Regaining YouTube Partner Program Status

Rejoining the YouTube Partner Program?
Rejoining the YouTube Partner Program?

My YouTube channel used to be part of the YouTube Partner Program. I monetized my videos with ads and every month, I’d get a few dollars added to my AdSense balance.

That all changed with YouTube’s announcement on January 16, 2018. They drastically increased the eligibility requirements such that you needed 4,000 watch hours over the past 12 months, and required 1,000 subscribers to your channel.

I didn’t meet that, so I was dropped.

Well, “suspended” might be a better word. YouTube’s blog post says that when channels that were earning under the Program meet the new criteria, they will be “automatically re-evaluated” and presumably reinstated, provided they aren’t spammers.

I’m not going to speculate why these changes were made. I’m not an expert in the online ad field and YouTube’s explanations seem reasonable enough.

The Pain

It didn’t hurt me a lot, since as I said, I was only earning a few bucks a month. However, I’m a fan of passive income, and I’m reasonably close to meeting the requirements, so I’ve decided to make a push to get to 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 watch hours.

Where I’m At

As of today, I have 885 subscribers and 790 watch hours in the past 12 months.

I’m reasonably close for subscribers, but I have work to do on the watch hours.

What’s the plan to get back into the YouTube Partner Program?

Growth Opportunities

I’m going to concentrate on the watch hours, and assume the subscriber count will take care of itself. If I quintuple my watch hours, it stands to reason that I’ll gain at least some subscribers in order to meet that target.

I see three main opportunities for growth in watch hours:

  • More content
  • Better SEO
  • Better retention / follow-on videos

More Content

It stands to reason that if you upload more content, you’re going to get more watch hours.

I don’t just plan to upload any old content, though. I’ve had a look at my analytics to see where my watch hours are now. People seem to like a couple of types of my videos:

  • Model train layout videos
  • “How To” videos (this video in particular is popular)

I intend to focus on uploading both kinds of videos more regularly in the next few months. I have a lot of model train video now that I am editing and preparing to upload, and I am interested to see how well it will be received. It will be long – 30 minutes per video – so it may fly or it may bomb. ūüôā

I am looking for ideas for “how to” videos. I did one image editing video that got some views, and I plan to do some more.

YouTube Live

I think there is a lot of opportunity in YouTube Live. It’s easy to do – just start it up on your phone – and there’s no editing or other effort afterward. I’ve done a few sessions so far and they’ve been pretty well received. I’m going to keep doing those.

I haven’t done any desktop YouTube Live sessions yet. I’m not sure how well those will work but it might be worth a try.

Better SEO

I honestly haven’t paid much attention to search engine optimization (SEO) on YouTube. That has to change. People can’t view my videos if they don’t find them, and YouTube is basically a big search engine for video.

On occasion, I’ve added tags to my videos when I upload them, but I haven’t had any kind of system. This is in sharp contrast to my blog posts, which are always tagged and “SEO checked” using the Yoast plugin.

I am going to review all of my videos for a few things:

  • Thumbnail photo
  • Title
  • Description text (minimum 200 words)
  • Tags

I like this Brainshark post about YouTube SEO best practices, even though it’s a little old. SEO ages well.

Better Retention

YouTube allows you to put “end cards” on your video to encourage viewers to take an action, such as to watch another video, subscribe, or go to a URL. I’ve added end cards to many of my videos. So far, the analytics say that about 3% of them get clicked on. If I can get that up a percent or two, it’ll help!

I’m going to ensure all my videos have end cards, and for my most popular videos, I’m definitely going to put a¬†subscribe button at the end!

Actions to Take

Here are the actions I plan to take in the next month to work toward rejoining the YouTube Partner Program:

  • Upload more model train videos
  • Upload more content in general
  • Review existing content for SEO
  • Review existing content for end cards

Your Turn

What’s your experience with the¬†YouTube Partner Program? Did you get dropped after the January update? How do you do search optimization on YouTube? Leave a comment!