Lydia Sweatt is a writer, bookworm, and bass guitar enthusiast. When she goes outside, a bicycle goes with her.
6 Honest Reasons You Might Be Losing YouTube Subscribers
Convincing viewers to subscribe to your YouTube channel may be the hardest thing you’ll ever do. It takes time and effort to create unwavering loyalty among viewers, so of course, no one gains millions of subscribers overnight.
In fact, before that happens, you may ask viewers to ‘like, comment, and subscribe’ hundreds of times.
But once you get the number you’re looking for - several hundred, a thousand, or even hundreds of thousands - that’s going to feel amazing. All the hard work of starting a channel, sticking to a niche, and uploading consistently will finally be justified.
And guess what? Nothing will bring you down - not the army of bots spamming your videos with sub4sub comments, not even the discrepancy between public and private subscriber counts. Nothing will steal your joy except maybe, quite possibly, seeing a number like this on your channel analytics dashboard:
By the way, that’s how many subscribers our YouTube channel, vidIQ, has lost since joining the platform: 349,032.
But why does this happen? How can any creator lose so many subscribers on a free platform?
If you’re experiencing the same thing, don’t worry.
The relationship between creators and viewers is just like any other. It goes through changes, seasons of uncertainty, and sometimes it ends altogether. To prepare yourself for the impact of losing fans, watch our “Why Am I Losing Subscribers” video on YouTube:
As long as you’re gaining more subscribers than you’re losing, that’s a win. But if you need more proof, here are six reasons why all YouTube creators lose subscribers at some point:
1. You’ll Lose Subscribers when YouTube Deletes Fraudulent Accounts
It’s true. Now and then, YouTube audits your list of subscribers to track down annoying bots and spam accounts. This process includes some form of account verification, and if YouTube detects any suspicious activity, it may remove those accounts from your subscriber list or the platform altogether.
In the past, YouTube performed these audits three or four times a year, but the process is more nuanced today. Instead of waiting for bot and spam accounts to pile up through the year, YouTube audits accounts in real-time - or at least within 24 to 48 hours of you gaining new subscribers. That lets the platform remove illicit users as soon as they subscribe.
When YouTube purges these accounts from your channel, just know this: There's nothing to worry about, and it’s not your fault. Your subscriber count may decrease, but that just means your channel - and all of YouTube - is becoming a better place for viewers and creators alike. Here's some info on that topic:
2. Viewer Fatigue Can Make Fans Unsubscribe
Have you ever stopped watching your favorite YouTube channels for no particular reason, even though you enjoy the content?
If so, you’re not alone. Thousands of people experience viewer fatigue on YouTube, and if that feeling becomes too heavy, unsubscribing is just one way for viewers to reclaim their headspace.
Rob Wilson, our YouTuber in residence here at vidIQ, found himself in that exact predicament. In 2015, he fell in love with the work of filmmaker and storyteller Casey Neistat. Around 7 p.m. each night, he’d watch his daily vlogs after downing a cup of tea, which became his ritual for 18 months.
But one day, Casey decided he wouldn't upload daily vlogs anymore and took a break from YouTube. When he returned to the platform, he also decided to post non-vlog content every few days. All of that led to Rob watching less of Casey’s videos over time.
The interesting thing though, is that Rob maintained his subscription to Casey’s channel for quite a while. Only after seeing Casey’s videos constantly pop up, and realizing he was never going to watch them, did Rob finally hit unsubscribe.
3. Viewers Unsubscribe When They Outgrow Your Channel
If you’re subscribed to the vidIQ YouTube channel and watch our videos regularly, you know our value proposition to you. As you embark on the journey of mastering YouTube, we educate you on how to overcome the challenges of being a creator.
But does that mean we're going to educate you from zero subscribers to 100 million subscribers? Probably not.
It's not feasible to target every YouTuber - the beginners, the intermediate, the advanced - so we speak to one particular audience. Right now, those viewers have channels with less than 1,000 subscribers and 4,000 hours of Watch Time. Basically, they’re working toward content monetization on YouTube.
