Evan’s Ideal Video Length for Reaching 1 Million Subscribers

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– Evan has over one million subscribers and one of the things
that he did to get there was analyze his video length. Today, we wanna show for you guys some the behind-the-scenes tactics
that he looked at in his data to get him to one million subscribers, and with that Tim is
gonna share that with you coming up right after this. Hey guys my name is Tim Schmoyer and welcome to Video Creators. This channel is all about helping you grow your YouTube audience
so you can spread a message that reaches people and
changes their lives. Evan’s changing over millions
of people every month with a million subscribers on his channel. This is part four of a 10 episode series. So click the card you see
to go back to number one and watch all the tactics
that Evan’s been doing to grow his channel to over
one million subscribers. The one we’re gonna talk
about today is video length. Is there a magic number? One minute, 10 minutes, 30 minutes? What should people be shooting for, what did you discover on your channel? – Yeah, so right now we really
aim for 10 minutes plus. The first video that got me 100,000 views, I was so happy about 100,000 views, was six minutes something, and the people I showed
it to in the industry said it’s too long, you don’t
understand how the internet works. At the time, YouTube, I think if you look at the explore page or the search page, you’d see the recommendations would all be these really short videos. It’s gotten longer and longer and longer. Test it yourself, go to
your own explore page, and look at what the trending videos are, they are not 30-second videos. What I found is by going 10 minutes plus, we’ve really, dramatically increased our watch time and subscriber growth. My best video on the
channel is 40 minutes long. It’s a 40-minute long video,
and at five million plus views, generated a whole ton of subscribers. Most of my videos now,
we go through and we aim, okay how do we get this to 10 minutes? If we get 10 minutes, then we
don’t try to make it longer, as long as it needs to be. The video might still be 20 minutes long or in some cases 40
minutes, but if it’s sub-10, we really think, okay this
is a five minute video, how can we add more value? In a real way, not just – Oh, we need to artificially
just inflate this so let’s add some music – Let’s just keep talking
and find some stuff, right? With authentic value,
how can we bring it up? My shortest series at the
time was one called Entspresso which is a shot of entrepreneur
espresso every morning, and that was, we showed a clip, and it was like a minute, and
then I talked for four minutes and so it would be five minutes, and this series was really underperforming to the point where we almost canceled it. If you watch last time video we talk about how I evaluate whether
to keep a series or not. This is one of my most
long-standing series on the channel that was
really sad to get rid of ’cause it was underperforming, and just by making the video length from five, six minutes to 10 minutes plus, we doubled the watch time,
we doubled subscribers for that series. And so just by making it
longer and adding value, or just, again asking, you
may not be able to do it, don’t force it, don’t make it garbage, but just asking a question, okay if I had to make this 10 minutes, what would I do to bring more value to it? That made a huge impact on my channel growth, subscribers, watch time. I think about a Star Wars movie. If there’s a four hour Star Wars movie, people would sit there, bums in seats, watching it for four hours
because it’s action-packed, it’s a great story all the way through, and then you think about
a 30-second commercial on pre-roll on YouTube. You’re skipping it as soon
as the five second comes up ’cause it’s a bad story. So it’s really about
what Tim’s talking about keeping somebody’s attention. I think it’s just a great
exercise to go through that if you can make a
quality 10-minute video, it will out-perform a
quality six-minute video. Can you do that, do the mental exercise. If I had to get it to 10, what would I do? Do I sacrifice a lot of quality? – There’s some channels
that will just have a very difficult time getting
to 12 minute, you know, animation, music videos for example take a long time to put together
and those types of things. If you can’t get to 12,
I think that’s okay, I think is the principle here. Focus on giving as much value as you can, and if you can do that for 12, great, but if you do that for
five, that’s fine too, just focus on giving as
much value as you can for as long as you can. – I think about music
videos as a great example. The ones that have this 30-second crazy intro before you get to the song, would drive me nuts. Like come on can you get
to the song, already? And some of the best videos of all time on YouTube are music videos like Despacito and all these songs that
get to a billion views, they’re mostly music
videos, so you can win. I would experiment with
adding something to the end, if you have an animation channel, could you show a little behind-the-scenes, could you tease what’s coming up next? Could you tell a little about your story, and why you’ve made this piece? If you’re a singer, what
the song means to you. Try to add a little bit
more storytelling to it, as an experimentation. You may see that because there’s
so much replay on a song, people watch that, listen to that song over and over and over again, they may not wanna
listen to it if you have all this stuff at the end, but if it’s an animation channel that they’re not watching
the same episode 100 times, if you added a little bit
of storytelling at the end, what that character meant,
director’s cut kinda stuff, put that at the end, I
think it may even help build more audience loyalty for you, and it’s definitely worth an experiment whether it ends of working or not. – That’s the key here guys,
just trying new things, experimenting, and you might find like, hey, I tried some of these
solutions that Evan presented, and actually my audience
rentention just tanked. Great, instead, don’t do that,
instead try something else, and experiment again with something new, and maybe you’ll find
like what we do here, like this series, is we just point people to watch the next video in the series. You might find that a 2-minute video that keeps people watching for 30 minutes over the course of 15 videos works better for you than doing a 12-minute video or a 30-minute video. Just experiment, that’s part of what I’m doing right here with this, so if you do wanna watch the
next video of this episode, to learn more about how Evan
got to one million subscribers, we’re gonna learn a lot about what Evan did with thumbnails
to grow his channel to a million subscribers. So that is coming up, click
that video on your screen to go watch it and we’ll see
you guys in the next video.

