#141: Sean Cannell – How YouTube is changing and what works in 2023

March 14, 2023

#141: Sean Cannell – How YouTube is changing and what works in 2023
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Sean Cannell is the founder of Think Media and the author of YouTube Secrets.

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Sean Cannell is the founder of Think Media and the author of YouTube Secrets.

Think Media has nearly two and a half million subscribers and their videos have been viewed hundreds of millions of times.

Sean is one of the most respected voices in the world of YouTube, and he says that the game is changing. 

In this episode you’ll learn:

  • What types of videos are doing well on YouTube today
  • What metrics you should be paying attention to
  • Sean’s Perfect Video recipe
  • The video opportunity on social media INCLUDING Twitter

Full transcript and show notes

Follow Sean on Instagram / Twitter / Facebook / LinkedIn/ Website

Think Media YouTube

The Think Media Podcast / YouTube

YouTube Secrets Book


00:00 - Is it too Late to Start on YouTube?

01:24 - What Video Length Performs Best?

05:01 - How Growing on YouTube Has Changed Recently

10:10 - The Ground Floor Opportunity for Creators

16:05 - Browse Traffic Vs Search Traffic

19:49 - Researching for Video Ideas

24:22 - How the Suggested Algorithm Works

31:22 - Sean’s Recipe for PERFECT Videos

39:08 - Video Opportunities on Twitter

45:06 - Facebook and Instagram Reels



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Jay Clouse 00:00

We're living in a time when YouTubers are becoming celebrities Mr. Beast, Emma Chamberlin, Logan, Paul and KSI have shown us a new path to fame fortune in freedom. Recent studies have shown that up to 75% of children want to become YouTubers. And that brings up a major question. Is it too late to start on YouTube?


Sean Cannell 00:22

algorithmically we are in a new paradigm that makes this a ground floor opportunity for people starting YouTube channels. Yes, competition is rising, but demand is rising even bigger.


Jay Clouse 00:32

That's Sean Cannell, the founder of think media and the author of YouTube secrets. Think Media has nearly two and a half million subscribers and their videos have been viewed hundreds of millions of times. Sean is one of the most respected voices in the world of YouTube. And he says that the game is changing. success on


Sean Cannell 00:49

YouTube was predicated on whether or not you have a large following or not. In fact, many people might think well, yeah, I mean, I can be successful on social media if I have a million followers. But here's the good news. Those old rules are dying off. A lot of social media platforms today, including YouTube are moving away from the social graph, and they're moving towards the interest graph.


Jay Clouse 01:10

So in this episode, you'll learn what types of videos are doing well on YouTube today. What metrics you should be paying attention to Sean's perfect video recipe and the new opportunities that Shawn is excited about, including Twitter. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this episode. As you listen, you can find me on Twitter or Instagram at Jay Clouse tag me say hello. And if you're here on YouTube, leave a comment down below. And now let's talk wish on.


Sean Cannell 01:47

When I get the question, how long should my YouTube videos be? My answer is yes. What do I mean? I don't know. The answer is in a 2023. World, the best video length is seven seconds shorts and 35 second YouTube shorts and 62nd YouTube shorts. Three minute clips are doing great on YouTube, five minute and 32nd short YouTube videos are doing pretty well you cross over eight minutes, you can do multiple ad spots, those do great as well. There is definitely a sweet spot between 12 to 16 to 18 minutes, because it's a little bit longer. And YouTube loves average view duration at a higher number. So that works great. Well. What I'm also seeing though, is that 30 minute, deeper dive tutorials and education, Shane Dawson doing hour long documentaries about certain things in the entertainment space and kind of pop culture. Those are doing incredibly well. My friend Lewis Howes and Evan Carmichael are finding some of their best performing videos, or two and three hour or even four hour YouTube videos. So the unfortunate answer is what is the best length for YouTube videos? Absolutely. That is exactly how long Yeah, like you should, and what you originally said they should be as long as they need to be. But as short as possible. That just simply means you need to honor the format and the length, an hour of boring garbage content is not going to be helpful, but an hour of a rich tutorial that makes a promise and leads you from point A to point B to point C to point D, it's gonna eventually if it's good, YouTube will serve that up to people who want an hour's worth of content explaining a particular thing. I have multi multi multiple multimillion viewed videos that are 45 minutes and an hour and 20 minutes me going live. And they they're getting 234 million views over a couple years. And one of the reasons why is I'm finding the average view duration on those is 1214 16 minutes, average view duration. So as YouTube keeps showing more people, these videos, I'm holding attention for 16 minutes on average, which is like three, four or 5x the average view duration of the average video on YouTube. So even though it's a it's kind of a niche category and education, it speaks to the fact that there's a massive opportunity with long form content right now. But there's also a massive opportunity with YouTube shorts, which is the shortest form of content right now on YouTube, and everything in between. So it's a frustrating answer. But the true The truth is you got to just develop the skill sets of thinking about mastering and I would I would argue embracing all of these content formats is relevant in a 2023 world meaning I'm particularly don't love long podcasts, maybe if I'm running maybe if I'm kind of stretching or something. I engage with a lot of people shows in their clips. So when you do the hour version great. But the the 10 Minute, eight minute and five minute clip with a headline that I'm interested in that lets me know what the topic is what the thing is. That's that's one of the ways I love to engage. Some people also love shorts and they're in the shorts feed. So you're going to be the most savvy and sharp and sophisticated creator and 2023 world when you find The way to communicate your one core message and surrounding messages that are all on brand in a YouTube shorts and a clips and low in a short, medium and long form, content format, and even an ultra long content format all of the above work. And it's a fascinating world to be in with YouTube right now, when it comes to the ideal video length,


