What makes a video draw viewers? A more complicated question than you might think

Baldbiker

Wannabie Member
Mar 7, 2021
168
201
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I ride a
Africa Twin DCT
Hi all, I thought I'd drop in since I haven't been around for a bit. I've been out on a few trips, filming, then editing and posting. I know we have touched on this subject many times, but I wanted to share some new observations and perhaps continue the conversation with those that are interested.

It seems to be more and more of a perplexing mystery to me as to what draws viewers to seek out your content. At first most people will say you need good quality video, superb editing, exciting content, but as I observe so many other youtubers out there I find it's not always the case. For example, and I mention this vlogger with respect, not judgement, he's actually a really nice guy and I've had some chat with him on his channel, but "old guy on a bike" has been posting for five years now. He is a little over 200 vids online. I went back in his video history and started watching them in the order posted, starting with the oldest and seeing how he's progressed over time.

Old guy on a bike started out posting extremely grainy videos of his rides around Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and on the Island. The vids have nothing but wind noise, no commentary, and were usually sped up multiple times as he rode these roads. You couldnt really see the scenery, there was no commentary and you had to turn the sound down because of all the wind noise. But... for some reason this guy has picked up almost 3000 subs over time.

His newest stuff is more interesting for sure, showing him cooking food while camping and whatnot, some of it he's not even on the bike, he's car camping. But he had all these subs long before that. I give him kudos, good for him, and I'm glad he has done so well, but I just can't understand how he drew the audience. Does he simply have a lot of friends? 3000 of them that are all interested in biking? Seems unlikely to get that many. I know with all the friends and family I have, pretty much none of them have any interest in bike videos.

I look at my vids I've been putting out. Now I know Im not the most attractive or charismatic face out there by far, but my vids are well filmed, well edited, have content and commentary, sometimes comedy and different things all the time, and yet in five years only 260 subs. Most vids barely break 40 views. Im not whining about it, it's all good, but I just don't understand the youtube audience. Obviously!
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HippoDrone

Admin
Jan 2, 2017
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SEO is obviously important, but using social media is too, Facebook etc is a great way to network, Twitter and Instagram I think are less so, but they all can help
 
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Baldbiker

Wannabie Member
Mar 7, 2021
168
201
43
54
I ride a
Africa Twin DCT
I can't see someone like Jim doing all that. I can't even figure out all the SEO stuff, and just don't have all that time to run multiple social media platforms with no friends. I talked to a google guy once and they wanted $450 a month just to work on it, and all they were going to do is run a google ad. There has to be something more.
 

HippoDrone

Admin
Jan 2, 2017
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TBH, I don't make the greatest content, but I work the social medias, and I like to think I get my tags and descriptions ok so that my vids are possibly in the suggested more
 
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Dewey316

Dewey|Rides
Oct 1, 2020
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431
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40
I ride a
BWM F800gs / DR650 / Honda CM450E
Wish I knew, haha. But, I can tell you that I think people who grow fast have a way to drive their own traffic to start out. Having good stats gets your videos higher in suggestions and search, and unless you drive those views initially its slow growth based on just YT trying to get your videos to the right people.

I can say, I have 2 videos that are both closing in on 1k views, most of my other vids get about 40 views. Those two both have the same searchable term in them, and 90% of the traffic on those comes from search/suggestion because I was able to get a well searched term. All the rest of my vlogs, I can't find a search term that works and I can get high on the search results for. I am not willing to put in search terms that are a stretch of the subject, I want people to find my vidoes and watch them, not find them and be disappointed because it isn't exactly what the title/keywords/subject make it look like.
 

HippoDrone

Admin
Jan 2, 2017
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It is also worth understanding, that a lot of channels buy views and subscribers, and even comments to get themselves higher up the pyramid of YouTube to get themselves established. Am not insinuating this is the case here, but it happens.
 
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Moto Mengy

Motovlogger from PA, USA
Mar 23, 2020
777
1,148
93
49
I ride a
2018 Honda Goldwing Tour DCT
I've had several people tell me the age of the channel plays a large factor, and as long as you consistently upload regular videos YT will push you to grow over time simply by the nature of the algorithm, even despite stuff like SEO to some degree.

I'll be able to tell in a few yeas time if this is true or not. :cool:
 
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Drakhen99

The Forrest Gump of Motovloggers
Aug 31, 2020
1,125
995
113
road-reality.com
I ride a
2019 Harley Street Glide Special, 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic (bobber), 1979 Kawasaki KZ650SR
After doing this for almost a year, this is what I've learned about drawing in viewers:

1 Catchy title and thumbnail. Not clickbait, but something out of the ordinary, if possible.
2. Interesting subject matter. Whether it's comedy or information, something that sparks interest in the viewer.
3. SEO. Tags that highlight what's in your video that the viewer should expect to hear or see.
4. Social Media interaction. Join a community around your bike or topics, share some of your vids but only if they apply to the group, have a corresponding Instagram account to funnel viewers back and forth to enjoy your content in several forms [not thumbnails from YT posted to IG, for instance... while this can be OK once in a while, I think it detracts from IG as a platform]
5. Interaction in the YT Motovlogger community. Watch/comment on other MVers' videos. They will see it, and so will their viewers. This drives up the interest in your videos and channel.
6. Editing. The old (really?) adage of Content > Audio > Video still applies. People will watch paint dry if you have interesting and/or comedic commentary about it. A lot of current viewers like a fast pace or constantly-changing location/scenery... so if you're changing from on to off-bike, or talking fast, leaving no dead air [I've experimented with this, it sometimes works], you can keep a viewer's attention.