100 COMMENTS

  1. checkout my videos to see if the length is the issue. THe challenge for me is I don't have a WE, I produce, vlog, edit and promote! I don't know how to get a WE!

  2. As a viewer, I can't speak for others, but the ideal video length for me., is 5 to 8 minutes. Unless it's a high energy attention-getting video, or perhaps a well-done, well-thought-out tutorial, etc., I find it painful to hang with it. The math is simple., I am subscribed to x-amount of YouTubers, I have only so much time in the day to spend on YouTube. If everyone does 15 to 20+ minute video, I would have to dump my other subscriptions because there's just not enough time in the day. Unless somebody has a Time/Patience Stretcher I can borrow. 😀

  3. It all comes back to the same thing: great content. I’d watch a 5 min video just as much as I would watch a 30 min video, so long as my interest is captured.

  4. I just reached 1K, just started back in January. Love your videos always so informative. I think it all depends on what your channel is all about, for example ASMR videos people love long videos. 💖

  5. Being in music is fairly weird. I'm glad it was addressed, but definitely a lot of experimentation will be required, since having a 3 minute song with 7 minute behind the scenes just doesn't fit audience expectations. The popularity of music videos on the platform also really don't give anything that's replicable to ordinary musicians. Like, yes, something like 95 of the top 100 most watched videos on youtube are music videos, but there's the real sense that they were popular independently, and did not drive popularity because of YouTube. YouTube just gets a benefit because it's the easiest (free!) way to stream music.

  6. I remember when it was the other way around… The shorter the better because of the average attention span. I think the longer the video, the better but it has to have good value whether for educational or entertainment purposes. Great talk guys.

  7. Informative as always! Looking forward to next week…you guys have me coming back week after week…I see what you're doing :)!

  8. My channel's videos are mostly over 12 minutes. Although I don't have even 200 subscribers, my watch time percentage-wise is actually pretty high.

  9. When I make a video, I don't think in terms of how can I make this video as long as possible, but how can I make this video as helpful as possible. That often involves making the video longer by default, though, because I don't speed up my timelapses as much as I used to, so people can better see what I'm doing and add demonstrational clips to my vlogs. I redid an old video of mine about complementary colors, by adding such clips to illustrate my points and the new version got me a subscriber.

    I also like to do what Tim was talking about at the end, which is group similar videos into playlists, ideally series playlists, even if each video is only two to five minutes, and keep people watching my channel that way.

  10. I have a question, when i make a series play list the play list name doesn't appear above the videos titles like in your series, so what's the solution ? and thnx

  11. I was hoping the ideal time was closer to seven minutes. Especially with advice / inspirational channels.

    After five to seven minutes of good advice I get the urge to start acting on what I've heard. I'm not sticking around for another five minutes of bonus content. Sure, I could come back later and finish the video, but I'm more likely to just start in on a new video and leave that bonus material unwatched.

  12. This is good to know! I have a video coming out tomorrow that's just over 20 mins long (which is abnormal) and I was a tad nervous about it. I engaged well with it and thought it's worth the length

  13. My videos do the best at 10-13 minutes. I have a younger audience so their attention span is shorter. So when I make a 15+ minute long video it doesn’t do as well. Like you said, experiment on your channel and see what works for you.

