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YouTube Opinion What does "subscribe" actually mean? Other than being a bookmark reminder

Beanie Draws

Mythical Poster
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So I got to thinking thanks to another question of "how do I get more people to subscribe" and it made me think back to when I was a consumer of content only, long before I decided to start a channel, and I asked myself "why did I subscribe to people?"

The answer was always that I wanted to be reminded of when someone released new videos. Essentially all that "subscribe" is, is "remind me"

For the creator, it's a vanity flex to make you feel good that you've achieved a goal, a number... but for your audience, at the end of the day, all the "subscribe" button is, is a reminder. It reminds your audience when you next post your video, it does nothing more than that. If someone random sees your video being suggested, or even if your video comes up as a result from a search, they don't see your subscriber number, and THEN as an audience member, the only reason they'd subscribe is if they enjoyed your content so much, that they want to watch another 10 videos into the future... BUT they don't actually have to hit subscribe to do that. There's some channels that I don't have to be subscribed to if I want to see their content, but if I were to subscribe, all that does for me is it adds their future videos in my subscriber feed in among ALL the other channels I've done the same for, so other than a brief email of mobile notification (if they've even decided to opt in for that up) the only time that subscribe reminder benefits your audience, is if they happen to check their subscription feed, and you just happen to have a video in there at the time they're checking... so even IF someone has subscribed to you... you're STILL competing for time among the other channels that your audience is subscribed to as well.

If someone sees that I've uploaded at the same time as Jazza and Drawfee, and my audience is subscribed to all of them... they might just choose to watch those other channels instead. If they are that interested, they might come back to my channel later if they even want to or remember to.

So keep that in mind. "Subscribe" essentially is just a reminder, a reminder for your audience to come back next time if they feel like it, that's all. So if you really want them to hit subscribe, give them a good compelling reason why they should remember to come back.
 

Damo’s Paintings

Extremely Well-Known Member
TubeBuddy User
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Another well written article, that’s pretty much what a subscription is, to remind those that are on it about the latest.

I do have a feeling a lot of viewers still forget about that notification bell, the fact that they leave it on personalized and not all.
 

kitchen c/o ammama

Distinguished Poster
TubeBuddy User
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I agree with @Beanie Draws & @Damo’s Paintings ! Thank you for the post!!

From my experience with "Subscribe"... Yes ! It's a reminder ! But Bell Icon plays equally important role.

People subscribe to many channels these days and then without the notification bell icon , it's not easy.

Even If you subscribe to a channel and then you stop seeing their content , gradually your homepage stops recommending their content . In that case, the Bell Icon should help to pull towards the channel. There are cases were notification is filled up with updates and you will forget to check out that also.

Subscription is a easy Probability to make your channel get connected to the audience.

Bell Icon is easier Probability to make your channel get connected to the audience.

At the end, once your audience gets out of touch... the probability will be again back to difficult level.

That's why one needs to keep posting videos regularly.

And ending with one note View > Subscribers. Even one does not subscribe , they can be your regular viewer.

I just added my thoughts :)
 

kitchen c/o ammama

Distinguished Poster
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I’m just wondering how many of them actually get notifications from my updates.
Mee too !!! I have few relatives who are interested in watching our content. Suddenly one day they pop up " We have not seen any of your videos recently ".

I was like " Have you subscribed? "

They "Yes! The last time I saw your video was 2 weeks back ."

Me in my mind " How is it possible that they missed my videos on their homepage ??? "

They " We were little busy since last 2 weeks. We did not get time to see youtube properly"

Me " Oh ! it's ok .. I will send you the links ".

Well.. Since you were busy and did not watch my videos for few days , Youtube assumed that you are not interested ??? Now, what happened the effort of asking them to Subscribe (and still they don't get notified) ? How should I let them know ?
 

Deciden0w

Active Member
TubeBuddy Pro
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savagebutsimple.business.site
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Interesting topic! I have also been wondering the same thing when it comes to reminding our subscribers. What if they don't frequent YouTube that much, how are they supposed to keep up to date with our videos?

I also believe that the notification has been disabled completely
 
OP
OP
Beanie Draws

Beanie Draws

Mythical Poster
2,881
27
www.youtube.com
Subscriber Goal
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Mee too !!! I have few relatives who are interested in watching our content. Suddenly one day they pop up " We have not seen any of your videos recently ".

I was like " Have you subscribed? "

They "Yes! The last time I saw your video was 2 weeks back ."

Me in my mind " How is it possible that they missed my videos on their homepage ??? "

They " We were little busy since last 2 weeks. We did not get time to see youtube properly"

Me " Oh ! it's ok .. I will send you the links ".

Well.. Since you were busy and did not watch my videos for few days , Youtube assumed that you are not interested ??? Now, what happened the effort of asking them to Subscribe (and still they don't get notified) ? How should I let them know ?
I'm noticing sometimes it's got to do with the device more than YouTube it'self. My phone sometimes won't send me a notification that someone has published or went live until much later, sometimes hours later. Some phones will only show 3 or so of the most recent notifications on your notification screen, some will show all of them, and of course, sometimes phone OS updates will change that. Sometimes you can have notifications sent via email, but basically with the notification system on mobile anyway, it's partially up to luck that you see the notification when it's sent out, otherwise it can sometimes get lost in the other notifications sent.

And of course, there are some notification that just don't get sent out at all and I won't see a video until it's suggested on my home page 4 days later. So it's pretty unreliable and inconsistent. But of course "the notification system works" at this point I've just resigned to the fact that it's just a matter of luck if I'll get notifications for other channels or not.
 

Kari B

Well-Known Member
TubeBuddy User
267
13
Subscriber Goal
100000
I used to have books with bits of toilet paper poking out because I liked to read in the bath and never had a proper bookmark handy.
I have a few channel bells turned on, but not all because I only follow about 20-30 people and check my subscriptions page daily, my son follows over 200 channels and I have no idea how he keeps up with all their videos, even with bells. There have been occasions when I'm looking through my feed for something to watch and I see a video I missed from a week or so ago, but it might also have been that when they posted I wasn't interested or I was busy and wouldn't have watched it then anyway.
My watch later folder is full of a variety of different videos that I want to watch another time but I haven't subbed to that person's channel and if I subscribe to a new channel I often go through their back catalog and watch their old videos. This is what frustrates me about questions like 'How can I get more subscribers quickly'? subscribers are much more than just a number and if you get one they could go on to watch all of your back videos - I'm currently working my way through someone's 500+ old videos.
I wonder what YT will bring out in a year or so to help us all stay connected now that there are so many videos and creators, subbing used to be enough, now we need bells, maybe in the future videos will automatically be implanted in our minds as we sleep or travel in our driverless cars.
 

Legacy

Very Well-Known Member
TubeBuddy Pro
364
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For me, I subscribe to channels to show my support for the channels that I enjoy. Some of the channels I'm subscribed to, one of the main reasons I subscribed to them is because I like the person behind the channel's personality and like who they are as a person. It also does help to be notified of when they upload new videos so that I can watch them when I get a chance.