Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A note about recent changes

There’s always a lot going on here at YouTube, and we’re constantly making changes to improve the experience for the entire community. In the last seven years there have been no fewer than 100 changes to the suggested and recommended video algorithms to provide viewers with the most relevant videos to watch. We also make changes to improve the experience for partners. Recently, we’ve made changes to provide you with more accurate data about your audience, which in turn helps inform the decisions you make about your content. In the short term, however, the impact for some creators can be a bit of a shock. Let’s outline what we’ve done, and what’s in it for you.

Subscriber counts:
In the past few months we have been scrubbing YouTube of inactive and closed accounts. Why? Because these accounts had been inactive for years, were not linked to our more up-to-date and secure systems, and, well, nobody uses them. This had the knock-on effect of some creators seeing a drop in subscribers. However, this change benefits partners in the long term by giving you a better understanding of who is engaging with your channel. Accurate data is key, and as such, we will now be removing accounts from subscriber counts as they are closed. As the accounts are inactive, these changes won’t affect viewership.

Starting this Saturday, your subscriber counts on your channel and in Analytics will be consistent, and Analytics will show you closed accounts that have been removed:


We’ve also heard some viewers are concerned that they’ve been unsubscribed from channels. This isn’t happening. You can see all your channel subscriptions by selecting and saving ‘Everything’ from the view drop-down:

View count changes:
Back in March, we announced changes to the algorithm that serves up suggested and recommended videos, giving greater weight to a viewer’s time spent on a video, rather than to their click. We did this because flipping through channels to find something to watch is different than actually watching, and view counts that accurately reflect engagement are more useful. What does this mean for you? Well, if people are clicking on your videos, but not sticking around to watch, your videos won't get shown as often in suggested and recommended videos and growth in new views may slow. The best way to prevent this is to create compelling videos that people stick around for. Also check out the the Analytics Audience Retention Report and these optimization tips for how to drive engaged views to your videos.

While transitions can be hard, the data directly resulting from these changes is really encouraging: net daily subscriptions are up 50% since January and watch time has been increasing in the past 2 months. We’re investing to grow this this even more over the next year as we spend more than $200 million to promote our partners’ content. YouTube creators comprise the most passionate, diverse and talented community in the world. Our mission is to give you the tools and data you need to be successful.

The YouTube Team