Case Study 9: How a Newbie YouTube Video Made Over $10,000.

In the following case study, I made what I considered (and still think is) an ugly looking YouTube video. But in doing so, it ended up making $10,000’s. 

I will go over this report but the $10,000 accumulated over a few years (in the end part of this report, I’ll display the sales and the value of each one and how it added up to this number).

Here’s the background:

In an effort to boost sales to one referral program (Wealthy Affiliate), I ventured into doing things a little bit differently. I decided to make a single video, put it up on YouTube and directly linked it to the promotion.

The video turned out to be full of editing mistakes and overall did not look very professional. For example, the video editor I was using had this feature where if I click on an area of a website, it enlarges it.

I never meant to do any of that as I was making the video and in the end, the viewer would have a hard time seeing what I wanted them to see.

One would think that this problem alone would be enough to ruin the whole video experience, but to my shock, it still made money because the content of that video was very rich and something people were interested in and that’s the main point I want you to take from this case study.

Usually when I do how to tutorials and it includes videos, I always endorse that people link it back to their website to gain more authority as it does count as content. However, I just wanted to see how this experiment would play out so instead of linking back to a site, I just linked it to Wealthy Affiliate.

In fact, look at the video yourself and tell me how bad it is:

Here’s how this case study is structured:

  • I created an 18 minute video giving a full review of the program.
  • In those 18 minutes, I talked about every topic I could think of regarding that program.
  • I didn’t record myself, but rather my voice while I was clicking on the website and explaining things to viewers.
  • I never intended the video to be this long, but because of most things and me wanting to be super clear, it just ended up being this way.
  • I added annotations to the video to help increase click throughs to the affiliate promotion.
  • The video was created towards the end of June and it’s been about 4 months and a few days since.

Now let’s look at the stats that the video has turned out since then:

WAvideostats

This is a screenshot taken from my analytics page for this video. YouTube has done a fantastic job of providing some excellent data I can use to further improve upon it, but let’s quickly analyze a couple of stats:

  • Since it was first made and uploaded, the video has received over 700 views.
  • It has 5 likes and 0 dislikes.
  • It has been shared over 10 times.
  • I received 5 subscribers from this video to my channel so far.
  • Out of the 18+ min in length, the average time people look at this video is close to 7 minutes.

The results:

Thus far I have received 7 referrals directly from this video.

Out of those referrals, 3 people have upgraded to the premium program provided by Wealthy Affiliate, for which I get paid over $20 for every month. In other words, 3 sales which = $60+ a month (considering they are still around).

waytstats

So was it worth it to make this video?

Yes it was, although monetary stats from this are very low and there ARE ways to improve this video, I am glad I put in about an hour’s worth of work to possibly be making $60+ a month now. And keep in mind, the viewing stats for this video ARE increasing, which means in the future, this labor could yield even more results:

waytstats2

I never though this video would do well or even get any major traffic because the keyword I was aiming for (Wealthy Affiliate Review) is pretty competitive, but what I was looking at when it came to competitive was Google, not YouTube itself.

The analytical data for this video shows that nearly 60% of all the visitors that found it, did so through YouTube’s search while another 24% found it through related videos. That’s almost 85% right there. I don’t think any visitors came to this video through Google’s search though.

What mistakes have been made and how I aim to correct them:

  • Obviously the editing could be fixed. No more closeups where they aren’t intended. 
  • Average length of the video is TOO long. The video should have been much shorter, at least by 3 times.
  • I have not edited the video enough to provide necessary links to visit my affiliate offer.
  • Today, I would recommend you record videos like I did with this program, not the old one I used (Camtasia). And I talk more about it in an update further below.

These 4 mistakes are the major ones. I was able to fix the third one by adding more annotations to the video so people could click through to the offer more easily. Yet still, on average, 1 out of 100 people are signing up through this video. All I can really do is add another annotation or two earlier on in the video. 

Currently my annotations are being set to show up well after the 10 minute mark which is beyond the average time people are watching the video. The aim is to get them to see it before they leave, so I’ll add them before the 7 minute mark (the average time they view it).

