#Blaugust – YouTube Documentaries

I’ve only just started to write a post tonight because I’ve mainly been occupied tonight with watching mini-documentaries on YouTube – in fact, I fell down something of a rabbit-hole of YouTube channels about abandoned buildings.

It seems like YouTube has cycles of videos that are the mainstay of it’s platform. From around 2009-2012, when I started watching YouTube, most of the biggest channels were gaming related (specifically Let’s Play series related.) After this, it was the era of lifestyle vloggers – challenge videos, tag videos etc. Many of the YouTube channels from that time also seem to have stalled or faded, as advertising revenue from YouTube shrank.

Even on YouTube’s Trending page, which is mainly occupied by music videos and film trailers, the other videos are news reports and docs from companies such as Vice News. And it seems that below that, there has been a growing taste for niche independent documentary-making and reporting – often funded by small numbers of enthusiasts via outlets such as Patreon and Ko-fi, as well as podcast-style sponsorships like Squarespace and Audible.

It is also notable that YouTube used to be much harsher on use of short pieces of copyrighted film footage and music – after the early 2010s, this was allegedly relaxed which allowed a rise of cultural criticism (previously limited to now defunct platforms like blip.tv).

Anyway, here are three channels I’ve watched a bunch of videos from over the past week – as well as the video I had on whilst writing this.

Bright Sun Films (interestingly enough, I spotted when linking this channel that the URL reads ‘BrightSunGaming’ – definitely a repurposed channel!)

Defunctland (This one is specifically about Theme park history. I don’t have any personal interest in theme parks, but the social history involved is fascinating. They have a great podcast on iTunes too.)

The Proper People (This channel is very specifically about urban exploration, which does mean a lot of what they are doing is trespassing. Just wanted that noted, as I know a lot of people won’t approve of their content.)

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Latest YouTube Video – Baqueira-Beret Trip, January 2018

I finally finished up and published this video just yesterday, so I wanted to have a copy of it up on here. Is there a less appropriate time to make a video about being in the mountains in the depth of winter than during a July heatwave?

This is a pretty short snapshot travel vlog, made of some short videos and images I took on my phone whilst out skiing/exploring. Most of it is less about the actual skiing (since I can’t easily ski and film) but it’s still a really nice little reminder of the trip, and it’s always fun to keep my hand in with basic Adobe Premiere functions.

Facebook Video Notes

Over the past eighteen months or so, one big change I’ve made to the Facebook business pages that I manage is a massive increase in the amount of visual content posted compared to just about anything else (though always with links, since it’s all about driving that traffic to a web page.)

So this article ‘This Research Will Make You Rethink How You Create Your Facebook Videos‘, which covered stats garnered from thousands of videos to try and analyse exactly what makes the best-performing Facebook video.

However, this kind of info can be misleading, because it assumes that all you need is pure views. This is certainly the case for a lot of Facebook pages, but if you’re trying to market any kind of product, I always end up remembering some advice from a talk at Google Digital Garage (incidentally, if Google ever brings Digital Garage to your town, and I’m not sure if they still do that or if everything is online now, you should go. Seriously, it’s incredibly useful stuff). We were told that, when making videos, it doesn’t necessarily matter how many people see your stuff, just that the right people see it. There may be advantage to a video that is much longer or shorter than this article recommends, if the particular audience that you want will respond to that. Likewise, the list of most popular topics can be misleading – finance and cars might be much less popular than food or beauty products, but in these industries you need far fewer customers to make the same amount of money, so naturally your audience will be much smaller. Overall, articles like this only work as a guideline, because the Facebook audience can’t be regarded as a homogeneous whole, but can be broken down into many, many niches of viewers and customers.

Blaugust Day 25: Notes from Digital Marketing Stategy Video

I started out by watching a YouTube video: How to Develop a Digital Marketing Stategy and making a few notes from it – these are just from the beginning of it, so I’ll hopefully have more in the near future.

We don’t get digital yet

From surveys, it turns out that only 9% of digital marketers are confident at what they do. It’s a shockingly low percentage, but not surprising. It’s a fast moving world, and a lot of marketing is still trial and error, still anecdotal results. In many ways, it hasn’t moved on from the pre-digital age of print marketing (which we all still do) where the result of leaflet or poster or newspaper ad could be not just unknown but unknowable.

Traditional format brands struggle online 

In contrast, individuals with a social media can have a huge impact – the presenter calls these micro-influencers, which is something I’ve written about before.

Blaugust Day 19: Video Work

So this has mostly been my day today:screenshot190817Which is why I don’t feel too bad about not having a proper post topic to put up today. I’ve finished one video (an interview, with plenty of illustrating footage) for the Manchester Canoe Club YouTube channel and I’ve started another, which should be done by the end of the weekend.

Video editing – getting a video or film put together in a way that flows and makes sense, is a hugely satisfying process for me, and as always I’m enjoying it hugely, albeit in short bursts! As a hobby, it’s a great outlet.

Blaugust Day 10: Everyone wants to be an Orginal (Video)

Let’s face it, off the back of YouTube’s astonishing success in the past decade or so, video content is now considered king of the internet, and every other social media platform has had success with short form videos – leading to platforms like Vine (RIP) and Snapchat being entirely based on it. 

However, Vine is now deceased, its technical if not social function swallowed up by Twitter, and despite it’s quick growth Snapchat remains a small, niche part of the overall market share.

So Facebook (including Instagram) and Twitter host a vast amount of popular video content between them. YouTube, meanwhile, has put millions into investing in long form content, eventually beginning to create it’s own, original TV-style shows via YouTube Red, plus rentable films etc. 

YouTube Red is in it’s early stages, but it is unsurprising that Facebook would also want to get in on the act, with a series of original shows that they’re calling ‘Watch’. Of course, Facebook has the money to experiment and the ready audience, but I have to wonder how interested they will be, unless Facebook can get some prestige television on board (as the linked article suggests) or at the very least, lure YouTube stars away from their platform permanently. Other platforms have tried with this method before – such as Snapchat, and as that linked article also suggests, it seems like the wider audience isn’t quite there, yet.

Blaugust 17: Google Small Business Video – Customer Loyalty

Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched a number of videos from the Google Small Business YouTube channel to improve my commercial awareness and made short posts (here and here) with my notes, thoughts and comments – this latest one is about how to retain customers.

The first point made is that learning who your customers are is key, which was also stressed in the previous Google for Small Business videos that I’ve watched.

Frequency is a very important metric to focus on in looking at customer loyalty, and existing customers can often be more valuable than new ones, because the more positive they are about your brand, the more custom you will attract (both through word-of-mouth and through positive online reviews.)

When starting up, most businesses focus on customer acquisition and slowly switch to retention later on – the longer a small business has been going, the more important retention becomes for it. So as a business owner starting out, it’s important to get ahead of that by focusing on both acquisition and retention from the start. This involves making the customer experience the best it can possibly be.

The point about the cost of customer acquisition versus retention was really interesting. I don’t necessarily think that you need a specific customer loyalty programme, and I also think that even if you do, not all of your regular customers will want to use it or fit into it well, but it is good to keep in contact and do offers (especially seasonally as discussing in one of the last Google business videos I talked about) so that your customers feel like they are appreciated for frequent business.