Jay Clouse 05:24

you have a you have a video pinned as the is the trailer for the channel right now talking about things that are different on YouTube, and how it used to be subscribers was the way that you get views. And that's not the same right now. Can you talk a little bit about that for people who aren't familiar with the previous state of YouTube? And now the current state of YouTube? And then I want to dive into that a little bit deeper?


Sean Cannell 05:44

That's a great question. And modern, very tactical right now. thing to bring up. And that would be that again, formally. And I think where most of our mindsets go, is that success on YouTube was predicated on whether or not you have a large following or not, in fact, many people might think well, yeah, I mean, I can be successful on social media. If I have a million followers in the old world, that would be true, because the way distribution on social media platforms worked was you needed a following. And if you had a following, then you posted content, and your audience saw some of that content, whether that was your Facebook likes your YouTube subscribers, of course, organic reach on algorithms is diminished to varying degrees and typically gets lower over the years to where, like in a Facebook world, if you had 100,000 likes on your fan page 3% or 2%, or 1%, or less than 1% would see a post however, the what would determine if more people saw it would be engagement, if it got a lot of likes a lot of comments. A lot of people dwelling on the post or sharing it more people would see it. But here's the good news. Those old rules are dying off. A lot of social media platforms today, including YouTube are moving away from the social graph, and they're moving towards the interest graph. So the social graph was Well, great. You have 100,000 followers, so your social community, your community on Facebook, your community on YouTube, that's who seeing your content. Now, these platforms are serving up content based on what people are interested in to take a slight rabbit trail to explain this. And then to bring it back to why if you have just started on YouTube, there's an opportunity. Think about your YouTube homepage right now for anybody that watches YouTube, whether you have your own account, or even if you just are not logged in, if you've watched any videos on YouTube, your homepage starts to change. So if you are like you know what I want to start the keto diet, I'm thinking about doing intermittent fasting, you watch 123 videos about keto what happens next, you visit your YouTube homepage. Now it's recommending other things related to keto it might start recommending things about getting better sleep because YouTube's understanding you're interested in health in general, now it's recommending some other things and then they might throw you a Mr. Beast video and something else because they're also trying to lead you maybe in a new direction. But they're curating content based on your expressed interest. If you've ever been to an Airbnb, one of my favorite experiences open up the Smart TV, look at the homepage of somebody else that's been using YouTube, man, they were into some weird stuff. And they better been recommended to us on this homepage, you can kind of see the six. The video recommendations give you clues as to the personality, the behavior in the interest of the person who was formerly watching the content. The reason that's an opportunity is we are living in a world where a good piece of content can go from zero to a million views in a matter of hours, days or weeks. Because you tap you strike a chord into what people are interested in. And we're seeing countless examples of that. And when I talk about as Janelle Elena, who was definitely a unicorn, but with only three videos, she grew to like 3 million a million subscribers, millions of views. She had a lot of things going she had the charisma, she had kind of the Gen Z thing but she was doing solo female traveler van life with a pet snake. And she was type tapping into niches people love RV Life fan life solo female traveler is fascinating probably for people who want aspire to do so. And for weirdo guys who wanted to like you know, watch her. And then you also had pet snake reptile culture. Well, these are all interests. So she's tapping into it's authentically her but she was tapping into the interest graph. And then the average view duration of the video and the click through rate led her to go from zero to viral. I'm very practical in my advice to not actually promise that people are going to have overnight riches or overnight fame with YouTube. But what listening to this, everyone is under estimating how practical it is to get 5000 subscribers. An extra 10 to 50 leads in your business per month. An extra five to 10k of revenue and your current business by tapping into YouTube, it's not about getting a million views. It's about getting 236 views of your ideal audience, your ideal customer, and then brick by brick building up. And it's because of, you don't need subscribers for what I'm describing to work, what you need is to understand who you're creating content for, who your ideal audience is, what they're interested in, and creating content that they and people like them want to click on and watch. And you can start having rapid YouTube success, because it's not about the social graph. It's about the interest graph. This is something I've


Jay Clouse 10:33

started to understand as we've been uploading my head when we started thinking about YouTube went to the same thing that a lot of people think which is on too late, you know, the ship has passed, it would have been better to do it five years from now, do you think that's still true? Or are we in a new paradigm that almost makes this like a ground floor type opportunity on YouTube,


