure how to go about it. So what are the three or four key things that you would say to them?
David: So if you’re a business, or a consultant, or some sort of professional, what are those questions that you get asked by your prospects and your clients time and time again? You will narrow in on a set of 10 to 20 questions that you get asked repeatedly. Be it a sales call or a free consultation or somebody with a prospect, and these are the questions that you keep hearing all the time.
So first of all, write down those questions. Now brainstorm about what tips or what content you can create with those questions. If you’ve got 20 videos, and you’re doing one video per week, which is something I recommend to my clients, that is five months’ worth of content right there.
InVideo: So, that can be the first set of content that you put out. And because you already know so much about it, I think it also comes a lot naturally.
David: Absolutely. If you’ve been asked this question week in week out, the answer is rolling off your tongue.
InVideo: Great! Another question that is sort of derived from this question is, how do you zero down on a potential niche? Most people want to make bigger money and want to lock down on a niche. How would you suggest they go about it?
David: Okay. So, it depends on your level of expertise. However, the best way to go about it when starting your own YouTube channel is not to target everyone. The narrower you can get, the better it is for you to hone in on those people. And the easier it is for them to identify you as the expert and the person that they need to be talking to when it comes to the problems they have in their business, or their life, or whatever.
So, somebody who’s a life coach, I would always recommend, go for people that you could help. For example, you could help professional women who earned more than $100,000 a year. Maybe they are at a higher level of management, and they want to be able to have a baby and be able to come back to their high paying job after. So you could help them by showing them how to deal with stress in a male-dominated world.
If you can target a specific market, then it makes it a lot easier for you to identify who your audience is and for them to identify, they want to work with you.
InVideo: That makes it a lot easier for those starting. Another question that pops up along with this is how to make content discoverable? Since it won’t be discoverable from day one, what can people do for the first 5, 10, 15 videos that they make? How did you approach it?
David: Discoverability was the most important thing that I focused on. It was the number one thing I focused on when I started my videos. And that’s how I was able to get 1000 views on my first video on the first day.
I did my research, and that’s the first thing we do for our clients, and that’s the first thing we do in our online training. Without research, you’re dead in the water, you’re creating content, and you have no idea if people are looking for it, and if anyone’s going to watch it when you put it up. Knowing the exact phrases people are using to find your content is key in this place.
Stuff like prank videos are much harder to find since every kid and their dog is creating prank videos, or they’re doing covers of music videos and stuff like that. So that’s a very competitive place.
Though, if you’re doing covers, keep doing it because you never know when it goes viral. What you need to do is look at the tags that people are using on the domain music video, what types of tags have they been using. So you replicate them on your video so that YouTube can associate your cover video with the main music video.
Getting back to professionals, it’s important to know what the exact key phrase is, that is being used. When you start typing in the search box, you will get up to 10 listings predicted back to you by YouTube. These are the keywords that are being used in YouTube under ‘ranked by popularity’. So, the one at the top is the most sought after key phrase for what you’re typing.
InVideo: I think keyword research is a great place to begin. Now that we’ve covered distribution, I also want to ask you about your traction. How does it differ from when you put out five videos, to when you put out ten videos, to when you put 100 videos, and probably when you put out 500 videos?
David: So, with our clients, we recommend they start with just one video per week. First of all, find out what the marketplace is willing to do. Also, people are busy, and you don’t want to bombard them with a load of stuff. What we found is that clients who had put out three videos per week right out the gate didn’t do anywhere near as well as those who just did one. So, they’re doing three times the work, but getting less reward.
Realistically, we go out with one video per week, and that’s how I grew my channel with just one video per week, and it’s been up now for six years. So you don’t need to go out making videos every day. Contrary to what a lot of bloggers and YouTubers say when you’re starting, and especially if you’re in the business space, there’s no need to be doing videos every day.
But if you’re a wannabe YouTuber, or you want to be famous or whatever, or you have an amazing story that you want to share with people, just start with one video per day and move to four videos per week. Then grow your momentum and build it up from there. As people get to know you, then you can start adding videos. What we found is that every time somebody hits the notification bell one day after the subscribe button, YouTube will be sending out an email to them every time a new video is uploaded.
So, if you’re uploading seven videos a week, you’re sending seven emails a week, and they’re going to get email blindness. So they’re not going to watch your videos. You want them to do the exact opposite so that when that email goes into their inbox, they go, my goodness, there’s a video up, must watch it now.
InVideo: That is really valuable advice. Frequency should not be too high, or people are just not going to find it exclusive anymore. So, given that you’ve seen how YouTube works across channels, and across brands, all the years, do you have a reference frame of thought in terms of what should people’s realistic expectations be?
