Human brain loves numbers. We tend to quantify certain aspects of our lives to be able to make ‘objective’ judgements on where we stand in our household, our community, our society and the world at large. Things like popularity, success, ability, and self worth are just some of the concepts that the human race has attempted to put a number on for centuries.

Nowadays, the latest measure can be broadly defined as ‘an amount of people who give a crap about what you do every day,’ or simply put- followers. But as much as having an ‘impressive’ number of subscribers or followers strokes our egos and makes us feel good, it is not always an informative indicator of any of the above mentioned ‘achievements’.

Today, we’ll walk you through reasons why you can take a big breath, exhale and not stress too much over subscriber numbers on your YouTube channel and which metrics you might want to pay a closer attention to instead, to not only successfully grow your channel but also earn more revenue.

What are your goals?

First, as a creator you need to clearly define for what purpose you want to look at someone else’s, or your own subscriber count. What are you measuring? (tick all that apply)

  • Your ability to monetise content online
  • Your revenue potential
  • How many collaborations you participate in every year
  • How frequently you get approached by brands
  • Your own self worth and popularity (please don’t pick this one)
  • Other

If you are not planning to make YouTube your life’s career and are not approaching it from a business stand-point, maybe the purpose of your subscriber number can really just end at satisfying an ego itch and you can continue trying to grow it at all costs. But if you spend hours upon hours honing your content production craft and are maybe even relying on YouTube financially, you have to look at your subscriber count strategically and, in some situations, not worry too much about it.

Think about all the ways you can earn money on YouTube. There is ad revenue, sponsorships, brand deals, merchandise sales, Patreon, super chat, channel sponsorships, events, etc. The only revenue stream from this list that the number of subscribers actually matters for is the ad revenue, but even then the benchmark for unlocking monetisation through ads on YouTube is pretty low- 1,000 subs.

Grow with youtube

So technically, you should only really obsess over your subscriber count in that initial starting phase where you have got to unlock monetisation features to take your channel to a new level. After that though, there are way more important metrics that you should focus on to help you grow your YouTube channel. The fact that you also need 4,000 hours of watch time to be able to put ads on your YouTube videos, further drives the point across, doesn’t it?

What metrics to look at instead?

Now as for which metrics actually matter if you have grand plans for your YouTube channel, the best place to find them is the Analytics section of your Studio page and here we’ll cover just a couple to get you started (but if you want a more in-depth dive into this, just give us a shout!):

  1. Average view duration or how much of the video the viewers are watching. The reason it’s important is if people watch the majority of a video, the algorithm learns that this must be good content and that videos starts getting suggested across the platform, thus gaining more views.
  2. Click-through rate (CTR) or how many people who have been presented the video have clicked on it. This metric indicates how enticing the thumbnail and the title of the video are, which can give you clues about what your audience prefers to watch and click on.
  3. Cost per millie (CPM) or how much revenue you will generate from 1,000 views. Recently YouTube has introduced a newer version of this- the RPM, which you can read more about here.
  4. Suggested traffic sources or where what percentage of your audience finds your videos from them being suggested to them by the algorithm. This is an incredibly telling metric of how well your content is doing with the algorithm because the more your videos get suggested, the better the algorithm thinks they are.

Post Scriptum

Don’t get me wrong, do ‘subscribers’ as a metric not matter at all? Not entirely. You still get rewarded by YouTube for passing certain subscriber milestones (10k subs, 100k subs, 1 million subs, etc.) with a trendy looking button, which got a nice little face lift in the recent years. All you ‘old’ button holders, raise your hands!

All YouTube play buttons

After passing the 10k subs threshold you also gain access to a YouTube Space near you (if there is one in your country). Currently there are 7 YouTube Spaces around the world in Berlin, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and Tokyo. With that said, if you have over 100k subscribers you are able to unlock more perks at the said YouTube Spaces, so keep working hard for these sweet perks folks!

YouTube space