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How To Track YouTube Subscriber Conversion Rate With Gwen Miller Of Kin

How To Track YouTube Subscriber Conversion Rate With Gwen Miller Of Kin

 
 
00:00 / 00:25:57
 
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YouTube Subscriber Conversion Rate Gwen Miller Kin

Is there just one magic metric that can tell you if your YouTube content is resonating with your viewers? Well, Gwen Miller of Kin believes she has one – that she invented! She calls it the YouTube Subscriber Conversion Rate. You need to know this, because if the videos you’re making aren’t converting viewers into subscribers, more attention is not going to help you much. Rather, you need to get the content right first. 

GUEST: Gwen Miller (LinkedIn|Twitter) of Kin. Kin produces shows like Tia Mowry’s Quick Fix, Hello Hunnay with Jeannie Mai, and All Things Adrienne. See the Gwen’s VidCon slides: “How to Find Your Own Best Practices

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!

PRODUCER: Jason Perrier of Phizzy Studios

TRANSCRIPT

Dane Golden:
It’s time for the Video Marketing Value podcast from HEY.com. This is the podcast where we help marketers and business owners just like you get more value out of your video marketing efforts. My name is Dane Golden and today we are going to speak with Gwen Miller from Kin. Welcome, Gwen.

Gwen Miller:
Hi. Thanks for having me.

Dane Golden:
It’s so good to talk to you. I’ve been talking to you off and on for a couple of years. But at VidCon I saw your presentation in the industry track and on slide #66 you said something that was very interesting that I wanted to share with our listeners. You call it the “YouTube Subscriber Conversion Rates.” First of all, let’s backtrack a little bit and tell us what Kin is all about. Even though this is a video marketing podcast, I know you’re not technically a video marketing company.

Gwen Miller:
Correct. We’re a lifestyle entertainment company. We make online video content across YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram that’s aimed at what we call the builders. These are women who we are calling that they… They’re building their lives. They’re building their families, their homes, their relationships and their careers. Typically this woman is probably over 25 and she’s at this time of her life where our content can really be an important part of her journey. We work with celebrities like Tia Mowry, Adrienne Houghton. We build these really engaged communities around them.

Dane Golden:
What platforms are you on?

Gwen Miller:
We mainly focus on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram. We say we’re socially distributed.

Dane Golden:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). You’ve been doing this for a long time. What is your role there?

Gwen Miller:
I am our Vice President of Content Strategy. I specialize in taking content and using content to grow audiences.

Dane Golden:
I think we’ve geeked out a couple of times on YouTube Analytics. What is your YouTube Subscriber Conversion Rate?

Gwen Miller:
This is probably my favorite metric that I use on a regular basis. I’m so glad you went through my 70 place… my 70 page presentation and picked out my very, very favorite thing. The best way I find to look at the conversion metric is to realize… It’s what I call your engine of growth. When companies come to me and are I don’t understand why I’m not growing, I’m look, there’s only two reasons you could not be growing. One is maybe you’re just not getting enough… in front of enough unsubscribed our eyeballs, which is great. That is the easy thing to fix. That is purely a marketing problem. As we all know, marketing, while not easy, is something that we all have a great grasp on how we can use it to grow audiences. But, what I don’t think people realize, and I think part of it is you don’t really want to realize this is that there could be a more intrinsic problem with your channel.

Gwen Miller:
The way to identify that is with this metric I call the conversion rate. At a very basic level, this metric is telling you when you get those unsubscribed eyeballs in, how good are you at converting them to a long-term subscriber who’s going to give you long-term value? Because that… If you see that number and it’s not a great number, it indicates that no matter how much marketing you throw at this channel, you will not have any success until you to change the basic problems you have with your channel.

Gwen Miller:
How do you find this number? It’s very simple. I usually suggest that you look at it on a month over month basis. You just take your total subscribers added for that month. It’s very important that it’s subscribers added. Do not take the net. It will not work. Take total subscribers added and then divide it by the unsubscribed views for that month. That will tell you… It’s not a perfect metric because as we know, views are not the same thing as uniques, but it’ll give you a good directional indication of how high percentage of those unsubscribed views are converting into long-term subscribers for you.

