I wouldnt still be making vids if I had not changed directions for vid 3, that was based on viewer feedback.
Look, I know harsh comments can be devastating. Most good producers never let the on-air talent, actors etc hear or read the bad stuff because they will do what you did.
For starters, the people who comment are only a small fraction of the audience and they are not the impirtant part of the audience. When I did Talk Back radio you had to realise that the callers are not the audience, they are the entertainment. 99% of the audience never ring in.
It's the same when I went into TV... Everyone you see and meet on the shoot is not the audience.
Same as later, it's not the fans who are important, it's the mob at home watching the TV or the mob in the cinema.
Your perception of your first 3 eps may have been quite correct. I don't know. I haven't seen them. However I think the first ep anyone does it's probably pretty diabolically bad. But the learning curve through the first 3 eps is almost verticle that Ep 3 was probably much, much better.
I might be wrong but I would hapilly shove $100 down as a bet. Probably $1,000.
Go back and look at the early Picasso painting
Analytics are such a shiny gold toy that no one can ignore them... But in this learning phase one really shouldn't read the critics, one really shouldn't check their numbers, Overnights or whatever. Just work on your quality. As the quality slowly comes up you will find your audience numbers probably come up too.
Until you get bored. Then the numbers will drop before you even feel boredness starting. But that's a discussion for a few years time