Changing algorithms, oversaturated markets, and an abundance of content variety are just a few of the many reasons there has been an increase in content creation burnout. Being a professional “YouTuber” is no longer the glamorous option it once was.
Having YouTube as your main source of income requires so many demands that many YouTubers are taking on other ways of income. The overload of work to produce consistent content causes unreal amounts of stress and in some cases mental illness, which forces some YouTubers to take an extended hiatus. These are some of the issues that will be addressed.
Why was YouTube so lucrative at first?
In the beginning people did not consider YouTube to be a valid job so many people did not desire to become YouTubers which made it easier to rise to the top than now. With the less competition there are more opportunities for profit. This is true in any business.
In the earlier stages of YouTube the regulations where less strict because there was less companies looking at YouTube to advertise, but when more and more companies came to advertise the more and more strict YouTube became with their rules on content.
How much money did they make
In 2010 there was 10 “YouTubers” making over $100,000; when people saw that content creators could make serious income from YouTube, everyone rushed to the site and started making videos. Currently, in 2021, there are over 500 YouTubers making over $100,000, which is surprisingly impressive considering the new regulations, algorithm policies, and revenue sourcing.
According to statista.com, in 2007, only six hours of content was uploaded per minute. Today they claim that 500 hours of content are uploaded to YouTube per minute, which equates to 30,000 hours of content per hour. With so many people producing so much content on the site, the competitiveness of who is on the top makes rising to the top from the ground extremely difficult. To add to the challenge, YouTube is continuously changing algorithms and policies to adjust with advertisers and address controversies.
Fighting for the spotlight
Considering that 80% of YouTube viewers are children under 11 years old, many content creators have been catering their content for children. The policies in creating content for children has changed dramatically in recent years following situations where inappropriate content appeared alongside videos intended for children.
Some YouTubers have argued that making children’s content is less lucrative (as are prank videos) than other content despite higher view counts, though YouTube is not transparent about their RPM or CPM (revenue or clicks per mille) values. One thing is certain, however: If the content is not appropriate for children, if creators are going against the current, it makes rising to the top very hard because fewer advertisers are willing to partner.
To be trending, content creators need to make your content trendy, advertiser safe, and consider catering the content to male children, which is the majority of YouTube viewers.
Although for a brief period in recent years, YouTube rewarded videos the most that were over 10 minutes, it has since adapted that policy. Today, YouTube rewards more consistent viewership, which requires content creators to make content constantly (leading to burnout if done independently). Videos can now still be valued that are under five minutes, which are easier to produce and more watched by audiences preferring short content.
However, the rise in shorter videos led to higher production fighting YouTubers that produced longer videos. Additionally, long-time veteran creators like Phillip DeFranco argue that YouTube will hide videos from subscribers’ recommended lists if YouTube’s algorithms predict the content may be controversial. This lowers the consistent views YouTubers need and causing creators to wonder if YouTube is censoring important discussions.
The YouTube scandals and issues with advertisers
Changing algorithms reflect many of the problematic issues behind creating high-view “click bait” content such as prank videos gone too extreme or abusive, insulting or defamatory content, culturally or politically insensitive commentary, inappropriate content aimed at minors, misleading clickbait, and other highly offensive or insensitive material.
In early 2016 Matt Watson a YouTuber exposed pedophilic content being made on YouTube, which led to many advertisers to pull their ad from the site. Most are aware of Logan Paul’s suicide forest controversial video of 2017-2018. Inappropriate children’s content or child exploitation is in a constant state of discussion. Michael and Heather Martin of “Daddyo5” lost custody of their children and sentenced to five years probation for the abusive pranks done for views resulting in the termination of their channel. These are just a few of several situations that has caused major changes to advertising partnerships and revenue gains. Major changes have been given names such as Adpocalypse I and II.
When the majority of advertisers pulled their ads off the site, then YouTubers could not make any money requiring them to work side jobs resulting in a lack of attention towards their channel. It causes a domino effect of loss of viewership.
This is not to say creators cannot earn money off of YouTube, but hopes to bring attention to how difficult the task is today.