Adweek: With YouTube’s Burnout Mentality, Creators Need to Focus on Videos That Matter

At tech companies an average of 57.16 percent of employees feel burnt out by their jobs. And unfortunately for YouTube, creator burnout is becoming a bigger phenomenon than ever before.

The platform’s algorithm increasingly rewards the channels that post most frequently, have higher engagement—likes and comments—and have longer average watch times. This change, along with other traffic drivers, spurred creators to mass-produce content to maintain their influencer status, with some creators turning to less-than-stellar videos to produce clicks.

This mentality is exactly why creators need to establish relationships with platforms, so that they’re producing videos that matter and increase loyal viewer engagement.

Although creators are known for connecting with fans, there’s a bigger underlying issue: Platforms aren’t investing properly in creators’ needs to create an enjoyable experience.

According to Variety, in order to stay in YouTube’s recommended content, some creators have clocked 80 to 100 hours per week. YouTube influencer ElleOfTheMills’ video, “Burnt Out At 19,” went viral after she admitted that her work was causing her more stress than enjoyment.

For user-generated-content platforms, focusing on the well-being of independent video creators needs to become a bigger priority, as the burnout trend continues to escalate to viewers.

Platforms like YouTube need to recognize this problem and take responsibility. Creators are often forced to produce more content in order to cut through the noise and be surfaced within the algorithm. In an attempt to increase monetization, YouTube introduced non-skippable ads, but they should not come at the cost of interrupting the viewer experience.

Altogether, creator burnout is a real problem—one that has a direct negative impact on brands and consumers, where no one wins.

Consumers tune in to a creator’s video because of their interest in the subject and the subject-matter-expertise that a content creator can provide. The more content they are forced to produce, the more they end up straying away from genuine story-telling, ultimately disrupting the connection between influencer and viewer. The authenticity factor is lost, and viewers are less engaged.

Instead, creators should be focusing on opportunities that are relevant to their audiences, which is one of the reasons why they gravitate towards brand sponsorships.

Creating videos that matter is only one-half of the battle. In a crowded and fragmented digital media landscape, in addition to fighting with platforms’ new algorithms, creators are also struggling with breaking through the “noise” to get their content in front of the right audiences.

Every second, a new video is uploaded, and over 4 billion YouTube videos are viewed per day. Ensuring that your content is seen by viewers is a daily challenge for influencers—and something that can lead to further burnout. When a creator’s status is influenced by views and metrics, it’s impossible not to feel the pressure.

This is also the reason why platforms, publishers and creators need to better collaborate. Working with a platform that helps creators produce premium videos while increasing discoverability by their core viewers, non-intrusively, will allow for greater monetization.

We’ve seen examples of this kind of collaboration in a few features recently launched by Facebook. Earlier this summer, it launched its Level Up Program, providing emerging gaming creators with information and tools to get discovered and build their audience. Before that, this spring, Facebook rolled out a series of test features designed to make it easier for creators to earn revenue, including a subscription option for their followers and improved systems to connect creators with brands for sponsorship opportunities.

Creator burnout is happening, and it’s something we, as an industry, need to address. While views and engagement metrics are important, we should be building environments that enable creators to do what they do best: Be creative. When we properly support creators, they produce quality content that engages audiences and can lead to more effective partnerships with brands.

–By Claudia Page, SVP of Partner Products

This article originally appeared in Adweek on September 18, 2018.