Some brand YouTube channels have adopted “gadgets“, which function as specialized landing pages with custom layouts. These gadgets can facilitate some incredibly inventive video campaigns, but on the whole, are they worth the price of installing and upkeeping them?
Tubular Labs says no. The YouTube analytics company partnered with online video marketing expert Brendan Gahan to see if branded channels with gadgets outperform those that use YouTube’s default “One Channel” design. Tubular and Gahan ultimately produced a whitepaper that detailed their findings and concluded that, on the whole, gadgets cause channels to perform worse in terms of comments, subscribers, and shares.
To conduct their study, Tubular and Gahan analyzed the top 23 YouTube channels with gadgets on their channels and the top 23 without gadgets. The numbers speak for themselves: On average, the channels without gadgets have 61% more subscribers, 56% more comments, and 12% more social shares than the channels with gadgets.
Of course, those raw percentages aren’t quite fair to the gadget channels. There are many more brand channels without gadgets, which means there is a much larger selection to pick from when choosing the top 23 in that category. Still, even when that sample size is controlled for, the results don’t look good for gadgets. Non-gadget channels have 21% more subscribers per view, and those channels average 77 fewer views per subscriber, indicating a higher number of engaged viewers.
The final nail in the coffin is the relative price between gadget and non-gadget channels. Implementing a gadget on YouTube is only allowed when minimum media spend thresholds are met, and even then there are fees to customize, implement, and then host the gadgets on an ongoing basis,” reads the whitepaper. Ultimately, the incremental costs and diminished performance make channel gadgets a poor investment for any brand looking to generate engagement and cultivate a community on YouTube.”
Tubular and Gahan also arranged their most salient findings in an infographic:
For brands considering gadgets on YouTube, this study conclusion is quite simple: Shy away from fancy designs, and keep it simple, stupid. For more insights, interested parties can download the whitepaper On Gahan’s website right here.