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🔎RR#10 - Cooking a stranger...
Wait, did he really just say that?
Happy 10th edition!
3 months ago, I was struggling to think of something to write about.
I decided (out of desperation) to review retention graphs from videos I’d worked on.
It was fun, so I asked you to send some of YOUR graphs (not expecting anyone would).
Yet here we are, 10 issues later! Thank you all!!
I guess you never know when destiny’s gonna come a-callin’ 🥲
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1 - Timing is everything…
Title: I Tested Minecraft Mobs To See Who's The Dumbest
Average % viewed: 53.0%
A new take on one of YouTube’s biggest videos…
What to repeat:
87% at 30s is no joke! Study this hook and notice how succinct and clear it is about the video’s concept.
It gives the necessary information in 3 sentences, then gets into the ‘meat’ after only 10s.
1 - Here are the characters.
2 - This is the concept.
3 - Here’s what’s at stake.
Still, there is bit of a dropoff until 3 mins, but I’ll talk about why soon.
introduces new stakes
Additional stakes are added constantly.
Once we think we know exactly what the video’s gonna do, the creator introduces new forms of peril (e.g. TNT falling from the sky) or gives the characters a chance to win a prize that gives them an advantage.
So ask yourself - once my audience thinks they fully understand what’s gonna happen, how can I introduce another surprising element to ratchet up the tension?
Inverts an already popular concept.
Where Mr Beast’s real-life Squid Game challenged players to beat the game…
…this creator pits a group of dumb AIs against each other, rewarding those who do the worst.
What to improve:
If this video had come out a year ago, it would have gotten 10x more attention.
But the hype around Squid Game and Mr Beast’s video have died down.
So why did people click away in the first 3 min? I suspect they recognised the Squid Game reference immediately and thought:
“Meh, that’s kinda 2022. I’ve already seen this done on a ridiculous budget.”
Shortcut for finding current trends: download VidIQ* so you can curate lists of the most popular creators, then see which videos are getting the most views per hour NOW. Then it’s time to act fast.
Improve your chances of making a video go viral by finding a popular trend and putting your own spin on it, (e.g. invert the concept).
But be wary of ‘missing the boat’ - YouTube trends move quickly, and if you’re a year late, it’s not a trend anymore.
2 - Don’t cook a stranger.
Title: Asking Strangers To Cook Them Dinner In Their Kitchen
Average % viewed: 38.6%
Would you let them in?
What to repeat:
This video has a great moral to it, and it’s nice to see a bunch of strangers all eating together ❤️
Ask yourself - can I slide some kind of interesting moral, realisation or lesson into my video’s concept?
There’s so much personality in the edit.
Cutting between the selfie-closeup camera angle and the wide shot makes us feel like we’re experiencing the conversation with Wyatt, AND seeing the moment in context.
1:25 made me spit out my coffee - you can easily ramp up the humour during the edit as they do here.
What to improve:
During the hook, the music drowns out his voice a little.
Always be wary of this, especially during the hook or when crucial context is being established.
Tension could have been heightened if we’d introduced some competition between the three guys.
We know that none of them can cook, yet they’re all working together to try and find a house that will let them cook. The tension doesn't feel totally legit.
Instead, what if they were all going to different houses and competing to see who could get a “yes” first, and whichever two failed to do so then have to do ALL the cooking?
See this recent example from Zac Alsop…
In Zac’s video, we know the loser is gonna have to do a forfeit, therefore the tension is incredibly high each time they speak to a homeowner.
Whereas in this creator’s video, the fact that they get turned down repeatedly doesn’t really carry any tension.
Make sure established character traits don’t undermine the point of tension.
A brief interlude…
🔎 See all of my reviews in a single location.
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Back to it…
3 - *dodges bullets*
Title: Soft Reboots Are the Cowards Way Out!
Creator: Lobster Magnet's Review: The Channel
Average % viewed: 54.2%
This creator observes a new(ish) Hollywood trend…
What to repeat:
The creator was evidently spurred to make this video because of the Matrix reboot, but he smartly explains his points by comparison to other, similar franchises.
Using direct metaphor/comparison in this way is good for 2 reasons:
It makes the arguments easier to understand because we have more points of familiarity to latch on to.
The video now encompasses a wider spectrum of the audience by multiplying the likelihood they’ll have seen at least one movie that’s been referenced.
By referencing so many different aspects of pop culture, the video is able to use continuous and varied B-Roll.
That B-Roll is used to reinforce points being made, e.g. by including interview footage.
Notice how every segment in this video is necessary for understanding the wider argument being made.
When the creator discusses the ‘death of the movie star’, this isn’t just for the sake of doing so - it’s providing important context for the bigger picture.
What to improve:
Occasionally, the creator runs out of breath during the voiceover (e.g. 1:14; 4:09) but doesn't re-record the sentence.
This gives those moments a slightly bizarre quality that takes me out of the flow and interrupts the pace.
The outro goes on too long after the final payoff.
I understand the creator has to mention their patrons, but this is mixed in with a lengthy shoutout for another video, and then a request for liking, subscribing and watching ‘any other videos’ in the playlist.
This is too much choice. If you want to optimise retention, pick 1 CTA and deliver it immediately after the payoff.
If that CTA is to watch another video, choose something specific and make the viewer feel like they need to watch that video immediately.
Using metaphor/comparison can make your videos easier to understand AND increase the number of viewers who are now personally familiar with the topic.
That’s all for now!
Enjoy your weekend 🙏