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What Late Night Comedy’s YouTube End Screens Mean For Business With Wally Weilbaecher Of Group Nine Media

What Late Night Comedy’s YouTube End Screens Mean For Business With Wally Weilbaecher Of Group Nine Media

 
 
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What Late Night Comedy’s YouTube End Screens Mean for Business with Jon Wally Weilbaecher of Group Nine Media

Wally Weilbaecher from Group Nine Media tells us why late night talk shows do extra work to add customized comedy end screens on the end of their YouTube clips that encourage viewers to subscribe. Jimmy Kimmel, for instance, does this very well.

GUEST: Wally Weilbaecher from Group Nine Media. Connect with Wally on Twitter and LinkedIn.

HOST: Dane Golden of HEY.com | LinkedIn | Twitter | YouTube

SPONSORS: This episode is brought to you by our affiliate partners, including: TubeBuddy, VidIQ, MorningFame, Rev.com, and other products and services we recommend. Thanks for your support!

CO-PRODUCER: Jason Perrier of Phizzy Studios

TRANSCRIPT

Dane Golden:
It’s time for HEY.com, this is the podcast where we help marketers and business owners, just like you, grow your customer community and helpful how to videos. And today we are going to speak with Jon “Wally” Weilbaecher, of Group Nine Media. Welcome Wally.

Wally Weilbaecher:
Hello. Yay!

Dane Golden:
I am so glad you could come on today. I wanted to ask you about a quirky, unknown corner of YouTube and this is the End Screens. But, not just End Screens on YouTube, End Screens with YouTube channels and the late night comedy shows. How’s that … How’s that for you? Work for you?

Wally Weilbaecher:
Oh, I’m super game for that.

Dane Golden:
Okay, great. Now you have a special experience with this, you’ve been doing this type of thing for a long time. And you’re at Group Nine Media now, tell us a little bit about your background and what you’re doing now?

Wally Weilbaecher:
Absolutely. So, right now I’m the VP of Audience Development and Insights for the West coast, for Group Nine Media. It’s a digital publisher with brands like Now This, The Dodo, Thrillist, Seeker, really trying to own a lot of important conversations in the digital space. News, cute animals, where to go to eat down the street, really we want to cover all sectors of society in that way. So, yeah, I work predominately through the West coast where my experience level is most prominent with YouTube, mostly because of my past experience at some NCN’s like Maker Studios, before the Disney days, and Collective Digital Studio, now Studio71. And I’ve done a lot of work with a lot of really big up and coming YouTubers, people that have made it, people that have already established big audiences.

Wally Weilbaecher:
And specifically why, I think, I may bring a lot to the table today, we worked with NBC Universal when they launched the Tonight Show, with Jimmy Fallon as the new host, on helping develop a stronger YouTube strategy for them, to really own the space. Which, five years later they’re doing a really good job of. And one of the big things we instituted was, you know, paying attention to those End Screens. So, I have some perspective.

Dane Golden:
Right, and I watch most of the late night comedy on YouTube, no on TV and I usually watch the monologue, every night before I go to sleep. And what I noticed is that, and they post them earlier here on the West coast. But, what I’ve noticed is that some of their End Screens, in my mind, are better than others, in that they actually call attention and do a call to action for you to click and watch the next video. Which is what I recommend businesses do. And currently Jimmy Kimmel does that the most. Does that … Is that correct?

Wally Weilbaecher:
I think that’s a pretty accurate estimation of the world right now, yeah. James Corden, Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, and Conan O’Brien, they’re really sticking to more of just a title card approach to the End Screens? You know, here’s the information about the show, when you can watch more, some of them do leave in proper spacing for in card elements. Subscribe buttons, new video placement, new videos to look at, all that sort of stuff. So, they’re clearly thinking about it from a strategical perspective, but it’s the Kimmel ones that have … What’s almost new extensions of content.

Wally Weilbaecher:
Jimmy is on camera, talking to the viewer, usually making some sort of fun or irreverent joke within the very tight 20 seconds span that he has. And it’s set up in such a way that there is more content that he’s either directly referencing, or sort of esoterically referencing, that allows people to sort of draw their attention to another piece of content. Instead of letting the suggested video tower or whatever else is going on their computer or their mobile phone to sort of drive that next watch action.

