Insights from my 30,000 Youtube subscribers milestone

I've just reached the milestone of 30,000 subscribers on my Youtube channel. It took less than a year to grow my subscriber base from 4,000 in November 2015 to where I am today. I'm just amazed at the growth potential of Youtube.

Here are some smaller milestones for subscriber count that I've been tracking.

I get around 80 new subscribers each day on Youtube now compared to only 30 when I first started tracking my progress. My growth on Twitter and Facebook is so pathetic I don't even want to share them here. What's obvious is different platforms require different growth strategy. With Youtube, my strategy is to put out helpful content with relentless consistency and so far that has been working out well for me.

Where the viewers are from

On average, around 12,000 viewers watch my videos daily. Only 0.6% are referred by my blog -- that's 79 viewers from Parkablogs daily. The rest are viewers from the Youtube platform. In other words, there are a lot of viewers on Youtube searching for art content. That's no surprising though, as this is the 2nd biggest search engine on earth.

Compared to other artists on Youtube

Numbers can actually say a lot about the channel.

Here are statistics artists that I subscribe to, arranged based on the number of subscribers they have.

Name Subscribers Videos Views/video
Mark Crilley 2,596,622 577 107,546
Draw with Jazza 800,569 603 148,218
Baylee Jae 675,883 219 82,588
Proko 537,525 158 28,067
thefrugalcrafter 282,955 1,484 36,090
Alphonso Dunn 269,326 244 19,127
Cubebrush 220,836 199 8,144
PearFleur 210,459 89 18,913
Will Terrell 195,044 131 4,633
Shoo Rayner 149,274 865 11,638
kelogsloops 125,052 20 26,769
Lachri Fine Art 113,696 625 12,200
Vicky Papaioannou 112,538 434 13,257
Fran Meneses 82,684 164 7,635
Mind of Watercolor 71,197 87 5,836
REIQ 70,980 89 3,597
Iraville 94,510 48 4,727
ArtGerm 53,616 62 2,514
Aaron Rutten 50,489 771 11,421
James Gurney 41,170 173 3,624
Me 30,028 483 12,286
Peter Sheeler 29,744 83 6,580
Owings Art 16,115 309 2,778

View count

I may not have as many subscribers as other Youtubers, but my view count is quite high -- almost on par with Lachri Fine Art who has more than 3 times my subscribers. I attribute that to the many art product reviews I've created. I want to make one video review for all the art products that I've reviewed on my blog.

I value view count because ultimately, ads on Youtube payout are based on view count. On a bad day, the payout is around USD $1 per 1,000 views. From there, you can calculate exactly how many views, videos or subscribers you need to make a full-time living. Unless you have a knack for putting out viral content that skews your statistics, growth rate on Youtube is quite predictable and you can do forecasts easily. For example, if I get 2,500 subscribers each month, one year later, I can safely say that I will have 30,000 more subscribers.

If you have a full-time or freelance job, you won't even know if you will have a pay increment next year, or earn as much.

Start early

One reason why some Youtubers have a lot of subscribers is because they started early. A channel that started 10 years ago, provided they produce content regularly, is likely to have many times more subscribers than a new art channel today. If you want to start something, start early. The payoff will only come years later. I wished I had started my channel at the same time I started my blog. So now, I'm actually making up for lost time by putting out as many videos as possible.

There are many different strategies when it comes to choosing the type of content to produce. An art channel can focus on tutorials, artist interviews, speed paintings, art product reviews, advice or whatever you can think of really. This is probably worth an article on its own.

Youtube has incredible reach

My videos reach more people than my blog posts. For example, the article that I wrote regarding Wacom MobileStudio Pro on 14 Oct only received 2,440 views to date. The Youtube video talking about the same thing published 3 days later received 4,229 views. I believe that video was able to get a higher view count because I have a large subscriber base. Each time I publish a video, a notification email is sent out to those subscribed to my channel, making it easy for them to watch. I don't have that feature on my blog and I don't use my newsletters to promote individual posts like this, and even if I do, I only have 1000+ newsletter subscribers compared to 30,000 Youtube subscribers.

Ultimately, content is king

There are some channels with fantastic growth rates even though they don't have a lot of videos, But those channels do have compelling content. Two good examples are the art creation videos from kelogsloops (20 videos with 125,052 subscribers) and Iraville (48 videos with 94,510 subscribers). What this means is, if your content is really great, you can get subscribers easier, although how the subscribers find the content is still something I'm trying to figure out, because it's either a combination of Youtube Suggested Videos or through SEO.

Moving on

Making videos daily is not easy. Some days, I may not have ideas or just don't have motivation. That's why I keep a list of ideas and populate it whenever I have an idea for a video.

I'm just gonna continue what I'm doing now and see where it will bring me next year. My prediction is I will have 60,000 subscribers by October 2017.

Hopefully, I can have 700 videos produced by the end of 2017. That would be incredible.

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