YouTube Algorithm Questions Explained by YouTube Employees (Part 3)

YouTube Algorithm Questions Explained by YouTube Employees (Part 3)

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Hey insiders this week I’ve got Todd from search and discovery back on the show welcome back Todd. Thank you You know your previous two videos about the algorithm were the best performing videos that the channel has ever had So we couldn’t help but ask you to come back and talk some more. I swear. I didn’t juice anything well. You know what? If you did I wouldn’t complain, but I know you’re an honest man, and you wouldn’t do that However, we also did promise the insider viewers to leave comments in the previous two videos And then we would try and review them and get back to the most popular ones So I have four questions for you all right from the comments and in the spirit of keeping it real Should we just go do them right in all right? Let’s get it on first question if you’re a new creator Huh is it pretty much impossible to break through because it’s so competitive And starting from zero like should I even try No, it’s not impossible This is something You know I work on the discovery team and so A big thing that we try to do is help people discover new channels, and so if there’s a new channel out there That’s producing great content. We really want to do a good job of getting it out there to people in terms of like our Other new channels that are actually breaking through anymore on YouTube given all the competition. This is something I actually looked into and my team looked into specifically and we’ve been tracking over several years And there’s two things that we’ve looked at to try to understand how creators are breaking through The first one is looking at how many creators are crossing You know sort of a breakthrough milestone And one one that we often look at is how many creators hit a hundred thousand subs for the first time mm-hmm And a hundred thousand daily hours of watch time and the good news is what we’ve seen is that the Number of channels that are crossing that milestone is four times what it was just two years ago Wow there’s a lot more channels breaking through and the other thing that we’ve been looking at is well How long does it take to break through because you know you hear stories about how? Some channels are like going at it first. You know many years. You know you’re just growing slowly The other metric we look at is how many days does it take from the first upload from a channel until they hit that big? Milestone, and that number has also been improving And it’s taking those channels 40% less time than it did two years ago to break through so overall There’s a lot more channels breaking through and they’re doing it faster than ever before that we’ve seen and so I would encourage you Know keep keep keep at it. You know. It’s not something that always happens You know immediately? But it is happening faster for a lot of channels awesome ok so more people are breaking through There’s also more people starting channels, too. Though. Is that fair or I? Think that’s true. I haven’t been monitoring those stats as closely so there may be more competition and You know the actual likelihood of you breaking through may be going up or down as that competition? increases So yeah that that is one of the things to keep in mind, but what I would recommend is is Thinking about like well. What do you have? What do you want to offer to the audience that isn’t already out there, where’s the opportunity to make videos that YouTube already doesn’t have mm-hmm so that you know there’s gonna be less competition in those areas or Or what are the areas that there might be some videos, but there’s not great ok? So I think that’s where I would recommend new creators. Not to just kind of like chase up all the same Content that’s doing well already because there’s you know a lot of competition there ok next question A lot of creators find that sometimes I need to take a break you know Making the channel ain’t easy sometimes right mm-hmm if they take a break And they want to just like unplug for a few weeks or maybe like the whole summer Well the algorithm Basically kill the channel and say well that channels out of it, and then when you upload again You kind of have to start all over If you’re brand-new and all of the good work You’ve done is kind of thrown out so the short answer the good answer is no the algorithms Not going to kill anyone’s channel because they stopped uploading for a while so I had the chance to see swoozie. He’s a successful creator He was speaking about what made his channel successful. I think he has five million subs hundreds of millions of views And he said something he really gets it and he said something too That really stayed with me and he said the audience is the boss mm-hmm and That’s true when it comes to vacations – the algorithm is not the boss the algorithm doesn’t set vacation policies at YouTube fortunately Thank God, and if you have an audience that really cares about your content. Um you know you take some time off You come back. They’re gonna be there looking for your next video as well I Can say that but I also looked at the data. I actually analyzed hundreds of channels That took a break of at least two weeks Over the summer and the typical one took about four weeks off mm-hmm And I looked at what their watch time was the week before they took a break and then what was their watch time the week that they came back and The majority of channels that took a break had more watch time when they came back than when they left Now it’s not a guarantee hmm. Maybe there’s something about taking some time off really helps get your creative juices refreshed But yeah the majority of channels that took a break came back stronger than ever so It’s definitely possible to take a vacation and come back As strong or stronger than before I know I just saw last week because