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Do Not Buy YouTube Subscribers; Here’s Why

One metric that every new YouTuber focuses on is growing the subscriber number to 1,000. This is because it’s partially how you can monetize the channel with YouTube’s AdSense program. Unfortunately, a lot of folks will buy subscribers to artificially inflate the number. It’s a bad practice, overall.

Although numbers mean quite a bit when it comes to social clout and bragging rights, the number of subscribers you have doesn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things.

Mostly, this is because of how YouTube’s algorithm works, in general. In fact, it’s quite possible to have more than 5,000 subscribers on your channel without being able to monetize the content.

If you don’t have the illustrious 4,000 hours of watch time within a 12-month period, it doesn’t matter how many subs you have.

So, Why Shouldn’t You Buy YouTube Subscribers?

Aside from buying subscribers being a huge waste of money, there are a few very important elements to keep in mind. And you should consider these before putting down any money to buy anything for your channel.

The only investment you should make with your money is that of things that will make the content more interesting to your viewers.

Why should you avoid paying for YouTube subs?

They Are Not Your Target Audience

Your Audience

First, when you buy YouTube subscribers, the vast majority of them are not your target audience. This means they are far less likely to watch anything you create.

Most of the time, the subscribers you buy are just going to be nothing more than numbers on the channel. And in the end, this does absolutely nothing to promote your success in turning YouTube into a career.

Part of growth is understanding with whom you want to connect. What videos work the best for your viewers? What style of videos do they want to watch?

You won’t learn any of that without putting in the effort to gain subscribers organically.

Watch Time Matters More than Subscribers

Over the years, YouTube has made many changes to its algorithm and YouTube Partner Program policies. Today, the subscriber count doesn’t matter nearly as much as watch time.

It’s not the number of subscribers you have that will bring in the AdSense money from YouTube. It’s the amount of time people spend watching your videos.

The same goes for how YouTube shares your videos, in the first place. Without being able to prove to YouTube that you make binge-worthy content or can keep the audience’s attention for longer than 10% of the video’s length, it won’t suggest your content.

So, it’s quite possible to have a channel with nearly 2,000 subscribers but still only have 1,600 hours of watch time over the last 12 months. In this case, you’d still be 1,400 hours away from even applying to the YPP.

Don’t get me wrong, the subscriber count still matters to some degree. But it’s not nearly the ranking factor it once was.

Videos are often shared on the home page feed of YouTube without subscriptions. It all comes down to what people are watching and whether you can deliver an enjoyable experience from your videos.

YouTube is Constantly Purging Fake Accounts

Perhaps the most important thing to keep in mind is how YouTube is constantly working to get rid of fake accounts on its platform. When this happens, you’ll see a sudden drop in the number of subscribers on your channel.

That means that any money you spent to buy fake subscribers on YouTube is wasted.

Not to mention the fact that it’s against YouTube’s policies, which could get your channel removed from the platform altogether.

Social clout is just not worth jeopardizing what could be a rewarding career. This also goes for buying any number of followers on various social media platforms such as Instagram or TikTok.

When you think about it, the only thing that artificially inflating these numbers will do for you is to artificially inflate your ego.

Organic Growth is Far Superior

Organic Growth

Growing your channel is superior to any paid method of gaining subscribers. By putting in the work to create the best content you can, you’re connecting with the audience and building a much stronger foundation.

People who actively want to watch your videos are more likely to buy things from you, trust your opinion, or financially support you in a myriad of ways.

Case in point, due to engaging with my target audience, I sold several copies of my book almost immediately once it was released. My audience wanted to support the work I did and were excited to receive their own copies.

That’s the power of building an organic following. It’ll take more time than slapping down a few hundred dollars to buy subscribers, but the end result is always worth the effort.

Besides, there is a slew of ways you can market your videos to get noticed more often. For the most part, it’s all about knowing where your audience likes to hang out and promote yourself.

Keep this in mind; bots and fake subs won’t buy anything off of you nor support any membership platforms you promote.