As for the first 2 mistakes, I can’t fix the editing. I’d have to remake the whole video and upload it separately so I’ll keep it as is. Same thing for the length.

I don’t have a say in the first 2, but I can help improve both factors by fixing the third one. 

What I did do correctly was focus on making the video very rich in content by truly giving people a good review they would trust. Having 0 dislikes is a good sign so far!

Leveraging from my case study: 3 easy ways to make money on YouTube.

  • Focus on a niche and do video reviews that cover products in that niche. You can then link people directly to your affiliate offer or to a website which can also have it (this is 2 ways to earn out of the 3).
  • You can earn money on YouTube from views, likes, ads being shown and more. To leverage this, you can set up things such as play throughs of video games (which many are doing) or on any topic you enjoy. YouTube has become a gigantic playground for this topic. More opportunities!

While doing any of these 3 things, try to maximize the conversion rate of the videos you put up. Use these tips:

Try to keep the length of your videos under 5 minutes. Unless they are game plays or shows, most people in my experience don’t stick around long enough and get bored quickly. In my case study, people left around 7 minutes, while the video was 18 minutes long. 

Be precise and thorough when you do video reviews of products. I try to let people know everything I can about a product because it makes them trust me. And it’s also an honest way to help people. 

Don’t try so damn hard. I think my video converted better than I though because I was very calm when I spoke. be natural. If you’re shy, you don’t have to film yourself, you can just talk or if that’s also something that’s too much, you can get someone to speak for you.

Have any personal YouTube tips you’d like to share? Please do so below! 🙂

Update 4/1/16:

The last time I wrote about this topic, it was basically December 2015, now since then, 4 months have passed and the video continues to get views/sales:

yt

The video now has accumulated over 3,000 views and so far, there have been 15 more sales made! Now obviously 15 sales in 4 months may not be a big deal to some, but many of those sales are re-occurring meaning they re-pay every month. 3 sales which is what I originally had, paid about $60/month and with an extra 15 sales, making it 18 in total would pay about $400+ a month. Those are very good “dividends”!

A 2018 report on the same video…

Over 21,000 views (still going) and this is the sales report:

92 sales in total, each of which provides on average about $100. So nearly $10,000 was made since this was first uploaded. That’s quite an incredible thing considering it was a very bad looking video.

Update: Improving the quality (and sales) of future videos, how I did it.

Years passed since I made that bad video and it still gets views and some sales, but had I originally made the quality of it better, I am certain, I would have earned far more from it. 

The program I used to create the above video was Camtasia, but about a year ago, I switched to a free and simpler program called ShareX and the quality of the videos I produced thanks to it greatly improved. With that, I also greatly improved the sales and conversions of any future YouTube videos I created thanks to it (see some here).

And also because I got into YouTube marketing more, I eventually created this beginner tutorial to help you monetize with it.

28 thoughts on “Case Study 9: How a Newbie YouTube Video Made Over $10,000.”

  1. What if you added some more tags and made the description of the video longer? Do you think that would help you get more views on your video?

    • It’s very possible Adam. However, what I have seen is that videos with good thumbnails, clickbait titles and ones which also use the keyword tend to work best.

  2. Thanks for the post! I’ve just recently started making a real effort to get into affiliate marketing and making money online. Until reading this I had not really considered using YouTube for that purpose but the idea that I could rank easier and faster is appealing. 

    Don’t get me wrong. I totally understand that it’s still hard work and going to take time, but maybe not quite as much time. Like most people I have an aversion to seeing myself on camera or hearing my voice on tape, but I need to overcome that by realizing what an advantage that is: Much less competition!

    Thanks again for opening my eyes on this one. 

    • No problem David. I have to say that I have never recorded my face in a single YouTube video I did using the method I talked about (ShareX). So if you repeat the same process, you will only have to get over the voice issue, but you have to understand how much the internet has evolved and how much potential there is in YouTube.

      You can really set up videos very quickly and you’d be surprised to know how little effort it takes. 

  3. Hi Vitaliy.

    First of all let me start by saying that I don’t expect you to accept this comment as having anything of value to you, which by the way was not my intent when I started reading your blog.

