Less than 10% of my subscribers watch my videos. If you follow me on Tumblr and you used to watch my videos, what made you stop? You can leave it anonymously in my ask box. I wanna know so I can fix it.
I’m going to propose that there are three major reasons for why this is happening:
1- People subscribe to our channels based on our viral videos, with little care for the rest of the content that we are putting out.
2- People subscribe, become fans, but for various circumstances in their lives, cannot keep up with everything that we post. It’s hard for us to remember because we’re in it right now, but people do grow up out of YouTube.
3- Sub box issues, always and forever. For example, there have been a few weeks where Andrew and I have scheduled New State Plates for the exact same release date/time, and for whatever reason, people don’t get my videos in their box.
I have said this before, and I will continue to say it: the YouTube subscriber count is useless. In theory, it shows how many people liked your content enough to possibly consider maybe potentially hypothetically following your uploads. But in practice, it just creates a lot of expectations and subsequent disappointment when you realize that there is a very small correlation between your subs and your views. And then there are other factors to consider like day/time of upload, how often you are promoting it across other social media, your video title/thumbnail, and then the type of content itself - the last of which should never ever change.
If people paid for subscriptions (like a newspaper) then I could understand the value in that metric- it represents how much money is actually being invested in your channel. But that is definitely not the case for YouTube, and I will be forever confused as to why we continue to reward that number.
I would like to think that I would probably have more subscribers if I had added a reminder in my earlier videos, and stamped a big “SUBSCRIBE!” button on Canadian, Please and The Foreign Language Song and The Comic Sans Song. But my content would still be what it is today, and so it most likely would be getting the same amount of views that it does now (3-4K, which is just a fraction of my 50,000+ subscriber base).
I don’t know that there is anything we can do to ‘fix’ this, save for making “Canadian, Please: The Sequel” and “Shit Girls Say To Gay Guys Part 3/4/5/6/7/8”. And even that is not a guarantee.
It’s easy for people to say “don’t worry about views, make you want and do this because you love it” without realizing that at the end of the day, it’s the views that translate to our paycheque - not the quality of the content, not the comments, not the likes, not the community that you’ve built, not the things that you CAN’T buy, not the things that have long-term worth, that we have in abundance. It’s the views, and opportunities that come from those views, that really determine whether or not we can continue to live off of this content that we create. It’s hard not to take views into consideration.
DeStorm recently came under criticism for his latest video, and I think he said it best - there is a distinction between a fan and a subscriber. If there were a way to better way to measure that, I think that we would have more realistic expectations for what kind of views we “should” be getting.