Mark Robertson on How the YouTube Algorithm is Evolving

Mark Robertson is a social video marketing pioneer. On this episode Mark gives tips to marketers and business owners on how to handle some of the key changes to the YouTube algorithm.

GUEST: Mark Robertson vidIQ | Twitter | LinkedIn

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HOSTS: The Video Marketing Value Podcast is hosted by:
– Dane Golden of VidiUp.tv and VidTarget.io | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube
– Gwen Miller of KinLinkedIn | Twitter |

SPONSORS: This episode is brought to you by our affiliate partners, including: TubeBuddyVidIQMorningFameRev.com, and other products and services we recommend.

PRODUCER: Jason Perrier of Phizzy Studios

Related Links: Dane’s Video about “Ending Language”

TRANSCRIPT

Mark Robertson:
The general concept of let’s reward videos that keep the viewer in a longer session doesn’t account for how that session and that length of time impacted the viewer and whether or not that viewer’s going to come back. I always likened it to McDonald’s Supersize menu, got them to spend more money on a lot more food and then people would go home and get sick and not go back to McDonald’s for three years.

Dane Golden:
It’s time for the Video Marketing Value Podcast. This is the podcast where we help marketers and business owners just like you get more value out of your video marketing efforts. My name is Dane Golden from vidiup.tv, where we help you up your game on YouTube for business and transform your viewers into loyal customers, and vidtarget.io, where we help you get a higher return on your YouTube add spend with targeted YouTube video placement lists, along with my cohost, Gwen Miller from Kin. Hello Gwen.

Gwen Miller:
Hey Dane. I am really excited for today’s topic and especially today’s guest.

Dane Golden:
Okay Gwen, tell us what you do.

Gwen Miller:
I am VP of content at Kin which is a digital media company. So I work with creatives to use data to craft better and better videos for their unique, one of a kind audiences.

Dane Golden:
Fantastic. And for you, the listener, you should know that as always you can follow along in the podcast app you’re listening to right now with the transcript, the links. And hey, send us a message on social media, let us know how you like the show. And today we have a special guest, it’s Mark Robertson from VidIQ. Hello Mark.

Mark Robertson:
Hi there. I was about to go woo-hoo for myself.

Dane Golden:
I think you need a woo-hoo. Let’s on the count of three woo-hoo. One, two, three, woo-hoo.

Mark Robertson:
Woo-hoo.

Gwen Miller:
Woo-hoo.

Mark Robertson:
Stoked to be here.

Dane Golden:
Mark Robertson, we asked you on the Video Marketing Value Podcast today because you recently gave a presentation at VidSummit about some key changes to the YouTube algorithm. Now, we can’t go through everything you talked about, but we’d like to ask you to give us a few tips, and also angle the discussion towards marketers and business owners on YouTube and slightly away from general creators. Does that topic work for you today?

Mark Robertson:
It does, although, I want to caveat just one piece of what you said, which is that I can’t say with certainty that there’s been actual changes to the YouTube algorithm or what those specific changes have been as I don’t work there. But they are always evolving, always experimenting with new things, and I think understanding the goals of an algorithm leads you to understand that changes are inevitable.

Dane Golden:
Okay, well, let me-

Gwen Miller:
Amen. Amen.

Dane Golden:
Let me repackage that then, just because we always know the algorithm’s always changing and evolving. And you talked about some of those ways of thinking how it, either we know it’s evolving or could be evolving. Is that right?

Mark Robertson:
Yeah, I’ll add a little bit of context here. Several months ago, I had several people reach out to me and ask me about some movement that they saw on YouTube that was pretty dramatic, this was back in May, and coming from specific traffic sources within YouTube, and it made me really look deep at what’s going on here. I talked with several of those people as well some of the … These were actually some media business that were seeing this fluctuation, and it led me to believe in … Again, my level of confidence is not one that I could ever say there were some key changes to the YouTube algorithm, but it let me to believe that what YouTube has been talking about consistently for the last say year and a half, which is around audience loyalty, viewer satisfaction, et cetera, is now being integrated a bit more within the YouTube algorithm.

Mark Robertson:
And I won’t go into specifics until we get into some additional questions down here, but … Yeah, there was definitely some movement in May and there’s been movement, there’s always movement, but that led me to believe there could have been some fairly key changes.