    I have been a part of WA for less than 2 months, so you can imagine the information overload I might be experiencing.

    After I read your piece, I did some further exploring of your site and I am totally impressed by your honesty, your candor and maybe most of all, the professional simplicity of your marketing approach.

    As a result, I am rethinking my website as well as my marketing approach. I feel the same way that you expressed in your video, I too refuse to endorse anything I don’t truly believe in. You come off very genuine and I’m sure that contributes to your success.

    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and experience.

    Don

    • Thank you Don, I only recently added this video to the case study, but it makes perfect sense, since I do promote WA on it, it’s only right that people get to see how I review it in video format. I can tell you that despite being new, you will be able to understand all of this with Wealthy Affiliate’s help and time, to help you grow in experience.

  4. Your case study video report is inspiring because after 3 years it is still getting results. It shows how a simple product or service review is appreciated by people looking for a solution to help them solve a problem. I agree that it’s easier to watch shorter videos of 5 minutes or less, because there so many things to focus on nowadays. Have you done other shorter videos on other subject matters or reviews? Is there a minumum or maximum time range that should be aimed for based on the 3 years of statistics?

    • Hi John, I have done shorter videos following my experience with the one in this case study and yes some have delivered good results too. I don’t have a particular time to aim for when making your own video reviews, but something that is under 5 minutes like you said is good, but make sure that capture the interest of your viewer in the first 10 seconds.

      One mistake I used to make and this was also on blog posts was that I would ask a question in the title and then wouldn’t answer it right away, but later. This would frustrate my viewers, so make sure to make a video and give a quick summary or answer within the first 10-20 seconds, even if your video is a few minutes long, because those first 10-20 seconds will help ensure they stay and keep watching it in my experience. 

      That kind of tip has worked well for me and I learned it from a video blogger by the name of Alex Becker.

  5. Very inspirational Vitaliy!

    I’m fired up to start doing YouTube videos too, been stopping for like many months now but seeing you killing it is a great motivation for me and the others as well hopefully. I’m using Camtasia to edit my videos but man, they haven’t updated much and the interface sometimes hangs which gets really frustrating. Guess it’s time for me to start changing to ShareX! How’s it going for you so far?

    • I’ve been making videos SO much faster with ShareX. It does have editing options, but I don’t use them, all I need for my YouTube needs is just a way to record my voice, my screen for it to look and sound good and for that, ShareX is perfect.

      I wish I was able to use it when I made the video review, I feel I could have been able to bank more with it as a result.

  6. This is a really awesome and inspiring read. It shows that quality content is very important. I am the type of person that doesn’t really have a nice voice and I also stammer. This is one reason why I find it difficult to produce videos for my niche. I am thinking about going the way of hiring someone to do my videos for me. 

    I would like to know if making someone talk for me in these videos would have any negative effect on my blog because I would really like to get into using videos and is it a must that the person I chose makes use of their faces or should they just stick with only making use of their voice?

    • That’ll be up to you Jay and the subject of the videos you’ll be doing. Ideally, you will want to be the one to make your videos and have your voice (or face) be heard/shown. I know you said you have issues but I find with practice, you WILL improve and may perhaps reach a point where your audiences love your content.

      I mean I look at the videos I produce today and they are more confident, way easier to view and that came with practice, perhaps you are underestimating your potential here…

      I even know a guy who does tech reviews and he is LITERALLY mute (here is his channel), so he uses sign language and captions when he makes his videos and the dude has several 100k followers and a MASSIVE like tsunami in just about all his videos. He’s amazing.

      If he can do this with the truly big handicap issue that he has, we certainly can too. We have no excuse as far as I see it.

  7. This has got me thinking that I should make the move to YouTube. I’ve never been so sure of making videos because I’ve never been sure about the content but I can see how reviewing products on YouTube would be successful. I’m curious about what else you can make videos on? My only concern with this is that you would have to have access to the programs you review so for example I could write a review on WA because I am a member but not necessarily on other products because I do not pay to be a member there 🙂

    • Hi Celeste, not necessarily. I do ideally recommend owning/buying the product prior to the review, but some programs, especially in this field are such obvious scams (you learn to see it overtime) that buying it would give you a major headache to prove what you already know beforehand.