Sean Cannell 10:53

algorithmically, we are in a new paradigm that makes this a ground floor opportunity for people starting YouTube channels. Now I will admit, everything's changed, and nothing has changed. Is it too late to start a restaurant in your local city or town? No, like, you can always start a new restaurant and you could always get business. But it's also very difficult to start a restaurant? And could there be a cap on supply and demand in a local market? Certainly. So of course, all of those market dynamics still exist. But I think what people are under estimating with YouTube is that yes, competition is rising, but demand is rising even bigger. I think people underestimate the longtail opportunity that for everybody that has 10 million subscribers, there's hundreds that can have a million, there's 1000s that can have hundreds of 1000s and then there's the longtail gets super crazy. If you're in a business. We call this tam the total addressable market. If the total addressable market, for the subject matter for what it is that you're interested in for what you're communicating is large enough to support the A players, B players and C players then absolutely like anybody can do this, anybody can start a profitable restaurant, anybody can start a profitable YouTube channel, if they have alignment between their skill set their products, services, whatever it is, and the market that they are in. And then it's tried and true business practices that are going to determine whether you win or not good marketing, understanding of your market, branding, logo, whatever else the quality of the content itself, and then your perspicacity and your tenaciousness in terms of sticking with it, you open up your first restaurant, like any small business, 123 years, you're not even profitable, but you have a vision to stick with this thing and outlast the competition that gives up, you open up a new YouTube channel. And people go, you know, I tried that for three months, and like it just never really hit and you're like, what other area of life? Do you ever get extraordinary results by just trying it for three months. So if you're building it on rock solid first principles, which I believe we can prove in regards to YouTube, I think it's a mindset approach of saying, okay, algorithmically, there's opportunity, it is not too late to start. But I also wouldn't say it's in some fluffy, easy era of just like, I'm just uploading garbage videos, and I just got a million dollars and a million views. This is just so incredible. It's funny, because I know that nobody listening to this would even say that they want that and your audience much more sophisticated than that. But all of us as humans kind of fall into that, like we're looking for, you know, the latest opportunity to make money with crypto as the entire crypto world absolutely melts. Because of I think whenever you're playing for the short term, you always lose whenever you're ultimately playing for the long term, or the majority lose when you're playing for the short term. And there's a few unicorns, and those are the ones that get talked about. When you play for the long term. And you play by brick by brick, slow and steady wins, cream rises to the top no matter how many cups of coffee, you pour, then it works out and and we have the privilege of just working with so many people that are have read our book or been a part of our course or different things. We just get stories literally every day, the THiNK Media team, my team, we have a Slack channel just for stories of new channels, mid tier channels that are having breakthroughs every single day. So it depends on what kind of news you're listening to. And the news we're seeing is that no, it's not too late. It is happening as we speak, new channels are starting and succeeding and rate basically every niche.


Jay Clouse 14:32

After a quick break, Shawn and I talk about how YouTube's recommendation system works. And later we talk about the metrics and opportunities Shawn is excited about right now. So stick around. We'll be right back. Welcome back to my conversation with Sean Cannell. Before I started our YouTube channel. I thought organic traffic on YouTube all came from search. But what I've realized is that recommendations on the homepage and the sidebar can sometimes account for even more organic views. So I asked Sean whether more traffic comes from recommendations or from search results. There's no


Sean Cannell 15:03

question the most powerful method or mechanism for getting views on YouTube is the YouTube suggested system. That would include homepage suggesting a video that would include at the end of a video or beneath a video on mobile or off to the side on desktop, where other videos are seeing and YouTube's algorithm is studying, the viewer tried to understand what will bring satisfaction to them what they want to watch. And that's where virality happens, because YouTube can then start pushing it to more and more suggested, you know, people's feeds. And then based on the CTR click through rate, people see it, and people keep clicking on it, and people keep watching it. And videos can go from zero to millions of views in hours, the only way that's possible is going to be the YouTube suggested homepage is part of that ecosystem. And so that is the most powerful for quick traffic makes sense. Because search based if someone was literally typing in a phrase that they're interested in finding, that's always going to be capped by the amount of people that search that in a day, chances are, it's not a million, it's not even probably 100,000. So that's the type of traffic that could lead to 10 views a day, 50 views a day, 100 views a day. And for us, we have different channels that have all kinds of different traffic sources on our think media channel search based in a traditional sense, is actually where the majority of our traffic comes from. We are an education channel that has 21 different monetization strategies, that has a very slow and steady wins approach that has a very unbreakable base of traffic that was hard to build. Because that slower method is reveals to you the fact we've posted 2000 videos over the last few years and are just chipping away at dominating all kinds of longtail keyword phrases and terms. But the real answer to this is you should be playing in both camps. It's not either or it's both and, and so we will release some videos that are also much more mystery, curiosity, click through rate based you've all seen these videos, this one secret will double your business overnight. Okay, well, that's no one is like, hey, what's the you know, that that is that's playing to the clicking on it, it'd been recommended mentality and strategy, which is powerful. But then you have the other thing would be like how to save money on your taxes as a business owner between one and $3 million. Also powerful because someone like that, Oh, get not YouTube is owned by Google, and YouTube videos rank on Google as well. So the long tail meaning years worth of traffic you can get for very specific search terms. And here's one of the biggest opportunities for people listening to this podcast, there is an entire wave amongst whether it's my competitors, just other people teaching YouTube, who are my friends, but just other people, you know, that would be considered my competitors. And people of course, preaching the viral opposite opportunity of YouTube, there is a wave of people just throwing out the whole traditional search methodology, which I'm grateful for. Because whenever people start, you know, just leaving opportunity on the table, I get excited because I'm willing to do the work. So if you're listening to this, I just, it's it's both and and and I think if you're prepared to go slow and steady wins, which is more of an SEO search engine optimization type of play, and you understand your entire strategy business model, there's a lot of opportunity to be had, because everyone's trying to go kind of the click bait type of content, which is great, but I think you should be considering both.


