YouTubers are a recent phenomenon, consisting mostly of teen to 20 something new celebrity based on pranks, gags, makeup, unboxing, and more recently streaming games! The likes of Pewdie Pie and Unbox Therapy make millions and have a loyal following in many millions, with video views in their billions. Many have created huge businesses off of the back end of being on YouTube, Linus Tech Tips anyone! There is no doubting that many of these have come a huge distance from where they were, to where they are now. Despite the disdain that some of my generation (I’m officially middle aged), have for these kids. You cannot ignore what is required in creating a channel, then a following, then a brand, then a bigger following, leading to something that becomes a money machine. It’s a massive undertaking, one of which, as the owner of the 3b channel, of which this website is very much affiliated can attest as to how hard it all is.
YouTubers make their money from a profit share with YouTube from the advertising placed within the videos that YouTubers produce. There is actual fixed amount in revenue as the algorithm is quite complex; type of video, market, time of year, advertiser demand, total advertiser budget, prior advertising on channel retention, combine that with the breadcrumbs of ‘Cookies’ that Google can read from the users history, plus responsiveness of the channel on advertising. All equate to a fluctuating and differing profit share, per view. From my own experience, niche websites, despite having a smaller number of subscribers, will tend to have a higher advertising return per 1000, but that all depends on the niche. Gaming sites, unboxing, blogs and more tend not to make much per 1000 views, not as much as a financial trading website would, where brokers are hungry for new blood. It’s all about focus.
The relationship between YouTubers and YouTube has been mostly good. Changes over the years have upset some, but most of all, the changes have been received positively. That was until the print media found that YouTube was showing adverts on material that was suspect in nature; terrorism linked videos, videos of people being hurt in accidents, adult content and abusive videos, still up until recently were easy to find on YouTube and YouTube was showing adverts from Coca Cola, Apple and more on such videos. Things got ugly, and very quickly! Many large advertising agencies pulled out from YouTube all together, taking with them the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Coca Cola and more. YouTube panicked and pulled thousands of videos, closed many channels, most without warning and tried its best to clean it’s house up. YouTube developed an AI, that would look for keywords in the tags, and video, to then demonetize and flag. The YouTuber would then have to request a manual review of the video, causing delay and lost revenue. In theory, all of this would work fine, but as we all know, AI isn’t perfect, in fact YouTube’s AI sucked big style.
The AI started to demonitize videos left, right and centre, for the most obscure and unrelated reasons. Millions of videos were taken off the advertising revenue stream in hours, many more followed and followed still. YouTubers that hadn’t diversified, that hadn’t got an established brand, or who simply relied heavily on advertising within YouTube and receiving their share of the revenue, found the lights were suddenly turned off. Some channels, that relied on being slightly ‘out there’ couldn’t get their videos monetized again and had to dig around for other avenues to general income. Many turned to Patreon, others sold merchandise, others moved to Twitch. Within weeks, YouTube had changed the lives of thousands of people, removed channels, many simply died. It could be said that perhaps it was a good thing, as some the material was subjective, many would have found the content objectionable – but the old adage rings true in some regard, ‘You don’t have to watch it!’ and in many cases, you would have to look for it to begin with.
So what now for the YouTuber? Diversify or die seems to be the motto within the channel threads. Many are turning to Patreon. We, here at 3b, have had our own issues with YouTube, most of which have been sorted, but lead us to the same consideration as many; Patreon! The argument though is, who will pay for something they previously got for nothing? Quite a few if you have enough of a following, but the more niche websites, such as 3b, how would we incorporate a Patreon? It’s something we are looking at and yes this is a slight aside, but it’s worthy of mention. Personally, I believe you should offer something more to those that give through Patreon, something they couldn’t receive elsewhere that is unique to you, your brand and your company. Many YouTubers would struggle with this, as mostly all they can give, is more of themselves and to some subscribers that’s enough. Yet for the niche website, perhaps this could be a blessing.
For niche websites such as 3b, given what we do with calibrations, advice, settings. We are looking to brand out into a patreon, once we’ve researched and also got more feedback from subscribers. To provide a service, where we support their tech, all of their tech, where we can be asked for advice, help and more on the tech that people own. For us, this could be the way forward and allow us, 3b, as a brand to grow and develop. Or, it could fail dramatically, the subscriber base not respond and people unsubscribe as a result. It’s a fine and tough balance, as to how you bring people into paying for something they still see as being free. Even if you bolt on a server with it. Not many YouTubers are doing what we plan, some perhaps simply cannot.
So what now for YouTubers. Those starting out, it’s hard, it’s hard to build a following, a brand and to make money from it. We only have a small following, but we keep costs down and try our best with the view of always making things better – then the subscribers will come. Those that are new to YouTube, I believe need to focus on a niche, on something unique, something that can build a brand and something beyond just videos from. Every man, child and dog is streaming game play. There is little to no money within that and it’s a hard nut to crack. Therefore, with the changes with YouTube, with it being harder for new channel owners coming to YouTube, newer channels will only survive if they are more niche perhaps, and perhaps that’s where YouTubers will end up going more and more.