Gwen Miller:
I can second that as well. I think we definitely saw a fairly significant shift in May. What exactly that means, I think it always takes us, as a community, a while to get there. I think we have more clarity on this one, to your point Mark, than we have in the past. But as always, we’re all just reading the tea leaves with YouTube, right?

Mark Robertson:
Right. I spoke with some colleagues at YouTube and of course they’ll neither confirm nor deny when there are changes-

Gwen Miller:
Of course.

Mark Robertson:
… but they did bring up and there are lots of feature enhancements, UI changes, as well as COVID that could cause those fluctuations. So there’s lots of reasons for fluctuations, but I do believe in my gut that there’s also an increased focus on the subjects we’re about to get into a little bit more in depth.

Gwen Miller:
Right, for sure. So let’s talk a little bit on that theme. We know there’s been major changes and smaller changes throughout YouTube’s history. I think we can all agree a major change early on in YouTube’s history was when they stopped ranking videos by views and shifted to prioritizing watch time. It changed everything about the platform, how we consume content, how creators create content. I think you’ve been saying that even the concept of watch time is starting to evolve. What do you think it’s evolving and how do you think it’s evolving?

Mark Robertson:
Well, we heard back in, this is a Bloomberg article, I want to say back in April or May of last year where a YouTube representative, unnamed, actually mentioned the term quality watch time and it, at that time, struck a chord with me. As a little bit of a background, my primary focus for many, many years was with Google SEO, and so I’ve seen Google evolve dramatically over the course of many, many years. Of course, they own YouTube and a lot of the things that they’ve done make a lot of sense.

Mark Robertson:
And I’ll get into the three key areas of what I think quality watch time means, but if I could dumb it down just a little, and again, I don’t work at YouTube, so I can’t suggest that anyone ever said this. But at a certain point, they were rewarding videos that kept viewers on the platform for longer and longer amounts of time. And the flaw with that is would you rather have somebody come to YouTube, watch five hours worth of content, have a negative reaction and not come back for three months? Or would you rather have them satisfied watching 30 minutes six times a day?

Mark Robertson:
Now, watch time, there’s a lot to watch time, there’s a lot more than just watch time. We don’t know all the details, I’m sorry I keep caveating it. But the general concept of let’s reward videos that keep the viewer in a longer session doesn’t account for how that session and that length of time impacted the viewer and whether or not that viewer’s going to come back. I always likened it to McDonald’s supersize menu, got them to spend more money on a lot more food and then people would go home and get sick and not go back to McDonald’s for three years.

Dane Golden:
All right.

Mark Robertson:
So when I think about quality watch time, I think of a couple of things. I think of what I’ve been hearing hinted at for some time and now doubled down within … I watch a lot of … Everybody should watch Creator Insider YouTube channel, which is YouTube’s show. But they’ve talked about audience satisfaction for some time, and so that’s sort of where I was headed a moment ago with not just did I watch and spend a lot of time on YouTube, but was I satisfied with that? And we’ve seen surveys that pop up for viewers asking them, “Hey, how did that video make you feel? Is this the right recommendation for you?” That’s one qualitative way that they may be looking at it.

Mark Robertson:
But I also look at this from a couple of other standpoints, which is more based off my experience with Google search engine optimization, which is when they first experimented with showcasing videos in Google organic search, you could find a video ranking at the top of Google for almost anything. So for example, you could search Colorado Springs Ford dealer and the first result would be a video about the Ford dealer. And over time, what their algorithm learned, and it kind of makes sense, is that when people are searching for, and this is just one example, a Colorado Ford dealer, they’re not looking for a video, they’re probably looking for a map and a phone number and some reviews. And so, I think interest, what the viewer is looking for to satisfy is being honed in a bit more on YouTube and with that comes relevance.

Mark Robertson:
So you talked earlier, Dane, about business videos and marketers versus creator’s videos, but there’s also the niche of any of those and they have vastly different audiences with vastly different interests. So one example I could throw out there is that for a long time people were saying, “Hey, you’ve got to upload a video that’s 11 to 14 minutes, that’s what works across YouTube.” Well, if you’re a do-it-yourself channel and you’re putting up a video on how to tie your shoes, more than likely you don’t need an 11 minute long video, because the viewer who’s searching for or looking for how to tie shoes is just looking for that answer.

