Inside YouTube’s Algorithm With Insiders

Spend less time guessing how YouTube's algorithm works. Get details from YouTube insiders.

There’s so much noise about how YouTube’s algorithm works, and a lot of it is just speculation.

But not this time!

Rachel on YouTube analytics and its recommendation system. Todd, leads the product team for YouTube’s homepage and recommendations. And they created a video covering commonly asked questions.

True or False: Poor performing videos on your channel will drag down the performance of future videos.


“We’re always going to be following the audience,” said Todd.  “So, if it doesn’t matter to your audience that your last video wasn’t as good as some of your other videos, it’s not going to matter to us either.”

“We want each video to get out to the audience that’s going to watch it and enjoy it,” he added.

Does a channel’s reputation determine whether a person’s videos get recommended?

Todd didn’t flat out say yes or no. I’m under the impression that the answer is sometimes it does.

“We’re very careful not to have all of our recommendations driven by channel reputation,” explained Todd.

“We look at each video’s performance. So this is what enables some videos to go viral and other videos not… This is the system listening to the audience and when the audience responds well, we reflect that video level performance.”

So, just “know that you get a fresh a start every time you upload a new video, he added.

Will YouTube’s algorithm stop notifying viewers about your videos via recommendations or notifications because you’ve uploaded too many videos?

Nope. Not for recommendations.

“There’s no limit on how many videos can be recommended to a viewer from a channel in a day.” You can upload as much as you want and the recommendation system is likely to continue recommending them as long as viewers are willing to watch,” said Rachel

But, there is a limit for notifications.

Viewers can only get three notifications from a channel in a 24-hour period.

And that’s because YouTube doesn’t want people to get so bothered by notifications from one channel that they turn off all YouTube notifications, she explained.

Have you uploaded multiple videos in one day and found they didn’t get as many views per video as normal?

“That is an indicator you may have exhausted your audience and uploaded too much that they’re not willing to watch,” said Rachel.

TIP:  YouTube has found that batch uploads can be an effective strategy at getting people to watch more.

“We’ve seen creators release a series on a single day, which gives viewers an opportunity to watch through them because they’re all available at once,” Rachel added.

Do inactive subscribers hurt your performance?

Probably not. “I wouldn’t worry about inactive subscribers hurting your performance because they’re less likely to see your videos,” Todd explained.

YouTube’s algorithm knows your inactive subscribers haven’t watched your channel in a long time, so the system is less likely to recommend your video to them or place it on their homepage, he explained.

YouTube is going to recommend your video to those who are active and interested in watching.

And although your videos will still be in the subscriptions feed of inactive users, that a viewer saw it and didn’t click on it “isn’t going to have a strong influence at all” on  YouTube’s recommendation algorithm, Todd said.

So, there’s no need to delete your channel and start a new one if you have a lot of inactive subscribers?


“Unless you really want to rebrand your channel and start with something completely separate, I wouldn’t start a new channel because your old channel probably still has a base of subscribers who would be interested in your new uploads compared to zero on a new channel,” advised Todd.

Does external traffic help get recommendations?

If your videos get a lot of traffic from outside of YouTube, that can certainly help kickstart the process of getting your video recommended, Rachel explained.

But once your video is showing up in suggested or on the homepage, YouTube’s algorithm assesses how viewers engage with it. So if viewers continue to click, watch through, and enjoy it, your video will continue to be ranked even higher on that surface.

External traffic engages less with your content. Is that hurting your performance?

I’ll let Rachel break this one down for you …


Listen To This Podcast Discussing: The Declining Ad Revenue On YouTube and How Creators Are Dealing With The Losses


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    • 2

      I think a lot of people would agree with you about Instagram. A lot of people would probably even be happy to just to hear directly from Instagram like this. Thank you for the feedback.

  1. 3
    Retirestyle Travel

    I hope this helps us as we are trying to launch a YouTube channel called Retirestyle Travel. Thanks.

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