somebody sent me something about another creator She decided to take all of October off And she didn’t even tell our audience how long she was going to be gone. She just said I’m gonna take a break and she came back a month later and Her her sort of comeback video is one of the strongest ones. She’s had this year, so Those are just some examples. I’ve seen in the data shows to me that Taking a break can actually be a good thing, and I I know it’s got to be hard for a lot of creators that uh You know really put a lot of energy into every video and upload really frequently I I’d encourage you to take the time you need I think it’s important okay, and just so we’re clear The opposite is also not true that if you take a break the algorithm doesn’t give you any special Benefits from like welcome home kind of no. There’s no special logic in there that then knows about vacations or breaks It’s it’s just taking the video and trying to find who’s gonna be interested in watching it and if if your audience is still using YouTube and And we show them your video, and they’re engaging it then We’re back to normal Yeah So most likely I guess one theory would be when they took the break that recharged And then the next video was a little had a little more oomph Yeah, maybe there was some pent up demand yeah, and everybody was really excited to have him back So it is ok from time to time to take a break if you need to yeah great all right next question if you have a channel and you’re uploading regularly, and then you have a video that just Just does not does not resonate with the audience doesn’t do well people don’t watch it They don’t like it as much. They don’t watch as much of it The concern is like oh no Now the algorithm thinks that my whole channel is Reflected in the performance of this last video. I’m kind of hosed What’s what’s your take on that yes? Well my take is that? You know like I said earlier the algorithm is not the boss here It’s the audience and what primarily drives who sees your video, and how many views you get is How the audience is responding to that video? so You know people have dead videos all the time. I I see it happen on even the best channels But then their next video is just you know if it’s if it’s a great video. Then it It comes back. I I actually haven’t seen This I’d love to see if anybody has examples. I wants to post him in the comments I’d love to see an example of a channel that was doing great had one bad video and then was dead forever I haven’t seen that. I don’t think that’s Typically how the audience works, I mean I imagine there could be something you could really Upset your audience so that they all left, but you know typically Everyone sees some unsubscribe activity when they upload a video But for the most part, I think people will if they’re not interested in the video. They just won’t watch it mm-hm But as far as how we look at it We’re gonna test that next video And see if the audience is interested in that one if they are it doesn’t really matter that much what happened Previously yeah, you know that’s something that you had mentioned to me in the past that In a way every new video is kind of a new chance yeah, and that there isn’t this long Sort of historical record that kind of heavily influences whether the next video is going to be given a chance or not It’s really kind of a meritocracy for each video. That’s right awesome Okay, last question if my video is Demonetized because maybe it was considered not brand suitable does the algorithm then decide oh? well
Then we won’t promote you anymore like how are those things connected? So the the search and discovery systems that decide sort of which Videos to recommend they don’t have any knowledge about what’s going on in the advertising system So if you get that yellow icon that you see that says it may not be suitable for all advertisers The information about that doesn’t even flow into our system, so they’re completely different system different teams manage them now there are cases where these things can overlap in terms of You know something that advertisers care about running their ads around might be like profanity or violence or certain controversial topics they may decide You know they just don’t want to be associated with that type of content Similarly we may find the audiences have similar preferences So we might find that that you know a profane video for example may not be something that Everyone on YouTube is going to be interested in and so If you ever see these things kind of happening you know around the same time. It’s not because we’re looking at well What did the advertisers say let’s do that for the user? That’s not how we do We’re trying to give the viewer what the viewer wants to watch Independent of what the advertisers does and so there’s separate systems We don’t use that monetization information in in search and discovery so last thing is you know the viewers of this channel are super helpful with input are there any things that you want to say to them or ask them about for For the next one. I just say bring it bring on more questions I want to know what you want to know and so just post your questions in the comments And maybe we’ll do another follow-up soon awesome, and I should let everyone know if you notice that this is a much nicer Set that we’re on today. We are at YouTube headquarters in one of the studios that is being lent to us By the folks at creator Academy link below if you want to check that channel out super awesome so we want to thank them for hosting us and Would love input on what you guys think of this layout and sort of set I know the last one I did was In my home office behind some IKEA furniture people didn’t really work weren’t too impressed by that But maybe they’ll like this a little more keep it real


  1. Another contradictory video. "Be unique, but we only promote you if you do things exactly like everyone else" sums up all YouTube guru advice.

