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5 Things We Learned From Derral Eves’ Formula For YouTube Success.

By Salma Madwar
11 Min Read

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youtube success formula with derral eves

Did you know that YouTube started off as a dating website

We didn’t either! And that’s just one of the interesting things you’ll learn in Derral Eves’ new book The YouTube Formula.

We were lucky enough to talk to him for our webinar, and if you haven’t had the chance to check it out, we highly recommend you do! 

Better still…. 

We’ve summarized the top 5 lessons we learned from what Derral Eves had to say:

  1. Befriend the algorithm
  2. Unlock the power of YouTube metrics
  3. Don’t try to be something you’re not
  4. Look beyond SEO
  5. Treat your YouTube channel as a business

Let’s jump right in! 

Befriend the algorithm 

We’ve all been there… 

You want to grow your YouTube channel and you want to grow it fast. And you may think that hacking the algorithm is the right way to achieve that.

But, take it from a YouTube veteran like Derral: algorithm shortcuts are the quickest route to failure.

Instead of working against the YouTube algorithm, you should work with it. You need to align yourself with the algorithm’s goal which is to keep users on YouTube for longer. 

Derral says:

It’s better to try to understand the goal of what [YouTube is] trying to achieve and be in line with that goal. When I actually did that I literally exploded on all different aspects of it, because I was giving [YouTube] what they wanted instead of trying to find where to exploit [the algorithm] to take me to where I needed to be.

For every hack you take ages to do, YouTube will find a much quicker fix. It can get pretty frustrating. 

The algorithm is your friend, not your enemy. In fact, it’s one of the best sources of traffic for your YouTube channel (more on that later).

Meaning, if you can: find a specific viewership that likes your content, keep them engaged, and keep them on the YouTube platform, then the algorithm will reward you. 

Unlock the power of YouTube metrics 

YouTube analytics can be overwhelming to look at. With all the metrics they show, video creators often find it easier to focus on just one or two metrics like video views.

youtube channel analytics homepage

But there’s so much more to YouTube analytics than how many views you’re getting! 

YouTube gives you all these data points to help you understand how people interact with your content. 

That’s because understanding what your viewers want will help you produce content that engages them. 

When asked what the YouTube formula is Derral tells us:

Well, it’s a data-centered human formula. It’s how do humans respond to your content and what are the data points you need to look at [to understand how viewers interact […] The great thing about YouTube is that with all these interactions and things that happen naturally, Youtube is able to pick up those patterns and see patterns that we can’t even see. And when you’re able to leverage that, then you can actually grow in a sustainable way […] sustainable growth comes when you can actually almost predict how the viewers will really engage with your content.

Some of the key metrics you need to understand include: 

  • Watch time: the total amount of time people have spent watching your video; you can use this to diversify your tactics from video to video, to keep them watching longer.
  • Average view duration: average minutes watched per view for a selected video and date range; which can help you understand how well you can retain your audience and keep them watching. 
  • Impressions: how many times your thumbnails were shown to viewers on YouTube; this can help you understand if your videos are being shown to YouTube users.
  • Click-through-rate: percentage of thumbnail impressions that turned into views; you can use this to understand whether your thumbnails are attention-grabbing or not. 
  • Engagement: number of likes, dislikes, and comments; which can help you see how engaging your content is and which type of videos get the most engagement.

One way you can use YouTube metrics to your advantage is by using the “bridge technique” for published videos which can help you retain more of your audience. You can do this by looking at the audience retention report for one of your videos. Backlinko shows this well:

youtube video audience retention graph

Where audience retention drops, insert a card at that time which will send people to another related video on your channel. 

youtube video add card for retention

That way you’re:

  • Keeping people on your channel.
  • Increasing watch time for your other videos.
  • Increasing the time users spend on YouTube (which the YouTube algorithm will reward).

If you want to learn more about YouTube metrics and how to improve your own, check out our article on how to get more views on YouTube

Don’t try to be something you’re not

It’s easy to get sucked into the YouTuber hole and try to be an entertainer. But that may not be your style, and that’s okay!

If you give viewers value and your audience connects with what you’re offering, then you don’t need to be an entertainer. 

Derral says it best:

Think of who will this impact, how is the value going to be transferred, and what’s the best way to do that in a short amount of time […] I’m not saying you can’t make long videos, but people have a small amount of time to engage with your value; and until you prove to them the value is there, they’re never going to stay on longer.

The best way to create great videos is by giving your viewers value. 

Your unique value proposition is the reason why YouTube subscribers watch your videos over other videos in your niche. Whether you’re solving a problem, educating, or entertaining your viewers- having a strong and clear value proposition is what will keep them on your channel.

Being authentic is key to getting more views- you want to seem relatable and knowledgeable. After all, being a content creator in a particular niche makes you a relative expert, meaning you know more than your average person on the street. 