David: I had zero expectations when I started my channel. I had no idea how it was going to go. I didn’t know if I was going to get one view or one subscriber from any of my videos. So, I looked at it as a test, and that’s what everybody should be doing when using YouTube. Even if you don’t have a business or you’re just a YouTuber, you need to test what content is going to work.
So, if you’ve uploaded 100 videos, and you’ve only got two subscribers and three views, and your content is not working, simple, you need to keep changing it. You need to find out what’s going to work. And if you’ve done 100 prank videos, and nothing’s come from it, well then prank videos are not working for you. So you need just to see what works, try different things.
If you’re a professional and using it for your business, stick with the answers to the questions that you get. What we find time and time again, is that there’s going to be one video that just goes crazy bonkers posing over 50% of all your views and your subscribers, but we can never predict which video that would be.
InVideo: So if you post 30 pieces of content at the same time, you miss out on that iterative process, right?
David: Exactly. Also, YouTube isn’t playing the game here. They are not putting up content regularly; they’re just dumping 30 videos. So, they are not going to promote you, because you’re not helping them. They want the ultimate goal for every social platform, which is that people should stay on that platform as long as possible.
So if you help YouTube bring people onto the platform and keep them from bouncing, then they are going to promote your videos. Now because you’ve got local watch time, you get more views. They’re going to associate your videos with other people’s videos, some bigger YouTubers. Your videos are going to be on the associated videos on the right-hand side; your videos are going to be on the front of YouTube on people log in because they see that your content is well-liked.
InVideo: Yeah, that sounds about right. Another question that I had was, what is a good subscriber to views ratio? Some brands might have 100k followers on their page who subscribe to their channel, but they are getting very fewer views. So, could you help us understand that a little better?
David: Sure. So, the metric we like to use is, between 5-10% of your subscribers should be watching your videos regularly. So, if you’ve got 100,000 subscribers, then you would expect between 5-10,000 views on average on your videos. If you’re getting 500, then that’s a big red flag in my opinion, because that’s half a percent. So your content isn’t what they’re expecting.
A lot of YouTubers make this mistake of video creation around a certain theme, and they’ll do that for month after month after month. And all of a sudden, they’ll make this video that nobody is expecting and nobody wants. And business owners are probably the worst when it comes to doing this because they are sending out the wrong message. Then people usually go, why are you creating this video? We don’t want this content.
InVideo: Got it. Talking about changes, have there been any significant changes to the YouTube algorithm in recent times?
David: Well, the big thing that’s always been there is views. However, now it is watch time. That’s because people were buying views and they were junk views. So, YouTube recognized that, and now they have advanced analytics. So the longer-form video is now actually better for your channel.
For our client videos, we recommend seven to 14 minutes. What we found out was that, if you’ve got a 10- minute video and a 40% watch time percentage, that’s going to beat a two-minute video with a 90%, day in day out.
InVideo: So longer videos end up being a lot more beneficial for you if you’re looking to monetize at some point in time…
InVideo: It takes a lot more bandwidth to do that…
David: Yeah, exactly. And plus, when your videos are over 10 minutes, you can have multiple ads on your video, so it helps with more monetization. YouTube likes putting more ads on videos because they make more money. Now they’re beginning to put ads regularly, like at the beginning and the end of videos as well. So, if you have a good watch time on your videos, you will get ad monetization switched on and will get more suggestive video traffic from YouTube.
InVideo: Right. What we’re going to come to now is something that I think you’re an expert to answer, because what we’re going to talk about is monetization, right?
InVideo: So, is the criteria in 2020 for a YouTuber to monetize the channel?
David: Yeah. It’s been the same for about a year and a bit now; two years. It’s 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours of watch time. This is why I’m saying, the longer your videos, the easier it is to get that 4000 hours. So, if you’re pumping out two and three-minute videos, you need a hell of a lot more of them than you would with a 10-minute video. So yeah, it’s 1000 subscribers, and your 4000 hours, so that’s the minimum criteria. Then you have to submit your channel because you don’t automatically get monetization. They’ll do a review but typically, 99.999% of the time you will get accepted for monetization.
InVideo: Got it. And just to clarify, it’s 4000 hours of watch time and 1000 subscribers in one year?
InVideo: Okay. I would also strongly recommend people to go and learn different kinds of ad formats that have come out. Do monetization charges differ from ad to ad right, based on the format?
David: Yeah, they’re slightly different, and also vary from country to country as well. So if you’re getting traffic from the US, that’s going to vary. The ads that are going to be put on your videos in front of the US audience is going to be very different than it would be for Africa or Asia.
InVideo: Got it. Getting into the world of CPM now, the location of your targeted audience is important. Another factor that is also significant is the content category that you’re targeting. Now all these categories have very different monetization rates, depending upon the user base, or the user person who consumes, so could you probably provide a little more insight into that?
