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9 Common Reasons Why You Might Be Losing YouTube Subscribers

Published August 10, 2023

Subscribers are the key to any YouTuber’s success. Sure, you might be making the most elaborate, high-production videos that even put television programs to shame. But without engagement from the viewers, the algorithm will not be promoting them. As a result, your channel will be just one of tens of millions on the platform that experiences little to no growth.

Now, getting people to subscribe is hard enough, especially with such fierce competition on the platform. However, there’s another, much more serious problem looming over anyone who produces video content. Namely, you can always face a very real possibility of losing your existing subscribers.

But why does it happen? Why do people suddenly unsubscribe from your channel, and what can you do about it? In this article, we provide you with a list of potential reasons behind this worrying trend.

#Deletion of Fraudulent Accounts

Considering the size of YouTube, it’s not unexpected to run into fraudulent accounts, most of them being spam profiles and bots. In fact, this issue has been so prevalent that YouTube continues to employ new tactics to tackle it. One of these tactics involves auditing and deletions within 24 hours of a channel appearing.

With that in mind, it’s inevitable that some of your own “subscribers” are really throwaway bot accounts that don’t really engage organically. So, a loss of several subscribers per day is expected. In fact, the bigger the channel is, the more likely it is to lose dozens, even hundreds, of bots daily.

Out of all the reasons you’re about to read, this one is the most benevolent and actually works to your benefit. After all, you’re not responsible for attracting false accounts to your page. Furthermore, by getting rid of these frauds, YouTube is helping you cultivate an organic audience of followers. In other words, while the platform is getting rid of false subscribers, they are slowly being replaced by real ones, i.e., people who reached your channel either through the algorithm or via word of mouth. These new, active users will like, comment, and share your stuff, which will, in turn, boost your channel’s metrics and help it grow.

#Viewer Fatigue

A fairly recent phenomenon, viewer fatigue, refers to the general loss of interest in a particular type of media. This type of fatigue is not unique to YouTube, of course. Even before the Internet, people felt various kinds of media fatigue. That’s why different film and television genres either surge or wane in popularity, depending on the zeitgeist. As an example, the trending blockbusters are almost exclusively superhero or science fiction movies. However, 70 years ago, it was the Westerns that were dominating the silver screen, much like film noir did before them.

The worst part about viewer fatigue, in particular, is that it happens no matter what you do to combat it. Sometimes, viewers are simply tired of the YouTube channels they subscribed to a while ago and seek out something else, though they may still like the content or the creator. Even if you upgrade everything production-wise, you will still not win over someone experiencing this phenomenon. Luckily, you can always attract fresh viewers to replenish the pool, so to speak.

#Outgrowing Your Videos

How many of you remember Fred? What about The Annoying Orange? Both of these channels used to be huge, but nowadays, few people, if any, even mention their creators. That’s because the content they produced was mostly high-energy, loud, kid and teen-friendly videos that don’t really resonate with an older audience. In other words, you may have loved them as a kid, but once you hit adulthood, they simply stopped being amusing to you.

This particular trend is not unique to any YouTuber. Even some of the heavy hitters like PewDiePie and Philip DeFranco started off with more hectic, juvenile content. However, they have since transitioned into serious topics as they grew older. When a channel no longer speaks to the core demographic, the subscribers will abandon it in search of something more mature and relevant.

Fortunately, there is something you can do to combat all of this. Namely, shift focus and start producing videos that acknowledge the growth of your existing user base. Aim for high-brow content with lots of data and quality editing. Show your subscribers that you care, and they will continue to follow you.

#Seeking Content of Higher Quality

With so many channels on the platform for nearly every niche, YouTube has become insanely competitive. Hundreds of millions of videos are vying for viewer attention, and if you’re out of the loop for even a week, you’ll be left in the digital dust. Let’s take restoration channels as an example. If you are a follower of Odd Tinkering, Hand Tool Rescue, or Wristwatch Revival, you only need to look at your recommended videos. You will see dozens upon dozens of channels dealing with the restoration of old items, and not all of them will have high-tier content. But the quantity is there, and it continues to grow.