Jay Clouse 18:46

This is a super tactical question. I'm really well versed in H refs, as an SEO tool for writing articles. I know they offer tooling for YouTube as well. But as someone who lives in this world has been doing this for a long time. How do you actually do your keyword research when you're playing that side of your strategy?


Sean Cannell 19:03

So my keyword research is a combination of things. I use vid IQ keyword research tool, I use vid IQs trending tool, I will use the YouTube search bar, which would be autocomplete, and Google and YouTube search bar to just get a handle on phraseology like how would this video be phrased? I will use tools even just like answer the public.com to just stimulate what is the public asking what are the question based topics people are looking for? It's a really good read research tool. I've been doing this for so long. I kind of feel like Luke Skywalker on the way to to destroy the Death Star and he finds himself you know, finally in that x wing flying down this kind of trench and he's got all the tools in front of him his little goggles and his dashboards that are going to help him shoot the torpedo down this little Little exhaust pipe, and he's like, Oh man, I hate this stuff. And then he like pulls it off. And then Obi ones like use the Force loop. And he's like, I don't need all this tech and all these this software, I'm just going to use the Force. And where I am today is I mainly just use the Force. And what I, what I mean by that is I kind of pop around on some of these different tools, but a lot of it is intuition and listening to your audience and understanding. If you know the words and the way your audience talks, because you're having conversations with your customers or your community, if you've been doing something for a while, here's the quote, The Creator, who understands the viewer, best wins, period, not to be self referential, but I believe that is my quote. But I did steal it from some business guru who said, the business owner who understands the customer best wins, period, like because if you understand the customer, and their ambitions, and their pains are what keeps them up on night, then you're gonna have any of them make a great product and have great marketing that speaks to that. They say, right, like, you will close like a sales call. If you can articulate the problem that the customer is having better than they can that is understanding like you're in their mind, you're in their psychology. So that doesn't really happen from software. And I know there's Jasper copyrighting software and stuff and who knows, maybe it will happen eventually. And and then at that point, the machines will kill us. Because if it gets that smart, but I do think it's really, if you're tuned into what is on your ideal audience's mind, what are their pain points, problems, ambitions, what's keeping them up up at night, and you do your due diligence to study copywriting a decent amount of just understanding marketing, and you're a decent writer in terms of writing titles and headlines, then it's the combination of those skill sets that that lead to crushing it from a search based and algo. And you can do a mix of both, you can write keyword rich titles that are inspiring to click that also have some mystery and curiosity to them. It's a whole art form. And so that kind of all sounds like a flex, but it just has me just been doing this for a while I can at this point, sort of just sit down, and content sort of comes out. And I also want to overemphasize that, if you listen enough, what you need an audience in the first place to do this. But if you have a community tab, which now just a few 100 subscribers on YouTube, you can have a community tab, which is like a Facebook feed in a way, you can ask questions there, if you have any kind of following on Twitter. And you you can listen to your DMS you can listen to your comments also. And you can listen to the comments on your YouTube videos and the comments on other people's videos. If you don't have an audience getting a pulse on what is the zeitgeist? What's the psychology of the community you're communicating with. And then knowing how to package content to speak to that, that's what I really feel like is going to be winning in 2023 worlds. It's what we're experiencing. And so I love the tools, but it's the tools meets the intuition and skill set that just comes from repetition and doing this a lot. And sharpening. It's basically like your hard and soft skills, sharpening your hard skills, and sharpen sharpening your soft skills of like communication, psychology, empathy, understanding audiences, talking to them love caring about the audience, and mixing those with some of the cool tools that are out there,


Jay Clouse 23:20

you open up a bunch of open loops that I want to dive down, but I'm gonna hold on a few of them here and ask a really basic question that I'm sure has a really complex answer. But I think it's important for us to talk about it, which is what gets suggested by YouTube, you've mentioned that there are all these places where YouTube suggests things, but how do you get suggested by the algorithm?