      So in those instances, you can review the program, mention that you haven’t bought it, but go over the red flags which you saw, that prevented you from it. You can cite prior experiences with these red flags and why they are possible dangers. 

      Of course, paramount to ALL of this is honesty and being able to give ANY program it’s fair review, and like I said, you will develop that skill if you practice being in this business. However, if the make money online business is not your thing, start doing reviews on another niche topic you do know a lot about and then use the skills learned to carry it over to the MMO niche.

  8. It is awesome to have content you uploaded years ago still making money today. Congrats on the success and thanks for encouraging me to revisit youtube content. I have had some success in the past with youtube videos and driving traffic to content with affiliate links. I need to get back in to doing some of this type of promotion. 

  9. Videos can be extremely helpful as you pointed out. There might be a lot of people who would be interested in what you are talking about, 

    But they wouldn’t want to read about it for some reason. Maybe they would prefer to listen and watch instead. I do know someone who is not really able to read and she uses voice recordings instead of texting when she is chatting with people online. Making YouTube videos is a great idea, and I hope I’ll get there one day. For now I am just trying to focus on building my website.

  10. Finding this article was at a good timing for me. I am starting to look into doing my own YouTube videos and as a complete beginner on this topic, I need all the help I can get! I’m procrastinating on this subject!

    You have actually helped me so much by identifying your own errors and giving solutions. I thank you so much. I am a fan of yours for sure 😉 

    • I’m glad I helped you push forward with YouTube Dianne, with practice, you will be able to produce videos with a lot more confidence.

  11. Wow, I had no idea. I haven’t made any youtube videos yet, mostly because I feel like I can’t compete with the caliber of videos that are already out there. Most of them are so high quality, that I don’t feel like I have neither the skills nor equipment to actually pull it off successfully.

    Not trying to sound negative, but after reading this post and watching that video, I feel like I can give it a shot.  Why not? 

    Thanks for the insight.

    • Hi James, I know what you mean and with the tools and the rise of Vlogging, there’s a whole new niche out there with accessories and ways to customize YouTube videos. Seeing how people put them together nowadays can truly seem intimidating, but you saw the video I put up and I mentioned how much it’s made.

      I have learned that with YouTube videos, just like with websites, it’s the content and not the look that delivers and converts. There’s nothing wrong with making a good looking video, but as long as the content keeps people viewing. If the content isn’t there, you CANNOT keep the viewers there.

  12. Well it just goes to show you the beauty of internet marketing IF your content is worthwhile – regardless of the obvious editing mistakes you made etc, the content the video contained was what people were looking for at the end of the day!

    Have you gone back into video marketing on YouTube, and more importantly, have your editing skills improved? 🙂

    • Oh absolutely Chris, I’ve made new videos and used the ShareX program to produce better quality videos. I still record the screen, but compared to the video in this case study, things have improve a lot. 

      Most of my videos haven’t done as well as this one, but I still produce some decent sales numbers from a small number of video reviews I do.

  13. Great post – I think that YouTube / Vimeo is probably under-utilized (I know it is for me).

    I’ve had a problem recording clear screen captures. It looks fine, but then when I upload to YT / Vimeo, it looks pretty shocking. Are you using a paid screen capture tool?

    Thanks again,
    Sean

    • Hi Sean, yes I use Camtasia Studios. I’ve had this program for a number of years. It’s about $300, but I find editing is pretty simple through it. Although I don’t even use it as a professional editor. My knowledge of that program is very limited, but for the things I need it to do, it’s perfect.

  14. Hmmm. Makes me think. Maybe I should be uploading more videos to Youtube again. They do kind of just sit there and collect traffic over time.

    Funny story though, I also have some terrible videos I put up in a different niche that make a good amount each month. I did them ‘batch’ style…about 10 a day for a month. They get a lot of dislikes, which I’m not proud of, but some likes, and they make money.

    • It all adds up Nathaniell! Obviously, we can always learn from the videos we and others dislike and do things to make them better. Perhaps I’ll be setting up a second version of this video in the coming months and try and make up for the mistakes this one made.

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