Subscribers have a limited amount of attention when it comes to interests and the people they choose to follow. And if they want to watch something that is in their wheelhouse, they’ll hone in on it and ignore the rest. In YouTube terms, that means they’ll focus on the channels that produce the best, most consistent type of content and unsubscribe from the others. Once again, you can combat this by keeping up and consistently posting high-tier videos. As difficult as it may be, it will keep your channel afloat for years.

#Meandering Between Niches

Again, we have to stress that people who watch YouTube tend to limit their attention to specific interests. So, if you are a restoration content creator, it’s probably wise to stick to restoration alone. However, lots of people try their hand at different niches, i.e., unboxing videos, political discussions, animation reviews, and podcasting, all on one channel.

That type of meandering is not suitable for a content creator. Not only is this an overload of information for any YouTube subscriber, but it also comes off as unprofessional, amateurish even. Therefore, focus on one or maybe two topics on your channel and produce content that reflects your decision.

#Using Sub4Sub

To the uninitiated, Sub4Sub is a system where you get someone to subscribe to your channel in exchange for you subbing to them. Usually, people download an app that helps them find like-minded YouTubers willing to go through the exchange.

The immediate benefits of using Sub4Sub are obvious — you get a lot of subscribers easily, and your channel grows. However, one major drawback is the fact that 99% of these subscribers will never watch a single video you put out. In time, they will likely unsub, and your efforts in getting them will be wasted. Therefore, it’s always a better idea to focus on getting subscribers organically than to use quick-fix solutions like Sub4Sub.

#Stale, Non-Topical Content

Let’s say that you’re a content creator that really likes the show Friends. In fact, you like it so much that you produce videos about it on a weekly basis. And yet, your subscriber count doesn’t seem to be growing. Rather, the opposite happens, and it keeps going down.

Well, that might be due to the fact that Friends is a show that ended in the early 2000s. In other words, it’s non-topical, and people on YouTube simply do not care for it. It could also be the fact that you overfocus on the show and churn out videos that are too similar to one another in both terms of content and production value. At this point, you might want to explore an additional niche and pick a different method of editing your videos.

#Inconsistent Upload Schedule

Big YouTubers post content weekly, even daily. The ones that post less evenly, i.e., once a month, normally do high-production, long-form videos that require time to produce. And even then, they actively keep their viewers posted about their progress on social media or relevant crowdfunding websites. More to the point, despite them uploading sparingly, they still maintain a schedule.

If you happen to have a variable upload rate, your subscribers will start abandoning your channel. After all, if they don’t see a new video from you every now and again, they have no reason to stick around. With that in mind, make sure to always provide them with some kind of update. It can be a full video, a YouTube Short, or even an occasional live stream. Of course, keep the content in line with your specific niche and engage with your audience as much as possible.

#Poor Interaction With Your User Base

Sadly, it happens far too often that creators interact negatively with their subscribers, with some famous examples involving DSPGaming and WingsofRedemption. It can be anything, from publicly calling them out in videos to arguing with them in the comment section or on social media.

If there’s one thing you must never do as a content creator, it’s to antagonize your audience. If they act toxic or do something immoral or illegal, do the right thing and either report or block them. But don’t do anything that will result in subscribers hating you. Not only will they unsubscribe, but they can go a step further and create content that goes after you directly. And a bad reputation can outright kill a successful YouTube channel.

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Written By:
Jessica is a writer who specializes in social media, marketing, and digital strategy. She is a graduate of Antioch College and earned her MBA at Boston College’s Carroll Graduate School of Management, specializing in STEM Management. Her work has been published in numerous academic journals and mainstream publications. She lives in New England with her husband, two children, and three dogs.
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