Dane Golden:
Let’s break this down a bit into the elements. First of all, for… Not everyone may not be at the same level here. Could you describe the difference between what a subscribed viewer is and an unsubscribed viewer?

Gwen Miller:
Perfect. Yes, I think a lot of people don’t realize this when they’re looking at their YouTube views number is that typically if you’re going to have a healthy channel, most of your views are going to be coming from unsubscribed viewers. I usually say… This is a total rule of thumb, I’m sure that other people have different rules of thumb. I would love to see someone do more in depth research on this. But what I have found personally in my years of experience is if you’re not at least getting double the amount of unsubscribed views than your subscribed views, you have a problem. What’s the difference? When someone stumbles across your channel, usually it’s through the YouTube Algorithm. 90% of your unsubscribed views are going to be pushed to you through that algorithm. When people stumble on you, they may or may not hit that subscribe button below the video or on your channel.

Gwen Miller:
If they do hit that button, then they’re what’s called subscribers. They will get in their subscriber feed your videos when you released them. They’re a valuable thing because you don’t have to get those… that view, that subscriber, that eyeball every single time. It’s there for you. They don’t watch everything, but they do watch more than an unsubscribed viewer because the unsubscribed viewer is not going to stumble across you again until the great YouTube Algorithm decides to surface to them. So converting someone into that subscriber is a great way to build consistency. You’re not so much at the whims of the algorithm gods.

Dane Golden:
Now what some people don’t actually realize and it’s not really that intuitive, but some people might normally assume that if someone’s subscribed to your channel, they will automatically be shown your video. If you’re unsubscribed, it’s a lot harder to find the video. What’s your take on that?

Gwen Miller:
One of the myths is… One of the things that YouTube has complained about all the time is that subscribers aren’t going to see every single one of your videos for a variety of reasons. One, not everyone spends all day on YouTube. They may not… They just don’t have the time to. Two, YouTube doesn’t notify. When I say notify I mean send an email every time you put up a video to every single one of your subscribers because think about how many people you’re subscribed to on YouTube. The average person on YouTube is subscribed to hundreds of channels. If you received the notification for every one of those videos going up, you would never use the platform again.

Gwen Miller:
YouTube has a vested interest in only notifying them occasionally. Now your video will all… This is another YouTube myth. There has been some myths going around that occasionally you won’t show up in what’s called the subscription feed which is just a chronological running feed that YouTube puts up of everyone you’re subscribed to. I’ve never seen proof of this. As far as I know, it will always show up in that subscription feed. But again, people are subscribed to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of channels. Your video over time will be pushed down the list. This is why… One of the reasons why frequency is so important on YouTube because you have to make sure that you are competing against all these channels that are putting up a lot of videos.

Dane Golden:
What’s you’re saying is that… if I hear you correct, is that you’re as a channel owner or creator or business that has a YouTube channel, not all of your subscribers are going to see and watch your videos and there is a whole bunch of people who are not subscribed that are going to see your videos.

Gwen Miller:
100%. On the unsubscribed side, a lot of your views that are coming to you are from people who are not subscribed and may not subscribe until they’ve seen five or six of your videos. That might happen in that same viewing session where they watch one video. They clicked through and watch a bunch more and then decide to subscribe to your channel or it’s because you resurfaced. If you were similar to other channels that they love, you’ll surface in their suggested videos over and over again until they finally decided, huh, this channel is pretty cool. Look, I’m going to hit that subscribe button. But you will have a very healthy audience of new eyeballs coming in if your channel is healthy every single week to see your videos. That may or may not convert. In fact, I would say typically what we see is only about 1% of those unsubscribed views a month will actually convert over in that month.

Dane Golden:
1%. That’s a good metric to know. Again, the conversion rate as you described it is subscribers gained divided by unsubscribed views.

Gwen Miller:
Correct.

