How can a regular upload schedule boost your channel? RetroSnickers shows us how.

With expertise on shoe restoration and customization, José Bustamante of Houston, Texas has built a major following among sneaker-heads with his RetroSnickers YouTube channel. As of July 2015, his channel has gained over 80k subscribers and 6m total views. And he’s only 16 years old!

Since linking with ScaleLab back in September of 2014, José’s fan-base has skyrocketed. In addition to great content, a big factor contributing to his speedy growth was a simple change suggested by our development team:

Analyzing how an upload schedule impacted RetroSnickers’ success provides several insights on how to build a large and loyal following. In this post we’ll explain how to find the best upload time by understanding your audience locations and demographics. And, after implementing a regular upload schedule, we’ll show you how to measure its impact by looking at daily views, audience retention, and watch time.

Determining the best upload time

Think of an upload schedule similar to how a television network blocks their weekly programming. It boils down to reliability. If Ron Burgandy and the Channel 4 News Team came on Friday at 8pm one week and Monday at 2am the next, their audience would have no clue when to regularly tune in. Regular releases and timely publishing are crucial components to building viewership.

Daily news viewers in San Diego, CA. © DreamWorks Pictures

In analyzing RetroSnickers’ viewer demographics and audience locations, we can determine when the majority of his fans are active across YouTube. Out of the top five countries watching his content, the United States is home to the vast majority of his fans at 88.6%.

Breaking US viewership down by time zone, we found:

Time Zone% of US views
Eastern 53.2%
Central 28.3%
Mountain 3.5%
Pacific 15%

José's US viewership by state can be seen by this heat map. Mouse over each state to see viewership stats.

ScaleLab creators now have access to their own heat map on their ScaleLab account.

The RetroSnickers audience is overwhelmingly male (93%). 50% of his viewers are 18–24 years and 25% are 25–34 years old. Taking everything into account, we concluded that his optimal upload time was Tuesdays at 7pm Eastern time.

For YouTubers targeting a US audience, we've found that a channel's heat map closely tracks US population density, so use this as a starting point for determining your upload timing. Then look at when your audience is most active on the platform (e.g. gamers will be most active on YouTube later than a pre-teen audience). Your optimal upload time is at least a few hours before this peak view time, which gives YouTube enough time to deliver the video to your viewers.


Did the regular upload schedule work?

By breaking down the RetroSnickers channel life span into three specific date ranges, we measured how this new schedule impacted his viewership. The following table shows his growth according to the time prior to receiving channel analysis, the first 90 days after receiving analysis, and the last 90 days.

Time Period Views on upload date
Average Max Total
90 days prior to analysis 7k 8k 76k
90 days after analysis 12k 20k 140k
Last 90 days 31k 41k 427k

Traffic Sources

Traffic sources are another good indicator of a successful upload schedule. This metric analyzes where viewers are discovering your content. By using the YouTube Guide, we can find out how many viewers discovered new RetroSnicker videos through their subscription feed.

YouTubers embracing a regular upload schedule will see a significant spike in traffic coming from the subscription feed. This results in improved watch time, as subscriber viewing sessions tend to last longer than non-subscribers.

For RetroSnickers, viewer growth coming from the subscription feed more than doubled, and his watch time increased by 32%!

Time Period Traffic sourced from
Subscription Feed
Average Watch
Time (m:s)
Views Percent
90 days prior to analysis 40k 7.3% 2:41
90 days after analysis 77k 9.6% 3:03
Last 90 days 390k 17.8% 3:33

This final percentage of 17.8% is fantastic considering most successful channels range from 11-14%.

Bottom Line

A regular release schedule accelerates viewer growth.

Certainly, YouTube is not the same as television. (It’s arguably better. Where else can you learn how to restore vintage Nikes?) However, the same fundamentals embraced by TV networks can be applied to your channel.

Although great content and other practices helped RetroSnickers achieve his current success, implementing a regular upload schedule certainly accelerated his growth. With an understanding of audience locations and demographics, you too can start your own release schedule.

Of course, we here at ScaleLab are always happy to help our creators with this decision.

So be faithful to a regular upload schedule, communicate that schedule to your viewers, and you’ll see an immediate boost in daily views, audience retention, and watch time.

Special thanks to José Bustamante for allowing us to use his RetroSnickers YouTube channel for our case study.