Harsh truths about why do people not subscribe on YouTube + fix

Harsh truths about why do people not subscribe on YouTube + fix play video
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Written by: Dexxter Clark, 10-05-2021
Are you ready to hear some red-pill harsh truths about why you do have views but no subscribers?
In this article I’ll look at the best view to subscribe ratio, common reasons why viewers don’t subscribe, the best fixes and tips to get more organic subscribers and what YouTube Analytics metrics to use.

My name is Dexxter Clark and I’ve managed to double my view to subscriber ratio from 0.84% on my DJ channel to 1.61% on Social Video Plaza in 1 year.
Let me share with you my insights on how I did that.

What is view to subscriber ratio?

This number tells you how well you convert viewers into subscribers.
The view to subscriber ratio is the amount of subscribes that you gained per 100 views.
This is expressed in a percentage.
When out 100 views, 2 viewers subscribed, your ratio is 2%.

You can calculate this per video, on a certain time period or overall for your whole YouTube channel.
There are different interpretations of view-to-subscribe ratio, but this is the most common.

How to calculate view to subscriber ratio

The common formula is:
sub ratio = subscribers views * 100

You can calculate the view to subscriber ratio per video via YouTube Analytics.
You can do this by making an overview of all videos on your channel over a lifetime period (if you have too many videos, pick the videos with the most views).
Make sure you have the columns “subscribers” (or “subscribers gained”) and “views”.
Export this to a spreadsheet program like Google Sheets.
Use the formula mentioned above.

To make your life a little bit easier I’ve developed a simple views to subscriber ratio calculator on this website.

What is a normal YouTube view/subscriber rate?

My video view/subscriber ratios are between 5.6% (highest) and 2% (majority) for well converting videos on 4 of my channels.
I’ve seen some of my coaching clients have a number as high as 5.0%.
I see a very strong correlation between the value of the information and the willingness for viewers to subscribe.

Less than 1%
needs some work
1%
ok
2%
Really good
Higher than 2%
amazing

Are my numbers representative?
No, because every situation is unique.
These numbers are different for other demographics, type of content and host.
The numbers I mentioned above are all informational content with a host showing his face and having a funny English accent.

I would suggest to calculate your average and divide your content in 2 groups: one below and the other above average.
Try to find out what you did “wrong” with the below average group, and did right with the above average group.
And see if you can repeat what you did right in your next videos.

Why is my YouTube channel not getting subscribers?

Is your content subscribable?

Try to look at your content objectively, take a step back and look at it from the perspective of a viewer.
Is your content subscribable?

In other words: do you as a viewer get something out of subscribing to your YouTube channel?
When you see one video, do you as a viewer feel the need to be updated on similar videos?

If the answer is “no”, you could give viewers the most amazing information in the world, but viewers won`t subscribe.

For example:
  • You want to subscribe to a tech news channel to get the latest news
  • You want to subscribe to a vlog to get the latest vlog of your favorite YouTube because it is fun to watch
  • You want to subscribe to a tutorial channel on very complicated software you use on a daily basis.
    So you can familiarize yourself step-by-step with the software.
  • You don’t want to subscribe to a channel that does only webcam reviews, because: how often do you buy a webcam?
  • You don’t want to subscribe to a channel with Tesla coils that produce music. That is fun for 3 videos. But gets old really quick
  • You want to subscribe to a channel that does clothing hauls if you are into fashion.

Broad topic channels

Broad topic channels are really hard to grow and really easy to lose subscribers.
I read in a marketing book once: “When you try to appeal to everyone, you will appeal to no one”, which also applies to YouTube.

When you make a cooking video, then live stream a game, and in the next video you model miniature trees … viewer get confused.
Why should viewers subscribe to that?
Because, what do they get when they subscribe?
Do they get cooking, gaming or modeling?

You may suffer from A.D.D. or have broad interests, but 99.9% of YouTube viewers don’t.
Finding the viewers with exactly the same 14 interests as you, is almost NIL.

When you start a YouTube channel, focus on a niche.
Then you get known for a certain kind of content.
And then When you get big, than you can broaden your topics.
People know you and you can afford to lose a couple of subscriber.

2 videos on a channel

I see a lot of YouTube channels and hands down the most common mistake I see creators make is: having 3 videos on a channel.
And they ask themselves why they don’t get any subscribers.
3 videos, that’s not how it works on YouTube.

