A question I am often asked is which is better, views or subscribers on YouTube? This can be quite complicated to answer and we’re going to cover it all in this article, but if you don’t have much time, here’s the short answer.
When you are starting out on YouTube, it’s better to have subscribers, this is because you need at least 1,000 subscribers in order to monetize your channel. Having engaged subscribers also helps your channel gain momentum early on. Once your channel has over approx. 2,000 subscribers, then it is better to get more views on your videos. This allows you to earn more and your channel can grow exponentially.
As you can see it all depends on where you are in your YouTube journey, but both subscribers and views are important. Let’s dive deeper into why these could be better, and then we can look at how you can increase both. We can start off with YouTube subscribers.
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Subscribers Are Important For Monetizing Your YouTube Channel
If you have less than 1,000 subscribers on YouTube, then the number of subscribers is a very important metric because you can only join the YouTube Partner Program once you have at least 1,000 subscribers.
Once you’ve joined the YPP, you can turn on Ads on your channel and start monetizing your videos in that way.
The number of subscribers plays no part in how much money you make, but it is an important factor in allowing you to get ads. In addition to the number of subscribers you have, you also need at least 4000 hours of public watch time in the last 12 months in order to monetize your channel with ads.
Subscribers Are Important For Building Momentum
Your YouTube subscribers are not only important for getting monetized, but they can also be very valuable when you are growing your YouTube channel. The more engaged subscribers you have, the more likely it is for your channel to build momentum quicker. And the faster you can gain momentum, the quicker you can grow and get even more subscribers and YouTube views.
Subscribers are important for momentum because they are the people who tend to see your videos first (as well as viewers who have recently engaged with your videos). If they are highly engaged and click through to your video, with a good retention rate. Maybe even liking your video.
YouTube will see all of these positive signs and recognize this as probably being a good video and then will promote it to more people that have shown interest in similar videos, channels, and topics. If your subscribers are engaged, then more of them will see the “initial” promotion phase. And then the more subscribers you have that are engaged, that do engage with the video, will indicate how much it gets promoted in the “second” promotion phase.
As your channel grows, if you can maintain the engagement of the audience, the number of people who see your video in the initial phases increases exponentially.
The opposite can be said if your audience is not engaged with your content. YouTube will promote it to fewer people and if they don’t click through, or watch a good portion of your video, then YouTube will think the video can’t be any good and won’t promote it to many other people.
This is why you need to build an engaged audience, but I have some tips further down on how you can do this, regardless of your channel size and niche.
Views Are Important For Making Money On YouTube
Views are the main deciding factor in how much money you can make on YouTube. If your channel is monetized through YouTube Ads, the more views you get to your videos, the more revenue you generate (if the CPM is constant across your channel). Check out this post I wrote to see how much money YouTubers of varying sizes make with YouTube ads.
The same can be said for other ways of monetizing your YouTube channel, like through Affiliate marketing, or brand deals. If you get more views on your videos, then you’ll most likely get more clicks on your affiliate links, increasing your revenue.
The more views your videos receive on average, the higher you can charge brands for sponsored posts (or you can receive more if the sponsored video performs well if your deal is based on how many views the post receives in a certain time period). You can find out more about making money on YouTube in this article.
The number of views you receive is not dependent on your subscriber count. It can have an effect on the initial promotion of your video, as I already mentioned, but it does not create a limitation on the number of views you can receive. Channels with only 1,000 subscribers can have videos with 100’s of thousands, or even millions, of views.
YouTube Views Are Important For Growth
YouTube views are important for growing your channel. The more views you receive the more your channel gets promoted, which has a triple effect:
- You earn more money.
- Your content is shown to new viewers who can potentially become subscribers.
- And if viewers engage well with your videos, it can send signals to YouTube to promote it further, but you also have a larger viewer pool, meaning there is more data for YouTube to “find” people who would be interested in watching your video(s).
All three of these factors can play a role in your channel growth.
Being shown to more people, of course, allows your channel to grow faster.
Having a larger data pool for YouTube to recommend your content to the right people also means they will be more likely to engage more positively, potentially turning them into subscribers, or watching more of your content and then hopefully subscribing.
And by generating more income from your videos, you’ll most likely be more motivated to continue creating great content.
Now all of that is well and good, but how do you get more views and subscribers on YouTube. I’ve got you covered below. Let’s start with some tips to increase your subscriber count.
5 Tips To Get More YouTube Subscribers
1. Establish a YouTube content strategy
Finding a niche for your channel is the very first step in establishing a content strategy, but it’s most often the last step creators take in this direction. A content strategy does two things, it tells you what to post and when to post it. This is important for your channel because it not only tells you that, but it also tells your viewers that, incentivizing them to subscribe.
You need a content strategy so that you can stay within a particular topic of interest, so that viewers are engaged, but also so that you can try out different subtopics within that niche. This way you can see what is working well (to replicate it) and what is not working well (to adjust it).
2. Make it easy for viewers to subscribe
Just because there is a massive red button saying subscribe beneath your videos does not mean you should leave it like that. Include call-to-actions wherever you can to convert your viewers to subscribers.
- Include a subscribe link in your end screens.
- Add a subscribe link to your video descriptions.
- Include a subscribe CTA in your comments and pin it to the top.