  2. Hey, wasn't this guy's answer about youtube "not un-promoting your videos because they are not ad friendly" debunked?
    Wasn't there a channel that did the deep research and found the numbers (like 104 or 108 or something) that would make your videos non-promoted after they got flagged as ad-unfriendly?

  3. My channel is new. I am still a YT rookie. But it's fun. My Channel is Manny3893. Like your videos, it is a good learning experience. Thanks, Manny A.

  4. Once you demonetized my channel for "duplication" (although your support team could NEVER ACTUALLY TELL ME WHICH VIDEO I SUPPOSEDLY DUPLICATED), my view counts were cut by more than half almost immediately. This video is propaganda and is pure fiction. You're a pack of liars. Now I'll wait for my channel to be "unpersoned". CLOWNS!!!

  5. 8:54 Would the channel showing a fall from 6000 views/day to 2000 views/day in less than a month be the one you would need to see? But there is no bad video there causing that problem, at least no shocking video capable of making people run and hide. Strangely enough, this happened during February 2018, while many changes were occuring in YouTube. Todd, I'd love to hear what you have to say about this , specially because after 7 months uploading more videos than ever, some better than others, it won't get back to where it was, it keeps falling no matter what I do. What happened in December-January that has practically killed my channel, the moment it was growing beautifully?

  6. This video is old, and maybe unsupervised now, but if you are still interested in picking up questions , here is one: the systems behind the algorithm must be language specific so they can effectively understand and manage both viewers' interests and videos' contents for all the different languages in YouTube. If this is so, what QA procedures do you have in place to check and ensure the quality of translations has no significant mistakes and could be the cause of abnormal behaviour related to those systems? I don't have evidence of any event related to language mistakes, although I have found some significant mistakes in some YouTube documentation. One doesn't have to be an expert translator to know that "post-editing" Google Translate results is not an appropriate QA procedure, so I hope you have something better than that, something an expert translator would agree with, at least for those sensitive procedures where the algorithm has to match user with videos.

  7. What kind of languages do you guys use on the discovery team? Do You write software/code? I have always dreamed of being employed by YouTube or Google 🙂

  8. Todd, you said in this video you wanna hear from someone that's had a video that didn't perform well and now the other videos are all doing bad. You said you wanted to see it, you're more than welcome to check out my analytics. Please do check it out!!
    I left a comment two videos ago again talking about the algorithm. Something has defiantly changed. All my performance signals and percentages are UP such as CTR and watch time. They've either remained the same or BETTER. In most cases better. I've worked so hard as many creators have to build an audience. I've been growing and getting better and bigger, all reasonably fast and suddenly it's like I've fallen off a cliff.
    I don't understand this or know what to do. I've given it some time to see if it changes back but nothing. The feedback I do get from viewers is amazing, they love my content and I get a lot of engagement. I've been doing YouTube for a while. I've NEVER seen anything like this! I know my channel and I know my audience, I'm in shock and trying to find an answer.
    As I mentioned I felt like maybe it could be the newest changes in the algorithm.
    I've certainly noticed a huge change in the videos I get recommended to watch next. They are so scrambled in topics and honestly I don't understand why a lot of what's recommended to me is recommended. I desperately miss the way thing were as a viewer and as a creator, especially as a creator.
    You guys know I'm an Insider Fan, I would be honored but more so thankful if someone can please tell me what's going on!! TY!

  9. Analyse my channel… It won't be shocking for new creators thou…. Algorithm has no chance for new youtubers.

  10. What's the point of not allowing new creators to change video thumbnail? It doesn't make any sense ….
    I'm building cartoons, and this is very time consuming … so I have just few animations (3 for now). But sometime it takes 1 week to develop, sometimes 1 month. How is this affecting me ?

  11. it is written that to have the copyright , you need the permission of the Author, if I just dance the song , and the songs has copyrights, how can I have the copyright too in order to uplead my Video on you tube , for beeing view from all the world ? … This is something I still can't get it .. do you have to pay something?