When you reach 50,000 subscribers and have already monetized your channel, your relationship with us could change. If we're honest, maybe the vidIQ channel is no longer for you when you’ve secured huge brand deals and sponsorships.
Always remember that your viewers are on a journey of self-discovery. They may outgrow your channel as their interests change, and that’s OK. There are more than 2 billion monthly users discovering new things on YouTube, and many of them will fall in love with your past, present, and future content.
4. Viewers Unsubscribe When You Don’t Post Evergreen Content
As a creator, you should understand the potential shelf life of the topics you cover.
For example, if you started a YouTube channel about fidget spinners back in 2016, where would you be now? Fidget spinners are still cool, but nobody's watching videos about them. And what about the cultural phenomenon that was “Game of Thrones"? The television series was popular on YouTube for 10 years, but unfortunately, the show ended.
I think ASMR is a good topic to evaluate too. It had phenomenal growth in the last five years, and prior to that, many of us didn't know what that abbreviation meant. Now it seems to be an ever-expanding universe with no end in sight. However, as a creator, you can’t be blindsided by its current popularity. There has to be an inflection point somewhere in the future where the topic plateaus or dips in popularity.
If there’s a trend you want to cover on YouTube, act fast, and enjoy the extra views and subscribers you may receive. Just keep in mind the probability of your audience unsubscribing when the trend inevitably dies.
5. YouTube is Competitive. Viewers May Unsubscribe to Watch a Better Channel
This is a bold statement, but probably true nonetheless: If we uploaded videos about YouTube growth education 10 years ago, we’d have millions of subscribers right now. That's because a decade ago, there were fewer YouTube education channels to compete with.
Because there are so many good channels today, including our own, the views and exposure in this niche are divided amongst several creators. So here’s a reminder for every YouTuber:
If you stand still, never seeking to improve your channel, someone better is going to take your audience.
It wasn't always this way. A decade ago, individual creators making content from their bedrooms dominated YouTube. But these days, YouTube is filled with traditional media companies who’ve taken the platform seriously, or new groups creating phenomenal channels run by skilled production teams. The world is realizing the power of video, so it's becoming increasingly difficult for individual creators to dominate YouTube.
It's possible, of course. Just extremely challenging.
To make sure your audience grows with you, do everything in your power to become a better content creator with each upload.
6. Viewers Unsubscribe When You Don’t Stick to One Niche
And now, let's talk about the one thing we always cover: the focus of your YouTube channel.
To start, here’s a scenario among viewers and creators that happens repeatedly. After watching one of your videos, new viewers will subscribe to your channel under the assumption that the video they watched reflects your entire channel.
But upon diving deeper, those viewers may realize your channel is all over the place. They may find gaming content, sports commentary, DIY challenges, and crafting videos during a five-minute scan. All those unrelated topics make it hard to know what a channel is really about.
To keep your audience, don't confuse them by uploading videos about many different topics.
Instead, try to stick to your channel’s niche. It’s OK to branch out a bit and even ride the wave of certain trends, but you should only do that when they align with your channel’s focus. We did a video on the simple mistakes creators often make on YouTube that includes advice on niching down on your content:
So, losing subscribers is a natural part of the YouTube journey. I would estimate that channels with a million subscribers have lost 100,000 along the way - and I'm probably being generous with that number.
Your current subscriber count is the number to pay attention to. If it keeps decreasing overall, analyze your YouTube data to see what’s going wrong and get yourself back on track.
Want To Make a Career on YouTube?
If you want to take your YouTube channel to the next level and get more views on YouTube then make sure to download vidIQ. Join over 1 million other users and use vidIQ to help you research YouTube, analyze videos, audit your own channel, and take actionable steps click here to install now!
And if you’re really serious about growing your YouTube views and subscribers, sign up for exclusive access to the vidIQ Academy and learn how to launch a successful YouTube Channel in just 30 days.