If you make content for a living - blogs, photographs, videos, tutorials - there’s something that you’re going to struggle with, no matter how much care goes into the content you make.
And that’s owning the audience that you cultivate. When you create content on a social media platform, that platform will own the information of that audience. Should you get banned or lose access to your account, you will use the audience you’ve built.
For companies that build their brand on social media, this is a significant and costly problem as they will have to rely on the platform itself for access to their audience and thus access to the only way they can monetise their audience. Creating an app outside of Youtube is an additional safeguard against the possibility - small, but present - that Youtube content creation becomes unviable for Psych2Go.
Knowing your audience in the age of renewed data security laws isn’t as easy as it sounds - and for companies like Psych2Go, whose ten million strong Youtube audience is what keeps them engaged, knowing your audience isn’t just a handy way of creating good content: it’s what allows a company like Psych2Go to continue putting out content. Like going the extra mile to hit up the dam on the Santiago Oaks trail, understanding your audience and making your audience feel included in your content is only a net positive.
But that comes with a significant issue: how do you know your audience when there are third-party data laws coming into effect?
The answer is: collect your own data.
We wanted to give a way for Psych2Go to own their audience data so they can increase their engagement on their primary platform on Youtube. And also to be able to take advantage of that audience outside of the walled garden that is YouTube.
That’s how we approached Psych2Go. It’s what we used as a guideline for creating an app that can take the best parts of their Youtube channel and put an identity to the people who populate the youtube channel itself the most by collecting first-party data they can keep using even when they move on from Youtube.
We reached out to them ourselves, and then designed and built the app, working with Psych2Go to create a seamless experience for the audience that is already pretty used to Psych2Go’s existing channel.
We added a journaling module so that users could jot down any thoughts they have, and we made sure to keep a notifications page so that they could keep track of the latest new content.
The Psych2Go app takes content from their Youtube channel and Wordpress blog posts and it turns it into an easy-to-read, easy-to-access content stream. We wanted to create a lightweight app that didn’t take too much time to maintain: videos are uploaded automatically, the guys behind Psych2Go don’t need to worry about anything that has to do with the app itself, and it’s easy to manage.
We added push notifications as a way for them to directly communicate with their audience, and have planned features on the way to integrate with shopping sites and sponsorships, to further increase the usability of the app itself. With Psych2Go also possessing an online store where they sell physical copies of their magazines, merchandise, and gifts, this can help keep their audience in a single location and make it easier for them to fully immerse themselves in the Psych2Go brand.
By turning Psych2Go’s audience onto the app, Psych2Go now has access to first party data - emails and basic information - that can help them create custom content for the individuals. Even if they lose their primary platform, Youtube, they can retain the data they’ve cultivated through the app, meaning that they’re never really at risk of losing their information. The eventual addition of the e-commerce element will also help them refine their audience further, and give their fans a different way of engaging with the brand.
Why should you own your data as a Youtuber?
Imagine your brand. You’ve put work and effort into creating a Youtube channel. Your following is decent, and the people who follow you have given you leeway to add ads to your channel, therefore increasing the amount of money you make per video.
Then, because of a copyright claim or just due to general bad luck, you lose access to your account. The audience you’ve built is on Youtube, but without access to that specific account, you have no way of getting back into it - just like one of those crypto wallets where you need to keep the security key on you at all times.
And this isn’t a rarity in the world of Youtube. Youtube’s automated copyright system and Content ID have led to some accounts getting banned for anything from using the wrong kind of music to images, and sometimes even words.
Youtube is mostly anonymous - sure, there are always going to be people who’ll sign up to Youtube with their real names, but for the most part, you can be anyone in a way that is kind of a struggle on other social media channels. Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are all - to some extent - built on the idea that you are who you are. Youtube, which is older and had the early days of the internet to come into its own, is different.
That said, Youtube creators are still beholden to the same issues that any social media has: their audience belongs to the platform.
Knowing the people that are behind the comments and views on your channel can be helpful. It’ll allow you to keep track of how your content is doing: if you’ve done something different, has it actually made a difference to your audience? If you’re working within certain parameters, is it time to update them to appeal to a new range of audience members? Are you mostly catering to the older generation, and should you use different software to create your content?
There’s a lot of questions with easy answers out there if you knew who you were talking to.
Psych2Go had no idea. And while it’s not like you need to know the exact details of your audience to make Youtube content, it helps.
We wanted to create an app that would take the anonymity of Youtube audiences and make it usable. Given the way the current laws are on data practices, we didn’t want to just create something that would go out and take that data unwillingly: it had to be an equal exchange of honest information. Psych2Go would give the content, and the audience that follows them would give brief snippets of themselves in exchange.
It’s first party data practice, and it’s effective if you put in a little bit of extra effort into getting that information. With cookies and third-party data practices becoming a little more outdated and restricted every day, having something ready to take their place becomes especially crucial.
Psych2Go has just launched on the Google Play store and iOS App Store, and it’s doing well: not only does the audience benefit from having all of Psych2Go’s content in a single place, Psych2Go benefits from understanding who they’re speaking to.