How can streamers and vloggers get a new audience? On YouTube, an impressive part of the viewers come through recommendations: the site’s algorithms analyze user behavior in dozens of parameters and offer videos that should match the preferences and keep viewers interested. The detailed formula is not disclosed, but it is believed that the more people watch the video to the end, the more often it is recommended. It is also important to choose topics that are of interest to a wide audience: the more views, the more recommendations. But what if the creative impulses of the author do not find a response from the algorithms?
The discussion on Twitter was started by video blogger and wife of PokerStars Team Pro Ben Spragg, Marley, who became famous for emotional blogs and biting humor: in one of the videos she went to the casino to look for a poker player boyfriend, but found that she had already slept with everyone. In another, she went to earn money on a buy-in at a strip club.
The question was: what, ideally, should be the ratio of content that the author likes and that which is well promoted by YouTube algorithms?
Content creators: what’s the ideal ratio of making content you really like to making content the algo really likes?— Marle Spragg (@MarleSpragg) July 30, 2022
The 50/50 option turned out to be the most popular, but most of the commentators were much more radical. “If money is not important, then obviously 100 to 0,” replied Jamie Staples (90 thousand subscribers on YouTube). But he immediately hesitated: “Or maybe first gain subscribers, and then show them what you really like?”. But Patrick Leonard remained categorical: “Always 100 to 0. So there are more chances to hold out for a long time and gain an audience. Algorithms and money – all this will settle itself over time. And if everyone follows the algorithms, you are more likely to remain unique.”
“This path requires deep immersion in the process and self-confidence. And the social networks themselves still program us to strive for fame and growth in the number of subscribers,” Marle reasonably noted. Professional vlogger and GipsyTeam expert Nikki Limo (550 thousand subscribers) urged to take off rose-colored glasses: “In an ideal world, of course, 100 to 0. But in reality, for some time you will definitely have to do 20 to 80. 100 to 0 is possible only at the start and closer to shutting down a blog when money and growth don't play a big role. But in the middle, grinding and consistency are important.”
Marle herself remains closer to the romantics: "The pleasure of a well-made video cannot be compared with any increase in subscribers." Live reg Jaman Burton (44,000) agrees with her: “99/1. To be honest, I only make videos for myself.”
One of the most popular poker vloggers, Andrew Neeme (177k), was motivated by the survey to share a full-fledged creative drama. Problems for him were created not so much by YouTube algorithms as by the requests of their own audience.
This question has kept me awake for years. I came to YouTube when I burned out from grinding. I liked the poker pro lifestyle, but I never liked the competition and the cramming of theory. The media then only talked about high rollers, and not about simple grinders. Then I stumbled upon the Casey Neistat channel and saw what incredible things you can do on YouTube: create full-fledged stories, tell something useful, be creative with the choice of shots, music, editing ...
My burnout from grinding, examples of talented videos and an empty niche in the poker media space. As a real procrastinator, I thought about creating a vlog for about six months, until I finally decided to do something. As a result, I started a channel about the life of poker players – about interesting people, about beautiful places. Choosing the right music, where a drone flies beautifully over the Aria casino, gives me ten times more pleasure than retelling a well-played hand.
And then I looked into the analytics. The problem is that the audience, unlike me, is not burned out from the grind, but wants more hands. In the statistics, you can see which parts of the video the viewer skips most often – and this is always the “creative” part. Of course, creativity is subjective: what I consider to be a great selection of music will seem like crap to a certain percentage of people. And someone does not care about the design – and they immediately go to poker.
YouTube doesn't like it when videos are rewound. Algorithms reward viewer retention.
Therefore, a professional poker vlogger needs to give the audience what they want – more hands! People don't rewind hands, they rewind everything else to get to the hands as quickly as possible. Maximum action, minimum everything else – and YouTube will reward you.
The exact opposite of why I started blogging.
For the most part, it doesn't matter. The poker vlogger wants to cram more drone footage into the video, but wonders if Ako had enough hands in the session.
Of course, the correct answer is 100 to 0, I marked it in the survey. But this is a choice that, in reality, I personally did not have the courage.
We decided to ask some European streamers about how often they have to compromise.
A very interesting question, in fact, which essentially touches on some unresolved moments of an existential crisis for me.
But luckily, I can at least imagine that someday my content will be 100-0 in favor of what I want to do. Because many simply cannot afford it because it makes less money, which in essence makes unorthodox videos less appealing.
