Youtube Gaming Growth Secrets: Audience Attraction and Retention


Why do most Youtube gaming channels fail? 

Why will a channel, seemingly stuffed with high-quality content, be ignored? 

Many marketing “gurus” have attempted to answer these questions. And sadly, they’ve failed miserably. 

But in this article, I plan on going one better than the so-called gurus. I’ll explain to you one of the key ingredients you need to mix into your gaming channel to avoid Youtube failure. 

It all comes down to two different types of Video: 

  • Audience attraction videos
  • Audience retention videos. 

But what are these two types of video? And why does a channel’s success or failure hinge back and forth on them so much? 

Put simply, Youtube gamers create too much of one type of video and nowhere near enough of the other type.

When most would-be YouTubers excitedly start a new gaming channel, they make a lot of what I call audience retention videos. As you’ll find out later in the article, these videos are fantastic for entertaining your audience, but they are terrible at attracting an initial audience. 

To grow your channel, you should first focus on audience attraction videos. 

But what are audience attraction videos?

Audience attraction videos are key to youtube success. 

An audience attraction video is a video that targets a very specific question that your potential target audience is already aware of and actively searching youtube for. 

When first creating an audience for anything, you first have to borrow people from an existing audience. 

Think of how businesses advertise on TV channels. A TV channel has created an existing captive audience: they love watching the shows on that TV channel. For example travel shows. 

Then a business, for example, a cruise company, will come along and advertise cruises to that captive audience (Who should be interested in cruises because they watch travel programs) in an effort to borrow them from that audience and, eventually, turn them into their own captive audience. 

An existing captive audience, in this article’s case, is a group of people all asking the same question or searching for the same thing on Youtube. 

So your first videos must target an existing audience that is already asking/searching for something that has something to do with the main theme of your Youtube channel. 

These existing audiences should have some overlap with the problems that your channel is trying to solve (A problem in this situation can be anything from helping people choose what games to buy with good to keeping gaming rigs organized). 

For example, People might be searching Youtube for an answer to the following question: “Does the PS5 have an optical port?”. 

That’s a question lots of people are already asking. They have a problem and are looking for a solution.

If the question, even slightly, overlaps with the problem/solution your channel offers, then it’s an audience you can target and borrow from.   

So audience attraction video targets topics, questions, that your audience is already aware of and actively searching for on Youtube. 

But how does this help you grow your channel? 

Well, when these viewers are watching your audience attraction video, you can, where appropriate, send them to your audience retention videos (More on these later) Here, they will hopefully love the videos your channel makes, subscribe to, and become part of your captive audience. Then eventually, as they watch more videos and trust you more, you’ll be able to sell things to them. 

But how do you know what people are actively searching for? 

How do you find out what questions people are asking and what videos to make? 

I’ll show you how in the next section…

How to find out what questions people are asking on Youtube

Before you can make an audience attraction video you need to first know what your potential audience is searching for. What questions do they need answering? Second, you need to know if those searches, those audience questions, are going to allow you to make a viable audience attraction video. 

The method for finding these videos is actually really straightforward. And is split into two parts:

  • Finding the questions these audiences are asking
  • Determining if these question have potential as an audience attraction video 

Let me run you through both parts… 

Part 1: How to find a question to answer

The first thing you need to do is find those questions that a group of people who’d be interested in your youtube videos is seeking answers to. 

This is where you’ll start to attract your audience. 

Let’s take a look at the method. 

Method

1: Open an incognito browser window and navigate to Youtube’s home page. Make sure you are not signed into youtube. 

2: Open up a Google doc. Name it something you’ll remember such as “Youtube Video ideas”. You’ll use this to record our findings. 

3: On the Youtube homepage, type your main gaming niche topic (The main topic you wish to cover most of the time on your Youtube channel) into the search bar. For example, if your main niche is next-generation gaming systems, type in “PS5”.

Notice that Youtube’s search bar will list suggested searches that closely match the word you typed in. These suggestions are what actual groups of people are searching for on Youtube. The higher up the list the suggestion is the more people are typing it into Youtube. 

Now it’s time to narrow these suggestions down a bit. 

4: Next add in the word “How” before “PS5” in Youtube’s search bar. It should look something like this: “How PS5”. Notice how the search bar now brings up a load of questions that contain the word “how” and “PS5”. 

We now need to filter these down even further. 

5: Next, add the letter a between the “How” and “PS5”, like this: “How a PS5”.

Notice that the Youtube suggestion engine now gets very specific with what “how” questions it shows. 

6: Write down in your Google doc any question ideas that you think would fit your YouTube channel’s theme and that you think you could do a good job of answering. 

