Honest & Simple Reviews BUT Why?
"Honest opinions & reviews on audio related gear in a simple, basic way; limited edits, no flashy b-roll; not bloated with tech/spec terminology. If you seek honest audio reviews; you are watching the right channel. Enjoy the Music! Honesty is the best policy!"
That is from the About page on my YouTube channel.
A few days ago I did a poll in my community page that asked why on average only 25% of each of my videos are being watched; for example a video that is 10 minutes long will average being watched for 2.5 minutes. Here are the results of the poll as of the time of this writing: 270 votes
Only interested in audio impressions 57%
Conclusion says it all 16%
Only click to give thumbs up or thumbs down 1%
So I thought I would expand on the topic a bit more in response to the comments and feedback that was received.
From day one of my YouTube channel I said that the channel features "honest opinions & reviews on audio related gear in a simple, basic way". I am a very simple man with a little bit of education. I am not the smartest person and I have limited experience. I am not a professional sound engineer, producer, musician, or vocalist, etc. I have not done any scientific research, measurements, or in-depth testing of any kind; just my own listening, comparing and internet reading/research. I have limited, real-life experience with recording, mixing and mastering gear. I have been involved since my teenage years with various churches as an amateur sound booth technician. The channel was started as a way for me to share my experiences with the audio community in the way I know how. I am the same on camera as I am in real life other than I am more shy in person than I am on camera. I will not cut out or edit my speaking style as it is is who I am and how I speak. I will not change my approaches in videos as it is how I think and share information.
Honesty is the best policy!
From day one, I said that there would be very little to no editing. The reason for that is that I want the channel to be as honest, real and raw as if we were sitting in the same room talking audio. This is the reason I do my videos in one take! I want the emphasis of the videos to be about the audio impressions and my personal experience. I don't want to focus on the editing beauty or the video quality or the b-roll; even though those aspects are important to a degree. I have tweaked my video quality over the years, upgraded microphones, added in pop-up links and chapters. I will not have cuts, placements and editing beautification in the videos because of several reasons. First reason, it's a lot of effort and time consuming. My personal life is very busy and I don't have a lot of time for all that stuff. I don't have a lot of time to spend on reviews and comparisons as my personal life is very full with a 40 hour work week, church , family and personal time. The second reason is that it takes away from the connection and emotion that I am trying to portray in a video. The third reason is that I believe all that fancy editing takes away from the actual review and I don't want subscribers and followers who are only there for the cool video quality but those who are there for the audio impressions.
Also from day one, I wanted the channel to be free from outside influences like sponsors & paid videos. Being paid to do a review or a video impacts the thought process a lot in my humble opinion. Yes, even affiliate links and monetization can be a driving force. But I believe when it comes to being paid or sponsored gives a higher percentage of being positive on everything. I don't put any emphasis on the affiliate links that I have, in videos I don't even mention them. Affiliate links are for the viewer to use if they so choose to support the channel if they purchase a product; it's all up to you. All of my affiliate links are at the very bottom of the description. Product links I post are not affiliate links; in order to use my affiliate link you have to click on the one at the bottom of the description and search for the product. YouTube monetization is based on an algorithm that rewards content creators for their efforts; I have no control over the advertisers or how much they pay YouTube to advertise. I leave all the choices for support up to the viewer. Full disclosure, I have 9 Patrons that bring in $30 a month; 6 YouTube members that bring in $7 a month and YouTube monetization that averages $170 a month. So as you can see, I am not getting rich off this at all as I average $207 of income a month.
Now let's look at the poll numbers and give some responses.
1% say that they only click on a video to give a thumbs up or thumbs down. Um okay, thanks.
12% say that the length is too much. I find this interesting because no matter the video length the average watch time is still 25%. If length is truly an issue then why aren't the shorter videos higher in average watch time? Viewers still skip no matter the length.
14% say that the videos are boring. I got to admit that this one hurts a little bit. I know I am not the most energetic, engaging and humorous person but I don't find myself as boring. I watch each video several times before releasing to the public and I've never considered them to be boring. If possible, can the ones who selected boring please explain what they find boring.
16% say that the conclusion says it all. This is very discouraging as a content creator. If you are instantly jumping to the conclusion then you are missing a lot of information that can explain the reasons for a positive or negative recommendation. I intentionally keep my conclusions brief and somewhat non-descriptive for a reason, so you all will watch the other parts of the video.
57% say that you are only there for the audio impressions. This does match up with other analytics that show the mass of watch time is focused in this area. But sadly, even then the entire audio impressions segments aren't being watched completely. I spend roughly 50% of each video on the sound impressions so why is only 25% of the videos being watched?
A lot of feedback was received and I want to thank you all for that.
One of the more common mentions was that I should focus more on the audio impressions and comparisons. As mentioned above, I spend about 50% of each video on just the audio impressions of the device, note that doesn't include the source pairing, comfort, isolation and tips/pads sections.
I normally include 2 comparisons of similar products. Comparisons take a good while to do in a review process and it can be hard to find gear to compare fairly.
As I mentioned earlier, I don't have a lot of time to spend on reviews and comparisons as my personal life is very full with a 40 hour work week, church , family and personal time. To help getting through all the gear that is provided for review; I do 2 videos a week which leaves small amounts of time to do all the necessary listening and comparing. Adding more products to compare will add more stress and will slow down reviews even more.
Another common mention was that I should include music impressions when describing the sound. A couple of things in regards to this.
First of all, I personally can't stand reviews that do this because the songs mentioned normally I've never heard or in my opinion are just awful to use as a reference.
Secondly, adding music impressions to a review adds more length to the video, adds more stress to the review process.
Thirdly, I don't believe that it adds any value to the audio impressions.
Fourth, I include a link to the music that I use as a reference in every video description and often in the video itself.
Highly suggested was cutting out the specs and accessories. Honestly, I don't focus much on the specs, box or contents but I do feel it is important to share, Some gear takes a bit as they include a lot. I think that a lot of viewers would complain if I cut that segment out. If you want to skip this section I always add a link to the product.
Another common mention in the post and in the past was that tips, pads, cables, comfort and isolation don't need to be discussed or aren't important to go into detail.
I do focus more on comfort, fit, cables, tips, pads and isolation because that impacts the overall audio impressions and can alter the sound from listener to listener. Even though I do try to use the stock cables, tips and pads as much as possible, there have been times when I have used alternatives.
Comfort, fit and isolation are vital to get the intended sound that the manufacturer is trying to convey. I know I would get grief from the community if I cut this segment out.
It wasn't mentioned in the post but has been in the past so I thought I'd touch on it here. Source gear pairings is another vital segment as they can alter the sound impressions in a major way. Even though you might not have the same source gear as I do, the impressions of what I used can be very important for you to determine if your gear is a good pairing or not. Again if I cut this segment it would not be well received by the community.
Please note that I have a specific review process that I follow. I have been using it since the beginning of the channel. I also have a format that I have stuck with for all video reviews. I am very comfortable with these processes and will not change as it is the best way I know how to describe my thoughts and opinions.
So in conclusion, it seems the majority of viewers jump to the audio impressions, comparisons and conclusion the most often. I appreciate that and can accept that even though I do wish that everyone would watch the entire video through end to end.
I appreciate all the feedback and comments as it was very helpful and useful information. I hope you find this information to be helpful and useful as well.
Honesty is the Best Policy!
Please take these thoughts, opinions and reasonings as just that, my honest audiophile thoughts, opinions and reasonings.
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