As a millennial, it wouldn’t come as a surprise that I’m not the biggest fan of sitting in front of my tv and watching cable programs. In fact, I tend to spend a solid amount of my free time watching YouTube. I’m currently subscribed to about ten different channels, and this comes after I’ve unsubscribed from an additional five or so. What can I say? I watch a lot of YouTube. But I don’t just aimlessly indulge in the content and then move on with my day. I’m always intrigued by the numbers that these YouTube videos produce; whether we’re talking about the number of views, the number of likes, or the number of comments, I can’t help but pay attention to just how big some of these channels really are. Let’s discuss the engagement between an influencer and their audience.
How? Well, in theory—a channel with a large subscriber base should bring in a substantial amount of views, right? It would only make sense. A channel with 8 million subscribers shouldn’t perform nearly as well as a channel with say 15 or even 20 million subscribers. But that’s not always the case. In fact, I’d like to talk a little bit about two YouTube channels in particular that I am a huge fan of, and the treasure trove that is audience engagement.
You see, the average YouTube channel should expect their viewership per video to land around 8-12 percent of their subscriber count. That’s just how the metrics for practically anything on social networking sites will behave. Users with one million followers on Instagram will get around eighty to a hundred thousand likes. Just because someone follows you, doesn’t mean that they will engage with your content.
So if we keep that in mind, a channel with 15 million subs should expect roughly around 1.5 million views per video, and a channel with around 7.5 million subs should expect around 750,000 views per video right? For the most part yes. But once again, that’s not always the case. To illustrate how massive audience engagement can be for a creator, I want to talk about two of my favorite YouTube channels, Penguinz0 and Babish Culinary Universe (or as most know him, Binging With Babish).
Let’s Start With Babish
Babish, also known as Andrew Rea, runs the culinary YouTube channel Babish Culinary Universe (or BCU). The title of his channel used to be Binging with Babish, where he would recreate popular food dishes from film, and bring them to life. The channel would also teach its audience how to prepare actual cuisine with real recipes. This segment is known as Basics with Babish. There is also a tiny portion of the universe known as Being with Babish.
In this segment, Andrew would request his audience’s assistance by having them recommend loved ones; those who are fans of the show but happened to have fallen on hard times, to receive a special once-in-a-lifetime surprise from Babish himself. This segment has produced the least amount of episodes but has made the biggest impact.
These three elements of Andrew’s channel became so big, that instead of sticking with just one of them for the channel’s overall title, he opted to house them underneath the new moniker Babish Culinary Universe. Now, Babish isn’t the largest YouTube channel by any means; hell, he isn’t even the largest food-related channel. But his audience is so passionate about what he creates, that one could be fooled into thinking that he’s bigger than he is because of the engagement.
I’ve watched a Babish episode premiere, and within the hour, it’s racked up 100,000 views. YouTube channels with double the subscriber count sometimes can’t pull that off. Is it possible that he just spends a ton on marketing every single one of his episodes? Definitely. But those results will truly show their colors after an extended period of time. I’m talking engagement within an hour or two. Besides, once you’ve developed your maniacal audience, your reputation does all of the marketing for you. He wouldn’t need to put out advertisements for his content as if he’s just starting out with intentions of spreading the word. This engagement and loyalty are what have allowed him to create several (very expensive might I add) episodes of Being with Babish; where he is able to buy a Tesla for someone, or pay off someone’s mortgage for several years. Babish Culinary Universe currently has 8.69 million subscribers. 10 percent of that figure, which should account for an episode’s entire lifespan, is regularly achieved within a day.
Does that mean it will grow at that rate every day? Of course not. But to achieve your lifespan goal in a matter of a day or two is beyond comprehensible. This manic devotion from his audience has allowed Andrew to land features in GQ, Mashed, and The New York Times to name a few. If I Google the word “binging,” his videos will pop up on the first page. Remember, he’s just a YouTuber. But he’s one whose audience engagement allows him to be so much more. When you’re a big dog that puts up numbers similar to the biggest of dogs, then they’d better start making room for you at the table.
Charles White, AKA Penguinz0, AKA MoistCr1tikal
Now, let’s talk about a greasy gamer whose audience engagement most certainly puts that of Andrew’s to shame. He has one of the goofiest names on YouTube, but man does this guy do some big ass numbers very, very quickly.
Penguinz0. Also known as Moist Critikal, but formally known as Charles White. Charlie is a gamer. He’s currently a variety gamer but began his popularity journey through the crucible of Gears of War and Call of Duty montage videos. Let me just go ahead and get this out of the way. Charlie’s numbers are wacky. They are absolutely astonishing. His content puts up the biggest numbers for a channel his size that I’ve ever seen in my life. His YouTube videos will achieve lifespan numbers for other creators in a matter of minutes.
You read that correctly.
For example, one of his recent videos titled “The Worst YouTuber Is Back,” gained a mind-melting 99,000 views in only 11 minutes. ELEVEN! MINUTES! Most channels would be grateful to peak at that amount. Charlie probably takes longer than that to finish his lunch. His audience is so devoted to his content that it’s honestly a little unsettling. His videos regularly reach 1 million views in a day. And it’s not as if he’s uploading huge projects that take weeks and builds anticipation. Not even close. The aforementioned The Worst YouTuber Is Back is a video of just his comments on a YouTube channel that he finds appalling. It’s literally just Charlie talking to his camera.
What makes Charlie so enjoyable to watch is that not only does he try out practically any video game, but he also does opinionated commentary videos and he builds projects with his friends. This is all delivered in a stone-faced deadpan style that only amplifies the words that are projected from his mouth. This man is not only excellent at video games, but he is hands down one of the funniest human beings that I’ve ever come across.
Now, can the same be said about possibly running ads for views? Sure. But honestly, I don’t even think ads can produce the kind of numbers as quickly as he does organically. What I’ve come to notice with YouTube channels and this kind of content in general, is that the audience is always more interested in the personal side of the creator, as opposed to what they actually do for a living. For example, some of Charlie’s biggest videos are his reaction videos, where he will give his opinion on content that he’s come across on the web. He’s also a video game streamer on twitch, and some of his biggest nights are his “YouTube nights,” where he’ll just watch YouTube videos with his fans.
It’s this personal connection that his fans feel that they have with him. This is what drives their fandom. That and the absolutely zany content that he uploads, leaves his viewers salivating for more.
As I mentioned recently, he’s also a streamer on twitch. The channel has accumulated 2.6 million followers. That is a very high number. But not astronomical. My favorite streamer on twitch has 1.4 million followers. In theory, you would think that streamer B would do around half the viewership as Charlie does. That is not the case. Charlie’s channel easily pulls in around 8K viewers on average. Streamer B averages around 1K. That is audience engagement. There are no ads to boost viewership unless it’s a stream that can land you on the front page of Twitch. This is all organic.
Because of his rabid fan base, Charlie has been able to release full-fledged music videos with his band “The Gentlemen.” He’s been able to purchase warehouses in a partnership with G-Fuel to execute his wacky sex toy-related experiments. He’s launched a content management company with clients like Rob Gronkowski. He’s your favorite gamer’s favorite gamer.
Are these guys the biggest content creators ever? Far from it. But they’ve been able to consistently grab the attention of their fans at a more than above-average rate. They do massive numbers in very little time. They’ve displayed the power of a community and what it can do for the creator and one another. I wanted to write this article to show that one doesn’t need to be the most popular creative just so they can put up similar numbers to them. By staying consistent, and attempting to think outside o the box, anybody can reserve a seat at the table with the big dogs.
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