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YouTube Promotions Will Kill Your Channel

Here's when you should and shouldn't use them.

YouTube promotions had brought me from 50 subscribers to 6610 on my personal channel and from 3977 subscribers to 10,600 on Geek Peek.

I regret it.

Let’s dive into why.

These Subscribers Aren’t Necessarily My Target Audience

The Subscriber growth from a YouTube “engagement” promotion has been huge. While I specifically asked for the subscribers to be English Speakers, my demographics page for my personal channel indicates otherwise.

Image: Oren Cohen’s Channel demographics.

It’s not my intention to offend any Bangladeshi person. I honestly don’t know what these demographics mean going forward.

Whenever you have a true breakout video, people start following you and then consume your other videos, too. A promotion works similarly but without the community aspect. Your other videos are dead, while that one video keeps getting views and subscribers. My analytics for that particular video indicate it hasn’t even been watched to the end.

Image: Promoted video watch analytics.

You can see that even in the first 30 seconds, only 14% of viewers are still watching. That video had a total of around 26k views. Of those 26k views, only 3640 viewers chose to stay, and they left soon after.

This isn’t to say the promotion ruined my views, but rather that the video was not good enough to keep people’s attention. And that’s the main takeaway for me about this whole ordeal.

Promotions Should Complement Existing Growth

When you see a video take off on its own because it’s being recommended, you probably want to boost it with promotions. Promotions often help you create results you shouldn’t be getting on your own. And if you were good enough, you wouldn’t use Promotions in the first place.

But I had to try and see how it worked.

I can tell you now that my channel doesn’t feel like it deserves 6000 subscribers. Many of them don’t even click on the videos when presented with them, which drowns my chances of getting discovered even more.

Let’s say I don’t intend to become a local Bangladeshi superstar any time soon.

Engagement is Still The Same

Before I started the Promotions experiment, I was getting about 5-10 views on each video. Now, after a whole week of having 6600 subscribers, I can confidently say nothing has changed.

I still get only a handful of views on each episode, and that’s probably on me. That’s why it’s so important to come to YouTube with an open mind and prepare to learn from what works and what doesn’t. Once you have organic data, you can learn from your mistakes and double down on what does work.

There’s Still a Bright Side to Using Promotions

YouTube Promotions is an official YouTube tool. You activate it from inside YouTube Studio. That means these subscribers were not acquired in a shady manner. Whatever you say about your videos and whether people will keep watching them, the subscribers you got from the promotion are real people seeing you on their homepage or in recommended videos.

And yes, you deserve those subscribers - but it’s all about the views anyway.

Every year, YouTube lowers the subscriber count needed for monetization because it knows views are the most important aspect of being a YouTuber. You'll win if you learn how to get and keep people’s attention, and the number of subscribers you have is just a little bonus.

What Next?

Well, I’m conducting a 30-day Podcasting Challenge on my YouTube channel. If you’re on my list but not subscribed to the channel, I hope you’ll consider subscribing to either the YouTube channel or my podcast.

What have you been up to? Let me know in a reply or comment below. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy your weekend!

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