Dane Golden:
Let me ask you a question. So we talk about watch time and it could mean so many things, but if you’re a business and you have a YouTube channel and you want to know if you’re essentially creating good watch time, what metric would you say? Now, let me ask you to choose between three, all right? You choose either someone who is watching to the end of a video, getting more views to that video, or a total number of minutes to that video from just any viewer. Which would you want to shoot for if you think you’re doing well?

Mark Robertson:
I’m interested in Gwen’s feedback here, but I don’t know that I can pick only one answer, I think they’re all important. I think retention is important. If you see that somebody is getting to your video and leaving after 15% of it watched, it’s probably a fairly good chance that they weren’t satisfied with your content, or that it’s too long. If you’re getting an increase in views, it could be tied to a lot of things, but it could be that the audience of viewers are satisfied with your video, and therefore, it’s getting more impressions, and therefore, it’s getting more views. Or, it could just be that it’s a trending topic. But I’m curious, Gwen, how would you … Sorry, and then as far as watch time and length of the video that’s watched, that still is a major if not the major factor in the algorithm. So it’s definitely important. But how would you answer that, Gwen?

Gwen Miller:
I would agree with everything you just said. I think it has to be a balance of all of it. What I have found is if one of those metrics is wildly out of whack, they’re not going to surface it. Like now, at the end of the day, you can’t just be like, “Great, I’m going to put up a two minute video, but I got 90% watch time on that.” Of course, you did, it’s a short video. You’re probably going to have better luck with a 10 minute video where you get 50% watch time, that’s going to do better in the algorithm.

Gwen Miller:
But there is a certain point when you can’t just say push your up video to two hours long for heaven’s sake and then have 5% retention. The algorithms going to be like, “No, I’m not going to surface that.” My rule of thumb usually is depending on the length of video, if it’s a shorter video, I want that 50%, if it’s a longer video, I want to keep it above about 45%. I am making major changes in my life if it’s below 40%.

Mark Robertson:
Yeah, I would say 30% is you need to improve, 50% is good to shoot. And I would agree with you, 90% is in many cases an indication that you could have gone with a longer video.

Gwen Miller:
Okay, great. So we have heard in a lot of interviews with YouTube and various places, they use a lot of terms perhaps that are interchangeable, but I’m never quite sure. You’ve thrown around the term “increased satisfaction”, to you, is that different than quality watch time? What do you think that is getting at?

Mark Robertson:
Well, I think the term “viewer satisfaction”, which is, again, something that is core to the goal of YouTube, and therefore, has got to be the focus of the algorithm in perpetuity until that changes, I think satisfaction is a vague way of suggesting making watch time account for how satisfied the viewer was. Now, how you measure that, unless you’re YouTube, it’s very difficult to measure that. There’s qualitative research, there’s Google account activity.

Mark Robertson:
I’ll just throw out a completely crazy hypothetical. I watch an eight minute video, I watch another eight minute video, then I go to Gmail and I email my mom and I tell her I just had this horrible time watching it. Now, are they using all of that, mining all of that to know my satisfaction? I don’t know. What they’ve kind of doubled down on more so in the recent past both with Creator Insider videos, as well as some of the things that they’re launching and planning to launch is audience loyalty. And I think that’s probably the best proxy for increased satisfaction of your particular viewers.

Mark Robertson:
And by audience loyalty, I don’t mean specifically just your subscribers, I mean the audience of people who have watched your videos. Are they returning or are they not coming back?

Dane Golden:
So audience retention has been a feature that’s been around for a long time and while it might not have made a change to the algorithm it does have new sub-features there, where they’re doing measurements by section. So what do these mean and how are we supposed to work with them? What are we supposed to with that information?

Mark Robertson:
Well, I want to defer a bit to Gwen here, but what we’re seeing now is a nicer UI that makes it a little more clear for video audience retention where people are dropping off and may give a better indication as to why people are dropping off and what segments they’ve watched continuously, whether your intro is getting right to the point, et cetera. And I think there’s probably more to come from this. I’m curious what Gwen’s thought, but I think there’s actually something else that’s coming down the road that may be even more interesting. But starting with this, how do you feel about that?