3. Let viewers know why they should subscribe to your channel
Make it clear to your viewers why they should subscribe to your channel. This could be done in a subtle way by mentioning other videos for them to watch, playlists, etc. But it can also be more direct. I.e. “On this channel, we look at…”
Choose whichever method you prefer, but make it clear and obvious what your channel is about, and what they stand to gain from your channel so that your viewers know why they should subscribe.
4. Use a clear channel banner
Another way to clearly show what your channel is about is by using a channel banner that gets straight to the point. A banner that lets your viewers know what your channel is about, why they should subscribe, when you upload, etc. is a much better message for people that visit your channel, opposed to just a random picture.
Read this post I wrote on YouTube channel art for more things you need to know about channel banners.
5. Showcase what your channel is about on your home page
I think you’re starting to get the picture, you need to make it abundantly clear to viewers what your channel is about in order to get the right people to subscribe to your channel. Another way to do this is to showcase what your channel is about on your YouTube channel’s home page.
This can be done with a channel trailer, but you can do it much more simply by creating playlists on the various subtopics of your niche and including them on your home page. Check out this guide to setting up your Youtube channel for more info (step 5 is what you’ll be looking for, but the whole guide is useful).
5 Tips To Get More YouTube Views
1. Optimize your videos for search results
YouTube is the second-largest search engine in the world. And appearing at the top of search results is an evergreen way for your channel to be found and to generate views for months and years to come.
Optimize your videos for search results by including relevant keywords and phrases in your titles, descriptions, tags, etc. Make videos that target specific questions people are asking within your niche, and showcase things that people within your niche are looking for. You can find out more about YouTube SEO in this guide.
My favorite tool for YouTube optimization is TubeBuddy, a free browser extension that helps you find the best keywords for your channel, and helps you optimize your videos to rank higher.
2. Interlink your videos
Another way to optimize your YouTube videos to get more views is to interlink them. This means including links to relevant videos in the descriptions of existing videos.
This link tells YouTube that this video is similar and it can increase the likelihood of it appearing in the suggested videos section on your video. By including a relevant CTA, in the video itself as well as in your description, you’ll also increase the chance that people will click on that video link from your description.
Another good way to interlink your videos is to add a link to your latest video within a comment on your older videos (when relevant). Then pin this video to the top so that viewers see it immediately when they scroll down to the comment section and can watch your latest YouTube video.
3. Create and use YouTube Playlists
YouTube playlists are still a very underutilized tool on YouTube, but they can generate a lot more views for your channel when used correctly.
Playlists are great for channel growth because when someone clicks on a playlist, the next video from within that playlist plays automatically. If this is your playlist and you’ve included only your videos, that means that they will continue watching your videos, which increases their engagement with your channel. This then means that when they open YouTube again, one of your videos will most likely be recommended to them again.
If someone just watches one of your videos outside of a playlist, the next video that will play afterward in the suggested bar could be from a completely different creator, taking the viewer away from your channel.
This is just one reason why you should use YouTube playlists, check out this post to see what other awesome things you can do with YouTube playlists.
4. Create “Suggestion intent” videos
Videos that are made with “suggestion intent” in mind are designed to appear predominantly in YouTubes recommended and suggested areas. This could be the YouTube home page of potential viewers, in the suggested bar that appears on the right for desktop users, or in the suggested videos section that appears below videos on mobile devices.
This type of video is different from videos made to appear in search results. These types of videos are often not things that people actively search for, but rather videos that catch viewers’ attention and either make them question a specific statement, or see if their opinion aligns with the creators.
These can be videos that use a shock factor to get people to click through, “X things you didn’t know cause XYZ”, “X mistakes every XYZ makes”, etc. it can also be a polarising/unpopular opinion, “Stop doing XYZ”, “Why ABC won’t XYZ”, etc.
These are not things people often search for, but when they see it appear on their screens, they’re very inclined to watch to see why they should stop doing something, what XYZ isn’t telling them, the mistakes they could be making, etc.
When creating these videos it’s important to make them about topics and subtopics of your niche and to create searchable content around them to drive the initial views to your channel. These types of videos can help explode your growth thereafter.
Not every video takes off though, which is why you should plan multiple into your YouTube content strategy.
5. Increase your CTR with better thumbnails and titles
This is something very often overlooked by YouTubers and can be a reason for some YouTube channels to fail (here’s a whole guide on the most common reasons why channels fail and how to stop yours from failing too). Often YouTubers will create a video and then just leave it be, without looking at how well the thumbnails performed, the titles performed, and comparing and testing different titles and thumbnails with other videos to improve the video CTR.
Click-Through Rate is one of the deciding factors in how much YouTube promotes your videos. By ignoring this, you’re doing your channel a disservice and even slight increases here can have a massive effect on the number of views your YouTube channel receives and your channel growth.
Keep improving and testing your Thumbnails and titles until you find a winning formula that generates high CTR’s consistently… And then keep testing because these things can change over time and as you attract other people to your channel!
Final thoughts on views vs subscribers on YouTube
So, views or subscribers on YouTube: Which is Better? As you can see, it depends largely on what stage of growth your YouTube channel is at. Subscribers and views are both important, but subscribers can be more important when you’re starting out, and then views can be more important later on when you’re looking to earn more from your channel and grow exponentially.
I’ve covered some tips to help you get more YouTube subscribers and views, but if you’re looking for even more advanced YouTube growth tips, check out this comprehensive guide I put together.
If you have any questions, leave them in the comments below.