The Secrets Behind The YouTube Trending Page - And How To Get A Video Trending

6 February 2018, 14:38

how the YouTube trending tab works
Picture: YouTube
Benedict Townsend

By Benedict Townsend

We unravel the mysteries of the trending page to help you have a chance of trending away

The trending tab is one of YouTube's most influential, yet mysterious features. YouTube supposedly collates videos through a series of vague algorithms and then presents them to users as a definitive list of the videos that are 'trending' on the site. This is putting aside the suspicion that a lot of people have that the page is actually deliberately curated by a team of people as opposed to a system of algorithms, but we have no proof for that yet, so let's ignore it for now.

To truly understand the YouTube trending page, we have to first understand what 'trending' really means in this instance. Let's dive in:

It's not just about views

Plenty of videos amass millions of views, yet don't break into the trending page. But why?

Well it's because the trending page is about more than just views. After all, just because a video has a lot of views, that doesn't mean it's - you know - actually good. The trending page actually has a whole bunch of factors that it takes into account in order to decided which videos are trend-worthy.

Here are YouTube's official criteria for a 'trending' video

According to Google's official materials, YouTube Trending aims to surface videos that:

- Are appealing to a wide range of viewers

- Are not misleading, clickbaity or sensational

- Capture the breadth of what's happening on YouTube and in the world

- Ideally, are surprising or novel

YouTube also considers many signals, including (but not limited to):

- View count

- The rate of growth in views

- Where views are coming from (including outside of YouTube)

- The age of the video

So what does this all mean?

It means that a video with 30,000 views could very well end up at the top of the trending page, if it is a video that has seen a huge explosion in interest, engagement, or if it is simply a very newsworthy or interesting video. That also means that your video 'I Killed A Slime??!! - Minecraft Let's Play #987' is probably not going to trend. Probably.

The trending page is constantly changing

According to YouTube: "The list of trending videos is updated roughly every 15 minutes". This means you may hit the trending page, but not stick around for long.

You can't pay your way into trending

The official line from Google is that: "YouTube does not accept payment for placement on Trending. We do not include views from YouTube ads in selecting videos for Trending. YouTube does not favour specific creators." That seems pretty clear to us, so don't try hurling money at your computer screen to get your video trending - cos it ain't gonna work.

The trending page is the same worldwide... except India for some reason

According to Google: "Trending displays the same list of trending videos in each country to all users, except for India. In India, Trending displays the same list of trending videos for each of the 9 most common Indic languages."

Only 'public' videos can trend

Videos set to 'private' or 'unlisted' will not trend. So if there's one thing you can do to help your video find its way into the trending list, it's by making your video publicly available.