Hey all, just thought I’d start writing a sort of random thoughts kind of thing on here every now and then… today, it’s time to discuss what I’ve learned as a gaming YouTube over 2 years!
Anyway, I thought I’d kinda give you guys my thoughts on what it’s like trying to get anywhere on YouTube as a total nobody who doesn’t have tons of cool successful YouTuber friends (or any friends for that matter). I hope it might help people thinking of starting their own gaming channel or just give you guys a bit of an insight in keeping the channel alive (I mean, I don’t intend on giving it up anytime soon, but I want the channel to grow, not die!!)
1. Gaming is a brutal niche to have a YouTube channel.
I should have probably known this before I started, but it’s so competitive, you’re lucky if you have near 100 subscribers. Seriously! Let’s say I want more subs (which I always do, please subscribe thanks) so I play a brand new game that people will be searching for. Regardless of how amazing your video is, someone will have played that game before you (big YouTubers will probably get early review copies or whatever). In fact, several people will have and they’ll all have 100,000+ subscribers AT LEAST, meaning you will literally never have a chance to be found via search. It’s sort of this chicken and egg thing where you need subscribers for your videos to be found, but to get subscribers, you need your video to be found.
I’d also like to quickly add that if you don’t have an endless sink of time (which I generally don’t but I’m very lucky I have more than most) big YouTubers will also complete games about a billion times faster than you, giving people less reason to watch your episodes (because they’ve already seen it). Yeah. It’s brutal.
2. Gaming is one of the friendliest niches I’ve ever experienced!
Well, this is my own experience after all. I could probably count the amount of bad comments I’ve received in nearly two years on MarkBeckyGames because there’s been honestly so few. It’s really weird, because I see a lot of hate and bullshit on popular YouTuber’s videos but by and large, it’s really not like that.
I’ve had YouTube channels in the past where people would write some really awful things over very little. For example, I used to do video reviews of music I liked. If I said one bad thing about a particular song or a particular band, people would say I was an idiot who didn’t know what I was talking about. I used to actually play music on a separate channel and people would accuse me of having decent instruments because “my mum probably paid for them”. Very weird. Compared to shit like that, gaming is friendly as hell!
3. People don’t really like gaming videos all that much.
It’s weird to say it and I’ve only realised this at the end of 2016, but our most successful videos have been when I’ve been talking about games, or reacting to trailers, or unboxing… not necessarily playing an actual game. In fact, there’s been very few games apart from Splatoon where the majority of folk haven’t just dropped off a series or stopped watching.
I mean, we run a Nintendo channel and I was getting some of the lowest views/comments playing frickin ZELDA. People aren’t overly interested in watching a Nintendo channel play ZELDA FOR PETE’S SAKE. And I still don’t get why!! Personally, if I’m subbed to a dude I like, I’ll watch them play Hello Kitty Fishing Simulator (is this a real game?) just because I like THEM, not necessarily the game they’re playing. But apparently not everyone is like me!
4. It’s not all about being found in YouTube search…
I know I said in #1 said that it kinda was about being found in search (well, it’d be nice), but YouTube changed a lot in the end of 2016. My reaction videos get found by a lot of people outside of my subscribers which is pretty insane yet NONE of them rank for anything in YouTube search. YouTube’s whole schtick now is about recommended videos based on what people have watched, so it’s probably more realistic to bear that in mind when creating videos. It’s literally the only way people find my videos.
5. You’d better love creating videos, because it’s really hard to keep going.
I’m really insanely grateful for the support you guys give me on Patreon because creating endless videos forever becomes incredibly grindy after 2 years. It’s not necessarily the money that I’m grateful for, it’s more like that people really believe in what me and Becky set out to do with our channel and actually give a crap what happens to it as much as we do.
I’m also really grateful for the tons and tons of comments and the community that seems to have somehow appeared in the comments section over the last 2 years! It’s crazy that people actually continually watch our videos and I really feel like I know you guys!
If I didn’t have those two things, I would have given up by now. It’s literally the only thing that keeps me going, because even though I love creating video content, it’s really disheartening to work on a video for hours for it to get like 15 views (which is more often than not!)
So that’s it! I’m constantly torn between just keeping the channel going doing what I enjoy doing vs what will help the channel grow. I think in 2016, I was just doing whatever, but hopefully in 2017 you might notice me try a bit harder than usual to take over the world with my stupid editing and bad jokes. I hope you’ll stick with me whatever happens (even if I start playing Hello Kitty Fishing Simulator).