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Ruth Fishwick

YouTube: A change to the algorithm?

The YouTube community has been hit where it hurts lately with many popular vloggers witnessing a decline in their subscribers. The followers of the online stars are also reporting that they can no longer see vloggers’ featured content in their newsfeed.

The issue was first reported in the US with popular vloggers reporting a loss in followers, but it appears that the issue has spread, with UK vloggers now also experiencing the same issue.

youtube: a change to the algorithm?

Many high profile vloggers, with subscriber counts exceeding 10k, are reporting that video views are declining and their subscriber count has dropped dramatically by up to 40%. Whilst YouTube is yet to confirm the reason for the drop, many think it could be down to a new algorithm on the platform.

Popular UK vloggers such as Inthefrow, who at the last count had 534k subscribers, has vented her frustration at the platform on social media, claiming subscribers are unable to view her content in their subscription boxes. Supporting the notion, Lydia Elise Millen, another popular YouTube star who recently celebrated reaching 200k, spoke out about the topic on her Twitter channel, reporting a huge decline in views with her YouTube analytics reporting zero vlog views in a 12 hour period.

The platform’s constantly changing algorithm is said to encourage the promotion of different types of content, but it appears that the changes have hurt both large and small content creators across the board.  It’s thought that the algorithm is designed to promote channels, rather than individual videos, but it uses videos to do so. This means many subscribers could be seeing past content from the last 12 months listed in their recommended videos, rather than new content.

By doing so, this allows YouTube to keep viewers on the platform for longer and by promoting channels, this hopefully entices viewers back for more. But how does this affect ‘new’ vloggers with smaller subscriber counts and video views? Well, due to the supposed change in algorithm and the decline of views, breakthrough vloggers are worried about their chances of growth and how they can ‘crack’ the algorithm to entice viewers and the platform to promote their content.

We’ve all witnessed the Zoella effect and how she’s monetised content and capitalised on growth and her demographic to create a viable business, but I wonder who will be the next Zoella? And, with the changes to the platform, will the next big vlogger receive enough views and subscribers to break the mould?

To get an insiders opinion on the changes, I spoke with vlogger Kirsty Dee who started to create content on the channel in 2016.

Speaking as a smaller YouTuber Kirsty said, “I started YouTube seriously in July 2016 and as a smaller YouTuber I found it hard to break through. Although I do think the change in algorithm could be of potential benefit. Being new (to YouTube) you won’t have lots of views until you build up a loyal following so watch time could potentially be very beneficial to newer, smaller channels.”

It’s thought that successful channels focus on one particular content area and by doing so, the YouTubers content regularly features in viewer’s newsfeeds.

With rumours that YouTube is planning to completely revamp the platform, changes are rife and we’re yet to see what the impact of the latest changes will have on popular and rising YouTube channels in the future.

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