David: Yeah. So again, if you are doing a game review, and then the gaming company wants to put an ad on that particular video for you, then that’s going to work in your favour. Now, if you’re doing a review of a very expensive camera or a very expensive TV, then the ads on that could be considerably higher as well. So again, it depends on your content. If you’re doing prank stuff, what they’re going to do is look at your audience. So, they’re going to see who your viewers are, how many viewers you have, or how many subscribers you have, what the demographics of your subscribers are, that sort of thing.
So, that’s why I sort of tend to stay away from your typical YouTuber content. Because it’s difficult for me now, it’s not difficult for other people, but it’s just difficult for me to be able to look at and be able to create content around that. And that’s why I find for me personally, that the ‘how to’ space is a lot easier because I’ve sort of got more of an analytical mind rather than a creative one. So, I bring some creativity to the analytics and then I can create content around that.
But getting back to your question, different content and categories will bring different advertisers to your channel. Now if you are big into sports like if you are a big gamer, and you’ve got like 10 million subscribers of a certain demographic, you are going to have various brands wanting to advertise on your channel. And at that point, you’re going to be part of the premium program anyway, so you are going to get the cream of the ads either way.
You need to have a sustainable goal with your content. If you are a gamer, you just play more games, and it is as simple as that. If you are doing hair and beauty, you just make more videos. As different celebrities come up with different styles, just replicate them.
Now, if you are doing pranks, and if you are doing weird stuff as you said earlier on, it might take a week and a half to be able to set one video up or two weeks to set more videos up. You might only get out two pieces of content per month. You need to always look at your sustainability. If you only create one video per month, because your hero video is huge, what you can do is create behind the scenes content as filler.
So, you can still create content that’s not your hero content, but based around your behind the scenes stuff and give people a little insider as to what is happening on your channel before your next big video comes out.
InVideo: Got it. That’s a great insight on how you can leverage the same piece of content and get more out of it. Now one thing that I missed before is that some professional YouTubers get 100k views and most start to see that as the standard. So, do you believe these guys promote their content and push it in front of audiences because I don’t believe that’s completely 100% organic? Could you possibly just help us out on this?
David: Okay. There are several things because they are not just on one platform. So they are going to be on Instagram, and they are going to send out a story about their latest video, asking people to watch it. Same on Twitter. They’re probably in the YouTube community, and they are going to promote their video within their audience. So they are doing a great job of letting people know when the video is out, plus their content is typically shareable.
So, if it is a beauty blogger, then all the girls who are watching that video and some guys who are watching that video, are going to share with their friends too. So they do get a lot more reach than us mere mortals on YouTube. Also, because they’ve got an element of celebrity that they market amongst their target audience, they get more views.
Maybe sometimes they are using paid ads, but they usually don’t need to. I know in the sports space if you’re talking about football clubs and stuff like that… I was talking to the guys who run Arsenal fans TV a while ago, and they say that they’re only going to get about 2-5% of their views from subscribers. This is because other football fans from other clubs are going to watch the videos, but they’re not going to subscribe. You will have Chelsea fans, you will have Man United fans, you will have Liverpool fans watch the content, but they will never subscribe.
InVideo: So it comes down to the topic of the video because sometimes they might probably do a video on a topic that is being looked for by a huge bunch of people, right?
David: Yeah, exactly. The same goes for kids’ content as well. It’s like you’re looking to get about a 3% subscriber view rates on those videos, even though they’ll clock up 10, 20, 30 million, only 2% are probably going to come from subscribers.
InVideo: Understood. Thank you so much for actually helping us with that. Last but not least, our last segment is on brand partnerships and how one should approach them. Once the channel hits the 50k or 100k mark, what according to you will be the ideal way to approach brands?
David: As soon as possible. If you’ve created 100 videos and only have ten subscribers, then that’s going to be very difficult to sell to any brand. If on the other hand you have a very niche channel, like say you do 1980s video games, and then Atari comes out with a brand new retro console, then you can approach them. So even if your channel is small, you can do quite well because you’re highly targeted.
InVideo: Got it.
David: However, I would recommend people to start that process as early as possible, so they get used to negotiations. So that when they get to 10, 20, 30, 50, 100,000 subscribers, they’re able to have a conversation with a brand new representative easily. Here’s who I am, here’s my target audience, this is what I get you from the brand deal, these are your expectations, this is the cost; all on the table.
InVideo: So, what is currently the best way actually to find or reach out to these brands? A lot of people complain that they are reaching out to brands, but they don’t seem to take it seriously. This is because the bigger brand has a whole network of influencers that they are already tied up with. So someone who has probably got a 15k audience, even though it’s quite a niche, might not necessarily be their cup of tea.
