The title of this post: A while ago, I did a Teams presentation for my son’s class, about my occupation. And to make it a bit more fun, I told them I’m a Database Specialist and a YouTuber. The later didn’t amuse my son. He was upset when he came home from school. “You don’t even have 1000 subscribers on your channel, you’re not a ‘tuber’, he said.” I still don’t have 1000 subscribers, but it’s getting closer, so maybe I’ll have to start printing swag and call myself a SQL Influencer instead of a consultant soon 🙂
TL/DR; Keep videos short if you want viewers to watch the whole thing. That’s really hard if the video is a recording of a 60 minute long presentation 😂
Since I started organising and hosting SQL Friday, I have recorded every presentation. Most of them are published on my YouTube-channel (the rest are editing-work-in-progress and will show up shortly).
I browsed through the statistics from the YouTube-channel yesterday. The most viewed video is from SQL Friday #37, with Deepthi Goguri, about SQL Server Internals and Architecture. That video has 1679 views.
Second most viewed, with 1090 views is Bob Duffys presentation about Financial Modelling.
“Rank” 3 and 4 are my own videos, so not SQL Friday Recordings. They are about Temporal tables and and about Tally tables.
YouTube studio offers some more analytics than just the views, and here it becomes interesting and actionable for content publishers. As a publisher, you probably want viewers to watch the whole video, right? Sorry for you, but that’s not going to happen. At least not all viewers. People are going to watch the beginning and then drop off. Or watch some sections but fast forward through other sections. Or watch 20 minutes, and then the phone rings and they shut down their browser etc.
What I found out is, publishing full episodes from SQL Friday is not ideal. SQL Friday presentations are on average just over one hour, including the after-presentation chats which I usually leave in the video. That’s almost the length of your typical Hollywood movie. And that’s honestly too long for a YouTube video. But what if my goal isn’t to get as many views as possible? I mean, of course I want everyone to watch and learn from the fantastic presentations that speakers have given to the SQL Friday members. But I realise that one-hour long videos about SQL Server has a somewhat narrow possible audience. So I’m happy if just a handful of people, who missed the live presentation, watches the videos end-to-end.
For Deepthis video about SQL Server itnernals, the average view time is 8 minutes 45 seconds. That’s only 13,4% of the total video, so it must be really bad, right? Not really. Or not necessarily. Because only 1/3 of the viewers watched past the first 40 seconds. That’s very, very typical for a YouTube viewer. You watch something, and when the video ends, you get a new suggestion. You start watching, and maybe, just maybe that wasn’t an awesome suggestion, so you skip to the next suggestion. So if viewers watch 13,4% of Deepthi’s video, and 2/3 drops off after less than 40 seconds, that means the 1/3 that stays past 40 seconds watch roughly 40% of the video. That’s a whole lot better than 13,4%, right?
Using YouTube Studio’s analytics section, you can go into depth with every video, and try to figure out what makes people loose attention, or keep watching. For real “tubers”, this will have a direct impact on income. For me, I don’t have the channel to make money on ads. But I do like it when the people who find the videos keep watching them, because that means they probably like the content and think they can learn something from it.
What’s the ideal video then? I have no idea to be honest 🙂 But it looks like at least “my” viewers stay on the video for a larger percentage of time if the video is around 10 minutes compared to 60 minute videos. So perhaps “Keep it short” is the advice? On the other hand, if the video is a recording of a 60 minute presentation, it’s pretty hard to make it 10 minutes long.