All Aboard the YouTube Train

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All Aboard the YouTube Train!

In part two of our higher education social media posts on #PSEWEB we highlight and analyse key social media stats.  However, we needed to edit a few items out of our jam-packed post.  We pick those items off the cutting-room floor and give them an airing here.

Too Much Under Watched Video?

Those channels have generated over 131 million views of the 48,500 uploaded videos: a significant investment in content creation. But, not all content is created equal. And, to understand how unequal we analysed a sub-set of 12,500 videos, ranking their relative number of views.  The results are summarised in the chart below, which indicates that about 13% of videos account for 80% of all views – perhaps suggesting that quality should trump quantity?

line graph showing proportion of YouTube content that accounts for most views

Chart 1: Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions: Analysis of Proportion of YouTube Content Accounting for Views

Brevity is the Soul of Wit

To learn more from the YouTube data we analysed views and duration for each year that Canadian post-secondary institutions have been using YouTube. The analysis is based on the same subset of 12,500 videos.

Viewing and duration figures are skewed by small numbers of multi-million view videos and documentary-style recording of convocation ceremonies. Consequently, we’ve used medians for views and duration.

As chart 2 indicates the median viewing numbers for uploaded YouTube video content have fallen over the period 2007-2018. We speculate that 2007’s YouTube content was novel and attracted disproportionate interest, but the subsequent viewing trend is down.

Over the same period, the median video has shortened from 3 minutes to 90 seconds. Individual institutional results will vary, but one hypothesis worth testing is that less is more.

line and bar graph showing trends in YouTube views and duration

Chart 2: Canadian Post-Secondary Institutions: Analysis of Median YouTube Views and Duration

Time for a Content Audit?

YouTube video uploads are part of the institutional content marketing mix.  Content needs periodic review to determine if it’s still relevant, should be refreshed or needs pruning.  Our preliminary analysis suggests that YouTube content is ready and waiting for its first audit.


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