The Second Episode Dropoff

Most of my free lessons are one-offs. I come into the studio, think of something, shoot it, edit it, publish it, and that's that. Several times I've attempted to do a series of related free lessons, and each time there's a pretty noticeable drop-off in viewership between the first and second lessons.

In 2011 I did a series called "Improve Your Phrasing" and the first lesson was huge. At this point in time, it has accumulated almost 100k views on YouTube. After that, it drops off pretty dramatically.


Last week I launched a new series called "Hendrix Machine Gun Vamping". The first lesson took off like a rocket accumulating more views and positive ratings in the first day than any of my videos that I can remember. Of course I thought that this entire series would be well received.

Today I launched the second video and the response is positive, but the numbers are nowhere near what they were last week. This follows the general trend I've seen with previous lesson series.

So I started wondering, why? Why does the interaction on the second video drop off so quickly? A couple thoughts:

1) Bad Timing - Today is Good Friday. Could that be a factor? Are people going to Good Friday events instead of watching guitar lessons? Plausible.

2) Time Of Day - Launching a video at a bad time of day will affect short term views, but I can't imagine that it has a lot to do with long-term performance.

3) Viewers Respond To Variety - As much as people enjoy the first video, and even if they enjoy the idea of an entire series of similar videos, perhaps they are more drawn to distinct titles. So the first week they see something new like "Hendrix Machine Gun Vamping - 1" and they love it. The following week they see "Hendrix Machine Gun Vamping - 2" and some of the excitement of the previous week's lesson has worn off. Perhaps they're less inclined to view something that feels even a tiny bit like something they already saw.

4) The Second Video Sucks - This is something I think about often. Maybe the first video always comes across more 'inspired', or interesting. It's easy to assume that people will love the second video because they loved the first, but people are complicated. If the first video is killer, it sets the bar for that entire series. The second video is not guaranteed equal love. Maybe I've not aimed high enough, giving my best effort in the first video.

5) Poor Marketing - Maybe just telling people that this is a series isn't enough to make them want to watch. Perhaps I need to do a better job of selling the second video in the first. Really give people a reason to watch it instead of assuming they will.

I believe that there is value in presenting content in series, but the consistent drop in enthusiam to the second part of any series is a mystery I'd like to figure out.