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When You Don’t Need More YouTube Subscribers

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Google search results abound with suggestions from “experts” on how to get more YouTube subscribers. But sometimes the tactics they suggest are a waste of time.

Like every other effort in an online business, publishers have to balance the effort they put into chasing benefits with the costs of getting those benefits.

Increasing the number of subscribers is usually a benefit for YouTube publishers. Subscribers offer a chance at more easily getting repeat visitors because of notifications about a new video. It’s just like Facebook page likes who get a notification about a new post.

But a publisher doesn’t need to get more YouTube subscribers if the channel topic has short-term value. A subscriber may not have a reason to come back.

In other words, some channel topics have a strong reason for repeat visitors and others have a weak reason.

News Versus Travel Subscribers

News has a strong reason for repeat visitors because the news is different every day. Many people have a daily interest in tracking it, including local news, weather, sports, the stock market and national headlines.

Audience statistics (including Nielsen, Scarborough and Google Analytics client reports that I have viewed many times) show that newspapers, cable news, local TV news, news websites, news email newsletters and news social media accounts all have long-term repeat visitors. They often also have a core group of consumers who come back every day.

At the other end of the spectrum, travel destinations have a weak reason for repeat visitors. U.S. workers take an average of 16 days of paid time off, according to the U.S. Travel Association. Unlike loyal news consumers, people don’t visit travel sites 365 days a year to plan their vacations — assuming they go anywhere on time off.

If they are planning a vacation, many don’t go back to the same destination over and over again. For example, some people may visit Aruba every year, but most people don’t. They may go only once or twice in a lifetime.

So the experts who claim that getting more YouTube subscribers is one of the most important keys to success on YouTube are simply talking about averages and their own experiences.

It means that publishers need to look at two subscriber metrics:

  1. The grow rate of subscribers.
  2. The percentage of subscriber views.

Then they should ask themselves if their channel topic has a compelling reason for return visitors. The odds are good that a topic with a low need for return visitors will have a slow subscriber growth rate and a low percentage of subscriber views.

Channels without a compelling reason for return visits have a serious disadvantage in achieving a high level of views compared to channels with strong subscriber loyalty.

How to Overcome Low Subscriber Topics

First, accept the fact that chasing after subscribers is either a complete waste of time or not the best use of time. It depends on the topic and what the metrics reveal.

Second, keep in mind that subscriber growth is simply one marketing tactic among others. They include:

  • Optimizing the channel and videos for maximum results in Google search, YouTube search and YouTube suggested videos.
  • Distributing them aggressively on social media accounts.
  • Embedding the videos wherever possible on owned blogs and websites.
  • Advertising them or piggybacking the videos onto existing ad campaigns for other products.
  • Improving the quality of content for the sake of more shares and higher rankings.

The benefit of getting more subscribers is a range that varies from topic to topic. It’s not a set number.

It makes more sense to create a list of priorities for marketing YouTube videos and understand where subscriber growth falls on that list.

Some publishers with high levels of repeat visits may put subscriber growth at the top. But others may find that growth belongs at the bottom simply because many of their subscribers don’t need to come back.

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