7: Next, you’ll start moving through the alphabet. So instead of “How a PS5” you’ll replace the “a” with a “b”. For example, “How b PS5”. Notice that the YouTube suggestion engine now shows a whole host of new questions that people are asking. Again note down any ideas. Repeat this for “c”, “d”, “e”, and so on. 

By the end of this process, you should have many question ideas that could potentially be turned into audience acquisition videos. 

Next, we’ll look at what you need to do next to ensure the questions truly are audience acquisition material. 

Tip: 

How isn’t the only question word you can use. There are loads like “what” or “does”. 

Fancy having a. Comprehensive list of all the question words we use for our own audience acquisition question research?

Then sign up to our YouTuber gaming success newsletter to get free access to our YouTube success repository where you’ll find multiple documents documenting our processes, including our comprehensive question words document.

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Part 2: Choosing the right question to turn into an audience attraction article. 

Now that you’ve got a long list of questions YouTube suggests it’s time to do a little research to see if the questions you’ve written down truly offer the potential for an audience attraction video.

Below I’ll run through my method…

Method

1: First, open up your Google doc with all the questions you wrote down. 

Pick the first one, copy it into YouTube’s search bar, and click search. The YouTube video search results will load.

For this guide, I’m going to use the example question of “Does the PS5 have an optical audio port?”

2: Now, look at the videos that have been listed on the search results page. Are they related to the question? If so click on it. Now, look at the number of views the videos have and how old the videos are. 

You want to be making attraction videos that pull in a decent amount of traffic. At the very least, a video should have 1000 views per month. But preferably much more. For example, if a video is 8 months old and it’s got 16,000 views, on average it has 2000 views per month. 

To get your answer, simply divide the number of video views by the number of months the video has been on YouTube. 

3: Next we need to check if the video has more video views than the channel has subscribers. 

If the video has more views compared to the number of channel subscribers you have found yourself a potential audience attraction article. 

Think about it, if a channel has 10,000 subscribers, but a video has 100,000 views, then that video must be attracting more views outside of the channel subscribers. After all, the subscribers would only account for 10% of the total views. 

Generally speaking, you want a ratio of at least 2 views for every 1 subscriber. For example, if a video has been viewed 50,000 times and the channel only has 25,000 subscribers, then the video has captured 25,000 new audience members. This gives you a video view-to-channel ratio of 2.

To get a ratio number divide the number of views by the number of subscribers. If the number you get is 1.5 or greater, congratulations, it’s a video worth targeting. Note it down in your document. 

Also, try not to target channels that have over 100,000 subscribers. Channels that big get boosted by YouTube and will get new audience viewers constantly without any extra effort. 

Tip:

Do You fancy making this process a whole lot easier by giving our document a try? Sign up for our newsletter to get instant free access to our YouTube question research sheet. The sheet will do all the math for you and will instantly show you what videos you should be making. Just fill in the data, and start making videos! 

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4: All you need to do now is watch the video and ask yourself, “Can I make a better video? Can I Deliver more value that’ll keep people watching? Can I put an interesting twist on this video that aligns with my YouTube brand and still answer the question? If the answer is yes, make the video. 

Next, I’ll take a look at audience retention videos…

Audience retention videos

We’ve talked about attracting an audience by answering questions that your potential target audience is actively seeking answers for on YouTube. 

But how do you go about keeping that audience?

That’s where audience retention videos come in. 

An audience retention video is a video designed to keep the people you’ve attracted to your channel interested enough to subscribe because they can’t find your unique brand of video anywhere else. 

These audience retention videos are the main videos that you originally set out to make. They solve the problems your channel originally set out to fix. Whether that’s providing retro reviews of obscure games, or game design for 3d platformers, every channel is solving a specific set of problems for their audience. 

What sets these videos apart though is that they are often about subjects that, even though your audience would love them, your audience would never think of searching for them. They are unique, entertaining, informative, and they are only available on your channel. 

They are the videos that represent the solutions to the set of problems that unite your audience. 

The problem is, most YouTubers unwittingly focus just on these types of videos. 

And as mentioned above, yes, your audience would love them. But they have no idea they exist. And potential new audience members are not searching for them. So they are terrible at generating that initial audience by getting attention in the sea of YouTube videos.

Think of your audience retention videos, your main youtube brand, as bars of gold buried in a forest. 

They have lots of value and people would love to find them and have them. But nobody knows they exist. Nobody is actively searching for these bars of gold and digging them up. 

So they remain buried in the Forest, with the odd squirrel bumping its claws into them when trying to smuggle away a nut or two for winter. 

However, you can generate a lot of interest in those gold bars by doing some audience acquisition. By placing an ad in the local paper making use of the paper’s existing audience and telling people of the gold that awaits them in the forest. 

