What’s better? Gearing your videos to please your subscribers or gearing them to potential new audiences?

Youtubers that focus too much on their subscribers

Sometimes Youtubers focus too much on their subscribers, forgetting to reach out to new audiences: this is problematic because without new viewers/ new subscribers your views will become static and your original subscribers will become less active/move their attention to other YouTube channels.  How to know if this is the case with your channel?

There are several signs:

  • Your number of new subscribers/ day is static or declining: if your daily number of new subscribers is less than 0.2% of your daily views, you are not recruiting enough new subscribers  The interaction with your subscribers is essential because it creates a direct link with them.  Subscribers who feel close to their YouTuber are generally more active on the channel.
  • You have a low number of video views that come from non-subscribers. To determine this, look at the following:
    • The number of views coming from "YouTube Search" or "Google Search" (in traffic sources, YouTube Analytics).   If less than 5% of your views come from YouTube and Google searches, than your videos do not attract many newcomers.  Also, take a detailed look at videos that have a high percentage of views coming from searches: do these views come from people searching your channel name (these are people who already know)?  Or do they find you by searching for generic keywords (For example, "call of duty" or "modern warfare 3" for gamers).
    • The percentage of views coming from "YouTube suggested video" (in traffic sources, YouTube Analytics).  Look at your top viewed videos and then go to the “YouTube suggested video” page.  Skip over the videos suggested from your own channel and you look at what percentage of your total views come from videos on other channels.  If the percentage is less than 3%, this means that the video in question does not attract many new users.
What are common mistakes?
  • Programming: the subject of your videos is too restricted.  After a while, a channel that only focuses on one narrow topic will reach a maximum of subscribers and views (especially if the channel is not in English).
  • Video titles and thumbnails: even if you make video content that has the potential to attract a lot of people, if your titles/ thumbnails are bad, only your subscribers will be interested in clicking on your videos.  For example, if a Youtuber named SchtroumpfXL makes a video and calls it “SchtroumpfXL, Video No 15,” an outsider won’t have any idea what the video is about so they probably won’t be interested in watching it.


Youtubers that don’t pay enough attention to their subscribers

Sometimes Youtubers do not pay much attention to their existing subscribers, making videos on many different topics that their subscribers don’t want.

How to know if this is the case with your channel?

If less than 20% of your subscribers come to your channel every time you post a new video, this is a good indication that you don’t concentrate enough on your subscribers.  In other words, your subscribers have lost interest in your channel.


What are common mistakes?
This problem generally comes down to errors in your choice of video content: if your subscribers are young men 17 to 24 years old and you also decide to do a few videos with makeup tips, there is a good chance that your subscribers will 1) be disappointed and unsubscribe, or 2) will remain a subscriber but stop watching your videos because they’re not sure they’ll be interesting.


Helpful Tip: Create 2 types of videos so that you can cater to your subscribers on the one hand, and attract new users on the other

First of all, you need to figure out what type of audience you want to target with your channel:

  • Language: French, Spanish, International?
  • Demographics: male/ female, what age group?
  • Most importantly, what is your audience interested in?  If you want to make a channel dedicated to video games, will you cover all types of video games?  Only FPS?  Or only Call of Duty?  Whenever you narrow down your channel topic it diminishes the potential audience BUT it’s also easier for you because it requires less videos.


Other things that you need to consider when choosing your target audience: what topics interest you? How many videos can you publish and in what time frame (1 per week? 1 per day?)?  What talents could you bring to your videos (are you funny, are you great at making montages?)?

Try not to set your expectations to high:  a lot of gamers hope to make a channel as big as Machinima’s with more than 3 million views per day and a wide target audience (basically, all the gamers of the world).  But remember, big channels are hard to achieve.  Machinima uses an entire global network and has more than 1,000 people who work for their channel – this level of work would be impossible for ordinary gamers who already struggle to make 1 video/ day.

Also, don’t forget to consider the level of competition surrounding your target audience.  To stand out, you’ll need to do something different.

Overall, the channels that reach the widest audience are those who:

  • Have strong identities: Machinima = best gameplays, FreddieW = special effects, RayWilliamJohnson = the news of the day, but FUN
  • Address subjects that can reach very large demographics all while keeping true to their identities.


Once you have decided upon a target audience, check regularly that you’re on the right track:

  • When you look at YouTube Analytics, do the demographics of your views correspond to what you were aiming for? If this is not the case, try to find certain videos that do match your original target.  Use these videos as a basis to change your programming accordingly?
  • Read comments from subscribers (or non-subscribers) regularly and take a look at your ratio of likes / dislikes.   Positive feedback is great, but be careful because sometimes comments may mislead you into thinking that you need to stick to narrow topics when it is better to aim wider.  If you start your channel with a few videos of Call of Duty, your subscribers will probably freak out the first time you put up a video of Battlefield 3 – but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do it.  Who knows, maybe you’re videos will get them interested in Battlefield 3 and they’ll enjoy both games!  What matters most is that your subscribers remain loyal and that you also manage to recruit new subscribers at the same time.


The two types of videos that you should publish:

Type 1:  Regular videos.  These should be included in a series or playlists and should give your subscribers a specific date/time every week to visit your channel.  For these videos, your titles and thumbnails should be designed so that your subscribers can recognize your brand/channel at a glance, and make them want to click.

Type 2:  Exceptional videos.  The goal of these videos is to choose a subject that will please your subscribers but will focus on a much wider audiences:

  • Videos about "universal" events such as Halloween, Christmas, the release of a new video game, or a sports competition.  These will help your videos to be placed in the search results surrounding these events
  • Videos made ​​with other Youtubers (on various subjects)
  • Videos that stick to your theme but are of excellent quality and/or show a rare talent.


Normally, these videos will get more views than ordinary and will attract audiences well beyond your subscribers.  However, you really need to work on SEO (title, thumbnail, description and keywords) for these videos so that a maximum of viewers can discover your channel.

The proportion of these two types of videos will depend greatly on your channel: Generally, you will make less "exceptional" videos than regular videos.  If you have trouble publishing 1 video per month, you can’t do "regular" videos – each of your videos will have to be exceptional ... It’s up to you to try to find a balance.

Last suggestion: if possible, try to turn some of your regular videos into exceptional video.  If you notice that one of your regular videos received many likes and was well shared, it may be worth it to change the thumbnail or title to attract the attention of non-subscribers who may not be able to find it with its current title and thumbnail.

A must read for all our Wizdeo partners: an article that sums up the importance of thumbnails on YouTube.


To summarize the article, here are several important points about the thumbnails:

A good thumbnail is a thumbnail that is often "clicked" when viewed, on a search page or on a “related videos” page.  It is very, very important: in fact, it is become probably more important than a good title.

Choosing a thumbnail is a privilege allowed for the channels like yours: YouTube partners. For the others, it's much more complicated (see the explanation video). But it will help you make a real difference… if you know how to use them!

As the article says, the qualities of a thumbnail must be:

Objectives : reference your video and improve its ranking on the search engine results.

Metadata is essential for your videos referencing in the search engine algorithm and on the “related videos” page.


Include the most searched words on YouTube in the metadata of your video:

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