Dane Golden:
And, just to be specific, this is the last 10 to 20 seconds of a YouTube video. This is built in functionality, into the YouTube platform, and that’s where you can put the subscribe button or a link to a website. If you have enough views to qualify, and you can also link to other videos or play lists and for businesses I encourage them to do a call to action, actually within in the video, and point there. Because that’s very likely to get a continuation view, and then when you get these more continuation views from your videos, then the algorithm starts promoting you. And of course, if you’re doing a nightly show, it’s probably just easier to put the same title card and music at the end, because you’re doing so much production. But, tell me what Jimmy Kimmel does and what did Jimmy Fallon do in the past? And what’s going on? And how does it relate to this?

Wally Weilbaecher:
Yeah, so, I think that you kind of take it back to the past a little bit, and work our way up to where we are today. When we first took a look at Jimmy Fallon’s channel, and the way they were driving people to the next video, this was, about five years ago, when YouTube was using a different eco system for driving people to new content from the end of videos. It wasn’t specifically tied to the last 20 seconds, it wasn’t specifically, you know, templated to where you can put each piece of asset of direction. You basically had carte blanche to whatever you want. So, a lot of very successful, independent, and organic YouTubers were being really creative with how they utilized that, and driving a lot of audience mobility from one video to the next. Increasing, exactly what you were talking about earlier, with that continuation view.

Wally Weilbaecher:
One of the most important things that you can try to increase within your viewing habits within your audience, is getting them to that next piece of content. So, we had an eco system that there was a lot of creativity and a lot of traditional media entities, television, movie studios, didn’t really know how to utilize it. So, the team at the Tonight Show was pretty smart in thinking ahead of, sort of their time within their peer set, in saying, “Let’s get outside help to utilize this better.” We built out a strategy where, for the first time amongst any of these groups, we recorded Jimmy actually doing comedy bits. Not too indifferent then what Kimmel is doing today, but a little less polished. We were all kind of doing it for the first time, and they had their writers working on it. They had Jimmy actually perform little bits, and we had a solid handful of interactive in cards, is what we were sort of calling them. And we would pepper those in amongst the large number of videos that you’re posting on a nightly sort of basis.

Wally Weilbaecher:
That allowed us to then say, “All right, let’s target the videos we know that are going to do well and use these as pivot points to drive more views.” And for a long time it was really working, it was a good tactic to sort of hold the audiences hand to another piece of content that you really wanted them to watch. Then YouTube changed things, and no one was happy, because no one’s ever happy when YouTube changes something. But this is the one I got made about. They took annotations away. And they really locked everyone into these in screens, and they lost a lot of their creativity. They lost a lot of their functionality in terms of really drawing someones attention to an action. Because everyone had the same tools now.

Wally Weilbaecher:
So, we’ve seen a lot of, sort of, falling away of importance within the end screen, mostly because as a percentage of your traffic source, they’ve just been going smaller, smaller and smaller.

Dane Golden:
But, if I could interrupt you for a second? One of the things that the end screens do, is that they’re able to work on mobile, and tablets and where a lot of traffic has gone, whereas the annotations were only functional on desktop?

Wally Weilbaecher:
Absolutely, correct. And it’s … In my … You know, old man yells at sky opinion about the change.

Dane Golden:
Darn kids with your mobile phones!

Wally Weilbaecher:
Yeah, it doesn’t preclude the fact that I completely understand why YouTube would make that change. It is, obviously, naturally going to be better over time, because it works in a place where the other functionality didn’t. And mobile is now, more than half of the total viewership on almost everyone’s channels. So, they were right. And annotation now would be a minority tool, instead of something that can apply to everybody. So, that makes sense.

Wally Weilbaecher:
But, what you have then is the need to understand what value is the end screen still providing? Because there is still value in it. And it’s still not something that people should ignore. You can deprioritize it, like a lot of these late night talk show hosts do, and just sort of throw up some sort of card that can house the tools. At least they’re not letting the videos in naturally and then slapping a subscribe button and another video to watch, over the last 20 seconds of a video, which is particularly annoying to see on music videos to this day. It’s like, you know what this platform is, you know Vevo is going to put all of these tools on there, just give me 30 seconds of black. That’s all you need.

Dane Golden:
Now, I think you actually talked to the guy from Kimmel, or got some information from him, on what their current strategy is? Did you not?

Wally Weilbaecher:
Yes. Yes. The guy who is the digital guru of all things Jimmy Kimmel, been there for years, Mike Cioffi, certified … [crosstalk 00:10:59]

Dane Golden:
Oh, I know him!

