Another YouTube Myth Debunked: “Best Rated” Videos Get Views?

highest rated video of weekI made a spoof video last week called “Why You Should Rate” that was designed to point out a little YouTube myth. People think that a highly rated video with lots of comments means that they’ll get views. To further illustrate the point, the video itself is one of YouTube’s “top 20” highest rated videos of the week, and has about 7,000 views. Contrast that with my recent “Snake in a Pool,” which has no “honors” and 100,000 plus views.

While I’m too lazy to disprove this “ratings = views” myth via statistical analysis, I would invite a high school student to take this on as an independent project. Further, they could analyze the correlation between total duration and total views to identify the theoretically ideal video length. The time that optimizes views (I’m betting on 75-90 seconds). There’s plenty of public data to help here, and I’d love to publish the findings.

While it’s true that a video resulting in lots of comments also often gets lots of views, the comments and views are not directly related. It’s likely the video topic’s  high impact and/or controversial nature that causes other things: views, comments and ratings (although it’s possible that videos ranking high on these ratings are rewarded with preferred placement on the YouTube’s “promoted videos” homepage section to balance the paid videos that sneak there… and that would result in a second wave of views).

Very few people surf YouTube’s ranked videos on a regular basis. So while the “highest rated” or “most viewed” of all time is almost impossible to dethrone, the daily and weekly honors are little more than ego feeders. The sustainability of a YouTuber is a function of good content, fresh material, a balance of consistency with variety, creator adaptability (I’ll call the Madonna reinvention factor), and a loyal audience that is satisfied enough to watch and share the content with friends.

In theory, a highly rated video would be highly viewed. But in fact the highly viewed videos are often one-hit wonders that pop outside YouTube and therefore have lots of views by innactive YouTube viewers- those that don’t tend to comment or rate. It’s also true that what we watch isn’t necessarily what we like. Would you rate a highway accident 5 stars? Nope. Would you look?

So where am I going with this post? The same place I went with this video, which is artificially ranked in the league of HappySlip, Smosh, KevJumba, The Onion, College Humor, and even the Retarded Policeman. Heck I even topped the inexplicably popular “Fred” and one of the”very funny cats” videos.

In the end, I like the creative experience of YouTube, the people with whom I interact in various ways, the videos that don’t suck, and the revenue subsidy (aka debt-relief fund). But assessing yourself based on subscribers, honors and other proxies to faux fame is fools gold, friend. Shiny and perty, but it will just sink you when you try to swim from the shipwreck. And that’s a mixed metaphor you can take to the bank on your horse that you lead to water in a stitch in time.

13 Replies to “Another YouTube Myth Debunked: “Best Rated” Videos Get Views?”

  1. I’ve heard it said a million times, usually by people with less than 100 subs. Like me. “It’s not the quantity of the subs. It’s the quality”

    I wonder if Michael Buckley subsrcibes to the same philosophy?

  2. Hey – guess what I just found out. Hershey’s makes chocolate milk in a “juice box” – you know, those little boxes with straws that kids love? Do you know what this means?? I can give my kid a high calorie milk product he’ll actually drink and there will be virtually NO SPILLAGE!! None!!! For a kid who manages to spill some form of liquid or lliquidy food product on the floor at least twice a week though he’s seven years old, and sometimes forgets to tell mom about it until it’s been there a week, this is HUGE!! I mean, I am so fucking psyched!!!!!

    Of course, this does not solve the problem of him him hiding solid food products in such innovative areas as the floor of the closet or under my bed or in the dirty laundry, but still. My life is golden now!!!

    I now feel so much better about that whole subscriber number and partner thing. Yeah. I could care less about that now. I mean, what’s more important? Hot dog buns in the kitty litter or subscriber numbers?

  3. P.S. Not to take over the role of the spelling nazi, but “perty” as in atractive is not spelled “perty”. “Perty” describes a person who is lively, or jaunty and stylish. The correct spelling should be “purty.” which is correctly used only when you’ve got the theme song from Deliverance running through your head.

  4. here I thought it was the thumbnails and just how drunk youtube employees were at the time they did their daily ranking.

    That reminds me, how come no one has come up with a series mocking youtube and youtube employees? God knows there’s plenty of material.

  5. Ugh, I hate Fred SOOOOOOOOO much.

    Nalts, you should speed up your videos, and then maybe you can become the 6th most subscribed to user like Fred.

  6. Wow. I’m impressed. You wrote this big old long blog post just so you could brag with this line: “The same place I went with this video, which is artificially ranked in the league of HappySlip, Smosh, KevJumba, The Onion, College Humor, and even the Retarded Policeman. Heck I even topped the inexplicably popular “Fred” and one of the”very funny cats” videos.”

    Okay already. I get it. You’re popular.

  7. I know one thing about Deliverance – marquis is the guy who assraped Ned Beatty and made him squeal like a pig.

  8. sukatra beat me to it again, correcting the spelling of “purdy”. I hate that I can’t read this blog at work. I mean, they actually expect me to do work there. WTF? I mean, c’mon, it’s June. Finals are coming up. Teachers are showing movies. You can’t get kids to do any actual school work at this time of year.

    Also, sukatra, I used to make my boys sit on the kitchen floor when they had drinks. That way any spillage could be easily cleaned up. Either that or drink outside. My boys are now 22 & 19 and they can now drink without spilling; most of the time.

  9. According to the Sxe Phil Guide To Viral Video, the only truly foolproof way of getting views is to include cleavage in the thumbnail. Infact I think xGoboBeanx employs a similar method.

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