November 24, 2020

1 million views and 4x traffic in 2 weeks

Brett Batie @BrettBatie

In September I set a goal to work toward 200 users a day. I didn't know if this goal was realistic as I have no experience in marketing but figured I needed to start somewhere.

Shortly after giving myself this goal, I started having users actively asking for more features in my product, Clean Drive for Google Drive. So, instead of sticking to my goal, I spent the last 2 months adding more features to the app. Once I released new features I let all past users know about them (via email) and I immediately saw an uptick in sales. This was very rewarding and so I found myself continuing to add new features and let users know about it.

I wasn't really moving the needle on my daily users. I'm a bit hard on myself and blamed myself for not sticking to my original goal of strictly marketing the app. I'm now finding myself compromising at 50% marketing and 50% feature development
with a hope that this will be a goal that I can more realistically accomplish.

This brings me to what I would call a fluke in my marketing, where I received a spike in traffic when I wasn't even trying to get it. I recently was one of the lucky people to get invited to the Starlink beta (better than nothing) Internet offering. When I purchased the product ($500 for hardware and $100 a month) there was virtually no information available about what I was getting. I thought maybe I should post a short video about what it is on Youtube.

I received a GoPro for my birthday and figured this would be a perfect opportunity to try it out. So, I strapped the GoPro to my head and went about installing the hardware. I then posted my first video to YouTube and figured a few beta testers might appreciate knowing what they were getting. The video itself is embarrassing because I put no effort into cleaning up my mistakes and didn't do a good job of explaining myself, no one was going to watch it anyway.

I was shocked when I checked back a few hours later and had thousands of views and many comments. Over the last 2 weeks, I have received over 1.2 million views. 😨 I'm making more on this one video than I made in the last 6 months of building Clean Drive.

Clean Drive Youtube Growth

There was an interesting side effect of this viral video though. I put a little info about me in the description of the video that mentioned the Clean Drive app that I've been building. Again to my surprise people actually read the description and came to check out my product. I saw a 4x uptick in traffic.

Clean Drive for Google Drive Growth

I now find myself in a predicament, do I spend more time posting YouTube videos or stick to my passion for Software Development? I'm a believer in sticking to what you enjoy and the money will follow but it's hard to ignore the immediate success and profit coming from YouTube. Should I leave the YouTube channel as a one-hit-wonder or build a cadence of video posts?

  1. 2

    I would suggest you to make your channel a go to place for Starlink users, potential users. Maybe do reviews, describe latest update changes, run speed tests on various weather conditions etc. Since Starlink is relatively new, not many Youtubers got their hands on them, pretty soon you will see a lots starlink reviews. So you got an initial boost that you should make use of. And as a software developer myself, I would suggest you to do both.

    1. 2

      I was afraid someone would say that. This may be a stretching moment for me but I'm willing to give it a shot. Thanks for the advice!

      1. 1

        Please do give it a shot! I see lots of channels built around a single product and they are doing great. :)

  2. 2

    Wow, this is such a funny and interesting story!

    As a side note, this story in itself is interesting enough that you could probably capitalize on it to amplify the views further. E.g. do a public write-up on a blog and post to hacker news, medium, etc.

    I'm with you on sticking with your passion. But, we can always slog through for a period of limited duration to capitalize on a rare opportunity, right? If you don't despise the work involved, why not continue working on the YouTube stuff for a while, but stick with what you know you for sure love on the longer timeline?

    If nothing else, you can post 2 or 3 more videos and see what happens. Maybe they'll be duds and it really was a one-hit-wonder. Then the answer will be pretty clear. On the other hand, if they continue to do really well, then you'll have a tougher decision. ;)

    1. 2

      I love the idea of capitalizing on the publicity. Every company I have worked at has always had a PR team that was great at getting the word out. I wish now I spent a little time talking to them.

      Would you recommend taking the exact copy in this post and tossing it on a blog and then just posting links to it on Hacker News and such? Or maybe I should hire someone who is good at doing press releases?

      I think you are right it won't hurt me too much to keep putting a little effort into YouTube, even if I don't want to. 😅

      Thanks for the advice!

      1. 2

        No teacher like hands-on experience!

        I personally find what you wrote compelling. However, for a broader community, it might be helpful to add a little more context to the intro.

        I'm no copywriter, but I'd vote for keeping that colloquial, conversational voice. And the charts.

        But, of course, the #1 thing is to do whatever it takes to get it out there without much delay. E.g. I have an issue with agonizing over details and not releasing. If it were a trade-off between as-is and not at all, I think as-is would be great.

        You've got this! It'll be a fun ride. 😃👍

        1. 2

          Great advice, exactly what I needed to hear. Thank You!

  3. 2

    Oh my, that is amazing! Congratulations haha, having something go viral must be on everyone's wish list.

    I'd say to totally go in on YouTube. I don't think there's a dichotomy here. If you truly enjoy both, you can do both! Look to people like Ben Awad (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-8QAzbLcRglXeN_MY9blyw), Mayuko (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCEDkO7wshcDZ7UZo17rPkzQ), and Joma (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCV0qA-eDDICsRR9rPcnG7tw) for inspiration!

    Congrats again, and best of luck!

    1. 1

      Thanks for the YouTube inspirations. I haven't heard of any of those people. I will go check them out.

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