As a YouTuber, you can see quite a lot of information about the people who watch your videos. Probably a lot more than many would think. What exactly can YouTubers see about their viewers, how visible is this information and why can YouTubers see some of this information in the first place? These are some of the questions I’m going to cover in this article.
If you’re a viewer and you’re not sure what exactly it is that the channels you watch can see about your information, then this will hopefully shed some light. And if you’re a YouTuber, getting to know your audience better is a useful way to make tailored content for them, so hopefully, you can find some value in this article as well.
In general, YouTubers can see quite a lot of information about their viewers. They can see their age, gender, location, language, what time they’re most active on YouTube, what devices they watch videos on, what other channels they watch, what other videos they watch, etc. But don’t worry, this isn’t information specific to one viewer, this is the video and channel averages.
There are some ways that a YouTuber can see exactly who a viewer is. But before we delve into that, let’s break this down into categories, starting off with views on a video.
Can YouTubers see who viewed their video?
YouTubers cannot see exactly who has viewed their video, but they can see the percentage of how many viewers are a certain age or what gender they are. If you’re 23, male, and you live in Canada, you’ll just be one of the X% of viewers that are male, Canadian, and between the ages of 18-24 years old.
Not only can YouTubers get information about the average age of their audience, where they’re based, and their gender, but they can also see what other channels and videos you (and the rest of the channel viewers) watch. This is then shown in the YouTubers analytics.
If you’re a creator, knowing who views your youtube videos can help give you some great insight into what type of videos your audience is most interested in and can provide you with some inspiration (this is similar to the old “related channels” box that used to be visible on YouTube channel home pages).
Can YouTubers see your location?
Creators on YouTube cannot see your specific location. What they can see is the percentage of viewers who watched their videos from a specific country.
So if you’re in New Zealand, it won’t show Viewer XYZ in New Zealand, it will only show the percentage of viewers from New Zealand.
For viewers based in the USA, this can be broken down further into what state viewers are watching from.
But that’s as specific as you can get. And if you want to see a breakdown of what viewers come from what state, you generally need quite a large dataset (large following/high view count) as this information isn’t available for every view.
Can YouTubers see who liked or disliked a video?
YouTubers cannot see who liked or disliked their videos, this is completely anonymous, and all of the videos you like are saved to a private playlist called “Liked videos”.
The only thing that a YouTuber can see is the number of likes and dislikes they receive. This can be a useful feature (when people don’t spam it) to gauge how well a video covered a topic.
Before YouTube removed the number of dislikes from videos, you used to be able to use free tools like VidIQ or TubeBuddy to see the exact number of likes a video has received directly in the search results. This was useful for viewers to see if the video was going to answer the question sufficiently (and if it was worthwhile to click through).
For YouTubers doing keyword research, this was also a useful way to find videos that you could outrank because the viewers weren’t satisfied with the content and you can create something better.
Can YouTubers see who subscribed to their channel?
YouTube creators can see who has subscribed to their channel. This information however is only available for channels that have their subscriptions set to be public. You can check to see if your account is visible to subscribers and if you want you can also set it to private by following the instructions below.
To make your subscriptions private:
- Sign in to YouTube.
- In the top right, click your profile picture.
- Click on “Settings”.
- In the left menu, select “Privacy”.
- Turn on the switch “Keep all my subscriptions private” if it isn’t already on (it should be blue when on, and grey when it’s off).
If you want YouTubers to see that you’ve subscribed, then you can just turn this switch off.
Can YouTubers see who shared their video?
If you share someone’s video, they do not receive a notification or anything like that (unless you tag them when you share it), in some cases though, it can be possible to see who has shared a video if the creator goes looking for it.
For example, if someone shares a video on Twitter, you can type in the video URL into Twitter’s search bar and all of the tweets that have shared that URL will appear.
Alternatively, the free TubeBuddy extension also has a button that you can click to search on Twitter that will automatically include the long and short URLs in the search.
With Twitter, it’s quite easy to find out who has shared your videos, but with other social networks, it can be more difficult.
Generally speaking, you can’t see who has shared a video, but if it’s shared publicly or in a public group, then it is possible for the creator of the video to see who it was that shared it. But most YouTubers don’t go actively looking for this.
If you want to let a YouTuber know that you’ve shared their video, the easiest way is to look if they’re active on that social network and then tag them directly in the post by messaging the YouTuber directly.