Does Subscriber Count Matter On YouTube? The TRUTH About Social Media Metrics

Subscriber count on YouTube channels, or follower counts on other platforms, really don't mean nearly as much as people seem to think. In fact, from an online business perspective, it's the wrong metric to track.

Show Notes

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On YouTube at least, 80-95% of individual video views come from people who are not subscribed to the channel. Really on YouTube, subscriber count doesn't mean views. Most views don't come from subscribers. So if subscribers aren't driving views, then where are views coming from?

Well, views are coming primarily from search and from suggested videos -- videos that get suggested alongside the current video, and that display at the end of a video. Here's what I mean:

If I look at the lifetime analytics for my YouTube channel, just 2% of my views come from my subscribers, 34% of my views come from Suggested Videos, 26% comes from YouTube Search, and 23% comes from outside YouTube.

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The remaining views come from my channel page, browse features, video cards, and others...none amounting to much. Of the views that come from outside YouTube, 72% come from Google search and 8% come from my website,

So really, subscriber count means nothing. The only value subscriber count has is 1) Social proof, 2) Vanity. Other than that, subscriber count means nothing for the sorts of things that are important in your online the size of your mailing list, number of sales, revenue, and so on.

Even channels that have hundreds of thousands of subscribers often struggle to get more than, say, 6000 to 10,000 views on individual videos. Remember, a subscriber or a follower is simply someone who, at one point in time in the past said, "Well okay, I guess I'll follow this person."

Where are they now? Very likely, they've moved on to something else and are no longer really paying any attention...otherwise individual video views would be much, much higher. So don't get hung up on followers and subscribers. Again, it's of very little value in terms of your online business.

Subscriber or follower count tells you nothing about the age, demographics, or purchasing power of your audience. It says nothing about if they're willing to buy, how engaged they are, etc. It's meaningless beyond, "how many people have clicked Subscribe during the lifetime of this channel."

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Geoff Blake, Ten Ton Online

Hey there, I’m Geoff! Business, marketing, and the web can seem like a tangled, confusing mess, right? Well if you wanna get clear, straight info on all this stuff (no gimmicks or hypey nonsense)...then you're definitely in the right spot! Start here (free!)