Wally Weilbaecher:
Yeah, certified genius. Cioffi is the best. And, so I talked to him about, you know, what Kimmel’s doing. Like where is their perspective on knowing that we were going to have this conversation? And he gave me a couple of insights. First and foremost, they treat the sort of comedy within that last 20 seconds with the same respect they treat everything else that their writing team does, and Kimmel himself. So, they really are showing respect to the platform, and showing respect to the form and function of the in screen. Which I think shows, I think that there’s an authenticity to that, where it’s not five jokes every month, that they just rotate in and out, that you see 20 or 30 times. But instead, they are kind of spreading it out a little better, there’s more sort of nuance to it. And they’re frankly getting funnier and funnier, because they know how to write for a 20 second spot.

Wally Weilbaecher:
And the key value there, and this is what Cioffi was saying, and something that I fully agree with, is the value is a little less now about the specific click to another video action. But creating longer watch times and higher percentages of retention, because people want to stay through that last 20 seconds. Is potentially a big advantage, against channels that are just having 20 seconds lopped off their total run time by rule. Because there’s nothing there for anyone. That provides a value back, and also the value back for how the algorithm treats the other videos within that in card space. So, you are choosing to put a video in there to drive someone to the next, even if they’re not clicking that specific video, the algorithm is saying, “Hey! The creator thinks this is the right next video for a person to watch.” So, that means that it’s more likely to show up in the suggested video, or later in your browse feature, because you watched this one video and here’s another one to watch.

Wally Weilbaecher:
So, it’s just another area, for that continuation view and how to drive more people to watch all videos on the channel, not necessarily specifically that one, or a specific drive you’re doing that specific day.

Dane Golden:
And to add on to what you’re saying. It’s not just people will watch through that last 20 seconds, I imagine some people always want to see what sort of antic or quip he has at the end. So, if it’s coming with only a minute to go in the video, where they might click off, they get used to the idea of wanting to stay until the end, because they don’t know what he’s going to say. He could say anything and thus that overall length gets longer, and by the way the longer you get this audience retention, the higher the algorithm starts to rank you and put videos from this channel in your feed. Is that correct?

Wally Weilbaecher:
Absolutely. I mean, your watch time is very, very important. But it’s also retention rates and how much people are watching. You ultimately have to understand the why of what YouTube is trying to do. I mean this is corner stone for how I talk to people when figuring out strategy of any kind, and including in screen. Is the why does this work? Why is YouTube setting up an algorithm to do this thing? Not for the value of you the creator, but for the value of YouTube the platform. And the why here is, they want people to watch. They want to watch longer, watch more, to go deeper down those watch rabbit holes. So, any content you do, that increases the likelihood of someone watching longer, watching more videos, going deeper, then you are doing something that the algorithm is likely going to favor.

Wally Weilbaecher:
So, understanding that it’s not about like a super quality view of a certain percentage of watch, it does not need to be ten minutes for some magic trigger to go through. It’s just how good is your video of getting people to watch more? And how good is it to keep people watching the platform of YouTube. Hopefully more viewer videos, but really if it’s keeping people on the platform, you’re going to also still see some decent algorithmic benefit.

Dane Golden:
So, big shout out to Mike Cioffi, of the Jimmy Kimmel Show, who I talked to years ago. And it’s so nice to hear he’s still doing a great job. What other sort of audience retention techniques have you got rolling at Group Nine Media that businesses can make use of?

Wally Weilbaecher:
That’s a really good question, I think it dove tails actually really nicely to in screens. And specifically again, what we’re trying to accomplish with in screens, which is pushing people into more content. About two ish years ago, I could be a little wrong in that, YouTube introduced community tab. It’s basically like a dime store version of a social media platform, built into the channels. And so, it was really good for bloggers and people who have a very constant day to day conversation with their fans, because they can now write posts. Share videos with unique messaging, and really kind of build a community as intended. But for the longest time, you know, publishers, major media entities, basically anyone that isn’t super active and deeply engaged on a day to day basis with a fandom, really didn’t get a lot of value out of the tab, and it was really an afterthought.

Wally Weilbaecher:
Within the last six months, though, we have seen that the acceptance of its use, amongst just fans of regular YouTubers, as well as the corporation of the feed … The community tab feed, into home page experiences on mobile and desktop, has really allowed that to be a viable new touch point for a business and their audience. So, we’ve been experimenting with a lot of way to increase our community tab usage to grow and promote general channel health, as opposed to individual video viewership bumps.

