12 YouTube Myths That Distract You from Getting More Views

YouTube advice typically falls into three categories: Great suggestions, OK suggestions, and flat-out myths. Of all the myths that could hurt your channel, these 12 have the most impact — in a negative way.

There are plenty of myths about YouTube, especially those that have to do with growing a channel. Some people believe they need expensive equipment to start recording videos. Others think it’s impossible to make money with a small YouTube channel.

Rob Wilson and Dan C., in-house creators at vidIQ, recently posted a video about every YouTube myth. They talked about why they don’t serve your channel and the correct way to make videos in 2022.

If you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth a watch:

But if you’re short on time (or just really into skim-reading), here are 12 things you shouldn’t believe about YouTube.

1. Longer YouTube Videos Rank Higher Than Shorter Ones

This is one of the oldest myths about YouTube. But no matter how believable it is, the facts remain — longer videos aren’t the bridge to more views or higher rankings.

“The truth is that a one-minute video can be just as viral as a 20-minute video. The most important thing creators need to remember here is to get your point across regardless of how long you think your videos should be,” Dan says.

For example, a meme channel named Beluga is filled with dozens of short videos. By short, we mean only a couple of minutes long. But each one has millions of views because the content is satisfying, binge-worthy, and creates a positive experience for viewers.

2. People Only Click on Thumbnails That Have Text

This a myth, mostly because there’s more than one way to create YouTube thumbnails. Deciding to put text on your graphics (or not) depends on the type of content you’re creating.

If you’re a vlogger, you might not always need thumbnail text. Your videos usually have a loose storyline, and viewers aren’t expecting an exact overview before clicking. They’re coming along for the ride because they like watching you, so an engaging image (without or without text) will do.

On the flip side, a how-to creator should probably use thumbnail text. If a viewer is learning to take photos, invest their money, or something else, a few words can help them notice the best tutorial for that goal.

Here’s a great example from the vidIQ channel. The words “apply,” “accept,” and “review” indicate that you’re about to learn the monetization process on YouTube.

3. YouTube Tags Will Help Your Video Rank Higher

It’s easy to look at tags and subconsciously think of them as keywords. But YouTube has debunked this myth plenty of times. So now it’s best to accept that video tags won’t help anyone discover your videos; in fact, they do something else entirely.

“Tags can be useful if the content of your video is commonly misspelled. Otherwise, tags play a minimal role in your video's discovery,” YouTube states on its support page.

4. One Bad Video Will Hurt Your Channel

Whether you’re a small or large creator, making bad videos is part of the journey. It happens when you’re just starting out and trying to learn how YouTube works. It also happens when you’ve been creating for a while but want to experiment with new videos. Either way, you can’t always make a smash hit — and that’s OK. You’ll learn as you go, and YouTube won’t penalize you for it.

“YouTube is coming to us with this information and saying, ‘No, videos on YouTube are all treated individually.’ So having one video that completely flops doesn’t mean your next video is going to be affected by that somehow,” Dan says.

5. You Need Expensive Equipment to Make Viral Videos

This is a myth, but only if you’re applying it to every YouTube channel. The truth is that most channels can grow with basic smartphone footage. When you’re speaking to an audience that loves technology, that’s when everything changes.

It’s only natural that a cinematographer has crystal-clear footage from a high-end camera. It makes sense that a photographer shoots better photos with advanced technology.

So, rest assured. Unless you’re doing something technical, upgrading your equipment is an option, not a rule.

6. You Must Use Clickbait to Get Views

First, let’s reimagine the word clickbait. Many people think it’s a bad practice, but not all clickbait makes people feel cheated, played, or upset. Just like there’s bad clickbait on YouTube, there’s also “good clickbait” that delivers on the general promise or video theme.

Bad clickbait: Promising something that never happens in the video. Essentially lies to the viewer.

Good clickbait: Teases something that does happen in the video, but with an exciting twist.

“Your titles don’t need to be clickbaity, but they do need to generate an element of curiosity,” Rob says.

