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YouTube Monetized Playbacks Grow with Quality

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YouTube monetized playbacks
© 2017 Scott Bateman

The estimated monetized playbacks on YouTube have much more to do with video quality than quantity.

Publishers on the planet’s second largest search engine are not allowed to reveal how much they make, their video CPMs or other account data.

But read between the lines: It is possible to achieve a monetized playback rate of 70% or more.

Direct experience and postings by some publishers create a clear picture about how to increase the monetization rates on the site.

What is a Monetized Playback?

A monetized playback occurs when a YouTube viewer sees one or more ads during a video play. In reality, it means that some videos have the benefit of displaying ads while others do not. The playback rate is the number of monetized video views divided by the total views.

To find the rate, go to Creator Studio / Analytics / Ad Rates.

Google defines Estimated Monetized Playbacks this way. “A monetized playback is when a viewer is shown at least one ad impression when watching the video. A monetized playback is also counted when a viewer abandons the video during the pre-roll ad.”

The EMP number that appears in Analytics is simply a raw total for the period in question, such as the most recent 30 days.

By itself, the number is meaningless. When divided by total views during the same period, the importance becomes clear. When a publisher compares that percentage to previous periods, the importance grows more.

Low Estimated Monetized Playbacks

Six factors lead to low EMPs:

  1. Low account trust
  2. Newness of the video
  3. Low viewership
  4. Weak audience retention
  5. Poor optimization
  6. Account age

New publishers are likely to see low playbacks until they become more established. YouTube won’t risk valuable advertisers on a video with no track record. It also usually won’t bother with one that has low viewership.

It also won’t risk an advertiser on a video that has poor quality. No, Google employees don’t view every video that appears on youTube. Instead, algorithms look at viewer interaction with the video for clues about its quality.

Audience retention is one of those factors. In Analytics, click on the left side on “Audience retention” and then look in the middle at the “Average percentage viewed”.

Viewers who watch a video and bail out after seeing only 10 or 20 percent of it are saying that it doesn’t meet their expectations of quality or it is simply too long. Viewers who watched 60 percent or more are sending a much more positive signal.

Likes, shares, comments and channel subscriptions also signal video quality. Viewers can vote up or down a video, so the ratio between the two will say more about the quality of its content.

Video optimization can help or hurt is playback rate as well. Keywords in titles, annotations, translations and closed captioning all contribute to better optimization and a way for YouTube to deliver more targeted ads. More targeted ads lead to more clicks.

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Why EMPs Help YouTube Monetization Rates

Assume that an advertiser is willing to pay a $10 CPM for advertising on YouTube.

The company immediately takes 45 percent of that total, so the net CPM drops to $5.50.

But that $5.50 isn’t the average for a publisher. If the publisher has 1,000 views in a month and 20 percent are monetized, only 200 views get a $5.50 CPM. The other 800 get nothing.

The effective CPM for the entire 1,000 views is now $1.10.

But what if the publisher has a 40 percent monetization rate? The effective CPM doubles to $2.20, which is much more in line with what various publishers have said is the average net CPM.

How to Increase Monetized Playbacks

YouTube logoImproving content quality usually leads to more monetized playbacks. A few simple ways to increase quality include:

  1. Developing a strong focus on informing or entertaining.
  2. Matching the title and description with the video content.
  3. Producing shorter videos that have a higher audience retention.
  4. Using interesting visuals and locations.
  5. Using audio software to improve voice overlays.
  6. Using a variety of angles and frames.
  7. Using both close ups and wide shots.
  8. Enhancing the video with music.
  9. Getting more likes and followers.

Even these steps won’t produce a dramatic increase on monetized playbacks overnight. Frustration and impatience will lead to neglect and a missed opportunity.

The increase — if any — will come over a period of time as YouTube develops more trust in the quality of the videos and the account. The final rate depends on many factors, but 30 to 50 percent is possible. Some publishers achieve 70 percent and more.

So it is better to measure estimated monetized playbacks over a period of months and even years rather than looking at the most recent week or month.

In time, these efforts will increase the total viewership of the videos as well as the revenue from effective monetization.

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