Retrospective: 4 years on YouTube

Every year I sit down and take a look at how my YouTube channel has been doing. I reflect, evaluate, and set goals for the coming year. This year is no exception. January 13th, 2020, marks my fourth year on YouTube. Time to do a little retrospective.

Previous years: 2017, 2018, 2019.

Stats for 2019

Let’s start with the raw statistics for 2019 and see how they compare to the year before:

  • Fourth year on YouTube (up from 3 years 🤪)
  • 11 new videos uploaded (↘️ down from 17 last year)
  • 3,245,598 views (↘️ down from 5,177,555 last year)
  • 38,264 new subscribers (↘️ down from 95,205 last year)
  • 3:27 average time watched (↘️ down from 3:47)

Overall, 2019 was a year of much slower growth. I uploaded 35% fewer videos, and in return, I got 37% fewer views and 60% fewer new subscribers. That seems fair. Make fewer videos, get fewer views & subscribers in return. I can’t complain about that.

Part of the reason for this decline is still my choice of not making more videos related to cryptocurrencies. My most popular video explains how Blockchains work, and that drew in a lot of new subscribers. After they got onto the channel, I started making fewer videos about cryptocurrencies which puts some people off (something I also addressed last year). Every new video I upload sees a period of subscriber decline before growing again.

Not much I can do about that. I want to keep distancing myself from cryptocurrencies and make it clear: I want to make videos about anything. If I find it interesting, I put it in a video. I’m not going to produce content to please my audience because that’s not sustainable.

(Achieved) Goals from 2019

But hold on! What were the goals for 2019 again?

  • Produce more videos
  • Make more videos with me talking in front of a green screen
  • Distance myself from the cryptocurrency space.

How did I do? Well, I didn’t make more videos, but I did use my green screen more often, and I only made three videos about cryptocurrencies. Not too bad. Maybe last year’s goals weren’t ambitious enough?

Goals for 2020

Now we arrive at a dangerous point: setting goals for the coming year. Many people find it an extra challenge this year because 2020 is “the start of a new decade.” Allow me to proceed by treating it as just another year ;)

Here are my goals:

  • Reach 200k subscribers (46k to go)
  • Find my rhythm again and produce more videos.
  • Make some tutorials again!
  • Bring this website & Simply Explained close together

First of all, an “easy-ish” goal: get a bit more subscribers than this year and reach 200,000. This amount still baffles me, thinking that there are 200k people out there that believe I have content worth subscribing for. Wow! I wouldn’t have imagined this when I started four years ago.

Then there is the goal to produce more videos. I always say that Simply Explained is not about quantity but rather about quality. Still, I feel it should be possible to produce a new video every 2-3 weeks. The reason why I didn’t make as many videos last year was simple: side projects. Well, that and the fact that I wasted a lot of time. I didn’t invest enough time in my YouTube channel. Time to pick that up again in 2020!

The third goal is to start making some tutorials again. It’s what I initially started with, and I feel it’s time to bring it back. Right now, I’m thinking about making a series on how to build IoT devices. Thoughts?

Finally, I want to work on (personal) branding. I have both a blog and a YouTube channel, which are all about educating people and showing how stuff works. Yet, these two entities feel very different. Aside from the logo, nothing is tying them together. My website is particular, doesn’t feel personal, and hasn’t been updated in quite a while. So stay tuned for that ;)

Memberships

With the goals out of the way, it’s time for an experiment. I just enabled memberships on the Simply Explained channel. For now, I only have two tiers:

  • €1,99 -> Adblock absolution. Don’t feel guilty for using an Adblocker
  • €3,99 -> Get a sneak-peak behind the scenes. I’ll try to post videos about how I make videos (how meta) and time-lapses of my recordings.

Let’s see what happens ;)

A big thank you 🙌

To end with, I want to thank everyone who watched one of my videos in 2019. You totally rock!

I wish you all a great start of the new decade & don’t forget: keep learning because the moment you stop, you’ll get old (Henry Ford).

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