Having a large library of videos shows potential subscribers that you consistently show up and make content.
It also shows potential subscribers what kind of content you make.
And what they get when they subscribe!
If you don’t have content, there is no content to be discovered by viewers and no reason to subscribe.

You need at least 100 videos to get a little bit noticed by the YouTube Algorithm.
I know, there are exceptions to that rule, but not for mortal human beings.
YouTube is a marathon, not a sprint.

Quality content

I said that you need to make 100 videos.
But that need to be 100 good value videos that are a good representation of the videos you want produce.

If the quality (in terms of value) lacks, viewers will click away and will not subscribe.
The funny thing is, when you make good quality content now, you will make even better quality in a year.

Don`t waste viewers` time and don`t fill videos with fluff.
Viewers will not subscribe.

Subscribe Merch

I always saw creators have those subscribe merch, I wanted to have those because you can remind viewers to subscribe.
But I couldn’t find it, so I developed it myself, that I also made available to you.
I have hoodies, t-shirts, stickers and mugs.
If you are interested, you can find a link to my merch store here.

Viewers’ pain

The reason why I started my Social Video Plaza channel in 2020 instead of pivoting my dj channel is, because I wanted to feel the pain of being a beginner again.
I bump into topics that I otherwise wouldn’t have found, just because I face them myself.
And now I can better help you, because I feel what you are feeling.

The more life threatening or the more ego boosting a topic is, the bigger the pain.
The bigger the pain, the more valuable the solution is, the more likely viewers are to subscribe.

For example
  • When you are in debt, money is a huge pain.
  • When you have a leaky faucet and your house is flooded, a fix is a huge pain.
  • When you lose hair, having hair is a big pain.
I often use YouTube search to see how well problems are solved by the top performing videos.
Often they aren’t, even in competitive niches like the YouTube advice niche.
Problems that aren`t solved make the best YouTube videos and convert best into subscribers.

Uniqueness

Out of all the videos on YouTube by the competition.
What makes your videos special?
Why SHOULD viewers subscribe to your channel, instead of the competition?
If you can’t figure that out for yourself, how should potential subscribers know that?

For example:
Here on Social Video Plaza I have a mission
  • my fight again the misinformation that my competition is spreading.
    Actual advice based on tested and experienced information, instead of repeating false information.
  • I try to find a unique angle to videos, add something extra than no one talks about
  • I see my European Roots as a strength.
    It makes me unique, I speak multiple languages, I know multiple cultures.
    Because there are 1000s of American YouTube Educators that all say the same things, and none of them know how things work in the rest of the world.
    But I do.
    I can make videos on specific non-US issues, like how to monetize a YouTube channel as a non-US-er.
    The biggest advantage: the rest of the world is bigger than the US, so the potential is equally big!
This gives my potential subscribers a HUGE reason to subscribe.

Don’t ask to subscribe in the beginning

The general consensus among YouTube educators is to ask for a subscribe at the beginning of a video, because then is when most people are watching.
While that is true, you ask viewers for a subscribe, before they even had any value in the video.
You want viewers to subscribe because of value, not because you told them to.

When you ask for a subscribe, do that once viewers have received value, for example when your end screen is already showing.
Because then you know that only the quality viewers hear the message.
Then it is just a reminder and not a command.

No face no voice

An audience is much more likely to subscribe when they feel a connection with the creator.
Some content makes it harder to connect, which makes converting views into subscribers then is harder.
No-face no-voice content is a perfect example of that.

The more personal and human you are (with emotions and the whole shabang), the more you resonate, the more you will convert subscribers

Trust and Authority

Make sure that viewers trust you.
If they don’t, they don’t subscribe.
You can do this by displaying authority or by giving proof of achievements

Make sure that your environment and your looks support your authority.
A doctor without a white coat is not a doctor doesn’t ooze authority

When you claim that a certain technique or treatment works, show that it works.
Seeing is believing.
The before-and-after method is a good way of doing that.

Especially when you are an authority figure:
  • doctor
  • lawyer
  • financial advisor
make sure you have something to show for.

Also age is a huge trust factor.
I see so many young kiddies on YouTube telling me how to make money quick, while living in their parent’s basement.
By the things they say and their word choice they unknowingly expose their inexperience.

No place for opinions and controversy

There is no place for controversial, political, racial or religious opinions on YouTube as a professional.
Simply because you’ll lose trust with certain viewers.
Engaged subscribers are hard to gain and easy to lose.