Within hours you’d have hundreds, maybe even thousands of people descend on your forest wielding shovels and picks in an effort to get rich quick. 

The advert in the paper is like your audience attraction video. The ad attracts an audience to your Forest. The promise of gold bars buried in the ground retains that audience. Maybe eventually you could even start selling them “better” shovels and picks, specially designed to dig up gold! Monetize that audience!

So essentially they were attracted by the ad, but we’re retained by the gold. And it’s exactly the same with a YouTube gaming channel. 

So if you want people to be attracted to your channel to watch your main videos, your bars of gold, you’ll have to first make audience attraction videos, you’ll have to stick an “ad in the paper.”

Summary 

So, what is the takeaway here?

You should, when starting your channel, make plenty of audience attraction videos by following our process earlier in this article. You should also make audience retention articles. 

You should:

  • Target questions your audience are actively looking for answers to by making an audience attraction video. 
  • Audience retention videos should be the video your channel originally set out to make. They should solve the problem/group of problems your audience shares. 
  • When starting your channel, 2 out of 3 videos should be audience attraction videos. You can slowly transition to more audience retention articles as you move past 10,000 subscribers. 

And that’s it. That’s why so many YouTube channels fail. They don’t make audience acquisition videos for topics that their potential target audience is already aware of and actively search youtube for answers. 

But there’s one more video that can be the holy grail of Youtube videos, one that I haven’t mentioned…

Until now.

Bonus! The Audience attraction AND Retention video.

The ultimate video for any channel is the video that both attracts an audience and retains that audience for your channel. 

Not only is it a video that people search for when seeking an answer, but it’s also a video that retains that audience. 

An example of an audience attraction and retention video would be a simple game review video. 

But why would this be classified as an attraction and retention video? 

Well, say you are reviewing the latest Halo game. People who are interested in Halo, and I count myself among these Spartans, are actively aware of the game and are looking for reviews. So people will look for answers to that problem, that question: Is the new Halo game good or bad? 

So by answering that question you are potentially attracting a new audience to your channel. 

However, at the same time, the main problem your channel solves is providing quality reviews of games

So you’ll also find that people who are always part of your captive audience will return to watch this video simply because they like to watch you, your videos, and your brand of game review. 

You have retained them as part of your audience. 

But how do you find attraction/retention video opportunities? 

Let me explain how:

First, you need to think of a video that fits with your channel’s brand, a video that fits with the problem your channel is trying to solve. 

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably got hundreds of video ideas bouncing around in a notebook at any given time. What’s that? You don’t have a notebook stuffed with potential video ideas? Well, you should. Get a note-taking app on your phone and type down any video ideas that pop into your head. Then next to it write 3 sentences about the idea. That’s it. Leave it be. Then when you need ideas for a video for your channel, just take a look at your digital notebook. 

Anyway, back on topic. 

Once you have the idea for the video on your channel, you want to try using the Youtube question suggestion method mentioned earlier in this article to find questions that are similar to your video’s topic. 

For example, Imagine you came up with the idea of dipping a Nintendo Switch in liquid nitrogen then thawing it out to see if it still works. 

That’s a cool (pardon the pun!) video idea that your audience would love. 

But nobody is really searching for “Nintendo Switch dipped in liquid nitrogen” on Youtube. Your video would, outside of your current captive audience, be lost in the ocean of Youtube uploads. 

However, after checking Youtube’s suggestion engine you notice that people are searching for an answer to the question, “how cold can a Nintendo Switch get and still work?” 

Now you can create a video of you dipping the Nintendo Switch in liquid Nitrogen while answering the practical question, how cold can the Switch get until it stops working. 

You are hitting both the attraction and retention birds with one rather large and swift flying stone. 

So you should, when appropriate, always check the youtube suggestion engine for questions that people are asking that you can tie into the video you are making. 

You can also, do the opposite to this: for example, say you are answering the question: “how to apply a screen protector to a Nintendo Switch”

You could tie this into your channel’s brand, the problem your channel solves, as well as answer the question. 

You could destroy 10 Switches to find the best screen protector, and then find interesting ways to destroy the Switches in an effort to push the screen protectors to the limit.  

It’s all about mixing the question you want to answer with your channel’s brand and vice versa. 

Anyway, would you like to learn more about how to succeed as a Youtube Gamer? Check out our other articles and sign up to our Youtube Gaming Success Newsletter and get instant access to our free Youtube gaming success Resource Repository.

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Nick Sinclair

Having played games since the golden age of the Commodore 64, Nick finally took the plunge and studied Creative Game Design in university. After 3 years of "Study", Nick co-founded a games company where he soon discovered his true calling: writing about games. 11 years later Nick writes about a tower of topics, but gaming is always stacked neatly at the top.

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