Dane Golden:
Correct. Explain what this means and why this is important. Let’s visualize this. The first number we have, subscribers gained. Then we have unsubscribed views. We’re looking at not total subscribers because there’s a net in there. There’s… When you say total subscribers, there’s an up and down because some people are always unsubscribing no matter what the channel is.

Gwen Miller:
Correct.

Dane Golden:
It’s just the plus subscribers and then how many of those people were unsubscribed viewers. Is that correct?

Gwen Miller:
Right. So another way to look at it.

Dane Golden:
I guess. I guess you can’t-I guess you can’t subscribe unless you were unsubscribed to begin with.

Gwen Miller:
Exactly. You can’t just take your total views because if you’re not unsubscribed, there’s no way for you to convert over to a subscriber. There is… If you use the net, to your point, then you have a loss rate in there which is an entirely different metric, which is actually the flip side of the… your… of this metric, the conversion metric, which will tell you how lofty your… being and what kind of churn you’re churning out. But this metric itself just really helps you see of… I’m getting all these new eyeballs in, am I actually converting them? Because if I’m not, I’m just throwing my marketing out into the wind. It’s not actually getting me this long-term sustained interest from viewers, which we know is very key to have these super fans for your brand to help you both evangelize the brand and they turn into the really valuable long-term customers.

Dane Golden:
If this number is good, then you can increase the amount of attention to the channel and the videos either through paid media, some other marketing emails, whatever the promotional method you are doing. It… Ideally the channel will grow. Is that what you’re getting at?

Gwen Miller:
Correct. The idea here is you need to make sure your engine is ready to go before you pour the gas into it. I’ve seen a lot of channels where they have not looked at this conversion rate. They’ve just been, our problem is just marketing. We just need to put more marketing. They pour all this marketing in. Then are flabbergasted that it doesn’t result in any sort of meaningful growth. It is because when you look at this number you’re, oh no, there’s problems with this channel. For example, common problems could be your host isn’t connecting. Some people may have been you had great SEO. They found you via search. Maybe your thumbnail was really great. Your title and the topic, they’re this is a topic I’m interested in. They click on it. But then they get in and your host is slightly boring. Your host doesn’t get to the point fast enough. That you don’t really have that much relevant information. This metric really indicates basic content problems that you need to address before you waste extensive amounts of new marketing money to try to push people to that content.

Dane Golden:
It helps you with your video format, your personality, what type of content is in there. It helps guide that. What’s a good conversion rate?

Gwen Miller:
Still, we typically find from kind of the organic level that that’s about 1%. My instinct is for brands, you’re probably going to be starting at a little bit lower than that. But what I like to tell all the companies that I work with is you really should be mainly competing against yourself. You should be tracking this metric on a monthly basis and continually trying to move that up. If that number is 0.65%, yes it’s lower than 1%. But next month make that 0.68% and edge your way up towards that 1%. You will see significant increases in your growth.

Dane Golden:
But if you’re at a 10th of percent, you’re probably not doing that well.

Gwen Miller:
Oh, no. Yeah, yes, yes, yes. 100%. In that case, you should probably be stopping down, totally revamping your strategy, making sure you understand who your audience actually is and what type of content they actually want.

Dane Golden:
Now speaking of who your content actually is, there was another area of your presentation I believe, where you said the most important thing you can do to get new subscribers is to make sure your current subscribers really like your videos. Did you say that? Was that just me imagining it?

Gwen Miller:
You summarize it beautifully in a way when you said it. But it’s actually much more clearly… clear than I probably said it. This, I think is something that I really… Every time I start working with a new company, I always come up against… I’m just… We so need to realize this point because every time I start with a new company that I was like, ugh, we’re not getting a lot of views on our videos. We think it’s the audience. The audience is crap. We want a new audience. What people don’t realize when they say this is the only real way on the YouTube platform to get new subscribers is to keep your old subscribers happy. Why?

Gwen Miller:
It’s because that’s how the algorithm works. Before the algorithm decides, hey, I’m going to take this video. I’m going to potentially put it in front of a new eyeball and see if they want to click on it. That algorithm is watching your current subscribers. It’s like a hawk. If it sees your current subscribers cuddled by your thumbnail and your topic and go, no, that isn’t interesting to me, I’m going to pass. You’re not going to even get into the testing mechanism for the algorithm to put your content in front of a new person.

