Content creators explain how to beat YouTube’s algorithm

When YouTube is your livelihood it’s understandably frustrating to find that your videos aren’t appearing for your subscribers, or that ads are being pulled from the videos your subscribers do see. 

Video creators have begun responding to Youtube’s watch-time-minded algorithm by extending their videos in order to increase watch time and feature more ads per video. 

Speaking with Digiday, YouTube comedian Cody Ko explained that the way to monetise YouTube now is “to take advantage of the power of the algorithm. Obviously, it preferences longer videos, throwing multiple mid-rolls in, which tons of people do now.”

YouTube’s algorithm has prioritised watch time since 2012, but the move by creators to upload longer videos (ranging, on average, from 12 to 16 minutes) “is very much correlated to over the last two years when YouTube switched the recommendation engine and search and discovery [to push new channels and creators to viewers],” Fine Brothers entertainment CEO Rafi Fine told Digiday

Fine elaborated on that point by explaining that YouTube has shifted towards prioritising videos that users are likely to click on – even from channels they don’t subscribe to. However, he believes that if creators can persuade YouTube that their audiences spend more time on the site to watch their longer videos, YouTube may begin promoting their videos again. 

Tips to beat YouTube’s algorithm:

  • Be mindful that the algorithm favours watch time
  • Create longer videos – 10 to 16 minutes is ideal
  • Check your viewership retention analytics to take fuller advantage of the mid-role ad option
  • When inserting mid-role ads, place them around the five or six minute mark