Understanding “Value”: Why “Quality” Isn’t EnoughReddit

For whatever reason, the “Quality vs Quantity” debate gets asked every third day or so, and the answer is always quality. The problem, however, is that people often polarise the two, seeing it in black or white, and not respecting the other factors that influence the success of a video. We’ll be going through one of those key factors: value.

Before you read, I highly recommended this thread on “Getting More Views“, as this will complement the points made in that article, which will combine to form a more holistic perspective on what it takes to generate viewership.

Opportunity Costs – The Economics of a YouTube Audience

Let’s begin with a simple analogy. You have $10. What do you choose to do with that money? You could watch a movie. You could get lunch. You could buy something from the store. But you can only do one of those things. The dilemma is that by choosing one, you miss out on the benefits of the others. This is the principle of opportunity cost.

Let’s go further with the movie example. Not only do you have to pay for the ticket, you also need to set aside a couple of hours for the movie. You can walk out any time, but you can’t recover the cost, and now you’re stuck in another dilemma: do you stay to watch a bad movie to make the most of your investment, or do you walk out? Should you have seen another movie instead? Well you can’t now, because you’ve invested your time and your money, neither of which you can get back.

As a YouTuber, that’s what you’re facing. As a viewer, you have to choose what content to watch, and as a creator, you have to convince the viewer to watch your content.

Time is money

Hourglass on laptop computer concept for time management

This isn’t just a metaphor. On YouTube, the currency being exchanged is time. People aren’t paying money to see your content. They are investing their time, and unlike a faulty product or a bad meal, time cannot be refunded. Likewise, you are also going to be investing your time into making this content, and if you don’t get the views, you will also have wasted your time – time that you can’t recover, and time that you could have spent doing something else.

Time is finite, and your viewers will only have a certain amount of time to spend. It’s easy to forget that, being connected in the world we live in, and especially being online in our breaks, at school and work, and in our recreation time. You have to remember that not everyone is locked onto their devices, not all their time online is spent on YouTube, and not all their time on YouTube is spent on you.

When you ask someone to watch your video, you’re asking someone to give up their time for you. Just remember that this could be time they spend on something they enjoy more – a TV show, a movie, a conversation with a friend, study or workout time, and so on. If you want to put a money value on it, at the minimum wage of US$7.25, a 15-minute video means that you’re asking them to pay the equivalent of $1.81 to watch your video, when they could have been working and earning that money for themselves.

When you have that figure in your face, it brings a reality check to many of your channels and content. Would you pay $2 to watch your own Fortnite compilation? If you’re already binging, like a buffet, you might find it worthwhile. But that entry fee sounds too much for “free” content, and you’d be better be confident that your content is good enough to convince someone to spend that $2 on you.

Remember that this is assuming minimum wage. For people who work professional jobs, who have less time due to commitments, this time is worth even more. That 15 minutes might be the equivalent of $20, or $200, to the point where time is priceless and they’re not going to give it to you unless it’s something that is life-changing.

Simply put, I have better things to do. Your job is to convince me otherwise.

Read More: Examples of Good & Bad Value