The internet is ever evolving with people finding more opportunities to use it to their advantage. There’s education, entertainment, and now, monetization.

Nowadays, more and more people are finding revenue through online means. Whether it’s through Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and even YouTube, these websites have proven to be viable avenues of revenue.

True enough, these “social” sites have elevated to be more than just platforms for establishing connections among friends, families, and communities online regardless of where they are in the world. They now have become tools for brands to expand their reach and understand the language of their customers better and serve them the same.

But for it to bring money on the table, you have to first work on establishing a relevant and satisfying user experience with the content you bring in. Remember that viewer satisfaction may translate to sales, and continuously working on this element will increase brand loyalty.

Apart from engaging content, the key to success in each of these websites – and probably many others – is the understanding of how the sites’ specific algorithm works.


An algorithm is a specific set of rules or instructions that programs to get certain tasks done. These algorithms are everywhere around us, and many people actually interact with them, whether they know it or not.

These algorithms not only dictate the viewing experience of people at these platforms, but also the success of those who use these sites for revenue.

Algorithms continuously evolve and sometimes, we won’t be informed until we experience the changes ourselves. But gladly, larger websites inform the public so that both personal users and businesses can make the necessary preparations and brace for impact. 

If you are a business utilizing multiple platforms, you must stay on top of these changes. More so, in understanding how algorithms work in gathering data and capturing the interest of your viewers. These are foundational especially if you use it for revenue generation.   

In order to illustrate the algorithm in action, let’s take Facebook as an example. As a user, the Facebook algorithm takes various criteria from a person’s daily usage. These are called ranking signals. Depending on these signals, as well as how entertaining a post is, certain posts come up more on a person’s feed than others.

Now,  rankings are important since they translate to visibility. The higher you are up there in the search results, the more people will click on you. You create an idea that you are the best person or company for the job. This is also a signal for the algorithm to identify your relevance and dominance in your niche.

If a person or company were using Facebook to market their businesses or products, it would benefit them greatly in tailor fitting their posts to specific criteria in order to reach a bigger set of their target audience. This would in turn ensure more success for their business.

The same thing can be said for YouTube. The algorithm for the video creation and viewing website plays a pivotal role in everyone’s experience. In a website where subscriptions, views, and likes count as currency, understanding the YouTube algorithm to get more views should be the main priority for the content creators of the site.

Fortunately, we have the insider information on how the YouTube algorithm works and how you can make it work to your advantage.


Before we understand how the YouTube algorithm works, it may be in our best interest to understand how the algorithm first came about and its evolution up until today. This may shed some light on what the site deems important to recommend videos.

COUNTING CLICKS (2005 – 2012)

YouTube exploded onto the scene approximately 15 years ago in 2005. Back then, YouTube is mainly used as a sharing video platform and a source of entertainment for many. Videos aren’t monetized yet back then and competition isn’t as stiff.

Throughout the initial years, popularity was the name of the game for the algorithm. The videos that were featured and recommended prominently were the ones that were being clicked often.

From 2005 to 2012, the seven year span focused on counting the number of clicks from the viewers. The more clicks, the more the spotlight shone on that specific video.

The logic was initially sound. If a video had many views and clicks, that meant that the content featured inside would be engaging and good. However, you can imagine the perceived problems from this algorithm approach.

The problem with counting clicks is that the initial marketing or presentation of the video could lead to very deceptive results. These days, the practice is called “clickbait”. Content creators make a thumbnail and title that would captivate and make people curious enough to click through.

When people eventually view this clickbait-y video, they would suddenly exit feeling disappointed.

Thus, you can say that there isn’t too much potential as far as revenue generation is concerned from YouTube. Its course is far from what it was now.

It took YouTube seven long years to realize that the number of clicks was not the way to go. They eventually realized that counting clicks did not equate to quality engagement. And in the same way, it is engagement that’s the key to its eventual booming success.


YouTube would eventually change up their algorithm game. At around this time, the YouTube team wanted to increase the engagement and interaction time with the community. They did so by introducing the Discovery section of YouTube as well as the algorithm rules.

Instead of counting clicks, YouTube started to count the time that people spent on watching certain videos or viewing duration. It’s still numbers, only that it is now more inclined to quality and engagement.

This move helped the YouTube team keep people on their platform while also improving how relevant the videos were that came out on users’ accounts.

