Counterintuitive Distribution – Why Uploading Your Video to YouTube May Be a Waste of Time

We upload Daily Idea to several video sites, and we run a weekly report about how many times each show has been viewed. Today's report showed something interesting. Below is a list of where our views come, on a percentage basis.

  • Blip 50%
  • Metacafe 21%
  • Revver 11%
  • Yahoo 7%
  • YouTube 3%
  • Others 17%

Yes, you saw that correctly. We get more views on Yahoo video than we do on YouTube.

Why does this happen? I assume it has to do with the massive number of videos on youtube. Since it is the most popular site by far, it gets the most content submissions. Thus the odds of someone finding that video you submitted are like the odds of finding the needle in the haystack. If your video gets popular on YouTube, you probably get an amazing number of views, but with so much content, it's unlikely people will find you on their own.

So if you produce video content, the way to get the most people to watch it is to submit it somewhere other than the most popular video site on the web. Counterintuitive for sure, but on closer examination, it makes sense. When you are a needle, and you want to get the word out, don't start by jumping into haystacks.

  • Yeah, people forget the “bubbling up” process. In order to be big everywhere, it has to be big somewhere. There are lots of similar trends in other arenas. For an idea to take root, it has to be a dominant idea among a well-connected group of people in order to give it the exposure in competition with all the other noise. Increasingly, you see the majority of digg top videos coming from non-youtube sites. Long tail economics damaging to the big boys? Absolutely.

  • Forgot to mention the Hundredth Monkey Effect:

  • Brian

    The most successful videos on YouTube (think Lonely Girl) are orginally posted as replies to other popular videos, then develop their own following for independently titled productions.

    Perhaps Daily Idea should find a popular video, for example, of a guy injuring himself while raking the lawn, then reply to that with a Daily Idea on how to rake your lawn.

    Seen the video of Miss South Carolina babbling about South African school kids? Reply to that video with a Daily Idea on learning geography or travelling to South Africa.