On May 31st of last year I recorded a video of myself spreading sour cream and smoked salmon on an incredibly crunchy rye cracker and posted it on Tik Tok. It’s not a great video, but it quickly garnered around a hundred views and hooked me on the concept of internet cooking videos. Since then, I’ve posted around 250 more. I got a tripod, I started editing things in Premiere and adding transitions, and two weeks ago the hashtag I use to track my channel (#discounttasty) broke 1,000,000 views. So today I wanted to answer the question: what exactly is a million views worth?
My content isn’t particularly expensive to produce, because my production method is “iPhone on a 20 dollar tripod with free editing software”, but with ingredient costs factored in I’m definitely losing money. Tik Tok allows you to make a very small amount of cash on your videos once you reach 10,000 followers, and as I write this, I have 13,729. I’ve been eligible to make money for almost two months, and in that time I’ve recieved 313,000 views, and made…16 dollars.
I think it’s safe to say it’s too early to quit my day job.
My relatively meager earnings isn’t actually the most interesting thing going on on the channel. To me, that would be the almost entirely unpredictable nature of actually getting anyone to watch my videos. The algorithm that dictates success or failure on the app is damn near impossible to predict – it once put a looping video of me making a breakfast sandwich in front of 166,000 people, but for some reason my terrible skits auditioning to be the chief tik tok creator for Nerf never went anywhere.
The one thing that is consistent: sad boy makes chocolate desserts in a ramekin. My top two videos of all time were part of a series called “desserts for one” that I made in the run up to Valentines Day. Despite the actually content consisting primarily of melting together chocolate and butter, the two videos absolutely exploded: remakes of the most popular dish – a “baked hot chocolate” even appear twice in my all time top ten.
Baked Hot Chocolate also spoke to my broad international appeal… that extends exclusively to countries that speak English. Only 51 percent of video viewers were American, which matches up against my 57 percent follower breakdown. The rest come from Australia, South Africa, Canada, and the UK, the last of whom are very easy to incite into angry comments by making anything that looks like a Yorkshire Pudding and then not calling it a Yorkshire Pudding.
The path to a million views was also slightly skewed by gender – a whopping 69.2 percent of my followers identify as female – although often my comments section does not reflect that reality.
In the end, the weirdest has got to be that a million views really isn’t that many views. It’s insane to think that, considering more people have seen me on the internet wearing a too small chefs hat and dancing through my kitchen than I will ever possibly meet – but 16 dollars is really barely two burritos, and only one if you get steak and guac. That said, it’s also been incredibly fun, so, let’s see what the next million looks like!