MysteryGuitarMan: YouTube’s relaunch killed my traffic


More views for quality content that can be monetized: That was one of the key ideas behind YouTube’s relaunch last December. The ambitious make-over, which included a completely revamped homepage, apparently didn’t work out so well for everyone. Joe Penna, better known as MysteryGuitarMan to fans on YouTube, wrote this weekend on the social news site Reddit that his traffic went down dramatically after the relaunch:

“I had my average video views drop around 60% the day the new YouTube home page came out.”

YouTube’s revamped home page focuses on personalization, offering logged in users a newsfeed-like experience that serves up the most recent videos from any of the channels they have subscribed to. The old home page on the other hand put a bigger emphasis on content that was popular across the site. That may have benefited popular producers like Penna, who has accumulated more than 325 million views on the site to date.

Asked about Penna’s experience, a YouTube spokesperson replied:

“While we aim to incorporate user feedback into future iterations, we’re encouraged by the data we’re seeing around the site changes since we launched them in December. Engagement is steady and logged in usage and subscriptions are on the rise.”

I was also told that daily visits to channels have increased since the relaunch went into effect, and that daily net subscriptions are up 50 percent. YouTube has been tweaking its new design in recent weeks, making it easier for users to discover new channels, and the site just rolled out a new algorithm to surface more original content. Some of these things are apparently working for Penna as well, who told Reddit readers:

“The new new algorithm was just released. It’s a bit early to tell but, comparing to previous weeks, my views are up by around 15%.”

Penna offered these insights as part of one of Reddit’s crowd-sourced “ask me anything” interviews, in which he also explained what kind of apps he uses to edit his videos and why he started to wear his iconic sunglasses. And even with his feelings about the redesign, Penna still spoke very highly of YouTube:

“YouTube is an amazing opportunity to do something creative, live off of it, and not have a focus group / suit / other people tell you what to do.”

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