In fact, views depend on how many recommendations of your video YouTube gives out. They are converted into views quite confidently, just with a very low percentage – 10% is just an exorbitant figure in fact (I hope my YouTube manager does not come to laugh at me later in a personal). As a result, you either follow the demands of the public, or become a niche content creator (whom I began to respect very much when I got to know YouTube better).
Of course, sometimes public requests can be fulfilled simply as a financial contract, where you are a hired performer, this is not a problem at all.
Basically, for me, it all comes down to the question: “What version of himself does the author want to show the public? To what extent is this image (including as a way to separate from the audience like a screen in order to cope with the psychological consequences of constant contact with criticism) only a tool for making money?" And if not for money, then how then will the author answer the question, why is it all for him, if you avoid the banal superficial answers that are needed in order not to answer “money”.
Andrey "BabySharkl4" Kozlenko
I never adapt to algorithms, because I don’t really understand how YouTube promotes poker videos specifically. Therefore, I simply record those videos that are supposed to be of interest to my viewer. In five years, I realized what people like: final table breakouts, subscribers and regulars, interesting educational content. Ideally, you need variety – it can be cash games, Omaha, analysis, and streams. The more diverse the content, the more people we capture. A person who has only played cash games may be interested in MTTs, and vice versa.
It is clear that if I did not like the analysis, I would not do them. First of all, I do what I like, and if I like it, then I can make content more often and more productively, not feel like at work.
I don't think there is anything reprehensible in the desire to show your work to the maximum number of people. Otherwise, why do it? In any case, the quality of the content is always in the first place, but not everyone can be tops. Therefore, I normally and calmly focus on the algorithms.
Dmitry "spr3216" Kukhtarev
I agree with those who say that you need to make videos for algorithms if you want the fastest possible growth of the channel. If we analyze the most popular videos on poker topics, it becomes obvious that the hand analysis videos with the solver will never get many views, as they will be of interest to a very narrow circle of people, despite the fact that the poker community is already small. Therefore, I can say to myself that I mainly make videos that I want to make. If I start aiming for subscriber growth, I will start making videos in the "Top Five Bluffs of Tom Dwan format."
Mikhail "Minthon" Yakovlev
I myself often thought about this in one format or another, but here the problem is sharply structured and formulated.
I remember being very impressed when I got on Babyshark's stream a year+ ago. It was a very solid online format 3-5k YouTube + 1-3k twitch. Bomb numbers for poker. He was focused on the game, but never for a second forgot to talk about his social networks. And he showed his cards and talked basic strategy (for a mass new audience, this is definitely not a mistake): he will open YouTube right on the stream and show it, here is our channel, here are analyzes, here are vids, here are streams, here with a top poker player with millions of profits, here is the cart , here are announcements, then lo and behold, subscribe. And he often did.
Obviously, this is the right story, but, it can be an “aggravating circumstance”. On the one hand, this is the purest and most honest self-advertising, he streams on his own, cuts content and talks about everything in an understandable language, not clickbait like a title BILLION DOLLAR TOURNAMENT, everything is honest. But it distracts from the process of the game, and it's quite annoying, for most (for me personally, for sure). In such a situation, I want to focus on the the moment, get high views from live streams, enjoy the deep runs, and it WORKED for the future (which is worthy of respect for a content creator).
And Andrew Neeme talks about it: videos and arrangements, the creative process, from which he gets good views, because poker is welcoming.
For myself, I rather chose the model also already mentioned above – to cut content from which I get high views, and people will be drawn. It turns out obviously longer, the numbers are growing more slowly, but I want to believe that this path still takes place. Just likes and numbers online is a pretty stressful thing, you can decently dig in and then not raise your head, you just burn out. If you want to miss a day or, say, are not in the mood, and you are sitting down – it's not so scary, but constantly overpowering yourself will be tough. All the same, there is no ideal setup, and when you break through some tangible number of 100-200+ viewers online, you definitely won’t be able to please all of them. No matter what you do, there will be an audience who will say “grind a lot / a little, go cash / mtt, stream more / less / start earlier, start a micro-limits marathon or load $5,000 from yourself."
Of the main adjustments, I have noticed that MTTs get more viewers, so I try to scrape together a tournament session for 7+ hours instead of three hours of cash on boring days. And do not forget about the main rule – consistency! If there will be content, there will be an audience. But I am a happy person in this regard, I don’t have to force myself much, I like to stream most of the time, so I come with my head held high and I’m happy to be on the stream.
You can talk for a long time and listen to opinions, I think there is no right answer, since the main goal is always to get vitality + EV. Yes, it is an indisputable fact that adjusting to algorithms and viewer requests will increase views online, earnings will increase, but it is far from a fact that this will make you happier if you have to step over yourself in many ways.