Sean Cannell 23:38

Number one, you need to create content that people actually want to watch. If you start with what do you want to create first, which is tricky, because it is YouTube, it's your tube, and plenty people have gotten famous, just like talking about their ideas. But the biggest mistake I see in our community, and I coach people all day long, and we have different groups stuff is people are making selfish content. They're like, yeah, so I just kind of want to start a channel. Here's what I want to talk about. Here's what I you know, I want to say here's what I'm thinking about. Here's what's on my mind today. It sounds like there's a bird and a Pixar movie. I think Finding Nemo that just says Me, me, me, me all the time, I think right? And that's why you're losing because you're making selfish content and only thinking about yourself. The flip side is if you make service content, it means you become obsessed with the viewer you become obsessed with what new audiences want. Saying that the best way to know what content would be suggested on YouTube would be to start with some research. How do I do market research, go on YouTube, and search different niches start exploring and going down the rabbit hole to determine are people interested in learning about cinema 4d. Oh wow. This channel is got 100,000 views this channels got 400,000 views. There's 500,000 views on these videos interesting. Are people interested in learning about Microsoft Word? Oh, wow. And even though there's this channel with a million subscribers, and of course, like almost any topic you could think about, but that's what what's going to determine one big signal of how big you could grow a YouTube channel is do any YouTube channels exist? Of what size based on the thing you want to create. So if you're thinking about starting a tech channel, pretty good niche because if MKBHD has 15 million subscribers, you getting 150 is actually pretty practical if you stick with it. So what gets suggested Of course, there's weird pockets of just random Gen Z YouTube shorts. What are we even watching of, of entertainment based stuff, which that's a whole other side of it would be the entertainment, Shore dancing, Shore Meme Meme type content, but what gets suggested is what people are interested in and it's it's, it's what there's a market for a total addressable market. And, and then that's the exciting thing, because once you find a pool of a particular type of a topic, so it could be, you could be like, is anybody into biohacking? Is anybody studying red light therapy? cryo nootropics? Sure enough, yeah, there's channels and then you're like, Okay, this is maybe the Tim Ferriss world, the Dave Asprey, bulletproof coffee world and then there's all kinds of like it's like a mind map you can spin off what gets suggested then is understanding people and understanding kind of the mind map of people which is yeah, I personally am also describing myself and by the way, one of the best ways to start a YouTube channel is to make a channel for you one to two years ago I know I said selfish for service but if you think about the viewer first, but you serve out of your own expertise, passion, curiosity, then you're gonna have a winning combination there so I don't actually do anything biohacking related, but I believe I could be very successful in that niche. Why? Because I'm the guinea pig. I have red light therapy panels on my walls I read about it I study about it. I geek out with other people people were trying to do cold plunges now, you know, we're getting into all kinds of weird stuff. What's happening in stem cells. What's happening? I just bought liver King supplements man, I'm eating testicle now. Like, it's like I got I got liver, you know, bovine testicle on my diet. Now I'm buying real liver from the butcher. So and like, and then you can start digging, if you are also a consumer, if you're an intentional consumer, that's a big mistake people make and why they fail on YouTube, is they don't even consume YouTube, they haven't even done like step one of Sunsoo Art of War, like understand the enemy like actually go study the battlefield, like actually go look at your niche or your potential niche to see okay, this kind of contents working, this is what's happening. And then you're also seeing how much interest there is, it's like seeing just because there's 10 coffee shops in your city is not an indication that you should not start a coffee shop, it probably is an indication that you should because there's so much demand for coffee. And so that's I think the exciting part is realizing the demand that these different subcultures and sub niches have endless, like weird pockets of of deeper nuance. For example, biohacking superhuman, Dave Asprey, and all this different stuff that you could you could create niches within niches. And then what gets suggested what gets suggested long answer to the question is, is that once YouTube discerns that me Sean Cannell is a weird biohacking guy. And I watched Rogan talk about some new tropics, and then started watching a Dave Asprey video and then learn 10 facts about cold plunge. YouTube knows a lot about me. So they will recommend me other stuff in that they start realizing the way the algorithm rhythm works is okay, this particular person, we're gonna recommend them three videos while they clicked on these two videos. And they watched almost to the end, okay, we're learning more about them. We're learning more about this other person. And it's a web of interconnected communication that's trying to kind of profile and stereotype people in a good way. Because now it's understanding your user behavior, what you're interested in what's providing satisfaction, and therefore, the opportunity for the creator is to understand audiences, the Creator who understands the audience best wins, because if you tap into that's why I would love to start a new Tropics biohacking health related channel, because of who I could interview because of the topics I could talk about, because of what I'm doing myself, because of the affiliate marketing opportunities there because the brand new opportunities there, like it's a whole business model that I could print, based on my experience, up until this point, I got plenty to do and I'm not doing that at this point. And if somebody wants to steal that idea, and resonates with my weird obsessive behaviors, then by all means, please take the idea. But but it's it's sort of like, you know, inevitable that it would succeed if you could create some decent content and this his business one on one, its supply and demand. There is demand for nootropic biohacking. like Tony Robbins new book, book, lifeforce, all this new stuff and health, there's demand for it. And there's lots of content out there. But there's more demand than content. And so you could have all kinds of opportunity to create that. That's where you're suggested is going to be used to your advantage.