The problem with a lot of these topics is, is that they are surrounded by a lot of hypocrisy.
In the eyes of the viewer: “if you are a hypocrite about this topic, you are a hypocrite in the value of your content too”.

The exception to this rule is, if your channel topic IS about that opinion or controversy.
It that case it helps you to get fans because of that opinion, but be prepared to get some heat in the comments.

For example:
I stumbled upon videos of a channel about blogging.
I watched 1 video, 2 videos and before I knew it, I watched their entire YouTube library of 100 videos or so.
They managed to turn me into a subscriber that was eagerly waiting for their new video.
At a given moment they started to share opinions about a typical American controversial standpoint.
As a European I took offense and stopped watching, I can’t look at them anymore without seeing hypocrites.

Keep it professional, otherwise it hurts your image.
It is true what they say: a reputation takes years to build, seconds to destroy.

Actionable tips that ACTUALLY gets you subscribers on YouTube

Back in 2010 when I started on YouTube, YouTube growth, was subscriber growth.
But we are now living in the age of an Artificial Intelligence, In 2015 YouTube adopted Google Brain but somehow most creators didn’t get the message.

This means that the algorithm has become so good in predicting what viewers want to watch that the number of subscribers has become less important.

This might come as a shock, but the actual number of subscribers doesn’t do anything for your in the algorithm.
It gives you only bragging rights towards your friends.
Returning viewers however, DO, big time!!
The funny thing is, when you can return viewers, they are much more likely to subscribe.

Sub4sub and buying subscribers is literally the best way to completely destroy your channel within minutes.
Those are viewers that do no engage or watch your content once you stop paying.
The algorithm thinks that your regular viewers all of a sudden are not interested anymore in your content.
In the eyes of the algorithm, there must be something wrong with your content, and it stops promoting your (new) content completely.

That viewers subscribe, doesn’t mean that they actually watch your videos.
When you start, you might think: I have 100 subscribers, but you get only 5 views.
You might think that you are doing a bad job, while you are actually doing a great job.

Look at your views from notification in YouTube Analytics.
It says: typical between 0.5% and 2.5%.

Focus on getting getting views & returning viewers, then subscribers will automatically follow.

Make viewers watch more

Viewers are much more likely to subscribe when they see more than one video.
So entice viewers to watch more than 1 video and
make sure you have more valuable videos on your channel that you can refer to.

You can do this by:
  • referring to other videos
  • using cards
  • using end screens
  • pinned comments with links to other videos
  • link other videos in your video description.
One perfect way to entice viewers to watch more videos by making sure that an essential piece of the “puzzle” is in another video.
I saw a video by Veritasium: in the first video he displayed 5 riddles and in the second video, the solutions.

I made a video once about the best macs for music production.
At the end I said: but don’t buy a mac, I’ll explain in this video why
The end screen CTR was 50%!

Make viewers watch longer

When you can make viewers watch longer than the competition, YouTube will promote the video more in their algorithms than the competition.
This leads to more views and more opportunities for viewers to subscribe.

To make viewers watch longer:
  • Have a clear structure in your video.
  • Proper audio quality (video is less important)
  • Video shouldn’t be boring or filled with fluff.
  • Videos where nothing happens or there is no development are instant death by watch time

Representative Channel Homepage

To entice viewers to subscribe, make your channel homepage a reflection of your content.
A good channel homepage answers a couple of questions:
  • Viewers must understand what your channel is about in less than 2 seconds.
    When viewers doubt, you’ve lost!
  • What kind of videos you make / content / format?
  • What makes you different from the competition?
    If you can’t answer that for yourself, how can potential subscribers?
  • If you are an active YouTube channel.
    Not a lot of viewers subscribe to a dormant channel.
  • How often you upload and when subscribers can expect a new video –
    Upload consistency is more important than uploading more content, because of momentum
So have:
  • a channel banner
  • a proper descriptive channel name
  • a channel trailer that reflects your typical content
  • multiple videos on your channel home page

It’s not about You

Most creators think about themselves first, instead of thinking about the need of their viewers.
But your entire success on YouTube depends on how valuable you are to viewers.

Instead of thinking:
”I need subscribers, because I want to grow and earn money”
think:
“how can I deliver the maximum amount of value in my YouTube videos”.
Make yourself invaluable to viewers, and they will subscribe.

Lift on a trend

If you are responding quick to a trend, you can piggyback ride on the success of that trend.
Slime and fidget spinners were once a trend on YouTube.
Be aware that you make those videos purely to get some attention, and those videos tend to go down once the trend is over.