Gwen Miller:
I would definitely agree. I have very long felt that the retention section of YouTube analytics is very neglected by a lot of the greater community, just because it’s really confusing. You look at those graphs and you’re like, “What does this mean?” So this is a great first step for YouTube to making it clearer. I definitely think it’s still worthwhile digging into especially your relative retention yourself, because right now, they’re only really giving you a couple data points that kind of get you started, there’s still a lot to learn in the retention. But I’m a grumpy old grandma and I’m more than confident that YouTube will start rolling out even more features in that section. But I’d be interested in hearing about the new stuff you think is coming out.

Mark Robertson:
Well yeah, so-

Dane Golden:
I’m going to step in here for just a second, because I don’t want to let you get away with just glossing over what relative audience retention is, Gwen. And I’ll describe that as what is the most interesting parts of the video to your audience in the short way that’s different than the default audience retention. How would you describe what relative audience retention is?

Gwen Miller:
Relative audience retention pretty much says for every second of your video, is your audience staying at higher percentages than another YouTube video the same length or at lower percentages. So it’s really great to compare yourself to other videos and say, “Oh, when you see a bump, it means that whatever I did right at that second or couple seconds or 10 seconds was really good at getting people to lean in.” If you see a big dip going the other way, it’s a good indicator that whatever’s happening there is making people leave. So it can help you start really finesse your video that way.

Dane Golden:
Great, thank you. And go on, Mark, we wanted to ask your opinion on this as well.

Mark Robertson:
So going back to an earlier conversation we had, back in May, one of the things that was exposed, and the only reason I can talk about it now is because it’s been introduced in the Creator Insider video a few months back, was that there are these three metrics that YouTube has been tracking, I don’t know how long, but certainly for months previous to May that were showed to one of the businesses I was working with. And props to a friend of mine who is from Video Insiders, Carlos, because he works with this on me.

Mark Robertson:
But essentially, they are measuring audience loyalty and across the board, across all of your videos and your channel, how many people are new viewers or viewers viewing the channel for the first time, how many people are return viewers, users who watched a video this month and the previous month, and then, who are your casual viewers, users, who did not watch your channel in the last month but did before that.

Dane Golden:
Wow.

Mark Robertson:
That’s going to be drastically different depending on the type of channel, obviously. If you get a viral video, you’re going to get a huge spike in new viewers and that may not translate into return viewers. If you’re a personality driven show like a late night talk show, you’re probably going to have a lot of consistent return viewers. But long story short, these are metrics that have been measured, that are not available within YouTube Studio. I’m told will be available in some capacity within early next year, maybe Q1 or Q2. And they won’t focus on casual viewers, but they will show you across your channel new viewers and return viewers, and that would be very interesting for audience loyalty and satisfaction.

Gwen Miller:
I’m so excited.

Mark Robertson:
Yeah.

Gwen Miller:
You can not even begin to understand how excited I am. Now come on, do you think they’re going to ever give us a session starts, whether our videos start off sessions on you tube? That’s the one I really want.

Mark Robertson:
Wouldn’t that be great?

Gwen Miller:
I [crosstalk 00:20:20]-

Mark Robertson:
I don’t know. I certainly haven’t heard anything around that, but it’s very interesting. What’s interesting to me about this audience loyalty is it is not about when they talk about your audience, and this is where creators and businesses for years have been centered, they’re thinking … My mind immediately went to, “Oh okay, are my subscribers staying or leaving?” No, this is of everybody on YouTube that has seen your video, are they returning. And so, that sort of talks about viewer satisfaction independent of subscribers.

Mark Robertson:
Well, anyway, it’s another piece. I know the team there and I know they really want to empower creators and it’s a difficult job to be able to showcase what you can showcase without misleading, or diving too deep into specifics of the algorithms.

Gwen Miller:
For sure, for sure. All right, okay, so this is one of my pet things that I have been really loud-mouthed about for many years now, so I’m excited that we are going to talk about it, which is ending language. What is it and why is it important that we do not use it in a YouTube video? And what should you do instead in a video? What should a marketer do instead of using ending words?

Mark Robertson:
Like exit words really?

Gwen Miller:
Yeah.

Mark Robertson:
“All right, thanks folks, this has been a great podcast,” or, “You know what? That’s was our last tip. Why don’t you give us a thumbs up and a subscribe?” What that does psychologically is it immediately tells a person who doesn’t have a lot of time and who just wants to watch what they want to learn, that you’re done with your video. So try … I mean it’s funny because for years that was best practice, right? You always want to address your viewer, you always want to tell them, “Hey, please don’t forget to subscribe, watch my next video.” But people have become so used to watching YouTube videos that they know those are cues, as well as exit words.

