Old Videos Drive Half Of YouTube's Traffic

Many brands and marketers spend all their time trying to come up with the perfect idea for a viral video– one that will get millions of views within the first few days. However, it turns out that it’s not just the viral successes that bring traffic to YouTube. According to Hunter Walk, YouTube’s director of product management, and reported by NewTeeVee, half of YouTube’s daily views come from videos that have been around for six months or more.

So what does that mean for marketers? It means that the common goal of coming out with the next big viral hit isn’t necessarily the right goal. If marketers can produce sustainable and timeless web content then people may watch their videos on YouTube for years to come.

Consider this: Right now parodies of Lady Gaga’s ‘Telephone’ are huge. People uploading Lady Gaga parodies today are getting hundreds of thousands of views. But Lady Gaga’s ‘Telephone’ won’t be at the top of the charts forever. A year from now, people probably won’t be interested in watching a group of U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan lip sync to a song that by then will be “so last year.”

A viral hit will give you a burst of coverage, but it won’t necessarily last. Of course, if you can manage to come up with a video that will break 1 million views in a week, that’s fantastic. But if you can create a video that will continue to get views for years to come that’s just as good for building a strong and sustainable brand presence on YouTube and the rest of the web.

YouTube’s Hunter Walk also suggested a few tips for businesses to use in order to increase their success on YouTube. He says that SEO is important in order for people to find your videos. If you don’t use appropriate tags, descriptions and other metadata when you upload your video nobody will find it. He also mentioned that producers should create at least one video that is capable of attracting at least 5,000 views. This ensures that it will show up in the YouTube search results and related videos lists.

The chances of your company coming up with a truly viral idea, worthy of millions of views is pretty slim. I, for one, think it is much more worthwhile to put your time and money into creating video content that will stand the test of time. Do you think a sustainable YouTube video can be just as effective as a wildly viral one? Should brands put the focus on sustainability of virality?