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How I found my style on YouTube

A little story of a Game Designer who found what type of videos he should make on YouTube

Stanislav Costiuc, Blogger

April 16, 2019

4 Min Read


I'm Stanislav, a Lead Game Designer at Ubisoft, and a few years ago I decided that I want to start a YouTube channel about Game Design (before that I would write a lot of blog posts for personal blog and Gamasutra, and thought it was time to switch to videos). I called it Farlands, based on my long-time online nickname Farlander, and thus my journey began. That said, finding success, or what I consider success, took a little bit longer than I thought. Let's take a look at this chart of watchtime of my videos (the subscriber chart is largely similarly looking, so not posting it here):

So let's unpack what's going on over here.

In the first section (from channel creation to the end of 2017) are videos that right now I have delisted from my channel (though one can still potentially find them, and as far as recently a person from reddit did!), which explains why there's viewtime with no videos. The reason for delisting? Well quite frankly I had a shitty mic that really lowered the quality of the videos. That said, it was a valuable experience in video making that I'm glad I have had.

Now, in the middle you can see where exactly I have got a new and better microphone and how that instantly has improved things. But you can notice something else. I was not very active at making the actual videos.

The thing is, I tried to make videos in the very standard essayist format, 7-15-20 minutes, and doing those in my free time outside of work was painful. You can probably also guess when in 2018 I have had my wedding (back at home in Moldova), was in the process of closing Trials Rising and also moving from Ubisoft Kiev to Ubisoft Bucharest. I was not able to be consistent with my video releases at all.

But then in February 2019, you might notice that something has happened. That the max watch time peak per day suddenly skyrocketed, and also that I release quite a lot of videos in succession. What happened there?

Well, what I noticed in my stats is that all my videos, regardless if they were 5 minutes, 10 minutes, or 20 minutes long had an average watch-time of 2-3 minutes. So I asked myself 'What if I make 2-3 minute videos that are focused on some particular detailed element?', as an experiment. Thus I released this video:

Which became the most successful video on my channel.

So I decided to continue with these types of videos.

And so far not a single one of them has managed to be more successful than that first, but that's not the point. The point is that the 2-3 minute format was better for me personally than the traditional essayist format in every possible way.

Before I released the first short "In Focus" video, I had ~400 subscribers. Now after releasing 9 of them weekly, I have 800. In a couple months I gained the same amount of subscribers I have in 2 years before that.

The average watchtime of videos is a lot higher too, my video average is consistently at 60% of watchtime (as opposed to 10-20% previously), and people who got to videos from YouTube impressions stay through 80-90% of the video on average (as opposed to 40-50% previously). And the like rate of videos is pretty high, even on the videos that are less watched.

And the feedback I get on twitter, reddit, my discord, and my YouTube channel comments is very positive - people like this new short format, they think that's my strength, and ask to keep at it.

And the best part? These videos are much more straightforward to make than the traditional essayist videos in the sporadic amounts of free time that I have. With the power of planning and making some videos in advance, I can actually release a video weekly, to the point that now I can plan ahead and make schedules! 

So now instead of being one of many Game Design essayist youtube channels, I have found my voice in making specific short but focused videos, and people enjoy it and this is what has led my channel to have the most actually growth, and this style fits my workload and lifestyle outside of work which means I can actually keep the channel consistently active.

So the moral of this all is to not be afraid to experiment and if something doesn't work out for whatever reason, to try out something that might fit your needs and possibilities more, as it's likely that it can lead to a lot of improvement.

And there are still things that I want to improve over time, but I'm really happy with how my channel is going right now and am confident that if I keep at it with my current pace and style, it will grow very steadily.

And if you're interested, here's a link to my channel again.

I also have a Patreon that you're free to support if you'd like

Thank you all for your time!

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