Try to see if you can make a trend related video in your niche.
In case of the slime, a music producer can make a tutorial on how to use a slime sound as a sound sample.

Being the first can be a solid strategy too.
Example:
One day I received an email in the morning from a DJ company that released new DJ software.
There were no videos on YouTube online about the software yet.

I downloaded the software, made a video and uploaded it in the evening.
I was the first and the video skyrocketed my views for days and got my brand new DJ channel a lot of subscribers.

What makes viewers WANT to subscribe

Viewers subscribe when they think that they can get more out of you and learn from you, beyond the current video.
When viewers are teased that they get more entertainment, more information or more results by watching other videos, they are more likely to want to stick around by watching more videos and therefore much more likely to hit subscribe.

For example:
Once in a while I mention my background in software engineering in combination with the YouTube Algorithms.
Besides that this gives me some leg up over the competition, hopefully viewers think: “hmm, I might learn something new in the next video, subscribe”.
This is why authority so, which I talked about in the first episode, is so important.

Exploit popular video topics in your niche

What do similar size channels as your channel do?
What are their biggest successes?
Try to repeat their success with a better video.
What works for them, probably also work for you.
But don’t forget to give it a unique spin.

Look at your competition and try to explain why hey grow so fast, especially when they grow faster than you.

Look at the mighty 3 of the competition (Average View Duration/Average Percentage Viewed and Click Through Rate).
What is the competition doing better:
  • Is it the video topics? Tells about demand for a topic (CTR)
  • Is it the titles/thumbnails? (CTR)
  • Is it the value of the videos? (AVD/APV)
  • Is it the uniqueness of the videos? (AVD/APV)
  • Is it the length of the videos? (AVD)
  • Do they refer to other videos? (AVD → increase session watch time)
If you have trouble judging your own videos (because it can be really hard to be objective), ask a friend or your wife or your kids.
(not your parents, because they always think you are the best).

Collaborate with other YouTubers

The hardest thing on YouTube is to get discovered, and collaborating with other YouTubers is an ideal way to be noticed by a warm audience.
Being roughly the same size channel makes it easier to collaborate, but not necessary to gain both from the collaboration.

But if you have only 1000 subscribers, reaching out to a channel with 5 million subscribers is probably not working out, because it’s not worth their time.
There has to be something in it for the other channel, it’s not a one way street.

A collaboration can be 2 persons in the same shot, or you give the spotlight to the other person who takes care of his part of the video.

When you reach out to other creators, suggest a concrete proposal.
Saying that you want to collaborate mostly doesn’t spark any enthusiasm, but a cool idea might.

Easy YouTube Analytics Hacks that gets YOU Subscribers!

Big YouTubers are obsessed with YouTube Analytics, and for good reasons!

Analyzing Analytics can gain you a lot of subscribers, grow quicker and can save you a lot of time.
Let’s say, it takes you 10 hours to make a video and Analytics takes you 10 minutes.
By looking 10 minutes at your Analytics you wouldn’t make a video that takes you 10 hours, because you know what viewers don’t like and subscribe to.
Is that 10 minutes not worth investing?

I’ll start with the obvious graphs and hacks, then the exciting ones!

Audience retention graph

If you are not doing it already, look at the audience retention graphs in YouTube Analytics:
  • Go to YouTube Studio
  • click on “Content” in the menu on the left.
  • In tab “uploads” click on the Analytics icon on a video in the list
  • Click on tab “engagement” on the top of the screen
  • Scroll to the bottom
In the graph you can see when people leave the video.
In other words: how well they like a video.

Try to explain for yourself why sudden spikes or drops happen in a video.
Try to see if you can repeat the spikes and reduce the drops.
It can be something you say or do, or show.

This way you make people stick around longer next time and YouTube will promote your video more.

Aim for 50% of viewers sticking around at the end of a video (not 50% APV, but at the end of a video).

Best performing videos in 48hrs

In YouTube Analytics we can see the videos that are performing well:
  • Go to YouTube Studio
  • Go to “Analytics” in the menu on the right
  • In tab “overview” scroll down, see header “Your top videos in this period”
When videos are popular, they are generally generate more subscribers.
Can you make more videos about these topics?

Make more videos that convert well

Make more videos that convert well into subscribers.
We have data on what your current audience likes and subscribes to, so they are probably into other videos about the same topics.