Gwen Miller:
What you’re going to find if you try to change your audience and alienate your own… old audience is you’re going to start to see attrition from your current audience. Your subscribers, your views will go down. You’re not going to see a corollary of new subscribers coming in because the algorithm won’t let that happen. It’s why I always say if you want a new audience, if you can, start a new channel. I know if it’s a brand channel that can be hard. In which case I say love your current audience, but you can work on expanding it. It’s not going to go well for you if you try to totally alienate the old audience. If you absolutely have to do it, just buckle in and prepare for six months, a year plus of just total mayhem of your old subscribers leaving before you can actually fully build a new audience.

Dane Golden:
Let me ask this in another way. Maybe this will also help expand upon this. What I hear you saying is that if my core viewers, which are my subscribers… If YouTube sees them tuning in and usually it’s tuning in fast to watch and watch for a long time a large percentage of my videos, it’ll say, gosh, Dane’s subscribers really like his video… this particular video, let’s say. Let’s expand this area to a larger group of people who have similar traits as Dane’s viewers. They may have overlapping interests given our understanding of them through the algorithm. Let’s show it to that group. If that group likes it, let’s show it to a larger group. The larger groups are the unsubscribed viewers. Correct?

Gwen Miller:
That is 100% correct.

Dane Golden:
I got it.

Gwen Miller:
That is how the algorithm works. If people can understand that basic fact, it will change the way you approach YouTube and approach your content. If you don’t understand that, you can spend a lot of time making a lot of expensive content that just going to go into the void and the algorithm’s going to be… and you’ll get nothing.

Dane Golden:
Now, how long does it take to go to these outer circles of unsubscribed audiences? I’ve seen on channels I’ve worked on, you can usually tell in about 36 hours that the… If it’s doing well, the unsubscribed viewers can really tick up. It depends really on the video. If it’s a influencer video, that could be totally different. But that’s what I see is about… on a brand channel about 36 hours. If I see that unsubscribed viewers ticking up dramatically, I know that that video’s sort of on a roll. Is that a good metric or could it be almost any amount of time?

Gwen Miller:
That’s actually pretty close. I usually use the 48 hour just because it’s a nice round number. But that would be about where I would see it tick up as well which is why people… the talent I work with especially and also the companies I work with, frankly, there is this tendency to want to look at day one and day two and make profound judgments on the performance of the video. I’m, it’ll tell you a lot about how your subscribers are interacting with your content. But you really have no idea until the end of that second day whether the algorithm is going to pick it up because wow, yes. If it does well with the subscribers, it’s most likely going to get its way into this bigger YouTube algorithm. Get unsubscribed views.

Gwen Miller:
You’re not guaranteed. For example, you might have a format which is so personal to you, some sort of Q & A format or some sort of inside joke with your subscribers that your subscribers are going to love. But then when that thumbnail and topic gets posted to someone who has no idea who you or your company happens to be, then they may not be as likely to click on it.

Gwen Miller:
That’s why I always tell people step back. How fun looking at your metrics in those first 48 hours. But really until that 48 hour window passes, you can’t really say definitively this is a well performing video, a bad performing video. In fact, I even say give it a full week to really go through its entire life. Not all its life cycle. As we know, the wonderful thing about YouTube is you have a very, very long tail. But usually within that first week you can pretty much say definitively that I can take the learnings from this video. Reapply it into the new content I’m making and be competent I’m making the right changes.

Dane Golden:
Just checking on that 48 hour window, I would assume that when you say 48 hours, since YouTube doesn’t give you full analytics at that time that you’re looking at the real time. You would sort of track at a two hour… rather a 48 hour, two day window starting from the time that it uploaded.

Gwen Miller:
That it went public. Yes.

Dane Golden:
Sorry, published.

Gwen Miller:
Just like…

Dane Golden:
No, That’s… You’re right. You would look at it via the realtime traffic.

