You’ve been able to subscribe to people on YouTube pretty much since day one. Creators are often applauded and placed in levels of fame based on their subscriber count. And, for upcoming creators, setting and smashing subscriber milestones is one of the most rewarding things in the world… so why in 2017 is this feature now complete garbage? Well, let’s break it down for you.
First off, let’s point out that there was no distinct moment in time when the “subscribe” function stopped being so powerful. To this day, people still stare in awe at the likes of SMOSH and PewDiePie for their unbelievable subscriber count. The problem is however, that these channels often only get fraction of the views they should be getting if every single one of their subscribers actually clicked on each video they uploaded.
To be honest, there’s now such a discrepancy between the amount of subscribers and the amount of views any channel receives that it’s almost laughable.
Even PewDiePie, the guy on YouTube with the highest subscriber count at nearly 55 million subscribers, touched upon how useless this number was in a video all about deleting his YouTube channel.
Unfortunately for Felix, 55 million subscribers does not mean 55 million views on his videos. As with your cable membership, you’ll be paying a fee for hundreds of channels at a time, but are you going to watch them all? No, but you pay regardless to have access to them. This thought process applies to YouTube creators as well, who may have people subscribe to their channel but not necessarily to every single upload.
This lack of engagement can be seen when YouTubers do brand deals. Marketing companies often sign creators up based on their subscriber count and “potential reach”, but underestimate the amount of people that will actually watch a video, let alone one that’s clearly marked as an ad. More creators nowadays are basing the health of their channel on how many views their recent videos get (and not old viral successes), because their subscribers have come to mean diddly-squit.
Here’s a look at Tyler Oakley’s most recent videos. His channel, at the time of writing, has 7.9 million subscribers, and he’s arguably one of the most famous YouTubers alive – yet, the last video of his that managed to get over 1 million views was 9 months ago.
YouTube users have been plagued for years by various faults with algorithms, subscriber glitches and a lack of videos in their subscription feeds, but this only echoes the idea that the need to subscribe to channels in 2017 is pointless. With the introduction of the bell feature, so fans can be notified when new videos are uploaded, surely YouTube has technically admitted themselves that subscribing means nothing nowadays?
On the other hand, smaller channels may see a strong correlation between their subscriber count and their video views because such a focused audience will inevitably be more dedicated. But channels such as PewDiePie that undeniably have dead/fake accounts inflating their subscribers will never be able to match their data. Unfortunately, “only 1% of viewers tend to interact with a video” if you’re subscribed to it.
Alexys (MadeYewLook) Fleming made it clear that regardless of your view count or subscriber count, just continue making the videos you love and the rest should fall into place.
Instead of fussing over your subscriber count, focus on your views instead. Better views means a more engaged fanbase, a much wider sphere of influence and a higher chance to increased your revenue. The amount of people subscribed to your channel will not do any of these things and will only serve to make you compare yourself to other channels. Concentrate on your output and creativity, and maybe stop breaking your back over trying to get yourself one of these shiny YouTube Play Buttons.
Let us know in the comments below how you feel about the subscriber count on YouTube channels. Are you a creator that’s seen this problem? Should the subscribe option be removed all together now that the notification bell is in place? Leave your thoughts below!
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