Three Ways to Grow a YouTube Audience Who Love You [Ownage Pranks Case Study]

While many platforms are cropping up, trying to discover their place in the online video market, YouTube is the old dog. At least in internet years. New brands and talent are absolutely trying to (and should) break into the scene, but established YouTube talent is making a shift. As competition increases, the new way to fight back for an established creator is to optimize proven content. One such content creator is Ownage Pranks. We interviewed them about a recent study done by Spyglass Digital on ways to improve their channel. The information gleaned from the study is something channels both big and small should pay attention to.

Ownage Pranks: The Prank Call Masters

Ownage Pranks is a comedy channel on YouTube with nearly 3.3 million subscribers and nearly 450 million video views to date. Ownage takes phone call pranks to a whole new level, infusing all of the videos with the talents of voice actor/comedian Russel Johnson.

Ownage Pranks Creator Profile Tubular

Ownage Pranks Creator Profile (Data via Tubular)

The channel’s most popular YouTube upload is ‘Angry Asian Restaurant Prank Call’ which has generated 15.4 million views, and 309K engagements to date:

We talked to Ownage Pranks about the programming and optimization strategy that was implemented as a result of working with Spyglass Digital and Zendeux Business Data Solutions. You can access the report findings for the YouTube channel by clicking on this link.

Ownage Pranks: YouTube Optimization Strategy

What are your top tips for video marketers and content creators for getting more views? Building an audience?

Ownage Pranks: I would say one of the most critical things is to focus on some niche market/topic/segment – that’s the best way to build value to viewers and in turn build an audience (a loyal one at that). Focus on what you’re best at or learn how to be an expert in a certain niche (in our case, we focused on prank calling).

Why did you partner with Spyglass Digital to look for ways to improve what you were doing?

Ownage Pranks: We partnered up with them because we have always wanted to take a very deep analytical look at our metrics to pinpoint trends and distinct characteristics within our statistics. The hope obviously was to use our findings to help us improve (and in turn grow).

Were there any surprises to what they discovered about your content and channel?

Ownage Pranks: The core subscribers really love and consistently consume the long form content we’d create and upload, but this wasn’t necessarily the best strategy for general discoverability and growing our audience. We learned that keeping the videos at a shorter length seems to help the content reach more new eyes. It’s likely much easier to share a 5 minute video with someone instead of a 15 minute one, even if the longer episode is absolutely hilarious throughout.

At what audience/view size would you say it is right for a brand or creator to work with a marketing agency?

Ownage Pranks: I would say it’s never too early to examine your analytics yourself – I personally wait to consult with a marketing agency until you build a solid base. You need to give an agency something to work with.

How do you balance the need to satisfy your audience and your own creative desires?

Ownage Pranks: We always try to stay true to our brand but also are very keen to our audience’s comments on the content. We then internalize the comments and try to accommodate as best as we can. Sometimes we have to go with our gut feeling on what we think the fans will appreciate.

What revenue mix do you feel creators should aim for in the long term?

Ownage Pranks: We firmly believe that YouTubers should aim to earn revenue both on and off the YouTube platform. YouTube is an excellent resource to build an audience (and a brand), but one should seek to utilize that audience to showcase other off-YouTube products/projects/services.

YouTube Video: Actionable Takeaways

The study conducted by Spyglass Digital and Zendeux Business Data Solutions resulted in some actionable items for Ownage Pranks that should be considered and applied to all brands and creators.

  • Use available data.   There is a wealth of data already available within YouTube Analytics.  Use that data to find common threads to success for your particular content.  Find spikes in subscriptions, views and other measurables and use that data to try and pinpoint what caused them. One often overlooked for opportunity is the geography of viewers.  This can help you pinpoint potential areas for brand sponsorships and deals.
  • Use a call to action to test results. If you are making a change based on what you have learned, add a call to action to test and see if those changes were accurate.  In the case of Ownage Pranks, they discovered that their videos performed better when animated.  Solicit feedback from viewers in the form of comments or likes to see if that trend is true, or just a statistic anomaly.  As was suggested in the case study, change the location of your call to action to various points throughout your video to see at what point in the video viewers drop out.
  • Third, don’t overlook growth amongst your existing audience. Before seeking to expand into a new market requiring new content themes and strategy, evaluate whether you can expand amongst your current audience. Doing so will be more efficient, increasing your return on investment. For example, as a result of this study, Ownage Pranks identified it would be efficient to explore more ways to increase revenue among existing audiences in Canada.