Content creators will now have to shift to identifying the interests they want to capture and then focus their videos on them. This way, viewers will engage more, resulting in a higher view count.

At the same time, YouTube reached out to content creators and let them know that they didn’t need to create videos with the algorithm and policies in mind. Instead, their advice was just to create videos that they know people would want to watch, and something that screams “Subscribe to my channel!”.

MACHINE LEARNING (2016 – 2020)

Four years later, YouTube started utilizing machine learning for the platform’s recommendation system. In September of that year, several engineers from Google released a paper that would attempt to explain how the new machine learning would influence YouTube’s algorithm.

The paper is called Deep Neural Network for YouTube Recommendations and you can give it a quick read to see what they were talking about.

In the paper, the engineers started by explaining why they needed to update the algorithm. For starters, YouTube was starting to grow to a monster scale. The previous way of recommending videos may have been effective for its previous size, but it could not keep up with the current scale.

The next reason was that the number of new and fresh videos coming into YouTube each second needed to be responded at a similar rate. The new recommendation system had to take both the new videos and the users’ new behaviors into account.

Finally was the historical behavior of the user. For YouTube, it was hard to come to any conclusions from historical user behavior due to the fact that there were many unseen factors in play.

Now let’s move onto the meat and potatoes of how this new machine learning algorithm worked. The system as a whole is made up of two neural networks, namely the candidate generation and ranking. Both of these neural networks are built with a little help from the user’s history and context of their actions.

Candidate generation looks at the history and activity of a user. From there, they come up with a small set of videos that the system thinks should be recommended.

Afterwards, the ranking neural network assigns a score to each video. This then provides a “best” list of videos that can be recommended to the users.

This is a very condensed version of the machine learning process. If you are interested in learning more, we invite you to check out the article.

While the paper only talks about the new algorithm’s process on a high level, we can gleam that YouTube is honing in and reinforcing the satisfaction of the users in order to create a stream of videos that will garner and keep attention for hours.

This sort of feedback loop is what is currently being used today. The algorithm observes the user’s actions very closely. With that information, it recommends certain videos and continuously does it to ensure that people stay on the platform for as long as possible.



Let’s start off our tips to getting more views on YouTube by recommending that a channel stick to a prescribed format. People can identify and describe many famous YouTube channels in a manner of seconds.

For instance, IGN tackles video game news and features. Vice is a journalism channel that tackles stories that are on the fringes of society. First We Feast is a celebrity interview channel where people eat spicy chicken wings.

All of these channels follow a format and cover a specific set of topics. These become the channel’s identity and many successful channels stick to this way of doing things. In fact, many YouTubers who upload everything to one channel have a hard time finding success.

You’ll find many YouTubers that create multiple channels to host different types of content.

The consistent presentation of a specific set of topics allows for channel owners to not only grow their content, but also a niched audience.

Niched content allows for a community-based following. There is personalization (like evoking a signature style) and a great chance to harvest quality subscribers that are actually engaging with and watching the content.

Influencers work around this strategy. They project an image of credibility through personalized content or something that’s within their industry. This raises the bar of their knowledge to the point that their personal insights and ideas will be much respected. 

Popular content niches include food and places to travel. This is a good niche to work around since you can serve a wider target audience. 

In the same way, providing niched content can help you attain a certain level of expertise in the eyes of your audience. By sharing a lot of relevant content, you can guide people to understand a certain topic immensely. This will lead you to become a go-to person for information, improving your reputation and credibility in the process. You will surely ace the surveys. 

Once you gained a significant amount of traffic, the algorithm may take this as a signal that you are a quality content contributor, which may help rise your channel in the ranks.

The good thing here is that if a specific video from a channel goes viral, then it sparks interest in videos of a similar nature. It could then lead users down the rabbit hole of your other YouTube videos.

As an additional tip, if you have multiple videos on different topics, you can find video editing software that not only helps you edit your videos, but also uploads them to any of your specific YouTube channels.


Let’s not make the mistake in thinking that the click count is not important anymore. YouTube only pushed the viewing duration signal in order to do away with clickbait-y videos.

One good step to increase the click count is by focusing on the thumbnails of your videos. A well-done thumbnail can do wonders for the clickthrough conversion rate. Just a glance on the screen as you go through the playlists should magnetize your audience to click your video.  

If you go through YouTube now, you’ll see a lot of videos that sport thumbnails with people’s emotive faces and look in the eye. This is considered a very effective way of getting your video clicked on. The reason being is that these close ups can show very nuanced emotions.

