Originality on YouTube

100 hours of video.

Every minute, 100 hours of video is uploaded to YouTube. Think about that for a moment.

2 million videos.

Assuming the average video is 5 minutes in length, we can estimate that around 2 million videos are uploaded each day! This means that for every new video you upload, you could be competing with 2 million others. Sure, those 2 million probably aren’t all part of the same genre as your video, but this should give you an idea as to the competition you’re going up against. So why does this all matter?

You’re a needle in a haystack

As an old-school YouTuber, I often get asked to assess content creators’ channels and videos. I’ve found that most creators are looking for simple answers about how they can attract more viewers and grow their audience. Aside from providing tips on ways to improve their SEO, the answer isn’t always simple.

The competition is real

Let’s assume for a moment that you produce Minecraft “let’s play” videos. There’s a good chance that, out of those 2 million videos uploaded each day, 1% also focus on Minecraft. This equates to 20,000 videos (give or take) that you’re competing with on a daily basis.

Searching YouTube for “Minecraft” and filtering by “Today” usually shows 15k-40k videos in the results. Perform a generic search for your niche and see what you come up with.


Originality is king

With each video you create, ask yourself the following question: “What is going to set this video apart from everyone else’s?” It’s a tough question to ask and a tougher question to answer, but a necessary one if you’re looking to grow your audience.

The hard reality is that viewers want to watch original content, which is why some YouTubers are more successful than others. Take a look at the top 100 YouTubers (minus corporate accounts). While many of them may be creating content that “everyone else if doing,” they’re all putting an original twist on it. Millions are creating gameplay videos, but PewDiePie stands above them all due to his energetic, wacky style.

It’s not just viewers

Viewers aren’t the only ones who are looking for original content. Advertisers are, too. As more and more content creators populate YouTube, advertisers are starting to become very specific about which videos their ads are served on. If you’re serious about the future of your YouTube channel and are looking to capture advertisers’ wallets, with each video you need to ask yourself: “Does this video stand above the rest?”

It’s a tough industry

Trust me, I wish I had an easy answer as much as you. I often compare YouTube to Hollywood. Millions are trying to ‘make it’, but with such harsh competition, dedication and originality are a must. Keep those videos coming, but don’t be afraid to change up your style if you feel it’s not working.

Follow Howard on Twitter at @Pinsky.