>$5 CPM for This? YouTube Head-Scratcher

I’ve got a YouTube channel for experimentation purposes and “monetize” (I hate that MBA non-word) the videos to see what happens. Looking at it this morning, I noticed that  a fairly recent video of a guitar I purchased generated $6.19 over 1,234 monetized playbacks for a playback based CPM of $5.01.

I’m clearly no PewDiePie and will need to work for a living as, unlike Mr. Pie, I’m not willing to film anti-Semitic “jokes” and put them in front of your 13-year-old.

Here’s the stats from my most lucrative videos:

Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 9.56.37 AM
As you can see, those are some pretty impressive RPMs for me–$5 to $10. Remember that Google/YouTube is taking a cut, so advertisers are paying at least $6 to $15 CPMs for the privilege of showing ads to my “audience.” (There’s the word that should trigger your BS filter.)

Let’s see who’s running ads on that Art & Lutherie video this morning. Screen Shot 2018-01-01 at 9.58.06 AM
We’ve got Wayfair, a purveyor of home goods, paying for the premium mid-roll placement. How did that ad show up? The answer is that I used the words “deck” and “porch” during the demonstration, describing good uses for the guitar reviewed. YouTube harvested those words and sold them to Wayfair as an “audience” of people interested in deck, porch and home goods.

The viewers of this video were absolutely not just looking for guitar stuff. They had a latent interest in home goods that YouTube’s magical, unicorn-like machine learning algorithms cleverly uncovered.

In case you’re wondering, it’s New Year’s Day, I’m tired and cranky.

Wayfair got taken by somebody–a combination of their ad agency, YouTube, and their own laziness or hubris. There’s no way they should be paying premium CPMs to show their ads on my crappy channel. There’s a million home decorating channels on YouTube with far more relevant content. My use of “porch” and “deck” in the video have nothing whatsoever to do with interest in home decorating, regardless of the idiotic and brain-dead AI and machine learning YouTube is using to scam their advertisers.

Over on the right you see an ad that’s relevant. Reason 10 is studio software that retails for around $300. It’s possible that a musician could be watching reviews of instruments and be in the market for that kind of software.

Are you looking hard at the prices you’re paying on UGC on YouTube and other places? Are you asking hard questions about the “audiences” that are being sold to you? Are you demanding refunds–not make-goods, but cash back–every time that “audience” is set too wide?

Takeaway: Look closely at your video ad buys. Don’t take the seller’s word for it. Question the audiences. And win.

The video in question, if you want to watch and buy me a new Porsche*:

* keychain

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