Furthermore, this approach leverages the fact that people respond well to human faces. Finally, a study by Netflix has shown that faces that have expressive emotions outdo those that have none. The threshold for the effective number of faces on a thumbnail is three.

If you aren’t comfortable with your face or want to do something different, you can also place thumbnails that have something happening on it. Bear in mind though that these aren’t just generic acting shots. These are action shots that can elicit an emotional response.

There are tons of other best practices that you can do on your thumbnails. For instance, you should follow the rule of thirds in photography. It is a composition method that ensures that the photo is made in a pleasing way.

You can also add text to your thumbnails and even brand the thumbnails to your channel’s branding.


We know for a fact that videos need descriptions to guide viewers on the content they are about to watch. They could be a video transcript or an enticing narrative of some surprise at the end. 

Marketers may also embed a link to a merchandise page or a website’s landing page. It is important that utilize this space and the traffic it generates to your advantage.

Meanwhile, you can also put subtitles or captions on the video itself to allow your audience to view the content with discretion. They can just simply read the text without the audio.

And don’t forget relevant hash tags for keyword indexing.

Many people think that the descriptive text under the video is just a place to put all the social media information. The truth is that this description contributes greatly to helping the algorithm get your video recommended.

Right at the start of the description text, ensure that it is clear and loaded with focused keywords. The same goes with the titles, aside from being enticing to be clicked. This is your fool-proof template to maximizing the space there.

A few tips to follow are that the description should be written in a natural way, and not one that takes all the keywords and forces them in. Another tip is to take one or two keywords and focus on them. Repeat them throughout the description.

A good understanding of YouTube’s SEO practices will benefit you greatly here.


The normal saying goes, “Quality, not quantity.” However, in YouTube’s case, quality and quantity go hand in hand. If you are chasing success, the frequency of uploads and the quality of each video play a very important role.

Posting well-made videos very often can help make the algorithm put you on the spotlight of the front page.

And of course, your human viewers can very well discern what’s quality from not. This will be evident in the comments, the growing subscriber count, the high number of shares, and being in the trending tab.

The question now though is whether or not you can handle the load. Creating good quality content is no easy feat. Doing so in a consistent and quick-paced manner is doubly hard. If you think it is achievable, go for it.

An alternative is to set a fixed schedule for the video series you are creating. Letting the users know that these videos drop on certain sets of days will keep them on their toes and aware.

Content creation requires setting your priorities in all aspects, especially when you are alone doing everything by yourself. Whether you are doing a written or video blog, there is a lot of work involved, especially now that the competition is getting stiffer and the viewers’ tastes are more discerning.

Though viewers may be harder on celebrities in terms of demanding regular content. This is why they usually hire a team to handle the content creation for them, at least, the brainstorming, editing, and uploading stuff.


Another effective tip that we have is to constantly interact with your community. YouTube videos have a comment section where users can share their thoughts and reactions to your video. Take some time and interact with the users here.

This interaction is also a good signal for the algorithm to see whether you are engaging with your audience. However, it must be noted though that the algorithm is watching closely and can see whether or not you are interacting with your community genuinely, or just doing it for the sake of it.

If your channel gets too big and it gets too time-consuming to reply to all the comments, you can opt to create a thank you video instead.


Measuring your success on YouTube does not just rely on likes, shares, and views. Since we are talking about machine learning, that is YouTube analytics, you should also use key performance metrics (KPIs) that are aligned with how the algorithm does it. This is important especially when you are aiming for millions for your numbers. 

You should also keep an eye on the dislikes. When some viewers disapprove of your content or views, this is an opportunity to self-check and welcome criticisms, constructively. Like other KPIs, this is also an important barometer of your success. The sophistication of analytics can help you understand your audience more so you can deliver satisfying results.

YouTube’s algorithm has changed over the years. Like everything, it will most likely continue to change and roll with the times.

With every change in YouTube’s algorithm, it is best that you stay abreast of any changes and understand them so that you can apply them to your content creation.

However, even if the algorithm were to keep changing, you must remember that you and YouTube’s goals have always been aligned.

Both you and YouTube want to garner as much views from your video content as possible. You also want to have the users stay on the platform and watch your videos.

With the goals staying the same, the one thing that you need to focus on is creating quality content for your users. If you have mastered that, then learning everything else will be a cinch.

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