Jay Clouse 30:21

When we come back, Shawn, and I talk about video metrics and how he utilizes trending topics. So don't go anywhere. We'll be right back. Hey, welcome back. As you learn more about YouTube, you'll start hearing people talk a lot about two metrics in particular, CTR, which stands for click through rate, and AIVD, which stands for average view duration, click through rate is the percentage of people who see your video recommended and choose to watch it. An average view duration is how long the average viewer watches the video. So I asked Shawn, if he believes in these two metrics as a guide,


Sean Cannell 30:56

yes, it's an oversimplification, that would be true, and it is true, because those are the metrics, you still might understand those metrics, but not be getting the results. So the conversation needs to broaden a little bit. And you know, in our book, YouTube secrets, Second Edition, we talk about the perfect video recipe, and the perfect video recipe is the big idea, the hook, the content and the transition, we start with the big idea. And the big idea is where the opportunity lies. The big idea includes three things, the title, the thumbnail, but in my opinion, most importantly, the topic itself. So click through rate and add. I've seen channels that go my click through rate 66%, which is insane. And I'm like, Well, yeah, you have 100 subscribers, they're all really engaged, but you're not growing, but like everybody who's there is clicking. So I mean, so so it's such a broad number, you can't really narrow it down, like click through rate on videos that I have that have millions of views is 2%. But it's been it gets 10,000 impressions an hour, and 2% of 10,000 impressions keep clicking on it for the last five years. So click through rate is driven down. As video succeed, more average view duration also gets driven down. It's how what's its resilience? How much can it hold as it keeps being expanded to wider audiences. So if you're stuck, it comes back to unfortunately, it comes back to like 87 different things, you know, whether it's like we can look at the content itself editing, but the biggest opportunity, I would argue is topic, meaning you could be a channel is doing an interview show, and they interview somebody once a week. And they're uploading 45 minute podcasts, and video podcasts. And they always have an interview show they have kind of a broad title, and they're like I feel stuck. So what is some of the opportunity? Well, the opportunity would be number one, chopping down, clips out of that maybe and going different formats, four minute videos, eight minute videos, 12 minute videos, and not just 45 minute videos, if you somebody commented on a very unique business insight around Amazon being the first company to ever lose a trillion dollars in market cap. And what you might notice I'm talking about influence surfing and trend surfing here meaning I'm talking about news hot topics. Let's focus on the word topic. So channel's breakout opportunity is tapping into some hot topics. Let me give another example that might resonate with your audience. There's a lot of digital agencies out there a lot of digital advertising agencies, they want more clients. And they're talking about like four tips for how to run a Facebook ad, they're talking about seven things business owners should know about Facebook ads, and they're making this kind of like content, that's fine, kind of boring. And they're getting kind of boring results when iOS 14 rolled out originally. And every digital marketer lost their mind, because now you weren't gonna have information and targeting was going to be messed up and what was going to be happening. That was the topic that every agency should have been talking about 99.9% We're not. So that's why they were losing. So everyone's out here. I'm uploading videos, I'm interviewing somebody, I'm talking about valuable stuff. And it's like, yeah, and that that has its place, but that it's also hard to get results with that when no one knows you yet. So how do you break out of obscurity, you got to start playing a strategic game with topics that could give you awareness and growth and discoverability. You also should probably never leave that strategy. But fast forward to having 10,000 or 100,000 subscribers. Of course, you could just put out really quality content and interviews with people. But how do you get discovered in the first place? That's going to most likely happen from talking about the right thing and trend surfing and influencing influencer, if it would be your best strategy to be even more specific. We recently had our first really viral Tiktok and I know we're talking about YouTube, but it got 26 million views. So I interviewed Patrick by David who's a master at this, and he has a channel called Value tainment and in my interview of him, I was very intentional. So just create bring a list of topics to bring up to him. So I was like, Hey, Mr. Beast, sold his company or I got offered a billion dollars for his company, what do you have to say about it? And his response, and that clip got 26 million views. Not only that, if we spin off into some niche strategy, we now post vertical videos on Tiktok Facebook reels, slept on opportunity, Pinterest vertical video, nobody knew that was happening. YouTube shorts, Instagram reels and LinkedIn. Yes, every the way we posted is intentional, but it's the same vertical video across platforms, which is an incredibly leveraged opportunity, all that to say is it's like, two 50 million views on Facebook. 26 million views on it actually only got 225,000 views on YouTube. But here's the point. It was the topic and the vertical video before that was on whatever, three tips for how to get more YouTube views, which is great. That's what I teach. But also might be it's more saturated. It's more like yes, my subscribers and diehard audience want to click on that. But we've also heard that before. But guess what? news and trends, you've never could say you've heard that before, because they're always happening in real time. Like we didn't know FTX was going to absolutely bomb and everyone's putting out great stories about it right now. And whoever the dude that just lost $16 billion, like super fascinating ColdFusion videos got like a couple million views that came out like yesterday topic, like they're talking about what's happening in the world. And then the key here, because the listener might say, Yeah, but like, I'm not just a troll, I'm not a news company. I'm not just gonna follow trends. The art form is figuring out which topics can be related to whatever it is you're trying to do in your business, or whatever channel you're trying to grow. Maybe you shouldn't talk about technology, but there's hot topics and health, there's hot topics and relationship. There's trending people in all these spaces. That's the skill set, my friend have like, of cracking out of being stuck in your views. And it's not even something you have to do forever. Everybody listening to this is one video away one video away from changing their life, their business and the YouTube channel, they start forever, because one video can put you on the map so that just your day to day passion of slow and steady, valuable content now has awareness that you even exist, but this art form of tapping into understanding trending topics. And again, iOS 14, like that's not like a trending talk. It's just affected all marketers and businesses. So it was the right thing to talk about. My friend comes to Vegas every year to a concrete convention. He owns a concrete company. I don't even know there could be a convention but I'm like what's happening in concrete? Is there that machine? Okay, apparently 10s of 1000s of people with booths that are buzzing at the bar at five o'clock. Did you see what's happening? Every industry has relevant top of mind things people are thinking about it is your job listening to this to be an expert, marketer and content creator to learn this skill set. That's how you're going to win. outpace your competition continue to dominate and recession proof your business because if you understand Understand this, you're gonna be unstoppable.


