So recently I’ve been seeing a rise in my subscribers, a bit of a steadier rate than what I am accustomed to. Which I suppose is a good thing, but ultimately it seems to just be the typical youtube snowball effect taking place. Once you get to a certain size, it just seems to be easier to get more subscribers.
I recently passed 12,000 subscribers, which is pretty cool. For the most part I’m fairly pleased with the quality of subscribers that I have. Especially those that leave comments. Every now and then there are some that make me roll my eyes, but typically I just remove them and move on. Think of it like a flower garden. The more I prune away the weeds, the more attention the beautiful roses shall receive. I look at subscribers as much the same way. Get rid of the bad ones, and those that stay, are the ones I look forward to reading comments from, and exchanging messages with. I may be in the minority here though.
So lets take a look at how a channel might gain subscribers. Friends are the easy ones. You’re friends with some one, they find out you have a youtube channel, and so they subscribe to support their friend. Do they watch your video’s? Maybe they’re interested in it, but it could be that they just want to help inflate your number. Either case is admirable from friends.
Then, you can get subscribers that come to your channel just from typical searches in Youtube. These are probably the meat & potato’s for most channels. They punch in a few key words and if you’re lucky, and use proper tag management, they might just stumble onto one of your video’s and give it a watch. These I think are important. This is why each video you make, should have a good bit of effort put into it. If you post video’s right now, think to yourself, “What’s my worst video I have posted on my channel?” Me? I think I still have a couple of 30 second, crappy link vids to Machinima Posts. Whatever it may be, just think, that odds are that some one viewed that video, for their very first introduction to you. What if they saw that video and decided to write you off when they come across future vids?
So with that said, I think those that find my channel or my video’s by fluke search, watch my content, and then decide to ‘buy in’ so to speak to what I have to offer, are pretty cool. They’re not subscribing for any other reason than they found my channel to be good enough and up to their standards. That says something.
Another avenue for subscriber income, is from other channels. In my case, a fair percentage of my subscriber base has come due to people viewing my content for the first time on Machinima Respawn. Each video sent to MR is sort of like a mini job interview. With such a large subscriber base, its unrealistic to think that the majority of Respawn will see each of my video’s. The reality is, depending on the time of day its uploaded, day of the week, position of the moon and any other sort of stuff, you’re likely going to be getting quite a few people who have never heard of you, never seen your video, but decided to watch your video from the selection of video’s offered by Respawn on any given day. Your video might get 40,000 views, and perhaps 200 of them will have seen you for the first time, or seen you again but decided only now to subscribe to you. So those are pretty cool.
I like to view Machinima Respawn subscribers/viewers as sort of like window shoppers, and Respawn is the local mall. They show up every now and then, walk through the mall and if they see something, they decide to buy into it by coming over & subscribing. But that’s not the only case for those types of things. Dual Commentaries are quite popular, and would be along the same lines of what happens with MR. Though I’ve only done one of them that wasn’t with Athena, they’re definitely fun, and a proven effective way for youtube channels to try to cross pollinate their subscribers with one another.
Another way to get subscribers, is something I find the least successful and by far the most detrimental method available to youtube channels. That of course is the ‘subbox’. Now, I make use of my subbox, and I believe I’m in a couple of people’s boxes. As far as I know, I’m only in one box of a channel that is larger than my own, and he & I have had each other linked for probably 9 months + now. But anyway, those I choose to put in my box, are people I play with, people I consider friends. I hope that people that watch my video’s, and visit my channel page might recognize their channel names listed there, as people from my video’s and perhaps give them a look.
Ultimately, I’d like my subscribers to investigate the people in my subbox and decide if they want to subscribe to them or not on their own merits, not just because I have them listed there. But in the end, I think the sub box does more to hurt them than to help them. All that it really does at the end of the day is inflate their subscriber number, temporarily in most cases.
Say you subscribe to a channel, and they have 10 channels listed in their sub box, and you click to subscribe to all of them. What does that do to help them other than inflate their number by one? You now know nothing about these people, but you bought into them just because I have them listed there. So lets say the next day they post a video, it can go a few ways.
1. You see it pop up and go “WTF is that? Unsub.” without even watching.
2. You watch it, hate it, troll them, post stupid shit. Some times these types don’t even unsub, so they can keep posting dumb shit each time a new video is posted.
3. They watch it, and end up liking it and go on to become a good subscriber.
4. They see it in their subbox, have no connection to the channel its posted to, so they click the x and move on. Choosing not to unsub, usually do to laziness of a few clicks to remove themselves.
I can tell you which one happens the most, and which one is the rarest. Which would you pick?
But in the end of the day, the subscriber number I think a lot of people take their subscriber count to be way more of a big deal than it really is. The longer I do this, the more its painfully obvious that its about the quality of your subscribers than the quantity. I’d rather have my 12k subscribers that make me feel good about doing this over all, than have 120k that mostly make me want to pull my hair out.
The last few days I’ve been quietly peeking on on channels, some that I subscribe to, some that I do not subscribe to but know of their existence and I’ve been looking at some things. Not counting the top tier guys, but the middle of the pack type guys. Guys with 25k, 30k, 40k, 50k type of subscribers. Its very interesting to look at how many ‘large’ channels by my standards, have so many subscribers, but really, their views would not really indicate such a high count. So it makes you wonder how many of them are subscribed to people for the sake of subscribing to them, without really even watching most of the video’s.
Compare for example a channel I viewed with 40k subscribers, a video posted a week ago had 6,000 views. A video a channel like myself, around 10-12k subscribers, a week after a video has been up, typically has between 2.5k and 3.5k. For so many more subscribers, it sure doesn’t seem like they’re getting the bang for their buck.
Anyway this has just been my thoughts & observations as of late. Feel free to disagree.