The Disney No-Fly Zone video was perhaps the first time I made a video, thought to myself “this might do well”, before it actually did well. It was a nice feeling, but it was only one video out of something like 1,400 videos, so I’m not about to start pretending I know what’ll click and what won’t when it comes to YouTube.

Over the weekend the algorithm shone upon me favorably, resulting in about 450,000 views. It was a pretty great feeling that helped pull out of the January blues earlier than expected. You see, January is typically known for really low ad rates, which is why on YouTube it’s common for revenue to drop. Most advertisers operate with quarterly and annual budgets, and most of them have a “use it or lose it” policy. This means that towards the end of the year, advertisers are looking to spend whatever budget they have left. From my perspective, that’s wonderful. It means that ad rates climb, sometimes as high as double the annual average. Back at my old 9-5 in advertising it meant we were getting incremental order after incremental order. Great for business, but it meant a lot of extra work. It’s why you may notice more ads in December than usual. Publishers pull every trick out their hat to deliver all of these incremental impressions they’re selling.

On the flip side of things, when January rolls around all of these advertisers start fresh with a new budget that has to last them the entire year, so they get pretty shy with it. That means rates plummet to the lowest point they’ll be all year. This was great for us at my 9-5, because it meant slower calm days. Then again, those were the days were I got the same paycheck every two weeks regardless of how fast or how slow it was.

Luckily I knew enough about this from running the channel for over five years, not to mention my time at the 9-5. So I knew that the age old lesson of the grasshopper and the ant would come in handy. Thankfully that means I don’t really have anything to worry about financially.

Still though, having worked in an office setting every year since graduating college, it is still a bit of a culture shock to switch over to such a volatile gig. No matter how many times I remind myself that January is just January, and like clockwork the rates will pick up, there still remains a corner of the back of my brain that goes “Oh God, is this it? Is this what my paycheck is going to look like from now on? I’m so screwed.” It’s one of those fears that I can understand myself having, even though it’s not a real threat. Like, I’ve set up a safety net. I’ve acted smart going into the new year. On paper, I have nothing to worry about. But I suppose that’s just how fear works. You can’t always control it. In any case we’re now in March and, like clockwork, things are improving. It’s a relief, and one that comes much easier with an unexpected 450K extra views.

I don’t know when the next half a million view video is going to come around, so like a good ant I’m going to start putting my leafs away early.

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