Content Creators Express Outrage at New YouTube Algorithm Changes

Brandon LazovicMarch 31, 2018

With livestreaming and live videos becoming the preferred method of engagement for users on social media, YouTube announced the way its algorithm works with channels promoting content to their subscribers in recent changes to the YouTube algorithm.

Users on YouTube will subscribe to a channel to receive notifications in their subscription inbox that show when a new video is uploaded from that channel. In a video from YouTube’s Creator Insider team, uploaded videos don’t display in every subscriber’s inbox.

“When your fans subscribe to your channel they see a little bell next to it and if they hit that bell, or we say, ring the bell, then they get a notification as soon as you go live they get a notification as soon as you live, so definitely make sure to ask your viewers to ring that bell,” said Meghan, lead product manager on YouTube Live.

While the video specifically addressed live streaming on YouTube Philip DeFranco, a popular YouTuber who runs a news network on the platform, reached out to YouTube for comment and their response indicated that this affects all videos produced by content creators, not just livestreams.

According to Meghan not all subscribers are notified, just those who have rung the bell and a channel’s most active subscribers receive notifications that a new video has been uploaded.

“If they’re just subscribers they put them in an occasional notification state so that means they get algorithmically-determined notifications… that really just means that your most active subscribers, so users who are watching your channel and your live streams are gonna get notifications as soon as you go live. We also send notifications to users who aren’t your subscribers but they also watch your content very actively and we think they’ll be interested in your live stream so we send them notifications as well,” Meghan said.

The reasoning behind the YouTube algorithm change stems from not overwhelming subscribers who may be less interested in a channel’s content. YouTube stated that when subscribers did receive all notifications, clickthrough rates declined, users were more likely to unsubscribe and they turned off notifications for the entire YouTube app.

Many YouTubers have experienced a significant decline in views per video despite amassing a large following. These content creators have expressed outrage toward the algorithm as they feel that users subscribe to a channel to specifically see new content.

Jesse Welle, one of the YouTubers affected with more than 10 million subscribers, tweeted on March 23:

Jesse Welle tweet regarding the YouTube algorithm and how it affects his channel

The YouTube algorithm favors YouTubers who release daily content instead of those who release content on a biweekly or monthly basis due to active subscriber engagement.

Frustration has also been expressed by channels in that if users aren’t receiving notifications for their videos, it’s more difficult to reengage less active users because they’re not being shown new content.

YouTube’s response to this point was that if a user wasn’t engaging with their content enough to be affected by the YouTube algorithm, then they were unlikely to reengage anyway.

Content creators have been at odds with the YouTube algorithm for a significant period of time with the latest controversy surrounding Logan Paul and the adpocalpyse.

Other social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram have also been taking steps to show users more personalized content and making time spent on these platforms more qualitative and meaningful.

These changes have been met negatively from users, influencers and businesses, allowing for apps such as Vero to surge in popularity as users and creators look to other platforms as better alternatives.

Are The YouTube Algorithm Changes Justified?

What are your thoughts on the algorithm change? Do you feel that this promotes a better experience on the platform for users or does this negatively impact content being shown to subscribers of content creator channels? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

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