7. You Need Lots of Videos to Get YouTube Subscribers

It’s not so much the quantity of videos you create, but the quality. If people love your videos, they'll subscribe to see more of them.

“We’ve seen examples of channels that have made one or two videos and already they’re getting thousands of subscribers and millions of views,” Rob says.

For example, Conaticus, a new channel about computer programming, has only made 15 videos in the past eight months. But this creator has already amassed 24,000 subscribers and 1.7 million views.

8. Posting YouTube Shorts Will Hurt Your Channel

This myth seems logical at first glance. If people came to see long-form videos, why would they suddenly watch your Shorts?

Well, we’re happy to reveal that Shorts will not hurt your channel. In fact, they could help you get more views on long-form videos.

YouTube recently updated its algorithm, and the big change was to start recommending long-form videos to Shorts viewers. So if you create a popular Short, YouTube might recommend your longer videos to those same viewers — a huge benefit for all creators.

9. All YouTube Revenue Comes from Video Views

There are plenty of ways to make money on YouTube, and not all of them have to do with video views.

Other opportunities include:

  • Channel Memberships: Selling exclusive content to super fans every month.
  • YouTube Premium: Collecting revenue when a YouTube Premium subscriber watches your content.
  • YouTube Shorts Fund: Getting a monthly bonus that ranges from $100 to $10,000 (roughly) when your Shorts perform well.
  • Merchandise Shelf: Selling branded merchandise from your channel profile and watch pages.
  • Super Chats and Stickers: Collecting money from viewers when you go live.
  • Super Thanks: Accepting small “tips” on regular videos.
  • Brand deals and sponsorships: Having brands pay you to advertise their services in your content.
  • Affiliate revenue: Receiving a sales commission when viewers make a purchase using your affiliate link.

10. Subscriber Count Has a Significant Impact on YouTube Revenue

While some larger channels do make more money, it’s not always because they have more subscribers. What matters most is the topic someone covers on their channel — their YouTube niche.

Just like in the business world, certain industries command more money than others. Those areas tend to be investing, real estate, online marketing, health, insurance, business, and similar industries. Not much is different on YouTube.

“You have to start to learn YouTube CPM — the amount you make per 1,000 views. It’s influenced by the topic you’re making videos about, where those videos are being watched on YouTube, and the time of the year,” Rob says.

If you want to learn more, read this post about YouTube CPM (cost per mille) and how it affects your revenue.

11. Small Channels Can’t Make Money on YouTube

This couldn’t be further from the truth.

Even if you’re not in the YouTube Partner Program, you can start making money right now. You don’t have to wait until you have 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of watch time to qualify. There’s still the option to get brand deals, collect affiliate revenue, sell products outside of YouTube, and more.

You might make more money outside of the Partner Program anyway.

“Recently we spoke to a creator who had just monetized. They landed their first brand deal and earned way more than all of the ad revenue they’d earned in six months. And that’s because they pitched themselves to the right brand knowing the problems they could solve for their audience,” Rob says.

Ready to get your first brand deal? Here are 10 mistakes to avoid when pitching companies by email.

12. To Get on the YouTube Trending List, You Must Post at a Specific Time

This myth is harmful because it focuses on an imaginary concept. Realistically, there’s no set “window of time” where videos start trending.

“YouTube’s not that antiquated. It’s not looking at the video content once every 24 hours…. The truth is that the trending list is revised every 15 minutes. So you could post your video at any point in the day, and if it’s being picked up by a large audience, it could start to trend,” Rob says.

Let your audience be your north star, not the YouTube trending list. That way, you’ll post videos when your subscribers are online and ready to watch videos.

Grow Your YouTube Channel by Serving Your Audience

How does it feel to know that one bad video won’t ruin your channel? Or that video length isn’t as critical as you once thought?

Ultimately, viewers just want the content they’re looking for. So hopefully you feel lighter after learning 12 myths you don’t need to focus on!