How often should I upload to youtube 2021 - my experiments

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Written by: Dexxter Clark
In short: the best growth strategy to grow fast is to upload daily.
If that is not possible (like in my case), once a week.
For this article I did multiple experiments on my channels over a few months: taking a breaks, uploading more and starting a new channel.
How did it hurt or grow my YouTube channels? In this article the results.

To set the record straight, a lot of people talk about “uploading videos” but they actually mean: “releasing videos”.
Also I my case: “uploading” in this article means: “releasing videos”.
I experimented with uploading and not releasing videos, the results later in this article.

Logically, the best growth strategy is to release the largest amount of content possible.
Because more content means that you have more chance to get discovered, and more chance to grow fast.

So, the best growing strategy is to upload daily.
But daily uploads wouldn’t make as much of a difference as you (and I) would like.
More on that later.


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The unwritten rule

Releasing one video a week is sort of the unwritten rule for YouTube.
But there are channels having great success with just one video a month.
Some content just takes days or even weeks to produce, so releasing videos on a daily basis simply isn’t even possible for every type of content.

With a slower schedule (like once a week) you can produce some spare videos for future weeks.
This way you can permit yourself some “laziness”, like going on holiday or be ill.
Working ahead keeps me from feeling the pressure to feed the hungry YouTube beast.

My experiments

Daily uploading videos

I experimented with daily uploads on my gaming channel.
I released daily content around Christmas for two weeks and I saw some increase in traffic and subscribers.
Since that period is a good YouTube period overall, it’s hard to say if releasing daily made more impact than releasing once a week.

Releasing 7 times a week (instead of once a week) is an increase in content of 7x, this should result in 7x the results, right?
Wrong!
It didn’t gain 7x the amount of views or 7x the mount of subscribers on those videos combined.
There was an increase of roughly 25% percent in views for 7x the amount of work.
Very inefficient in my book.

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The reason for this could be the type of content.
Content of an entertainment channel (like vlogging) is easier to “digest” than informational content.
People might get bored with your content and starts skipping videos.

Also, not viewer is on YouTube on a daily basis, if they log in once a week they have 7 video to catch up on.
They probably won’t watch all 7.

3 videos a week

Daily content may be not efficient, how about 3x a week.
I experimented with that on my DJ channel.

I released 3 videos a week for 4 weeks in December.
To be honest, I couldn’t even tell by looking at the amount of views.
In fact, It mattered so little that it wasn’t an incentive to do it more often.

I have to say that I have been battling a viewer decline on multiple top performing videos on the channel.
That could be a cause, but bottom line is: it wasn’t effective enough to turn that around.


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YouTube strategies channel
On my YouTube channel I post videos once a week with sustainable YouTube growth strategies.
Instead of repeating others, I share unique insights.

1 video a week

My regular upload schedule for my DJ channel is once a week.
I have found that to be the perfect middle between working hard and having some time left for other projects (like writing this article).

5 videos a day

If once a day isn’t as effective as hoped, how about releasing 5 videos a day?
I’ve experimented with that once on my DJ channel.
Did it make a dent?

In the views on that day and the 2 days after that, yes sure.
But after the bump, no not much.
I will never ever do that again, the incentive simply isn’t there.

Uploading vs releasing content
Because everyone keeps talking about uploading videos instead of releasing videos, I wondered: is it just a confusion of the tongs, or is it real?
Does uploading alone affect my stats?

I experimented with uploading 30 videos (one video per day), but not releasing them.
The result:
No, it makes absolutely no difference.
You have to release a video in order to make an impact.


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It’s not about HOW OFTEN you upload

It is about how often you upload, it is about momentum.
This is why releasing a lot of content for a short amount of time (like in my previous experiments) didn’t have a lot of effect.
You have to do it for a longer period of time with good content (content with high Average View Duration, high Click Through Rate and high Average Percentage Viewed) to gain momentum.

I’ve tested this when I started the Social Video Plaza YouTube channel, a channel in a super competitive niche.
I prepared 25 videos before I started, so I could release them in rapid succession.
The schedule:
  • first day: 3 videos
  • first week: 1 video a day
  • for 3 weeks: 3 videos a week
  • then, the normal schedule: 2 videos a week.
I’ve noticed that this gave me the advantage of getting over that first bump of 0 views on a video, which is very demotivating.
With every video I released I saw the views in the first 24 hours gradually increasing.

I’ve tested this also on my DJ channel.
I released a couple of videos that I knew would get a lot of attention, the next videos got a bigger initial push.
The other side is also true: if you release a couple of bad videos in a row, YouTube will “punish” and adjust its expectation for the next video … and its promotion for the video.

I’ve studied the explosion of the channel of James Jani.
James got 250K subscribers with only 8 videos with 5 million views in total.
His second video got viral, so did his third.
YouTube knows that there is a lot of interest in the videos, so its initial push in the algorithm for the next videos is bigger.

For James it is easier to get a lot of views on his next videos.
James uploads only once a month, but has a very high momentum.

Knowing that momentum depends heavily on success of previous videos, it is vital to produce high quality videos.
In other words, focus on quality, not on quantity.


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ULTIMATE YouTube beginners tutorial
Started a YouTube channel or thinking about starting?
What equipment do you need, how to pick a niche, pick a name, steps to make a youtube video and video promotion.

Can you take a break from youtube as creator?

YouTube won’t “punish” you for taking a break of a couple of weeks.
Taking a break for a week (or a few weeks) is essential to charge the battery, so you can hit it even harder once you come back.

As an added bonus you have gained a fresh perspective on matters.

I focus heavily on evergreen content, my content is relevant for a long time.
With evergreen content you can grow faster and taking a break won’t hit you as hard.
If you upload daily and run a news channel, your “business model” is your content freshness.
When content freshness lacks in that case, it will hurt you.

In my article “Why evergreen content is the best way to grow” I’ll go into detail on many positive facets of evergreen content.

Will a break hurt your YouTube growth?

It depends on the length of your break.
Taking a break for a couple of weeks is fine.
Taking a break for months will hurt your views, YouTube will push the video less and less.


Todd from YouTube said that they won’t “punish” you within six months of not releasing.
He said that they know that most creators will return within six months.
But if you stop releasing for longer than six months, that they will adjust your ranking.
He also said that they can even demonetize you after a year if you stop releasing videos.

social video plaza youtube channel
YouTube strategies channel
On my YouTube channel I post videos once a week with sustainable YouTube growth strategies.
Instead of repeating others, I share unique insights.


I’ve noticed that your channel size (channel authority) influences ranking.
I stopped uploading consistently videos to my (small) gaming channel.
Within a month I started to lose views.

I took a break in January for 5 weeks on my (bigger) DJ channel and I hardly lost any views.
I can even say that the loss of views may be statically insignificant, because January tends to be slower overall (the reason why I choose January in the first place).

Conclusion

Releasing daily is the best growth strategy.
But for a lot of creators (including me) uploading daily is simply not achievable.

What is the best strategy for you depends totally on your goal and available time.
Most important is, that you can keep up with your upload schedule and don’t work yourself into a burnout.
So, pick an upload schedule that works for you.

Uploading good content is important to gain momentum.
Momentum is more important than uploading daily instead of weekly.

YouTube Growth is good, your health is better.
I’d rather reach the top slowly, then get burned out quickly.


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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