What's More Important on YouTube: Subscribers or Views?Sep 11, 2020
Ever since YouTube has begun, a question has existed: "What's more important on YouTube subscribers or views?" Over the years, many people have attempted to tackle this question, but have had little success in explaining their stance. Today, I'll be giving you an honest answer to this question.
While many people focus on gaining subscribers, what they should be focusing on is gaining views. That's right, views are more important than subscribers. As time goes on YouTube prioritizes subscribers less and less, so focusing on views is the best choice for any creator looking to achieve success on YouTube.
Typically, if you search for an answer to this question, you'll see people picking a side based on their own experiences. As someone who uses data to come to my conclusions (okay, and my 10+ years of experience), I can honestly say that this question is a little bit more complicated to answer then most people believe.
Does Subscriber Count Matter on YouTube
Let's get this out of the way- does subscriber count matter on YouTube? Technically, it does not matter. If you want to monetize your videos with Google AdSense, however, then subscribers do matter due to the threshold that needs to be reached. From a pure growth perspective, however, subscriber count does not matter.
In years past, subscribers used to be a very valuable asset to YouTube creators. By gaining a subscriber, you were typically gaining a viewer that would come back and watch future videos, leading to increased channel growth. However, over the years, YouTube has made changes to its website that have devalued subscribers.
Before, your videos would be delivered to every single subscriber to your channel through the subscription box and the home page. Nowadays, YouTube is more inclined to show your videos to users who are the most likely to watch based on their viewing history. YouTube decides which users see your videos based on their data.
I won't lie to you, I think the old way of doing things was better. I think the YouTube algorithm is great and can help benefit creators greatly, but not everything needs to be determined with an algorithm. Regardless, YouTube subscribers are not a valued asset based on YouTube's new way of doing things, so they should not be prioritized at this time.
Why Are YouTube Views Important
If subscribers aren't very important anymore, then why are YouTube views important? Put simply, views are what starts everything. You cannot gain any watch time minutes or earn an average view duration length without getting views. The algorithm is one of the biggest gatekeepers to YouTube success, and getting views helps to give the algorithm what it wants.
In the past, I've gone over how important view count is on YouTube. While the count that displays on the screen might not be important, the things that are going on behind the scenes are. As I said above, you cannot gain any watch time minutes or earn an average view duration length without getting views, and these are 2 of the many important metrics.
An argument could be made that views are a vanity metric just like subscribers. However, by differentiating between view count and views, it can quickly be determined that views have a fundamental purpose, whereas subscribers technically do not. Subscribers are nice and can provide some benefits, but views still hold more weight.
As a creator, your focus should always be on maximizing views as opposed to subscribers. While subscribers can provide some benefits, views will always provide more benefits. Views are what will allow you to see future growth, while subscribers will most likely continue to trend downwards in their level of importance as time goes on.
Are Views More Important Than Subscribers
At this point, you're probably wondering- are views more important than subscribers? Well, as I touched on above, many content creators focus on getting as many subscribers as they can. This isn't the best choice, however, as views are more important than subscribers for growing a YouTube channel.
All of the metrics that YouTube cares about, such as watch time, average view duration, etc. can only be gained by getting views. Subscribers do not directly impact your ability to accumulate these metrics. Sure, having more subscribers can lead to more views, but there are plenty of channels with a low subscriber count that grow very fast.
So, if you want to grow your YouTube channel, you should focus more on gaining more views as opposed to gaining more subscribers. Once upon a time, subscribers were beneficial to possess. Nowadays, however, YouTube has made it easier for past viewers to re-discover your videos without being subscribed to your channel.
Of course, if you gain subscribers, this isn't a bad thing. The point is, your primary goal should not be to get as many YouTube subscribers as possible. Your primary goal should be to get your videos seen and viewed by as many people as possible, as this is what leads to future channel growth.
In the past, subscribers were a valuable asset to every YouTube content creator. However, with recent decisions by YouTube, they have begun to be valued less and less. Focusing on gaining views so the accumulation of watch time minutes and other metrics can happen is much more beneficial than focusing on subscriber counts.
While gaining subscribers can still provide some benefits to creators, subscriber counts should not be taken into account when making decisions. As with everything, the count does matter. What matters is the benefits that having a higher count can provide. Remember, vanity metrics are not important on YouTube.