Logged into my YouTube channel dashboard the other day, and YouTube was pleased to tell me (with a cool emoji no less) that over the lifetime of my channel I've racked up 5000 hours of watch time.
Not really. In fact, from the perspective of most metrics my YouTube channel has been a complete, unmitigated failure.
I've been uploading videos since about 2019. 5 years and probably 250 odd videos later, I've managed to amass a measly 5000 hours of watch time, about 1100 subscribers and 150,000 lifetime views.
There are YouTubers who could film themselves watching paint dry and rack up better metrics than that in an hour or so after launch.
I've seen YouTubers pop up, create videos on the same topics I do, and with a fresh channel wind up with thousands of subscribers and views within a month or two while I sit in some kind of YT purgatory.
So it's all been for nothing, right?
Not so fast.
While my YouTube/video marketing efforts have been an absolute dumpster fire from a "making it big on YouTube" perspective (I'll be honest, my original goal with doing this work was to try and build a big audience and then monetise it) when I look back over the past few years of data I keep on lead/project/client sources, outside of word of mouth YouTube is actually the next biggest source of business for me - ahead of LinkedIn.
Several projects I'm working on at the moment, I can directly ascribe to an inquiry that usually reads something like "hey, I saw your YouTube video on X and we are having the same problem - can you fix it for us?"
If you looked at my activity from a 'vanity metric' perspective of views, comments, subscribers etc, I am the first to admit I have failed and you don't need to be particularly bold to suggest that I'll never make it big on YouTube (partly because I'm probably not the world's most exciting watch, and because I don't want to make clickbait-y videos).
But from a different perspective, one that ultimately matters far more (the commercial viability of my business) I'd say it has been a success, and I'm going to keep on trucking.
The same can apply to what you do on any platform, from YouTube, to LinkedIn, to Facebook or anywhere else. Just because your posts aren't getting massive engagement, it doesn't mean that the right people (who need your solution) aren't seeing them.