As a creator, you’ve probably asked yourself questions like, “How does YouTube choose what videos to promote?”Does getting a yellow icon to impact my video discovery?”And how important are tags?”In this video, we’ll walk you through all those questions and more about YouTube’s search and discovery system and give you some video discovery tips. Let’s dive in. First, how does YouTube choose what videos to promote?
Whether it’s on the YouTube homepage search or suggested recommendation system actually finds videos for viewers rather than viewers for videos. Videos don’t get pushed out or promoted by the algorithm, but rather pulled for each user when they visit YouTube.The goal of the search and discovery system is to match each viewer with the videos they’re most likely to watch and enjoy.
So every viewer’s recommendations will look a little bit different. Videos are ranked based on hundreds of signals that largely fall under two categories: Viewer Personalization and Video Performance. Viewer personalization is based on signals about a given user’s preferences such as what videos they choose to watch, what videos they ignore, what videos they dismiss, how often someone watches a channel, or topic, and much more. Our systems also consider video performance, which is how well the content engaged viewers when it was offered to them. For example, do viewers choose to watch the video, ignore it, or click not interested?
If they choose to watch it, how long and how much of the video do they watch? Here our system views the video’s average view duration, and average percentage viewed as signals to inform ranking. And finally, did the viewer enjoy the video? We measure satisfaction using a variety of signals such as user surveys and likes. Using these signals helps our systems narrow down the best set of videos to offer each viewer.
Creators often ask what kind of videos the algorithm like best, but our systems have no opinion about what type of video you make and don’t favor any particular format. Instead, they try to follow the audience. So instead of worrying about being an expert in algorithms or analytics, focus on knowing your audience and what they like. Next, does change a video’s title or thumbnail rank the video in the algorithm? Yes, it can.
But it’s only because our systems are responding to how viewers are interacting with your video differently, rather than the act of changing the video title or thumbnail. When your video looks different to viewers, it changes how viewers interact with it when it’s offered to them. Changing your video title and thumbnail can be an effective way to get more views. But if your video’s already doing well, don’t change what’s working. If one of my videos underperforms, is that going to hurt my channel?
What matters is how viewers respond to each video when it’s recommended. Our systems rely more on video and audience-level signals to decide which videos are the best recommendations for your audience. What can lead to a decline in overall channel views is people’s interest changing over time, or when viewers stop watching most of your videos when they’re recommended to them. Does monetization status like the yellow icon impact my video discovery?
No. Our search and recommendation system doesn’t know which videos are monetized and which are not. We focus on recommending videos your audience will find satisfying regardless of whether they’re monetized. But if your video contains racy, violent, or other graphic content, it could be demonetized as it’s not suitable for all advertisers. It may also not be recommended to as many viewers because it’s not appropriate for all audiences. Do I need to upload daily or at least once a week?
No. We’ve done analyses over the years to find that growth in views across uploads is not correlated with time between uploads. Many creators have established reliable connections with their audience through quality over quantity. We encourage you to take care of yourself to prevent burnout, which is important for your audience and your well-being. Why are my views lower than my subscriber count?
The number of people subscribed to your channel doesn’t represent the number of viewers choosing to watch your videos. On average viewers subscribe to dozens of channels and may not return for every new upload for every channel they’re subscribed to. It’s also common for viewers to be subscribed to channels they no longer watch. So, instead, focus on the audiences actually watching your content using YouTube Analytics, which can help you find out who’s watching and what’s working well or not.
What other factors influence how people see my videos? There are three major factors that explain where your audience is coming from. Topic Interest, Competition, and Seasonality. Topic Interest is how many people worldwide are interested and watching videos about a given topic. Some topics have a more broad appeal than others. And that appeal can change over time as certain subjects become more or less popular.
You can use Google Trends to see how the world’s interest is changing over time. And you can even filter down to YouTube search interest. Just go to trends.google.com.Next – Competition.YouTube systems have to sort through and rank all videos a viewer might be most willing to watch. Even if you have great performance and metrics on your video, you may get fewer impressions of videos from other channels or creators are performing even better. And finally – Seasonality.
YouTube traffic can change during different times of the year. Think about your audience like which country they live in, or what’s going on in their lives, and expect fluctuations in viewership during major holidays. And finally, how important are tags?
Well, not very important. Tags are mainly used to help correct common spelling mistakes. For example, YouTube versus UTube versus YouTube.Remember, YouTube systems are personalized to each viewer and recommend content based on audience interests.
They’re also influenced by a video’s performance and engagement and external factors that influence what people are interested in over time. Focus on what your audience likes. If you do that, and people watch, then the recommendations will follow.
For more information on YouTube’s recommendation system and video discovery tips, check out the resources linked below. Thanks for reading.