How to trigger YouTube Suggested videos algorithm

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Written by: Dexxter Clark, 19-07-2021
In this article I’m going to take a look at the Suggested videos algorithm and how we can trigger it as a (small) creator.

Past history

YouTube suggested looks at what videos I skipped and watched on YouTube Home, Search and Suggested.
Based on my watch history and how long I watch those videos it recommends other videos to watch.
But it also looks at viewing behavior of viewers with similar interests as me.

Strategy

The reason why I make a lot of beginner tutorials like “What is the best software for music production”, “Beginner tutorial of Studio One”, is because they taint the “taste” of YouTube Suggested.

These are search terms that are relatively easy to rank for, have a high search volume and are evergreen videos that will bring in views for the next 5 years to come,

When a beginner watched some of these videos in the past, my videos have a higher chance of showing up as a suggested video for them.
The same is also true for YouTube Search and YouTube Home b.t.w.

Topically related

YouTube suggested shows also a couple (not all) videos that are topically related to the current video that you are watching.

Strategy 1

Let’s convert that to a strategy:
Make make a couple of videos that are topically related.
Because if one of those videos would blow up, very likely that your topically related videos will be suggested and also blows up.

So:
  • If a video does well, make a follow up.
  • When you make videos, make video series.
This is also one of the strategies that I extensively use on my Social Video Plaza channel.
I may have only have a couple of subscribers right now, but I’ve prepared this channel to blow up.
It may take a week, a month or a year…

Strategy 2:

If a topic is not competitive (yet) and a big channel attracts a lot of views with that video, you might be able to show up as suggested.
Keep an eye out for underserved topics, that might become popular in the future.

Strategy 3:

One of the clues that YouTube Suggested gets to determine relevancy is by looking at the video title.
If big parts of your video title are the same, it is much more likely to be seen as related.
Titles like “how lawnmowers work – part 1”, “how lawnmowers work – part 2” are quickly seen as related.

Watch more videos

When I watch some of my own videos all the way to the end.
Then the next all the way to the end, then the next, the next and the next.
You will see something happening to YouTube Suggested.

With every video I watch all the way to the end, it will show more of my videos to the viewer.
This is because the algorithm thinks I enjoy the content, so it will show me more.

I don’t have to be subscribed to the channel to see more videos.
This is why returning viewers to your content is much more important than the amount of subscribers on your channel.

Strategy

Let’s convert this is into a strategy to make viewers watch more videos.

#1 - refer to other videos on your channel.
New viewers often don’t know which other great videos you have to offer on your channel.

#2 - use cards.
Those i-icon thingies in the top right corner of the video.

#3 - use pinned comments
With links to other videos in your channel

#4 – promote other videos in your outro and use an end screen.
Think about what is the most logical video to watch next for the viewer?

For example: for music production this could be:
  • video 1: how to make a loop
  • video 2: how to make a song out of a loop
  • video 3: how to mix a song
  • video 4: how to master a song
Viewers are often lost for suggestions of what to watch next.
So provide them a service that also benefits you.

#5 – make playlists of videos that viewers can watch in consecutive order Promote those playlists in your videos.

#6 – Try to make videos that you know your audience enjoys to return viewers
This gains you momentum which makes you grow.

This is also one of the reasons that broad topic channels are so hard to grow.
The content is so broad that viewers are not likely to watch multiple videos on your channel.

You can look in your YouTube Analytics at the videos that have a high view to like ratio and a high view to subscribe ratio.

AI Learns from patterns

YouTube Suggested learns from viewing paths that a lot of viewers follow that viewers are satisfied with (so viewers not clicking away after 5 seconds).
Or the path that leads to the most watch time.

With enough viewers consistently clicking over to the same video (1000+ viewers at least), the algorithm will notice and mirrors that behaviour and is very likely to show that video in the Suggested section.

Strategy

The best strategy for this is: make evergreen content.
You may only get 30 views a day, but don’t forget that those 30 views a day are 10,000 views over the course of a year.

The unfair advantage of big channels

You only have to click on a video of Mr Beast to see every suggestion in YouTube Suggested to be about a video of Mr. Beast.

This is the unfair advantage that big channels have over small channels.
YouTube Suggested is incredibly biased towards the big guys.
Unsurprisingly, YouTube Suggested is the biggest traffic source for large channels.

Bigger channels have the advantage of channel authority, in other words, the amount of gathered watch time on their channel.
This programming of the YouTube Suggeste algorithm is much easier for them, because they put more weight in the scale.
But that doesn’t mean that you can’t do it as a small channel.

I’ve clicked around on a channel of a subscriber of mine with only 50 subscribers.
That was 4 weeks ago and I still get suggestions on my home page for that channel for videos I did not watch.

But why does it favor big channels?
Mr Beast has an Average Percentage Viewed of 80% or so and Average Views Per Viewer of 4 videos.
The algorithm knows that viewers will watch often 3 more videos in a row.

Strategy 1: Reason to click

So having a title and thumbnail that viewers want to click is crucial to get the click.
I could have titled this video: “how to get ...”, but nobody will click on that when they see it next to a video of a big channel.

In other words: if viewers see 10 videos around the same topic, what is the unique thing you have to offer that viewers only get out of your video?

My video about the best software for music production: My reason-to-click was: “I asked 2000 music producers”.
If you get the click constantly, YouTube suggested will suggest more of your videos.

Strategy 2: audience retention

Also, improving your audience retention is crucial, because if viewers reach the end of your video they are much more likely to watch another one.
Show the algorithm that you can have 80% AVD and viewers watch 4 videos.

If your Average Percentage Viewed on a 10 minute video is lower than 30% you might to look at that first.
When more viewers will reach the end of your video and are much more likely to watch more of your videos because they like it.

Therefore, if you refer viewers to other videos, refer to videos with a high Average View Duration.

And do you know what the biggest culprit of a bad audience retention is?
Your intro-hook!
In my article about what to say in your video intro, I analyzed 63 audience retention graphs and share which one lead to the best audience retention.
And I even compare the results of mr beasts intros … spoiler alert, the outcome is pretty similar.

YouTube Home algorithm vs YouTube Suggested

The Suggested algorithm and YouTube Home are actually quite similar algorithms in the way they work, the kind of videos they serve and in the way you trigger them.
The tips I mentioned to trigger YouTube Suggested, also apply to YouTube Home.
That is two birds with one stone!


Want free YouTube tips and tricks?
Check out the YouTube channel for this website. (opens YouTube in new tab)

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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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