How to get 4000 hours on YouTube

YouTube’s new monetization guidelines have ruffled the feathers on many small time creators over the world.

YouTube requires your channel to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of Watch Time within the past 12 months to be eligible for monetization.

YouTube requires your channel to have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of Watch Time within the past 12 months to be eligible for monetization.

We are not going to get into the how and why of this change but the mathematical way in which you as a small creator can reach 4,000 watch time hours in the next year.

So algebraically, if Watch Time has to be 4,000 hours in 1 Year:

-What’s the minimum amount of videos you need to make this year?
– How many views does each video need to get?
– How long should each video be?

Also, if you follow the quest of getting 4,000 hours Watch Time, the subscriber count will go higher.

Let’s assume a couple of variables that come into play here for this experiment:

  1. Each video you make, gets the minimum amount of views needed AND was watched all the way through by every viewer. We’ll call these views “pure views” because this assumes that they were watched in their entirety.
  2. Older videos will keep getting random and consistent views on your channel throughout the year.

So, here are the things that we know:

  • 4,000 hours of Watch Time is equal to 240,000 minutes.
  • YouTube prefers 10 minute long videos.So 10 minutes will be the baseline for part of our discussion.

Let’s Begin!

To reach the 240,000 minutes of Watch Time needed, you could make:

  • 240,000 videos at 10 minutes long, with each getting 1 view. That’s a joke!
  • 2,400 videos at 10 minutes long, with each getting 10 views. Hmm, no.
  • 240 videos at 10 minutes long, with each getting 100 views.

That makes me happy now.

You can easily get those first 100 views on each video by uploading quality videos with clickable and extremely user friendly thumbnails.

Basically, if you ride on trends the entire year and create a bunch of How-To videos, along with niche content and the content that you want to make — we’re looking at a goldmine.

240 videos at 10 minutes long, each getting 100 views, means each video needs to have a total of 1,000 Watch Time minutes (which is equal to about 16.5 hours).

Take a detour of your video library and if you find a video which has 1000 views or higher, try to work on the success factor and replicate. Again, mathematics.

We also know that 240 videos a year, gives us an additional 125 days in the year where a video is not being uploaded. This means 1 video every 1.5 days OR roughly 5 videos a week. Only 10 minutes per video and you’ve got a nice weekend off.

But 100 views are still a lot for a small channel to maintain, so you spend 5 days a week recording, editing, uploading and then the other 2 days are left from promoting your videos on various social media platforms.

Well, what if we made 365 videos this year, instead of 240. That means, one video a day.

Most people will even tell you that you should have daily content anyways.

So 365 videos a year, at 10 minutes long, means that you only need to get about 66 views on every video you upload.

Getting 66 views is much better than getting 100 views.

But wait a sec.

If you increase each video by 1 minute extra, then you have 365 videos, each at 11 minutes long. Now you only have to get 60 views, instead of the initial 100 views.

Want to see some numbers? Scroll away.

Here is a chart that shows you how many views you have to get on each video, if you make 365 videos this year, based on the length of the video:

The longer your video is, the less views you’ll need to get the required 4,000 hours of Watch Time.

What this chart says, is that if you create the kind of content that is shorter, anywhere from 1–5 minutes long, you’ll have to get a lot better at promoting your content, so that you can get more views on them and reach your required Watch Time.

Keep in mind though, that these view numbers are still nothing crazy, as we don’t have a single video that would require you to go above 700 views.

Once we get into the 20 minute range of content, which tons of channels are already creating, you have to get around 30 views or less per video.

And once you get towards the half-hour length or longer, the pure views could be in single digits.

Meaning that podcasts and live streams only have to be viewed by a few people.

Also if you do not like the idea of creating as many videos as suggested then you can suit yourself and create as little videos as you like and concentrate on the content but make sure to advertise them enough to get required views.

So here’s another chart, showing you the amount of 10 minute videos you need to put out throughout the year and the amount of views required.

The less videos you put out, the more views you need to have to reach the required 4,000 hours of Watch Time.

This assumes that every video you put out is only 10 minutes long, as that’s the baseline, but we’ll see that the more videos you put out, the less views you need to get on each video.

Obviously the top part of the chart is practically impossible, so the first realistic goal here (depending on the kind of content you make) is 686 videos this year. This is close to uploading 2 videos a day, every day, and receiving 35 views on each video.

The next main one is 365 videos, which was covered above. But then right under that is 240 videos, again only requiring you to have 100 views.

The less videos you put out, the more views you need to have to reach the required Watch Time.

So you could put out 1 video, every 2 weeks and end up with 24 videos by the end of the year. If you can get each of these videos up to 1000 views, then you’ll be able to make the required amount of Watch Time.

Additionally, if these videos are longer than 10 minutes, you could easily make less videos, depending on how much you want to advertise your videos.

Again, remember that these are “pure views” meaning that every one of these views has to have seen the entire video for it to count.

Let’s not forget these at the end of the day though:

  • What types of videos can I make that are extremely shareable OR would be watched if you shared them at the right place?
  • Find things that people haven’t covered yet. Do something unique. Yes, it’s easy said than done and I’m learning this myself, but every time you do an off-the-wall video, the views will be much higher.
  • Consider diversifying your content. If you’re a Let’s Player, do live streams and other types of gaming content. If you’re an animator, live stream your animating sessions, and do behind-the-scenes videos. If you’re a musician, do covers, record raw sessions of your music, and live stream gigs or performances.
  • In fact, LIVE STREAM. Live streams will get you more watch time.
  • Consider doing a weekly podcast in your niche. Chances are you know something about your niche and can provide some kind of value there.
  • Above all else, make kick-ass content. Too many people focus on the numbers and don’t realize that maybe they still need to work on learning how to make great videos.

Now we have to go back to the word problem:

If Watch Time has to be 4,000 hours in 1 Year:
– What’s the minimum amount of videos you need to make this year?
– How many views does each video need to get?
– AND how long should the video be?

A good start, in my opinion, is to try to make 300 videos this year at 10 minutes each. Don’t drag the videos if they don’t need to be 10 minutes long and if the videos go over 10 minutes, that’s fine too.

Try to incorporate live streams in the mix and start a podcast.

This will put you at about 6 videos a week, meaning that you’ll only need to get 80 pure views on each video. If you target them to the right audience and share them in the right places, that will change the entire ball game for you and you will break the code.

Create a content strategy around this, execute it for a month, and then figure out if creating these many videos is too difficult for you OR if you can create daily content.

Experiment with it, but most of all, execute it!

You have to believe in yourself.

Take this knowledge and put it in practice and create some awesome videos and you’ll reach that threshold in no time. I know you will.