  12. Look up Jameskii. Fix your copyright stuff on youtube.

    Say if they are false claiming(collab did that alot to jameskii) they(collab) gets banned for 1 year with no money on there acc for false claiming – For susan

  13. (9:55) Videos get demonitized for bad aspects of a video. These aspects get registered on a video as soon as they are demonitized, like for example heavy profanity usage. You said yourself that that is gonna give a video less views which in turn means that demonitized videos get less views, why are you saying "no" but then explaining the opposite, it's the same thing, just worded differently to not make it as obvious lmao

  14. It would be very nice if youtube added an option to edit your video suggestions. If you want to block profanity you can just enable it and youtube will try to block it from you. On top of that, advertisers should choose what requirements a video gets to get ads put on them ie if it has profanity their ads won't show up but if another company says profanity is fine it will show up on the video.

  15. 10:00 that is total lie. There has been million examples when demonetisation puts down video reviews. You cannot lie like this when there is clean statistics

  16. The whole demonetization over profanity thing has gotten way out of hand. Yeah, I get that not everyone wants to watch a video with "language", but channels like Markiplier's are seriously affected by this. Mark clearly hasn't bothered to censor his profanity, and so because of this new rule, he's going to start making less and less money. YouTube has started going downhill with their clear favoritism of content creators.

  17. Your video says the reason demonetization and lower viewership are linked is that sometimes the criteria by which a video is demonetized is also a criteria by which YouTube decides not to recommend content. That is a ridiculous position and by that definition, demonetization and lower viewership are linked in all but name. I think you should realize that YouTube is a platform used by people of all ages and that some users would like to view "profane" content as you describe it. The way you have described YouTube's algorithm amounts to censorship.

  18. thank you so much for the inside perspectives! I recently started my own channel and just found creator insider, it helps a lot than any other channels that I've followed! Thank you both!

  19. Give the youtube algorithm better training data. Collect a load of manual review videos that are on the border of being okay, but are still okay, this will encourage the AI to favour the youtuber within "benefit of the doubt" situations.

  20. YouTube,

    I humbly request you read and use these suggestions if you care about your product and YouTube's userbase.

    Request 1: Give benefit of the doubt to the content creators when the algorithm has a low confidence score of terms of service violations and copyright strikes.

    Request 2: If your algorithm isn't good enough to be confident, then you need to find better training data, improve the algorithm or reduce the complexity of your terms of services to make it easier for your algorithm to learn.

    Request 3: Algorithms are not the issue, your overconfident use of them is. If you're going to use heavily unreliable algorithms, reduce the punishments you dish out or provide a better warning system.

    Request 4: Repurpose YouTube Red (from premium content) to a low cost option that remove ads. This will reduce reliance on middlemen advertisers so they can't pressure you as heavily. Users will respond positively and pay this if you build loyalty with us such as by performing the actions required in Demands 1, 2 and 3.

  21. I have a channel in amazon fba niche, and I am based out of India. Been making videos over a year now and got over 60 videos. But I do not get any impressions from the US or Canada. I am unable to decode why is that the case.. Can someone please highlight that?

  22. please help i am getting flagged on every video i make because there is a hate group that flags everything i do so they can slow the traffic up on my channel … every video i upload gets demonitized … i don't use profane langauge and i follow all guidelines …please help this is the latest video they attacked … @ … they also DOX me … please help

  23. Can the algorithym distinguish between different languages when you have a bilingual channel concerning the recommendations for the next suggested video on the end screen?

  24. Ref.the remark about new channels which manage to beake through quickly in the recent times.
    Can it be that many of these channels might belong to the people with already established names (for eks.professionals from a broadcasting industry, such as radio or tv reporters)? They have their skills and they have a certain amount of audience from the begginning, and that is why the performance for their channels is high from the start?

  25. On February 4, 2019 I posted a video showing me unboxing my first storage unit win. It took a month before it took off. By July 1 it had over 250,000 views so i feel that it was doing pretty well. But then I decided that I would try to "improve" it. What I did NOT do: 1) I did NOT change the video in any way; 2) As far as I can tell I did NOT change the title or description in any way. All I think I did was to "improve" the thumbnail by adding some text graphics and I tried to add tags that were successful according to Tubebuddy.. The result was that the views started dropping, and the more I did to try and fix it the worse it got. It now gets about 100 views a day, down from an average of about 2000 views a day. Does YouTube maintain any kind of details on specific videos that might help me recreate what was working for me before I messed it up? Or alternately does YouTube have any suggestions as to what might be wrong with my thumbnail?

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