Jay Clouse 38:12

So how are you and your team thinking about the future of video on Twitter now that Elon has taken over and said that that might be a priority?


Sean Cannell 38:20

I'm thinking about going all in. I mean, I know Elon was like, as of this exact moment, we can upload 45 minutes. Like if he was to open that up in the past, I would always get a little anxious, a little frustrated, I would wake up when something new would come along, I'd wake up and I'd be like, do my back hurts. Are you kidding me? Chris does vertical video now you know, I've got a 10 week old boy and a two year old boy. And I'd be like, Give me a break. Like I I'm I can't handle this. I don't want another thing. If you're listening to this as a solo creator, and the side hustle season, you got to be very selective with your time and your energy and how you're where you're deploying that. But I'm in an opportunity where I have leverage leverage of in two forms, dollars and human resources. And the ability to deploy dollars to hire more human resources be that w two employee, contractor or agency. So the OB I just am experiencing the positive ROI of investing in more content done properly. And that'd be the huge key. So I just think about Twitter as another mountain to tackle and I guess maybe a nuanced personal answer to that question. There's a great book called who not how and the wrong question entrepreneurs ask his man, how am I going to embrace Twitter video, I'm too busy. How am I going to how are we going to actually take the videos we're doing and chop them up for Twitter? How are we going to figure out best practices on Twitter and it's the wrong question. The right question is who is going to run Twitter for my business? I think there's there it's a worthwhile thought exercise to think of every social media platform almost has its own business. Like right now I pay an agency for $1,000 to make me one tick tock A day that is 31 Tic TOCs a month. And by the way, it is a tick tock. They're logged in, they upload it. But it's what does that even mean? It's actually just a vertical video. And guess what we use those on the other six platforms I mentioned. Here's my question, then. What's the ROI of that? The ROI is measured by LinkedIn bio clicks, which are terrible, by the way, Link tree on tick tock follower growth. So then I asked, okay, can I do brand deals, I was just reached out from somebody that wants to pay us specifically to do brand deals on tick tock. Okay, so And by the way, so if I didn't make money, even upfront, am I willing to invest that money for a couple of months to then ROI that later? So then I'm like, okay, then I think about what's just the Brand Lift may be hard to measure, maybe nearly impossible to measure from discoverability of my face, our content awareness, that then I've seen that person and just how many brand impressions does it take to build trust and they maybe meet us on another platform, you don't really move audiences like we don't move audiences from tick tock to YouTube doesn't happen. There might be some brand transfer, but But then, the easy one for me was okay, but yes, because we get these vertical video assets. We upload those on Facebook reels, Facebook real just got 10 million views. That audience may or may not be targeted with paid media, but I just got 14,000 Facebook likes per week. So I can follow up with retargeting and paid ads to a direct ROI of the vertical creative that we pay the agency to make on Tik Tok. So the long tail is, is okay, so I'm investing real dollars on tick tock, as a small business owner would add a potential negative for 123456 months. But as a system is built around that, that now is also expanding that tick tock across multiple platforms to attribute ROI back to you know, Affer mentioned, however far back, you want to trace that, and then you fast forward to tic tock earning money in and of itself. I bring, I apply all of that to Twitter, to say, okay, maybe it's a social media admin, I just looked it up in Nevada, the salary of a social of social media administrative or administrative assistant is $38,000, or something like that. So could $40,000 a year, be deployed for someone to eat, sleep, breathe, and live Twitter only. I don't even know what they would do all day at this point. But it's a good thought exercise, and then say that person probably would do multiple things. If they're also coming in, that's good. But that's a lower wage. But if they want to come in and hustle for the leadership, development of working with think media, and then grow into 5060, and beyond and some profit share some other things, I would think about adding more personnel, more manpower, I believe that social media in a 2023 world is a team sport, if you're going to execute, especially across multiple platforms. So that's a long answer to how I'm thinking about Twitter, no doubt about it, I'm thinking about it. And I'm thinking about who not how I'm thinking about if we're going to do the platform, right. And if we could attribute ROI to the platform, and if we could take even a risk on it. Because for the smart entrepreneur with resources, if we bet 40k In a salary, and I don't know, another 1020 30, on, on content, or whatever, you know, I don't know. And we lost, I'm betting on my own business, like I'm betting on Twitter, it's like opening a division. I'm going to experiment on Twitter, because Elon is there. And let's play and let's get the check mark, we can't get the check mark, I don't even know let's open more Twitter accounts. Let's, you know, you could do some different things. That that I think we're playing in a world where it's worth thinking this way. And of course, it's self awareness about where you're at. I'm recognizing I'm a very niche use case and everything I just described. But for the new person starting, it could be new ground that you bet on, because it's going to change with Elon there, and you do invest more energy. But yeah, we're in a complex world of time, money and resource allocation. And in my opinion, that's the question as it pertains to Twitter, not whether or not you should do it or not, the answer would be yes. It's just what are your other competing objectives? platforms? And where would that sit in your queue? And maybe you don't have the bandwidth to get to it? Maybe we don't? I'm asking how can we create that by the deploying of our resources?


