YouTube Browse Features explained for beginners

YouTube Browse Features explained for beginners play video
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Written by: Dexxter Clark, 09-06-2021
Browse features is a category of traffic source withing YouTube Analytics.
Under Browse features falls: Home, Watch History, Subscriptions, Watch Later, Trending and Personalized Playlists.
I take a look at all Browse Features to see how we can trigger each of them, especially YouTube Home is easiest to trigger as a beginner.

As a small creator, you can get the most traffic from YouTube Search.
This algorithm is the easiest to trigger as a small creator.
So this should be you absolute first focus when you start out.
I don’t know why nobody tells small creators this, but your second focus should be YouTube Home.

What is the “YouTube Home” traffic source

The YouTube Home screen or YouTube Homepage is the first page when you see when you go to youtube.com.

The page has a wide variety of videos that the YouTube Algorithm thinks is the viewer most likely to watch.

The algorithm calculates expected watch time based on a couple of factors:
  • Your past viewing history
  • Your past search history
  • The channels you frequently watching
  • Type of videos you regularly watch
  • Videos that viewers with similar interests as you watch

How to trigger YouTube Home

To trigger YouTube Home (even as a small creator), you need to entice viewers to watch more than one video on your channel (minimum of 3).
A couple of simple things you can do:
  • Having more 3 videos on your channel (25 is the absolute minimum, which sounds logic to me and you, but a lot of creators don’t understand that).
    It helps if these videos are topically related
  • Use end screens
  • Use cards
  • Link other videos in video description and pinned comments
  • Make video series and put them in a playlist, so viewers can watch the videos consecutively.
I don’t want to dive too deep here, because I wrote a dedicated article to triggering YouTube Home if you are interested.

Out of all the traffic sources I mention in this article, YouTube Home will be your biggest source of revenue in terms of views.

What is the YouTube “Watch History” traffic source

When viewers watch a video, that video is automatically added to their watch history.
Viewers can see their Watch History by clicking on “History” in the menu on the left side of the desktop website.

Only when viewers click on a video in their Watch History, it will show up in YouTube Analytics.
This works only when you are signed in, when you are not logged in, you aren’t able to use this function.

How to trigger Watch History

Often viewers watch a video once and are done with it, so you won’t trigger Watch History often.
But when your video contains super valuable information or was super fun to watch, and viewers want to watch again, you can trigger Watch History.
Make videos that viewers want to watch again.

I would say: don’t worry about it too much.
You should always provide good information/make a fun video, because then you are much more likely to be promoted on YouTube anyway, since viewer satisfaction is one of the key metrics that YouTube looks at when promoting a video.

What is the YouTube “Watch Later” traffic source?

When viewers see your thumbnail, they can click on the little clock icon in the top right corner of your thumbnail.
This adds the video to a standard playlist on YouTube called “watch later”.
Viewers do this when they think your video is valuable, but they don’t have time to watch it now.

Viewers can access this playlist by clicking on the menu item on the left side of the screen called “Watch Later” (on YouTube Desktop website).

This feature only works when viewers are logged in.

How to trigger Watch History

Provide good and valuable information that viewers think that is so valuable, they don’t want to miss out on.

Again, don’t worry about it too much.
You should always provide good information and make fun videos.

What is the YouTube “Subscriptions” traffic source?

Viewers can find new videos of channels that they are subscribed to on the “Subscriptions page” or “Subscriptions feed”.
They can access the page by clicking on the “Subscriptions” option on the left side of YouTube’s Desktop website.

Logically, viewers need to be logged in to use the function.

The influence of the Subscriptions page declined drastically over the last years.
YouTube is slowly moving over to a what-viewers-want-to-watch model instead of a subscriptions-based model.

YouTube Recommended and YouTube Home have become so good in predicting what viewers want to watch, that less viewers use the page.

How to trigger Subscriptions

There is nothing you can do to trigger or to rank higher on this page.
You have to have a YouTube channel that regularly releases videos that can show up on this page.

What is YouTube’s “Personalized Playlists” (or “Mix Playlists”) traffic source?

When a viewer sees multiple videos of the same creator or multiple videos around the same topic, YouTube tends to create an automatically generated playlist.
These playlist are called “Mix [blablabla]” (substitute the “blablabla” with something more meaningful).

With a “Mix” playlist, YouTube tries to cater to the need of the viewer around a certain topic or creator.
So it can keep the viewers longer on the platform.

How to trigger Personalized Playlists?

  • Try to make videos around the same topics
  • Try to make viewers watch more than one video (with the tips I gave you about YouTube Home, earlier in this article)

What is the YouTube “Trending/Explore” traffic source?

In the menu on the left side of the screen (YouTube Desktop site), you can find the page “Explore”.
On the page viewers can find:
  • Trending
  • Gaming
  • Music
  • News
  • Films
  • Sport
The Explore tab was previously limited to Trending only (hence the name “Trending/Explore”), but YouTube extended the functionality of the Trending page.

On the Explore page you get an overview of the videos with the highest viewer satisfaction currently on YouTube (high Click Through Rate, high Average View Duration and high Average Percentage Viewed).

How to trigger Trending?

For a small channel, it is almost impossible to trigger Trending.
Your video needs to be of exceptional quality (in the sense of viewer satisfaction), which only a handful creators master.
Videos on Trending are overall broad audience videos (vlogs, pranks, curiosity).
You won’t find an informational how-to video on YouTube Trending.

What is YouTube Kids/Explore traffic source?

Good one! To be honest: I don’t know.
I guess that the YouTube Kids app has an explore feature, just like “Explore/Trending” for grown ups.

It is only for this article that I saw it for the first time, which kind-off tells a lot.
The amount of views are extremely low over the whole lifespan of my channels, so it might be even a glitch for all I know.


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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Dexxter Clark
Content creator / YouTuber
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