But it all goes back to #1-#3, with #4 and #5 adding to it. Normies will watch for #1-#3, but other MVers want #4 and #5 to draw them in, so they can be 2 different audiences attracted to one personality.

Mind you, this is all just what I've gleaned or theorized over the past year, so take it with a grain of salt... unless you're on a low-sodium diet, in which case, a healthy dose of skepticism. If you can't be a skeptic, then do your own research, I'm all out of cliches.

-John
 

Drakhen99

The Forrest Gump of Motovloggers
Aug 31, 2020
1,125
995
113
road-reality.com
I ride a
2019 Harley Street Glide Special, 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic (bobber), 1979 Kawasaki KZ650SR
A sure thing is to do stupid (dangerous) things or crashing to get more traffic, other than that it's a mystery to me which I don't really bother much to figure out.
According to your stats, I'd say sportbike exhaust/test rides. 229k subs means you figured something out or at least got lucky a bunch :D

-John
 

Drakhen99

The Forrest Gump of Motovloggers
Aug 31, 2020
1,125
995
113
road-reality.com
I ride a
2019 Harley Street Glide Special, 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic (bobber), 1979 Kawasaki KZ650SR
I think it's luck, or maybe space monkeys.
Let's go with Space Monkeys. 1, it's a cooler story to tell the grandkids, and 2, they're likely to exist in our lifetime.

-John
 
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Arfa

Beginner Biker Adventures
Nov 17, 2020
80
115
33
London
www.beginnerbiker.com
I ride a
Yamaha FZ6
According to your stats, I'd say sportbike exhaust/test rides. 229k subs means you figured something out or at least got lucky a bunch :D

-John
A video about some specific, e.g. a specific product review (exhausts), how to fix something specific on a specific bike model, how to do specific XYZ and so on. So long, as it's not crazy obscure and something useful, then it's a great strategy high a hitting video. Some of my best videos have been product reviews, maintenance tasks or particular riding skills.

It's grabbing that long tail of search results from Google when people want to know about something very specific. You're also more likely to stand out for that particular search (unless you're reviewing something everyone else already has).

Essentially, so long as your subject matter is interesting, you can get away with not being interesting yourself!
 
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Drakhen99

The Forrest Gump of Motovloggers
Aug 31, 2020
1,125
995
113
road-reality.com
I ride a
2019 Harley Street Glide Special, 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic (bobber), 1979 Kawasaki KZ650SR
A video about some specific, e.g. a specific product review (exhausts), how to fix something specific on a specific bike model, how to do specific XYZ and so on. So long, as it's not crazy obscure and something useful, then it's a great strategy high a hitting video. Some of my best videos have been product reviews, maintenance tasks or particular riding skills.

It's grabbing that long tail of search results from Google when people want to know about something very specific. You're also more likely to stand out for that particular search (unless you're reviewing something everyone else already has).

Essentially, so long as your subject matter is interesting, you can get away with not being interesting yourself!
Agreed!

Now if only I'd bought something other than a "me too" bike [Street Glide], I'd get some traction ;)

I hear the sportbike crowd likes all the newfangled crotch rockets... maybe I should trade out :D

-John
 
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TriumfAnt

It was good while it lasted
Jan 20, 2013
871
301
63
Albuquerque, NM
www.youtube.com
I ride a
Triumph Tiger 800XC
YouTube really loves regular uploads. At least once per week. Especially until you build up a larger following. It helps if you don't need to spend a lot of time editing out unwanted footage. Avoid controversial topics unless that's your unique selling point. If you're not enjoying making the videos then people won't enjoy watching them. Evolve over time. Try new topics. Your subs will let you know if it's what they want.
 

Drakhen99

The Forrest Gump of Motovloggers
Aug 31, 2020
1,125
995
113
road-reality.com
I ride a
2019 Harley Street Glide Special, 2005 Kawasaki Vulcan 800 Classic (bobber), 1979 Kawasaki KZ650SR
YouTube really loves regular uploads. At least once per week. Especially until you build up a larger following. It helps if you don't need to spend a lot of time editing out unwanted footage. Avoid controversial topics unless that's your unique selling point. If you're not enjoying making the videos then people won't enjoy watching them. Evolve over time. Try new topics. Your subs will let you know if it's what they want.
Interesting take ... save time editing in order to post more videos?

-John
 

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