Dane Golden:
I don’t know what that means? What does that mean? Promote channel health?

Wally Weilbaecher:
So, channel health is essentially how YouTube is thinking about the channel as a whole. So, an example would be, you’re a channel that used to get 10 million views of video and now you are getting a 140,000 views of video. And so you are … You have a bit of an algorithmic profile that you can’t escape from, with the 10 million. But the 140,000 now is about all you’re getting. So, it’s more difficult to sort of then grow that out, because you’re still far afield from where the channel used to be. Sort of …

Dane Golden:
Are you saying that’s because there’s too much competition or your content isn’t as good? Or your audience has gotten older and is no longer interested?

Wally Weilbaecher:
It’s a factor of the sort of how the algorithm views your content? Is essentially … It’s a book. A book that’s being written since moment one of you uploading that piece of content. And all of that information stays within the algorithm to look at. It now will change its values of how much it weights, or how much it cares about. But this is how you will see people kind of be subscribed to a channel, but only periodically see some of their content. Because they don’t really engage with it that frequently, and the algorithm kind of can read that and say, oh Jimmy doesn’t look at channel A, that frequently anymore, so we’re not going to put it in there. And when you have … When channel A has three million subscribers that are from 2011 and are not really active anymore, it looks like that’s three million inactive subscribers.

Wally Weilbaecher:
So, it hurts tiny levers on the channel. That’s … These are triggers that are … That rank the number in the 100s that will guide the algorithmic placement of certain things. But we want to make, not just individual videos perform better, but the entire channel perform better. Because that increases suggestive video placement on all videos. That increases your likelihood to reaching your fuller subscriber base within the launch window of a new piece of content. It’s just generally better to have algorithmic health for the channel as a whole, in addition to the videos.

Dane Golden:
And how does the community tab do that?

Wally Weilbaecher:
The community tab does that by keeping your channel present within a more frequent experience of an audience member.

Dane Golden:
Let me interrupt you. So, you’re saying if there’s … If you only do one video a week, for instance, the community could be once a day? Is that what you’re saying? And ping the viewer?

Wally Weilbaecher:
Precisely. I would call it less of a ping and more of a just a placement within their normal YouTube watching experience? But if you release a video on a Thursday, and then throw a poll up on a Tuesday, that gets some decent percentage of audience click through, then those people are more likely to see your new video next Thursday. Now, there’s going to be some super fans in there, so they’re always going to see the content, and they’re the ones to most likely to engage? But if you can grow that number up to the thousands, the tens of thousands as we’ve seen in some of these really big channels, that really utilize the community tab well? You’re just keeping the channel more constant and more present in the feeds of people, of audience. Beyond just the, “Hey, did you watch this video?”

Dane Golden:
Fantastic. So, people use that community tab. Jon “Wally” Weilbaecher, it’s so great to talk to you. Could you spell your name so people can look up and find more stuff from you?

Wally Weilbaecher:
Absolutely. That’s Weilbaecher, spelt very different from how it’s pronounced. Weilbaecher.

Dane Golden:
And how can people find out more about you and Group Nine Media?

Wally Weilbaecher:
Well, you can follow Group Nine Media … groupninemedia.com, as well as any of the individual brands Now This, the Dodo, Seeker, Thrillist, all our fantastic brands, many of you have heard of. But, that’s where you’ll see a lot of the work we’re doing and then for me, I’m on LinkedIn. The last name as previously spelt, I’m sure we can have that linked somewhere.

Dane Golden:
Yeah. In the show notes.

Wally Weilbaecher:
Perfect. And on Twitter@jwwalle same for Instagram if you want to look at some really awesome pictures of the top of my head, enjoying Disney Land.

Dane Golden:
Excellent. Thank you Jon “Wally” Weilbaecher of Group Nine Media, and people will be able to find this episode by searching for the word HEY and Wally Weilbaecher. My name is Dane Golden, and I want to thank you, the listener, for joining us today. Because in each podcast and in every video, we show you how to grow your business, by building a loyal customer community on YouTube and other video platforms. And so that we can do this better for you, I’m going to ask you right now to subscribe and to give us a review. Thanks to our special guest Jon “Wally” Weilbaecher of Group Nine Media. Until next week, here’s to helping you help your customers through video.

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