YouTube Answers Common Questions on Video Discovery and Distribution

YouTube has provided some new insights into how its search and discovery systems work, and what factors influence where your video is shown, and who its shown to, along with how creators can maximize their opportunities on the platform.

YouTube addresses several key questions here, including:

Will a few poor-performing videos impact future video/channel performance?

YouTube says that it’s wary of having content recommendations driven by overall channel reputation, and instead, it looks at the peformance of each indiviual upload. As such, a few bad videos won’t impact overall channel performance.

As per YouTube: 

“When the audience responds well, we reflect that in video level performance”

Can you upload too many videos at once, which then restricts the distribution of content from your channel?

YouTube says that there’s no limit on how many videos can be recommended to a given viewer from a channel in a single day. YouTube says its recommendation system will keep recommending videos relative to viewer response – so if people keep watching and engaging, they’ll keep seeing your content. However, YouTube does note that publishers can exhaust their audience by uploading too much at once. 

But there is one potentially important factor worth noting in this context – YouTube also notes that there is a limit on how many notifications an individual viewer can get from each channel every 24 hours.

Viewers will only get three new video notifications, per channel, each day, which can impact response.

Will inactive subscribers impact channel performance?

YouTube says inactive subscribers will not impact overall distribution. Again, YouTube notes that its system is based on engagement per video, so while inactive viewers may not get your recommendations as frequently, the viewers who are engaging regularly will still be notified. 

Essentially, inactive subscribers are less likely to see your uploads, but as they’re not regular viewers anyway, that won’t hurt your channel significantly. YouTube says that the resulting dilution of engagement from your overall subscriber base won’t impact overall reach via the Home page.

How important is external traffic in driving recommendations on YouTube?

YouTube says that external links are a signal that its algorithm considers:

“So if your video starts getting more external traffic, it can certainly kick-off the process of getting your video recommended. That being said, once your video is showing up in ‘suggested’ or on the home page, our systems are going to learn from how viewers engage with it once it appears on those surfaces.”

Essentially, external links are considered in YouTube’s algorithm, but the long term success of your uploads will relate to direct, on-platform engagement, not traffic from outside sources.

YouTube also addresses concerns around external traffic from ads, and the impact on view rates, and how that impacts overall distribution. You can view the full video above – and if you’re looking for ways to optimize your YouTube content, it’s worth taking the time to consider the advice.

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