Mark Robertson:
So I think instead you want to talk to them as if they’re going to continue to watch your next video, or the next video. Your language should continue reinforce what you’ve been saying all the way up to the end of the video. And your end screen, if you have one, should actually be a surprise. So you may be talking about this podcast was great and future podcasts we’re going to talk about the same thing, we’re going to double down on it. In the mean time, your end screen has already popped up.

Dane Golden:
I saw Gwen’s presentation at VidCon like, I don’t know, two years ago. And I don’t know if you remember, Gwen, but it was like really deep into your presentation and afterwards I came up and said, “So when you say ending language, what do you mean exactly?” And so when I got your explanation, I was like, “I just need to figure this out.” So basically I made a video with like 31 words that you should not say until the last 10 seconds of your video. That one did really well, that was a good one. Let’s ask you about one of your other tips, Mark, that you gave at your VidSummit presentation about captions. And I am a huge advocate of captions on YouTube, but why are they so important?

Mark Robertson:
Well, like you, it’s something that I’ve always been very passionate about. I can’t say specifically that there’s a metric or that there’s a signal whether you upload cations or not, is that prioritized in any algorithmic sort of fashion. But I can say that just in America alone 38.2 Americans have some degree of hearing loss, that’s 14%.

Dane Golden:
I’m sorry I didn’t hear that, could you say that again?

Mark Robertson:
Yeah. 32.8 million Americans, that’s 14.3% of all Americans report some degree of hearing loss. So number one, there’s accessibility. I think everyone should be doing closed captions because those who are hard of hearing, its only fair that they be able digest your content. The reason I bring it up with regard to satisfaction is that if it is the case, that you’re potentially losing out on 14.3% of America … Let’s just talk about the American audience because I don’t have the stats globally. But you’ve got a video out there, it’s applicable to everybody, and 14% of people because they’re watching your video and they can’t hear it quite properly and you don’t have closed captions leave, that could be interpreted as a signal that you didn’t satisfy them. I believe in closed captions for many more reasons than just algorithmic reasons. I just think it’s just something everybody should do and it’s easy.

Dane Golden:
Gwen, what do you think on that?

Gwen Miller:
Look, I also think there is probably at least some form of algorithmic benefit, just from the fact you’re giving more data points to YouTube and they don’t have to use energy to try to watch your video and figure your video out. General rule of thumb is just gives more keywords for the algorithm to go off of and understand your video a little quicker. Again, the brain of YouTube is smart, it’ll figure it out eventually, but if you can make it work a little less hard, you may get a little bit more love a little earlier. So there’s probably at least a small effect I would think.

Mark Robertson:
Yeah, I would agree. We didn’t talk much about this, but the entire data mining piece of YouTube is important to Google as a company. And so, being able to help train their machine learning to get better could very well be something that’s rewarded. But even if that weren’t the case, just the fact that there is some portion, let’s say it’s 2% of people that are watching your video and don’t want the audio on because they’re at work, or they can’t really hear it well, but they still can’t watch your video, those are people that clicked on your video and then bailed.

Gwen Miller:
Yes. I’m going to put on my grumpy old lady hat again for a second. Let’s talk about timestamps. This is something that I really like because of the audience benefits, but I do have some skepticism of how it might work against you on the back end. So I’d love to get your perspective first on what timestamps are, and any perspective you have on how they’re working on the platform right now.

Mark Robertson:
So I don’t have a lot of insights in terms of what we’re about to talk about. How are they going to treat retention, we’ll get to this in a second. So timestamps are something I would always encourage as well, especially for long form content or educational content. If you’ve got an hour long video and you can point people to very specific parts of that video that they’d like to watch, there’s always a benefit to that. YouTube has been promoting that more so. There’s a UI change that was implemented a few months back, where it now will show the chapters, not just in your description, but based off your description it will show those timestamps in a new UI. There is as well a search engine optimization benefit to it, in particular with Google, it helps a lot with those featured snidbits.