Jay Clouse 44:12

I've heard you mentioned a couple times now Facebook reels, and you talked about that in your interview with Chris doe as well. I just thought that Facebook reels were pulled over from Instagram reels, and I'm realizing that I think I'm completely wrong. So can you talk a little bit about Facebook reels and where they live and how that works?


Sean Cannell 44:28

Number one, Jay, I have no idea. Okay. Number two, I recently posted some reels natively on Instagram, and they didn't get pulled over. And I was super frustrated, because then I was like, How do I even download this and post this and the music is native and there's software that can strip the music, but then is it if it's not done properly? Is it going to get a copyright strike because it wasn't through the flat form? So that was a unhelpful answer. What I can tell you is you can upload them natively as well. They can get pulled over from Instagram Now that would be your highest leverage, you absolutely should do that. By the way, you should also connect up your stories. So for most people just to create as much leverage as possible, do Instagram well connects Instagram to Facebook. So that real is you post on Instagram also go to Facebook, and actually maybe I'm answering my own question. There was a point where Facebook rules were only 30 seconds. So 60 wouldn't go. But if it was 30, it would. And maybe that's why it didn't this, this would all be frustrating to the listener. But I think the bigger principle is, is is commitment and what we ethic meet, I think our philosophy is we are committed and convinced of the simplest way to summarize, it would be a classic term to just say, in content marketing, like content marketing works. digital advertising works, like so we're committed to that. But then realizing that like the moving target of understanding formats, what's working now? What are the best practices at this moment? What's happening that's new. And again, I think it was Brian, who told me he goes, as you know, use Facebook rails. And again, I was recently on a trip and someone was like, you've heard about portrait, Pinterest vertical video, and they had gotten $13,000 over the last, you know, six months from the Pinterest vertical video, beta crater font, and I was like, What are you talking about? Back to my back hurts, dude, I don't need another platform. What are you talking about? But and then I was, you know, I get discouraged and overwhelmed and anxious for 10 minutes, and then my mind's flips into, okay. Let's let's get it up. You know, let's figure out why not. And then it's kind of like the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, you know, his poor dad would say we can't afford it. And the rich dad would say, how can we afford it? That's the mindset everybody listening to this needs to have? It's a weight, you know, not, ah, I can't do another platform. It's how could I embrace that platform? And then better questions? How can I do it simply? How can I do it without much more work? How could I connect it? How can I just connect my facebook fanpage take the 22 minutes to figure that out to my Instagram, so that I just keep doing the exact same thing I'm doing. And I have this benefit. And then I ignore it for a year for God. I was even posting Facebook reels, and then look back and be like, Oh my gosh, one went viral got 420,000 views. And that's like crazier than anything I've happened. I got 5000 New likes, where did this flood of new people calling us or emailing us or wanting to work with us or hire us come from? Because I set up systems. And I took some time to just embrace the opportunities that are coming on these platforms.


Jay Clouse 47:42

I hope you learned as much from this conversation as I did. Sean clearly believes that there is still a great opportunity to get started on YouTube. And after eight months of building this channel, I would have to say that I agree with him. If you wanna learn more about Sean fine THiNK Media TV here on YouTube, or check out his book, YouTube secrets. Links to all that are in the show notes. Thanks to Sean for being on the show. Thank you to Connor Conroy for editing the video for this episode. Thank you to Emily Krauss for making the artwork for this episode. Thanks to Nathan Todhunter for mixing the show and Brian skill for creating our music. Do you like this episode? You can tweet at Jay Clouse and let me know if you really want to say thank you. Please leave a review on Apple podcasts or Spotify. Thanks for listening, and I'll talk to you next week.