  14. I asked you this question before but you chose to ignore it…
    "Question which i hope you could answer. Due to the nature of my content ( i am a tour guide who shows sites in Israel in 360 degree and a bible teacher) a single presentation can take nearly an hour or more sometime, depending on what it is to see and the information. Since it a an educational channel, will it be then OK, to break the content in part of lets say 5-10 mins each? This way I could actually have a daily video and keep viewer retention, not every one wants to see a 45 to an hour video. Your insight is truly appreciate it, specially when i dont work in a studio like many youtubers but rather out in the field."

  15. Good information. I find my videos tend to be in the 20 – 30 minute range as a how to video. I was wondering if i needed to find more shorter subjects to feature to keep the time down in the 5 – 10 minute range. But Perhaps I don't need to worry about that as much as I thought I did. Maybe the 10 – 15 minute range will be the sweet spot. Thanks

  16. As a channel focused on busy overworked moms it can be hard to balance details that may help my target audience with engagement and interest. Thanks for your thoughts Evan and Tim, there are some great things to implement here!

  17. Thanks for the tips as always! I'm enjoying this series a lot. It was a nice reminder for musicians on the getting right to the music. It's something I have been trying to do lately. (I do have a short intro for my channel, but I leave the general talking at the end.)

  18. I feel like some of my shorter tutorials do better. Most people want to get what they are looking for and dip out as quick and possible.

  19. Thanks for bringing Evan's insight to us, Tim. Video length is something I have been really thinking a lot about for my channel. I have a small channel, so and getting longer watch time, from longer videos will mean that I need to up my game. I'm a licensed therapist and my channel motivates and teaches people how to overcome anxiety and depression. Thanks!

  20. Thanks for the video. I noticed you didn't use hashtags. But somehow you were able to get the title and link for the YouTube series you are promoting above the video title. How did you do that? Mike ☺

  21. That felt like the longest week ever waiting for this episode!

    Again, it really provided me with some food for thought. Looking forward to the next episode!

  22. I personally prefer short vids, but I know that's not what Youtube wants. I had thoughts about doing a second channel that just does "express" versions of videos while longer versions go on the main channel – that way you keep the long retention but still get people like me who wanna watch videos on work breaks or short drives.

  23. Ya ionly got 4 subs and am currently doing a ad campaign for my song called teddy bear it has alot of impressions and views and iknow consistency is key on youtube but hey im gonna enjoy the ride and continue no matter what :] also great content as always 👍

  24. Hi guys! Thanks for the tips. In your experiences, do you find that watch time or retention is king? i.e 10min videos with 50% retention (5mins) versus 4 min videos with 75% retention (3min), assuming equal number of views. Thanks

  25. I notice some in the comments feeling discouraged. —— Well, One size doesn’t fit all. And I think length doesn’t really apply to music. It’s been studied that catchy music has an algorithm all of its own. Plus, having a massive fan base and advertising dollars to push traffic…makes a few of the examples not good comparisons for the average YouTuber. ❤️

  26. Really enjoying the series Tim and Evan. I see the series playlist is showing above the Title. When did I miss that feature. Haven't seen it on others or my own channel yet.

  27. If the average view time is far lower than 10 minutes, then what do you other commenters think about increasing it to that long?

  28. I have a question !!! .. When doing Facebook Live, I can see people who have joined, but does it tell you when people have left? I know this has nothing to do with this video, however, hoping someone will answer me lol

  29. Great video Tim and Evan I already sub to Video Creators and gave Evan a sub for the last video you guys did. This is a great series from you guys and very helpful to the all of the smalltubers like me out here. You guys are like to big brothers lending a hand to the little one trying to find his "or her" way in the big scary world. Thanks again!!!

  30. I have 7 vids in the can ready for a software product launch next week. Do I release all the videos at once or should I stagger them over several days?

  31. I'm currently working on a second video for my channel, and I was really stock trying to figure if should have separated it into multiple shorter videos less than 5 minutes. But I'll give this idea a try and stick to longer length video. I hope it works.

  32. I heard another Youtuber say the golden watch time was between 6-9min long

    I think it depends on your niche honestly

    Like for example Haul videos… if you show 20 things in 5 min, that's not much info, but if you do a minute per item, people will listen because they want to be more confident about their purchase

    If you're reviewing a product, some ppl want every little detail & others want a "Buy or Not" answer asap

  33. My most recent 10 min + video performed sooo much better than my sub 10 min video. I feel like having a mid-roll ad in there gave YouTube’s algorithm the incentive to push it more. Maybe because it generates more money. But yeah I think with the right structure 10 mins should be perfect for what I do. Thanks for the insightful videos guys.

