I promised to throw in an occasional marketing experiment, while working on my long term goal—building a personal brand as a writer and thinker. I did one such experiment last Tuesday, and it concerned YouTube.
Then idea came to me while browsing some SEO blogs in the afternoon. I landed by chance on a stupid YouTube video and was surprised to see that it reported one hundred millions views. The video was uploaded just a year ago. I did a quick math in a second:
If 100,000,000 people really watched that video since it was published a year ago, it actually means that in average, more than 250,000 people watched it every single day. That’s not a little number, I thought.
Stricken by this idea, I started to look for the videos that boosted the highest number of views on Youtube. I discovered a playlist that featured 500 most viewed videos on the entire network. You can find the list here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLirAqAtl_h2r5g8xGajEwdXd3x1sZh8hC
An example, a second video from the list, right after Gangnam style :):
This stupid song actually boosts a whooping 4 millions views every single day! That’s huge. YouTube users can comment on the video, and a certain percentage of viewers will definitely check the TOP comments while watching it, or after they finished watching.
Now, imagine that just five percent of people checked the top five comments of Wiz Khalifa’s song. If it was true, and it easily can be true, 200,000 pairs of eyes would see the top messages today, and tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow…
Remember, we still talk about one single video.
How to benefit from this visibility?
While it is true that everyone can post a comment on YouTube, not every comment will get featured. Actually a very few of them will end up featured.
If I, for example, tried to post a comment with a link to our book page, it will immediately be flagged as spam and deleted. I may easily lose the entire YouTube account if I tried something of that sort.
So, we need to find a way around… because there’s always a way around.
I created a new Youtube account and started a channel, without a single video in it :). I labeled this channel “University of Solitude I Book that changed my life”, and instead of uploading a picture of my face (or any other random picture you’d use for a fake YouTube account), I uploaded the cover of our book. This was the result:
Then I waited about ten minutes until Google processed the changes in their back-end (if you have not known by now, Google owns YouTube), and I headed straight back to the list of 500 most viewed videos ever on Youtube.
I watched a few minutes of each video (which was a tough experience, since the songs are just horrible (to my personal taste) and they’re not worth watching even one time, not two billion times 🙂), and then I tried to post a meaningful comment to the video, or reply to one of the comments that held the top position at that moment.
Every time I did it, people could see something like this:
Without posting any link (and risking an immediate ban), I showcase the name of my book, as well as the cover, to a possible audience of 200,000 (or more) people. And the “surname” of the profile “Book that changed my life” was a sort of a statement, or if you want, a sort of an invitation to check the book online.
Not as easy as it seems
If it was so easy to gain such a huge visibility, many creative people would do the same I did. And many of them tried it for sure before I did that…
But YouTube algorithm will bury your comment in the tens of thousands other comments (posted by other users from the very first day of publishing the video), unless you somehow make an impression within the first few minutes, getting some up-votes, or replies from other viewers.
And while I tried to make my comments interesting, and commented on 38 from the top 40 most viewed videos in the list (which was a painful exercise, since I did not enjoy a single video from the list), I didn’t manage to get enough up-votes for any of my comments to get featured on the top.
They ended up buried in the never-ending pile within few minutes of posting. Nobody will ever find them there, they’re gone.
Still, even in these few minutes of existence, the comments attracted two different people to search for us and click on our website (since I did not post a link in the comments, I can not be 100% sure whether they found about our website on Youtube, but the patterns and the exact time when they visited our website suggests that they found us this way).
Plus, on the 21st of July, two days after I carried out this little experiment, our book received an unlikely high number of KENP Read (see picture below). For explanation of KENP, please refer here.
This could be a coincidence resulting from my other activity promoting the book, but, considering how little KENP we had in other days, and that I do not focus on this in my promotions, it could be attributed to this Youtube experiment.
Seeing a big picture
Most people would consider my experiment unsuccessful. It took me about two and half hours to watch and comment on the videos, and I did not like doing it, since I did not like watching stupid videos, and still, all the effort brought just two new visitors, and some KENPs. 🙂
I think that out of a hundred random people who’d tried the same thing with the same results, 97 would say that this marketing technique isn’t efficient, and they may never comment on Youtube again, at least not with a purpose to promote their book (or anything else they try to promote).
However, like nearly always in life, the majority is wrong. If you want to succeed and stand out with your work of any kind, you need to learn to see things from different perspective as people generally see them (if you do not see them from that perspective already :)).
My comments didn’t reach the top positions, true. But some comments did.
Some comments actually reached the eyes of millions people who watched the videos from the list of most watched videos on that given day, Tuesday, 19th July 2016.
So, the question is, can we somehow manage to get to their position? Can we do something better? Of course we can…
- We can comment on videos that boost decent amount of views every day (let’s say 5,000) but, for some reasons, do not have many, or even any comments at all. Then it will be much easier to be one of the “top” comments and stay on the eyes for a long time.
- We can also comment on videos that are more relevant to our story, to our niche. Logically more people seeing the comment will find it interesting and actually search for the University of Solitude on Google or Amazon.
- We can try and imitate the people whose comments received a lot of up-votes (even though they typically posted a stupid comment), and improve our chances of getting more up-votes, which results in a better visibility of a comment.
- And we can try to game the system. You knew it would come, didn’t you? 🙂 We can purchase a software that will help us to up-vote our own comments, or even reply to our own comments (such bots exist, of course), and gain a decent position for them
(Disclaimer: Gaming YouTube is not easy, and if you try to go this way, you’ll need to study a couple of things and experience some trail and error to develop a system that will actually work for you.)
You can find nearly hundred million videos on YouTube—and many of them have plenty of views every day.
You can comment on these videos, directly or indirectly promoting your book, blog, channel, website, anything you want!
The opportunity is there, and many people from your niche know about that opportunity. But just a very few of them will actually take action, and devote enough time to learn how to master YouTube and benefit from the huge traffic this social network offers.
Will you be one of them? The decision is yours…
- YouTube offers an immense volumes of traffic, but you need to work smart when promoting your work there. Instead of posting links in the comments (and risking an immediate ban), try rather to create a channel that represents your brand, and post genuine, useful or funny comments with your profile.
- Think outside of the box. There are hundred million YouTube videos. Find the one where it makes sense to promote your brand, and post your comments there.
- Don’t be afraid to game the system, and to experiment. Traffic is there and so should be you. Remember, we don’t have deep pockets of big publishing houses. But we can be smarter and more flexible, and gain our market share … after all, our books are better than theirs….
That’s it for now. Have a great week, and I’ll be back soon with either a second post in the “Promoting book on Google series”, or with another one-time experiment.