Mark Robertson:
Where I think you’re coming from, the frustration at least that I’ve seen is we go back to that absolute retention graph or the relative retention graphs, and we see some odd things there. When people skip ahead to say the third chapter in your video, it appears that they’re most interested in that section and completely uninterested in the other sections. So my hope is that YouTube having promoted timestamps as a good feature for long form content that you would no longer be penalized because someone didn’t watch as much of your content, hopefully they’re accounting for that in some level of satisfaction. But I don’t know the answer. It’s a bit frustrating to me as well because when you look at your retention graphs you start to wonder, “Well, should I be using those timestamps?”

Dane Golden:
And I want to ask in your VidSummit presentation you talked also about how Google is driving a ton of YouTube traffic. And this is one of the things I talk about with my clients because YouTube of course is the second biggest search engine, but it’s still dwarfed by the Google search engine. So how many search results in general have YouTube videos in them? And then, how might one optimize, in addition for YouTube, optimize for Google search?

Mark Robertson:
So a couple of things. One, you’re dead on, there’s 15 times more searches on Google than there are on YouTube. Now, there’s more searches on YouTube than Yahoo, but Google is the place to go and search for everything. So definitely more search. I’ve got some stats that are based off both an old study, one of them that suggests that YouTube videos rank on 20% of all Google searches, and that 2% of all Google search clicks drive traffic directly to a YouTube video. But a more recent study done by Moz this year showed that in a study of around two million searches and 766,000 videos, YouTube accounted for 94% of all video carousel results on the first page of Google.

Mark Robertson:
So YouTube shows up very often in Google and we all see this. And again, this goes back to intent. It shows up more often for things where it’s clear to Google that the person may want to watch a video than get directions or a map. But there is definitely, and for businesses as well, especially, there’s a lot of opportunity if your video is in Google where people are searching I would suggest more so for business related things that they can then be exposed to your videos.

Mark Robertson:
I mean, there’s a couple of things. One, tags is not something you need to worry about for Google, description is, title is, thumbnail is, just like YouTube. But I would say description is an area that is less talked about in terms of optimizing for YouTube internally. It’s actually quite beneficial for optimizing in Google, as well as other traditional Google factors like the authority that that video has, has that video been linked to from other places.

Mark Robertson:
One of the things that’s really important, let’s say you’re creating a cooking video with recipes, you should be putting that recipe in your description. And ideally you’d be linking to a blog post or an article somewhere with your video that has that recipe in a structured format, and Google will tie those two together and will be able to showcase your video higher for featured snippets, which we see Google videos a lot in, as well as the carousels.

Mark Robertson:
I don’t know that we have enough time to go through all the different things, but I would suggest that if you hear things like, “Oh, the description doesn’t matter on YouTube,” it doesn’t matter terribly, certainly not as much as title and other things within YouTube, but it still is crawled by Google and it is still important to reinforce the text on that page.

Gwen Miller:
Yeah, that’s amazing. All right, I want to talk about one of my favorite new features on YouTube which is what your audience watches. What is that and why is it key, and what should we do with this info when we get it?

Mark Robertson:
I almost want to just punt to you on this. I will say a couple of things I know about it. Again, we talked about this before, it’s what your audience watches, again, these are not just your subscribers, this is what your audience, anyone who watched your video, what they’re watching. And so, in a way it’s your competitors and you can get a lot of ideas from your competitors. The one caveat to this at least at the moment I was told is that this is not what videos your audiences watches and was also satisfied with. So we don’t know for a fact that hey, my audience watched these five videos and were happy with them, but it’s still very important I think. But that’s where I want to punt to you.

Gwen Miller:
Yeah, I would agree. Look, I do think you can certainly find video ideas from there. I would say it’s probably more important as a function to understand your audience better. Because even if it isn’t a video they’re satisfied with, they all clicked on it and watched it. And the more you can get into the psyche of your audience of who they are, what type of other stuff they’re watching, then it can give you a good picture in your head, building up who that person is.

Gwen Miller:
And even if it’s not any … Like it may be a genre you’re never going to touch on your channel, because you’re a niche channel on a certain topic, it still lets you understand the type of person that’s coming to watch your content and it can affect maybe the tone you’re doing in your video, or the type of language you use, and, or where you think you can push the envelope. So I think there’s definitely applications to it even beyond the idea of oh, they liked that idea, maybe I can do that idea too, which is also a very valid way to use the tool I think.

