How to interpret YouTube Insights’ information
The organic nature of YouTube views
Just like people don’t go to theaters see Star Wars like robots, they watch YouTube videos for a reason. They do it when they heard about an artist, so they want to know what it is about. Or they listened to a song on radio that they liked and want to stream it back. Or they are fans of the artist and simply consume their music through YouTube because they can’t afford paying for it. We stream a video for a reason and we do it consciously.
In other words, a video stream is an organic consequence of success rather than the root cause. All elements which create organic video views today were also generating organic records sales in the past.
I have been going through YouTube Insights for a pair of years, putting head-to-head views of an artists with his sales in each country. The most striking conclusion is that there is a blatant correlation between streams and sales.
That’s where this tool is incredible. It contains data from all countries. Charts and sales information has always been limited to a restrictive number of markets. For some artists and records, more data leaked, but overall most questions about sales in Asia, Eastern Europe or Latin America were left unanswered. People aiming to know where artists were doing well and how much they sold globally had to leave huge holes or to go into hazardous and biased estimations. Instead, we can retro-engineering YouTube Insights’ data to get clear, precise and facts-based figures for all records, in all markets.
It’s all about relativity
The main error about the retro-engineering of YouTube statistics would be to believe you can directly deduce how many copies an album sold with a basic multiplier. It isn’t because an artist has millions of views in Vietnam that he sold millions there. Additionally, it isn’t because it is streamed more in Mexico than in the US that he sold more there. Last but not least, it isn’t because an artist has more views than someone else with an old song that he sold more in the past.
The strength of YouTube varies a lot depending on the market. Demographics will also be more favorable for some artists. Obviously, Barbra Streisand‘s lovers aren’t hard core YouTube users, while the zillions of people who viewed PSY‘s Gangnam Style haven’t buy his albums. In short, absolute numbers of views are irrelevant.
Proving the point
Now if I tell you that over the last 4 weeks, the US represented 61,3% of Janet Jackson‘s views, 29,7% of Mariah Carey‘s ones but only 22,9%, 13,6% and 12,1% for Whitney Houston, Madonna and Céline Dion respectively, you start thinking that it means something. Thanks to record’s sales, we already knew the relative US importance for these artists, but can you tell me which one did the best in virtually all countries? YouTube Insights can.
Among these artists, the one having the highest share of her streams coming from the Philippines and Taiwan is Carey. Surprised? Of course not, her success in Asia is well known. In Mexico though, she registers a mere 1,8% of her views, that stands against 8,5% for Madonna. All divas get from 2% to 3,8% of their streams from France, all except Dion who has a stunning 10,2% of her views from there alone.
As you can see, we can challenge their data through tons of examples and it just works. The relative strength of each markets for all artists can be deduced from YouTube Insights’ statistics. That’s incredibly powerful.
For example, you will be interested to know that while Carey (2,7%) has expectedly way more views in proportion from Indonesia than Houston (1,4%), Madonna (0,7%) and Jackson (0,3%), she is topped by Dion at 3,6%. We can wonder if it’s due to the overwhelming success of My Heart Will Go On in Asia. It’s not, that song actually has a lower weight in Dion‘s Indonesian views at 21,3% than Carey‘s Hero on hers at 24,1%.
Insights just ended to tell us a real, valuable information: Dion is especially massive in Indonesia. We must mention that Indonesia was the biggest Asian market for international artists besides Japan during the 90s. This example shows how much of a mistake it is to ignore YouTube Insights when working with charts and sales.
As shown with the aforementioned case of Aerosmith, apart from the distribution of streams per country, we can also extract the relative strength of each song. Thanks to that, we can gauge accurately which era was successful for an artist in a specific market.
Convinced of the interest of this amazing tool? It’s time to see how we can work it out to extract priceless data.