Improving Our YouTube Channel

Video screenshot example.

We have been working on reorganizing our YouTube channel and reprioritizing the type of video projects that we take on. This process involved benchmarking YouTube channels from over two dozen other universities, creating and updating playlists on our channel, and reorganizing our existing videos.

Our writing team has helped us craft our video titles, descriptions, and, tags. We have started outsourcing closed captions (and open captions where needed). We have explored which videos should be public (triggers a push notification to our subscribers) versus unlisted (great when you need to embed on a website, but don’t need the video to otherwise be publicly available). And UMC’s change in focus has allowed us to pursue high-impact projects.

Through all this, our efforts have been paying off.

What Do the Stats Say?

I pulled stats from our YouTube channel for October 1, 2018-January 18, 2019 and compared to the same time frame from last year—giving an apples-to-apples comparison. Note that these stats do not include any paid ads, so they are not skewed. These stats also only represent engagement on our YouTube channel and don’t take into account our videos natively shared on other platforms, such as Facebook.

During this time, we have been empowered to plan and execute our own video projects on behalf of the University’s reputation and recruitment goals. Our stats show that our new approach and reorganized channel have been successful

Stat Summary

Over the outlined time frame:

  1. Video views and video minutes watched are up 21% and 37% respectively.
    • This is not necessarily surprising given that we also increased our video production volume during the same time frame. By choosing our own video projects, we have been able to reduce product cost and increase production.
  2. Average time watched has increased 13 seconds per video.
    • This shows that our improvements are not just purely from production volume as our quality has also improved significantly. Viewers are spending more time watching our videos now.
  3. We saw a significant increase in views from users organically searching via Google/YouTube.
    • We know that YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world. It is important to improve our video SEO to attract more views and we have put an increased focus on strategic video titles, descriptions, closed captions, tags, and playlist organization. Our efforts are clearly working.
  4. Our net subscriber gain was 189 for the current time frame compared to 130 for the previous time frame.
    • Our content is more attractive and is driving a larger subscriber growth rate.
  5. Our video shares increased from 614 to 1,049 over this time frame compared to the last.
    • The content that we have been choosing to create is more sharable according to our subscribers.

We’re still early in our new focus for campus recruitment and reputation, but I’m thrilled with the early results. We’ll keep an eye on our channel metrics moving forward. I’m looking forward to working through the video projects we have slated for this spring semester.

Joel C. Vertin
Digital Services