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In the YouTube lab, promotion works

By Jay Akkad

Product Manager, YouTube

Remember high school chemistry? Beakers, test tubes, Bunsen burners...aqueous solution dilutions? Alright, so maybe the recall isn’t as strong on the last one. Hypothetically speaking, our product teams have never left that lab. They’ve been hard at work, testing away to find what’s effective in getting your videos watched – whether you’re a partner or an advertiser.

This past spring, we looked closely at our promotion tools, including Promoted Videos, to see what would happen in the ‘petri dish of promotion.’ Our team selected 20 partner videos who upload fresh videos regularly and then we drove as many views to them as possible with a cost per view (CPV) of $0.03. Guess what they found?

Conclusion #1: Promotion at $0.03 per view increases views per day by 30x when compared to two weeks prior to promotion. Thirty times? That’s a steal at three pennies for each view.

Conclusion #2: Partners in the test got 46,000 subscriptions that were directly attributed to sessions with a Promoted Video click. The cost averaged out to be between $4-$6 a subscriber. In other words, promotion of content has a direct impact on growth of subscriptions.

Conclusion #3: Promotion of newer videos is far more successful than older videos. No ‘Aha Moment,' but the lesson here is to keep your content fresh.

Conclusion #4: Users are twice as likely to watch a second video by the partner when driven to the channel page rather than the watch page. Naturally, someone will want to watch more of your videos if you can get them where they can clearly select one. Getting that user to the channel page is half the battle. Investment in the channel once you have them there is the rest.

If our experiment had begun with the hypothesis that Promoted Videos drive views at scale at a low cost, we would have been proven correct. You make great content, so promote it. Big players on YouTube didn’t find success overnight, and we’re finding that - more than ever - promotion is key to getting your videos seen and shared.