Gwen Miller:
Yes. You’re looking at real time at that point. It is one of the remaining things about YouTube that can frustrate people is it can feel a little bit slow. You got that 48 hour delay. Then after four days you can truly go back to that 48 hours. Then you could, yes, identify that… Oh that was an unsubscribed viewer versus a subscribed viewer. But in that first 48 hours, all you’re really getting is, okay, I see these views going up. Usually you will see if that video is really catching on the algorithm. Those real time views at the end of that period start to really pick up.

Dane Golden:
I think you showed some spreadsheets at Vidcon. Do you do spreadsheets? Do you do Google Data Studio or some proprietary tools?

Gwen Miller:
Oh, I am not that fancy. That’s what I like to say. To get a lot of value out of your content strategy, you don’t have to be a data scientist. Yes, I have data analysts on my team. They’re great. They do a lot of fancy stuff. But I will… What I like to emphasize to people is to get a lot of bang for your buck, you can be really simple. You can keep this in a freaking Google Doc. Do a Google spreadsheet. You enter [inaudible 00:00:22:11]. Keep some basic metrics. The wonderfully thing about YouTube is YouTube Analytics does keep just a lot of it for you. But there are certain things that you can’t do. For example, it’s hard to compare apples to apples between specific videos. One of the biggest mistakes people do is they try to compare a video that’s been up for three days to one that’s been up for a year and a half.

Dane Golden:
Sure.

Gwen Miller:
If you do that, you’re going to freak the heck out. But if you keep a very simple spreadsheet, which is what I do, which might have a couple of things like subscribed views, unsubscribed views. What was the click through rate for that video? You just keep a couple of those metrics. You just set your date range and your date picker for YouTube for that seven days. You can then see, oh, what should be my click through rate? What is my average click through rate? What is my average subscribed views? Once you start to get that, then you’re going to have a very good instinct at even just eyeballing a video and being, oh my subscribers really love this video because otherwise, how would you know? Is 30,000 subscribers views good? Is it not for view? It’s very dependent for your channel. If you just track those couple of numbers, you’re going to know a lot more about your audience and what type of topics they like.

Dane Golden:
Well, Gwen, you’ve impressed me again with this huge breadth of knowledge you have. Are you going to be speaking at Vidcon again on the same topic?

Gwen Miller:
I am. I’m evolving it a little bit. The past couple of years I have spoken more on basic analytics. Now I’m going to kind of take a step back and kind of talk about some of the stuff that we’ve talked about here and how you use this stuff more than just… Typically I’ve walked through step by step via YouTube analytics software and how you use it. In this case, I’m going to take a step back and be, okay, for a couple of years we’ve talked about these concepts. What have we seen in actual practicality? What does that mean for crafting the structure of your actual video to actually make content that will resonate with your audience? I’m really excited.

Dane Golden:
Well, I’m going to be sitting in the front row of that session. Where else can people find out about you and Kin and what you guys are up to?

Gwen Miller:
You can go to kincommunity.com to learn more about Kin and the talent we have. You can also go to Kin Community on Facebook. You’ll have the links to all of our different great shows we do with celebrity talent. For me personally, really the best place to hear about what I’m working on and where I’ll be speaking and then also what I am kind of seeing in the industry that I’m finding interesting is my LinkedIn. It’s just Gwen Miller. You can search LinkedIn, Gwen Miller, Kin. You’re going to get it. I also do have a Twitter, but frankly I spend most of my time on LinkedIn.

Dane Golden:
Fantastic. People will be able to find this episode by searching for Hey and Gwen Miller. My name is Dane Golden and I want to thank you, the listener, for joining us today. I do this podcast, Video Marketing Value from HEY.com and the videos because I love helping marketers and business owners just like you grow your customer community through helpful how to videos because when you share your expertise in a way that helps your customers live their lives better or do their jobs better, you’ll earn their loyalty and their trust and their business. Thanks to our special guest, Gwen Miller of Kin. Until next week, here’s to helping you help your customers through video.

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