Think of subscribers as nothing more than a number that shows on your channel. The real metric you need to focus on is watch time.

5 Easy Ways to Gain Organic Subscribers

In the grand scheme of things, every channel has a unique audience. Some people will like you, some people won’t. Because of the nature of your personality and what you create, gaining subscribers is slightly different for everyone.

In other words, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. However, there are some methods that appear to work well for creators of all kinds.

What can you do to gain subscribers without spending money to buy them?

1. Utilize Shorts More Often

Subscribers from Shorts

Thanks to the proliferation of Shorts, you can reach a wider audience. And the best part is that people who wind up watching your short-form videos will start to see your other content appear on their home page feeds.

From there, it’s all up to whether or not your long-form videos can seal the deal.

Now, you shouldn’t necessarily bank on your Shorts being your ticket to getting the channel monetized as a new creator. After all, 10 million views in 90 days is an awful lot.

Well, unless you’re incredibly popular and people actively watch everything you create. At that rate, though, you wouldn’t need to buy subscribers.

Regardless, Shorts can help open the door to boosting subscribers as well as watch time. That is as long as those new subs are down to watch the videos you upload.

2. Doubledown on What’s Being Watched

YouTube Analytics is one of your best friends. Using the data your channel collects, you can see what videos people are finding the most interesting. The most important things to keep an eye on are:

  • Impressions
  • Click-through Rates
  • Audience Retention

The impressions will show you how often your videos are shown to viewers who are either searching for or interested in similar videos. The click-through rates will demonstrate whether you’re creating good titles and thumbnails to get them to try your videos out.

The audience retention rate, however, is the most important. This is how long the average person watches your videos. If the retention rate is under 20%, it is far less likely to be suggested to other viewers from the algorithm.

The retention rate can be affected by a plethora of factors. Lighting, sound quality, a lack of connection…perhaps the viewers simply don’t like your personality.

In any case, try to create more of what works best to keep people watching your channel.

3. Promote Videos Outside of YouTube

YouTube isn’t the only place you can show your videos and gain subscribers. There are a lot of different outlets you can use to connect with a larger audience.

For instance, I often share videos on Twitter and Facebook. I also gain subscribers from the videos that I embed on the blog. One of my videos gains a lot of viewership from being mentioned in a Reddit post.

Though, you may want to reconsider using Reddit for a while. They are embroiled in a controversy that doesn’t appear to be going away any time soon.

The best part is that these methods are all free. All it takes is for you to be active and engage people on their chosen platforms. It’s much cheaper than if you were to buy subscribers for the YouTube channel. Not to mention being far more effective at prolonged success.

4. Improve Video SEO

Video SEO

Implementing some strategic SEO practices for YouTube can go a long way to kickstart viewership. This mostly involves your titles, video description, and the topic you cover.

That’s because YouTube and Google will use these elements to promote during a search.

In one instance, I had a video ranking for a search phrase that was only mentioned in the video without being in the title or the description. This demonstrates that at least Google uses the transcript of the video as a ranking factor.

If you think about it, the captions are just text to search engines. Why wouldn’t they scan the context of the captions to determine search ranking?

5. Always Engage and Interact

Lastly, always interact with the people who share, comment, or otherwise engage with your videos. The more interactive you are, the stronger the community becomes.

This can mean everything from replying to a video comment to sharing updates through the community tab.

Instead of spending money to buy subscribers, all it takes is a few moments of your day to make the ones you do have to feel welcome. And this can easily help you build an amazingly strong community.

Because without the people who watch your videos, you won’t make money on YouTube.

What Works Best for You for Gaining Subscribers?

As I said, everyone has their own methods for gaining subscribers. But what it mostly comes down to is creating content a lot of people want to watch.

Never underestimate the value of watch time. It’s the most important metric of YouTube success.

What methods work best for you to gain quality subscribers?

Michael Brockbank

Michael Brockbank

Michael has been managing YouTube channels for the better part of a decade. He's continuously working to find the best methods that work for various types of content from gaming to website tutorials.

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