David: Well, there’s a couple of platforms that work well, like Social Blue Book. There are several platforms out there that marry up YouTubers with brands, so just find them. There’s more coming out each year, so just go on there, put in what it is you do, who your target audience is, etc. The more you know about your audience or what they’re looking for, the better it is for you, when you’re talking to those brands to serve yourself.
InVideo: Okay. So, there are two primary avenues from a revenue standpoint for a YouTube channel. One is paid ads, and the other one is brand associations. So, is there any piece of this pie that you’re missing out on, given that you’ve had tremendous success with YouTube platforms?
David: Yeah. The biggest thing that you need to understand is that YouTube can take away their platform from you at any time, for any reason. There can be a major algorithm change like there was with monetization a few years ago when they changed it from anyone could sign up to you need 1000 subscribers and 4000 hours. This is because people do not have their subscribers or their followers on an email list, or some other platform where they can communicate directly with them.
So the most successful YouTubers, even professionals who use YouTube, will get people onto an email list or find other ways to communicate with them. Not just with Instagram or Twitter or stuff like that, I believe email is probably the best way to get hold of people. Then you can sell them merchandise. If you’re creating a book, you can do that. So if you’re a beauty blogger and you make a book of all the stuff that you do, having an email list can help you sell that book easily. Especially if YouTube decided to shut you down for whatever reason.
InVideo: I believe it’s a great way to get that information out to your subscribers so that later on if you have a business if you’re selling merchandise, you can capitalize on it and sell that to them. Cool. So, thank you so much for joining in, David. Last but not least, before I let you go, I have two questions for you. And this is primarily for everyone to kind of go and research and dig deep into all that. One is, what is your YouTube channel where they can get all of this information?
David: That’s very easy. It’s youtube.com/davidwalshonline. So, if you go to YouTube and simply search for “David Walsh” or “David Walsh online”, you’ll find me right there.
InVideo: Perfect. So, we will have a link to that as well when we post this webinar so people can find your YouTube channel. I think you also have a website where you put out a lot of content about this?
David: Yeah, if you go to davidwalshonline.com, you’ll find my stuff there. So, go to the YouTube channel, you’ll get a lot more stuff there. But if you need to contact me, definitely you can find me on the contact form on the website, davidwalshonline.com.
InVideo: Got it. Fantastic. And just before I let you go, three things…I know you’ve done a video on this, but three key hacks for anyone who wants to see drastic growth for their YouTube channel as of the end of 2019, what will your three go-to tips be?
David: Okay. So, this is what I meant to talk about earlier on when you were talking about algorithm changes. You need to take your thumbnails down. If you do not have thumbnails that make people stop and want to watch your videos, you are going to get punished. With the new analytics on YouTube in the studio beta, you’ll see the second tab, and it will show you your click-through rate on your thumbnails.
David: So, the YouTube average is 3% give or take. We work with our clients, and our aim is 5 to 6%. If you want to look at a good thumbnail, make sure to check out my channel, because I have a 9.3% click-through rate on my thumbnails right now.
InVideo: So, just for our audiences who don’t understand the term thumbnail, when you say the click-through rate is about 9%, which means out of 100 people that probably watch your thumbnail, nine people click on it?
David: Correct. So yeah, it goes in the thousand. So, out of 1000 people, 93 people will click on my video. I’ve got one video that’s got 18.8%, so we’re well above the YouTube average. Your thumbnails are key, and that’s why the two things you need to focus on right now are your watch time and your thumbnails. Your thumbnails stand out, having text on them… I do recommend having text but have as minimal text there as possible.
If you look at mine, no more than four lines of big, bold text. When you are on their phone, and they’re scrolling through, your thumbnail sticks out, and they go, ‘Oh, that’s interesting’, and they click on it. So that’s really what you’ve got to focus on right now. That is also why a lot of people were complaining about the new analytics on YouTube, myself included. However, once you see the reason why those analytics are there now, you begin to understand better why you need them. It is how long your people are staying on your videos, your engagement. All those things are very important and add to your success on YouTube today.
InVideo: Got it. Thank you so much, David, for doing this with us. I think I’ve had a lot of fun, and I’m sure there’s a whole bunch of insights for people to pick up from. I think you laid down the skeletal structure for anyone who is probably starting on or is somewhere in the middle of their journey to becoming a YouTube superstar, or for someone who has already hit 50,000 subscribers and wants to scale that too, let’s say 500, right?
Great! Guys, as David mentioned, you can go to his YouTube channel and check out all the other stuff that he was there. He’s also got a couple of videos about how to get the best thumbnail, right? You can also get that information out there. Great. So, thank you so much for joining in, David, and have a good one.
David: Thank you very much for having me. It’s been an absolute pleasure.