  34. I'm so glad to hear your perspective on video length. So many people say less is more, but my video length is 12-15 minutes. I'm comfortable there, and I have a pretty good live following as well. Thanks again!

  35. I have multiple videos that are 10-20 some videos 20-30 and a few 30+. I’d say it works because if you hook someone they’ll watch to end, short or long so go long! The percent of people who drop out is always there and it doesn’t matter if that video is 2 hours or 2 minutes. But longer videos take time! And when you’re a one man band, it’s all the more challenging to get videos out fast. And big channels that can hire people, you can’t compete with that

  36. Ha what a relief to hear that you aim for vids over 10mins long! I started my channel earlier this year and realised despite my insecurities of recording myself on camera, I actually find it easy to record vids longer than 10 mins! Some go well over. I realise I'll need to sharpen them up to reduce some of the 'babble' – which is what I'm focusing on doing. But when you talk about things you know it becomes a LOT easier to record longer vids. Thanks for the awesome advice Tim & Evan 🙂

  37. Not to state the obvious, but this video is 6 min long. Where is my 4 MINUTES of missing value?! 🙂 Just Kidding. I have wanted to ask +EvanCarmichael the EXACT same question! Thanks for answering it!

  38. Very helpful i have almost 13000 subscribers and i watch all your videos to try to learn new tips to try to get over the hump

  39. Hi 🤗 I'm a new subscriber 🙂 loving your videos! Good tips! My channel has silly parrot videos/shorts—they typically are around 3 minutes long or less, because our videos are like Candy. I'm not sure how I could keep them fun and add more time. I do have plans for other types of channel related videos for upcoming playlists, so maybe I will be able to incorporate this advice in the near future. Thanks So Much for what you do 🤗💗

  40. Is the over all watch time more important or the audience retention? For instance is it better to have average be 4 min but only 35 percent retention or average 2.5 min and a 50 percent retention?

  41. That last note there I think is what I'm going to focus on with a short-form series I run. I currently don't do much to tell my audience about why they should check out the series playlist, and I could give that some attention which might result in people watching 15, 20, 30 episodes or more at once.

    That's also a really nice idea to give some storytelling, behind the scenes type content at the end of a video. I run a series where I give 5 tips for Minecraft server owners, and those videos generally end up being 6-7 minutes. I could take a few minutes at the end with my real life face on the screen (normally it's my in-game avatar), talking about how I am using these tips to help my own server. That could be cool! I'll try it out and hope it works. 🙂

  42. 👍😁 I made my gameplay video a 13 minutes series. Got a few loyal subscribers & viewers. Even though the number of viewers not yet reached a 100, but I got a consistent 30+ viewers daily.

  43. Wow ok, so this advice is really different then I have heard before…

    When I started making videos, they were all around the 10-14min mark. I was told to research my watch time and noticed that people were stopping at around the 3min mark. Ok so I understand it is about value in the video as well.

    So I changed my video length to around the 3min mark, crammed a heap of value into a short video and my channel grew quickly. My watch time sat around the 3min mark, but that meant the entire video was watched.

    My video quality increased and my production levels increased etc.

    I make travel videos, both short stories of interesting people, or inspirational, or even story from my travels. I would love to hear your opinion on my genre and length of video?

    Just a side note, I have recently found that I have been watching more videos around the 30min mark on Youtube then I have ever before. These have been either NatGeo talks, TedX Talks or adventure travel short films.

    So has my watch activity change or has Youtube changed?

    One Life, One Search,
    Peace Out,
    Shane

  44. Over a period of time, I have realized that whenever I try to do something impromptu, the video just takes a big down turn. I have to script my lines and pace the video accordingly. Else, suddenly I am making a lot of mistakes and the video doesn't appear to be the same anymore..

  45. Hello! I have a question, you says that it should be at least 10minutes, but I see many successful youtubers (for example alpha m. that has now over 5M subs) making videos between 4-8minutes. Even myself, when I see that a video is over 10minutes, I kind of get discouraged and I feel less interested in clicking the video. I prefer shorter videos (from a viewer perspective) any thoughts on this?

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