Instead of looking at videos with the most views, we look at a ratio of views that convert into subscribers.
Remember that only videos with at least 1000 views (preferably more) are statistically significant.

Let’s get practical and figure out what videos convert well into subscribers.
We are going to export data from YouTube Analytics to Google Sheets.
In Google Sheets we apply the view-to-sub-ratio formula I mentioned earlier in this article.
  • Go to YouTube Studio
  • Go to “Analytics” in the menu on the right
  • Click on “Advance mode” in the top right corner of the screen
  • Make sure “last 28 days” or “last year” is selected (depending on what you want to know)
  • Make sure in the table is a column “views”, “subscribers” and “subscribers lost”
    If not, add these columns by:
    • clicking on the blue “+” icon in the table header.
    • Find “views”, “subscribers”, “subscribers lost” (whether column is missing) and click on it (they are grayed out when they exist in the table already)
  • Click on the views header (make sure it is sorted my the most views, if not, click the header again).
    This makes sure we have the videos with the most views (not all videos are shown).
  • Click on the export icon in the top right corner (arrow down icon)
  • Click on “Google Sheets”
  • Within seconds Google Sheets will open
  • In Google Sheets: add a column (right click on the table header and select “insert right”)
  • In the newly created column, select the cell on the first row under the column name
  • Type in: “=”
  • Click on the cell with Subscribers on the same row
  • Type in: “”
  • Click on the cell with Viewers on the same row
  • Type in “*100”
  • Google sheets asks if it should use auto-fill, click on the green checkmark. This will auto-fill all the other cells in the table.
  • Now, sort by highest view to subscriber ratio (Right click on the header of our newly created column and select “Short sheet Z→ A”)
Now we have all the view to subscriber ratios with the top converting videos on top.

Try to explain why viewers like these top performing videos so much that they feel the need to subscribe.
Is it because of value, uniqueness, thumbnail?

Do the same thing for the bottom 50% of the videos (worst converting videos).
Try to find out what you did “wrong” with the below average group, and did right with the above average group.

See if you can repeat what you did right and avoid what your did “wrong” in your new videos.

What videos lead to the most unsubscribes (%)

What we can do for subscribes, we can also do for unsubscribes.
What videos lose the most subscribers?

Repeat the steps above and apply the same formula to “subscribers lost” instead of “subscribes”.

Look at the ratio in %, not the absolute lost subscribers.
try to figure out why subscribers want to unsubscribe.
Is there a pattern?
How wildly do the topics of these videos differ from your core content?

Broad topic channels are famous for their unsubscribes.
While it may be hard to pinpoint the kind of videos make viewers unsubscribe, that may be EXACTLY WHY they unsubscribe.

Of course, avoid making more videos that lead to unsubscribes.

Which videos led to more than one view

Like I said earlier in this article, viewers are much more likely to subscribe when they see more videos.
So let`s find the videos that lead to more than one view.
Because then we can make more of those.

To find these videos:
  • Go to YouTube Studio
  • Go to “Analytics” in the menu on the right
  • Click on “Advance mode” in the top right corner of the screen
  • Make sure “last year” or “lifetime” is selected
  • Make sure in the table is a column “Average views per viewer”.
    If not, add these columns by:
    • clicking on the blue “+” icon in the table header.
    • Find “Average views per viewer” and click on it (if it is grayed out when it already exists in the table)
  • Click on the “Average views per viewer” header (make sure it is sorted by the highest-views-per-viewer, if not, click the header again).
This tells us how valuable viewers deem this particular video or other videos on the channel.
1.0 means: viewers only watch one video one time.
More than 1.0 means that they watch more videos or 1 video multiple times.
Of course we want viewers watch as many videos as possible.

Is there a trend we can see in videos that are watched more than 1.0 times?
It could be the title, thumbnail, end screen, topic of the video, audio quality, way of editing?

When you know the common denominator, you can make more videos like this that makes viewers return and hopefully subscribe.


If you are serious about YouTube and want to take it to the next level, take a look at my YouTube e-book.
The book takes you step-by-step through the process of starting a YouTube channel.
How to get more views, subscribers, make money with YouTube, go viral ... and much more.
Click here for more information about my YouTube e-book: "What Big Tubers Don't tell you"

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photo author dexxter clark
Dexxter Clark
Content creator / YouTuber
Social Video Plaza on YouTube Dexxter Clark on Instagram Dexxter Clark on Facebook Dexxter Clark on Linked In
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