Why YouTube won’t tell how the YouTube Algorithm works

Why YouTube won’t tell how the YouTube Algorithm works play video
Written by: Dexxter Clark
In the first few years of YouTube, most viewers came from other platforms, like facebook.
So if you wanted to get views, you basically had to be big on Facebook.

You could get organic views via YouTube.
But back then Youtube promoted only the videos that got a lot of views, which in their turn therefore gained even more views and more popularity.
That is super hard to get a foot in the door as a new creator.

So to get views, creators started to exploit the system.
For example, if you lied in your title, thumbnail and tags about the contents of the video, you gained more views, so that’s what you did.

That caused 2 major problems:
1) First, YouTube was dependent on traffic from other platforms like facebook.
If Facebook would pull the plug, which they eventually did, YouTube would miss out on views and thus ad money.

2) viewers where increasingly unhappy and left the platform or didn’t even come to the platform in the first place.
But that meant that they didn’t see more ads, which is youtube’s entire business model.

Something had to be done.

Viewer satisfaction: new norm
Viewer satisfaction became the norm for organic promotion on youtube, instead of views.
In 2012 or 2015 (sources contradict) YouTube adopted artificial intelligence algorithms of Google, called Google brain.

That viewer satisfaction is measured by
1) how often do people click on a thumbnail
2) How long people watch a video
3) How much engagement a video got, the amount of comments, shares and likes on a video.

This killed 2 birds with one stone:
1) YouTube wasn’t dependent on other platforms, because their recommendations meant that people stayed.
2) it kept viewers longer on the platform, because it promoted only videos that viewers actually watched and deemed to be good.

Lesson learned
YouTube had learned the hard way that creators abusing the system, inflicts harm on the whole ecosystem.
So not telling everyone exactly how things work, you just to protect the platform.

But there is a bit more sinister reason for it.
And therefore I need to explain a bit about computer algorithms

A.I. is different
With a traditional algorithm, a programmer needs to think of a solution, translate that into a step-by-step instructions in a programming language, which is translated to language that only a computer can understand.
But with artificial Intelligence, the A.I. IS the algorithm that is already coded and translated to a language only a computer can understand.

The programmer tells the A.I. the goal, for YouTube this would be “more watch time” and some parameters like average view duration and CTR.
The algorithm figures out the solution, instead of the programmer.
The more data you feed the A.I. the more you train the AI, the more reliable the results become.

This is why you need to make at least 100 videos on your channel.
Because you are literally training the algorithm that you can contribute to the goal of getting more watch time.
You need to prove with the majority of your videos that you can gain more watch time than the competition.

The dark side of A.I. Algorithms is: that YouTube itself doesn’t know how “the algorithm” works either, because like I said, it is a language only a computer understands.
As a programmer, you can only tweak the parameters and the goal if the outcome isn’t desirable.

This is one of the reasons why self driving cars takes so long to develop.
It has to make potentially life-taking decisions, you want to make sure it makes the right decisions every single time.

Subscribers in the new age.
But why do you need subscribers if the A.I. is so accurate?
The truth is: you don’t
Subscribers are a vanity metric, an ancient relique of a forgotten past without A.I.

In the new A.I. age, we talk about returning viewers instead of subscribers.
That purple line in your YouTube Analytics [broll]
Because returning viewers is a garantuee that viewers get you watch time, not someone clicking on a red button 3 years ago.

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photo author dexxter clark
Dexxter Clark
Music Producer / YouTuber

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