And people want to come to you to get that knowledge!

So find the topic in your niche that you can talk about best that gets a lot of traction (ehm metrics), and create videos around that! 

Look beyond SEO 

Search engine optimization (SEO) is just one technique to get more views. Though we do recommend you optimize your videos, you should also diversify your strategies to avoid plateauing, get more views, and expand your reach.

One of the key takeaways from Derral’s webinar was the power of suggested videos.

You know, these videos that populate the display next to the video you’re watching:

youtube suggested videos

This comes back to what we said earlier about the YouTube algorithm. It’s actively promoting quality content that relates to the topic you’re currently watching, so people stay on the platform.

As you can see in the example above, most of the suggested videos for the Uscreen video are also Uscreen related!

Derral points out that:

75% of all views that happen on YouTube today are when YouTube finds the viewer for you…and it’s actually going higher.

That means if you only focus on optimizing for search engines, where people have to manually find you, you’ll be missing out on a lot of potential views. 

So what can you do?

Well, you’re going to increase the likelihood that you’ll appear in those suggested YouTube videos by creating 2 videos:

  1. Your SEO video: a succinct keyword-focused video to drive traffic to your channel.
  2. An “expansion” video: a follow-up video that keeps viewers on your channel and entices them to subscribe.

Before you make your expansion video, make sure your SEO video is short enough to quickly give the viewer what they want. It needs to have high audience retention, which means that a lot of viewers get to the end of the video and find value from it. 

Once they get to the end of your SEO video you can add a card or end screen that directs them to your expansion video. 

For example, if you’re a beauty vlogger your SEO video can be ‘How To Draw Winged Eyeliner.’ And your expansion video can be tips on ‘How To Prep Your Skin Before Putting Make-up’ 

YouTube’s algorithm will then pick up on the fact that a percentage of people who finished your SEO video clicked on the expansion video. Now, the platform better understands the audience you’re catering to. 

If enough viewers click on that second video, the suggested function on Youtube will be triggered. This means that YouTube will suggest your second video for other viewers in that niche, in this case, people looking for make-up tutorials.

youtube algorithm suggested videos

Remember that with your SEO-focused video, you have a small window of opportunity to engage with your viewer, give them value, gain their trust, and build a connection with them. So, make sure your video is positioned to succeed by solving your viewer’s problem in a short time.

Treat your YouTube channel as a business

Your YouTube channel’s ad revenue should be just one income stream of a bigger business.

Let me explain…

Successful YouTubers treat their channel as part of a wider business. They create streams of income beyond YouTube to ensure they’re not reliant purely on ad revenue.

Because, even if you have a large following, your ad income isn’t secure on YouTube. Demonetization is real and affecting people every day!

Derral says:

I always take the approach that the ad revenue that’s generated on YouTube is just icing on the cake, you know really treat it as that, instead of your only source of income […] think of other ways to generate money.

Funnily enough, Uscreen customer and online yoga entrepreneur Sarah Beth said the same thing in 2019:

YouTube AdSense, you don’t own that, that can go away any day […] as an influencer I 80/20-ed my revenue streams. I had a lot of streams of revenue that were bringing in different amounts of income […] I had to narrow it down: what are the 20% of the things that are bringing in 80% of my revenue? And my membership site was that thing.

You can make money from your YouTube videos in several ways like with…

… but our favorite way to monetize videos is off the YouTube platform with your very own video-on-demand membership site.  

Derral points out the benefits:

The biggest thing though, and this is where you guys [Uscreen] knock it out of the park, which is, I want to own the data. YouTube doesn’t give you the data, they can cancel you at any time. So to diversify that is, as you grow an audience, start building that audience off-platform and if you own the data, which is the most valuable thing you can own, which is name, address, email address, and someone that’s actually passionate about you, but more importantly the credit card, then you can actually integrate it in a unique way.

And we agree!

Even though ads and partnerships are great add-ons, they’re not so accessible because you need a large subscriber base. And even with a large following, you’re not guaranteed consistent revenue. 

By using a subscription on-demand business model on a video monetization platform like Uscreen, you can be in full control of your business. You’ll own your customer data, lead data, and your marketing channels, all while generating consistent income every month.

Wrapping it up 

This webinar was packed with useful information on how to grow your YouTube channel and get an engaged fan base. 

We’ve summed up the top 5 tips Derral gives us on how to run a successful YouTube channel, which are: 

  1. Befriend the algorithm
  2. Unlock the power of YouTube metrics
  3. Don’t try to be something you’re not
  4. Look beyond SEO
  5. Treat your YouTube channel as a business

And if you’re looking for a more in-depth list of actionable points you can do to get more views on YouTube, we’ve got your back. 

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