Mark Robertson:
Well yeah, and I think vice versa there’s hey, I was really thinking I should start doing videos this way because I read some comments on my video and the people that were commenting, who are the loudest voice and are really not a non-biased sample, are telling me hey, I should do this more. And if you’re looking at your audience also watches videos and none of the videos they’re watching are related to that and what not to do as well.

Gwen Miller:
Right. I actually have a good example for all of this, which is I had a channel that I was working on that was mostly she did a lot of cooking, she did some lifestyle. It was mostly a lifestyle channel and then she’d occasionally have her family on and do family stuff. When we looked at a precursor to this tool that Tubular Labs had, we could see that her audience was watching a lot of family blogging. So family blogging is where they’re actually following a family around for the day. And we had not even thought about doing that type of content with her, it was very structured lifestyle type of content. And once we were like, “Well, let’s just try it,” that channel just exploded and took off-

Dane Golden:
Oh really?

Gwen Miller:
… because her audience was already primed for that sort of production style.

Mark Robertson:
Yeah.

Gwen Miller:
Yeah.

Dane Golden:
Wow. Well, there you have it, that’s evidence right there.

Mark Robertson:
I think it’s important too, to actually watch those videos that your audience are also watching and see how does their tone differ, what about the duration of the video, what kinds of things are they doing in their video that’s unique. Don’t copy them per se, but yeah.

Gwen Miller:
Yeah, [crosstalk 00:36:08]-

Dane Golden:
I have a feeling that they’re going to filter out some other videos, like everyone watches certain broader entertainment, but I’m imagining they’re probably filtering out some of the more broader stuff and saying, “These are the relevant types of content that other people watch.”

Gwen Miller:
My guess would be that they’re doing it similarly to how Tubular would do it, which is they would … It was more of a your audience is more likely to watch this video, because otherwise every top video would be a PewDiePie video because everybody, no matter what their age or gender apparently watches PewDiePie. And it would be PewDiePie and it would be BuzzFeed, because we all watch that content.

Mark Robertson:
I don’t.

Gwen Miller:
But that doesn’t really tell you about what makes your audience unique. So at least Tubular would do it where they would rank things. They would do a mixed ranking between top and then if you put two audience members head to head were you more likely to watch that content than the average viewer on the platform, and then that would get you to your more niched type of stuff that is probably more relevant to you and your audience.

Mark Robertson:
My understanding is similar, and again, I don’t work at YouTube. But my understanding is that is a pretty clear list of videos that the people that watch your videos also watched. Now, I don’t know is it the people that watched most of your videos also watched and that’s how it’s sorted? I don’t know the algorithm behind which videos are showing. But I think if 90% of your audience is also watching another creator within a similar niche, I think then the PewDiePies of the world fall to the side.

Gwen Miller:
Yep.

Dane Golden:
Amazing. Mark Robertson, this has been a great conversation. I’ve been wanting to get you on this podcast for a long time. How can people find out more about you and VidIQ?

Mark Robertson:
Well VidIQ, vidiq.com. You can learn all about VidIQ there. We have a Chrome extension, a mobile app. Sign up for a free account, try it out, see what you think. It’s designed to help creators learn about opportunities, do keyword research, grow their channels. There’s a lot in there. As far as myself, I’m probably more active on Twitter and LinkedIn and no longer have to maintain my own website, although, I think I might do that again at some point. And I think you have those handles in the notes, but it’s @markrrobertson on Twitter. And on LinkedIn it’s linkedIn.com/in/mark, with a K.

Dane Golden:
Fantastic. Is it Mark or MarkR?

Mark Robertson:
Oh sorry, MarkR, Mark with a K.

Dane Golden:
I’m going to keep you honest here.

Mark Robertson:
Yeah.

Dane Golden:
So Mark Robertson, thank you so much. My name is Dane Golden with my cohost, she’s Gwen Miller, and we want to thank you, the listener, for joining us today. Right, Gwen?

Gwen Miller:
Absolutely, Dane.

Dane Golden:
Okay. And I want to invite you, the listener, to review us on Apple Podcasts and click that share button as well. Gwen and I do this podcast and our various other YouTube videos and other projects because we love helping marketers and businesses just like you do YouTube and video marketing better. Thanks to our special guest, Mark Robertson. Thank you, Mark.

Mark Robertson:
Thank you. I’m always thrilled to talk with you both.

Dane Golden:
We loved it. Until next week, here’s to helping you help your customers through video.