Discussion: Are YouTube Removing Subscribers?

Are YouTube removing subscribers?


Discussion Time


Are YouTube Removing Subscribers?



Recently I've been thinking about adding more variety to the content I post to my YouTube Channel. In recent years I've mainly used my channel to post book reviews but I want to include more topics related to books and blogging.

As a member of the BookTube community I'm always interested in knowing more about how YouTube algorithms work, and what other users are learning about the site. 


You might also like: 30 BookTubers You Need To Watch


Whilst on Twitter I came across a tweet discussing YouTube removing subscribers that haven't engaged with content. I had never heard of them doing this before and so decided to do some research into the matter.


tweet discussing YouTube removing subscribers that haven't engaged with content



YouTube answers the question Does YouTube automatically unsubscribe viewers from channels? on their support forum.

No. However, we’ve seen some conversations about viewers being “automatically unsubscribed” from channels. When we get this type of feedback, we take it seriously. The Subscriptions team performs full investigations into the data submitted to see what's going on.
In every case we’ve looked at, we've verified that there's no issue causing viewers to be automatically unsubscribed by YouTube. Here is what we've seen:
  • Most of the time, we find that the viewer is still subscribed to the channel.
  • Some viewers were unsubscribing from channels by accident. We've since added a confirmation pop-up when unsubscribing (this feature isn't currently available on iPhone and iPad devices).
  • Many people thought they were unsubscribed from a channel because videos were not appearing in their Home tab. When we looked into these cases, we found they were still subscribed to the channel and had never been unsubscribed. The Home tab is designed to show you videos that we think you're most interested in watching. You’re not guaranteed to see all videos from your subscriptions on the Home tab, but you can find a complete list in the Subscriptions feed.
  • Some creators assumed that specific viewers had been unsubscribed because the subscriber didn't show up in their channel's Subscribers List. This list only shows subscribers who have chosen to make their subscriptions public. Subscriptions are private by default.

You can find more information about understanding YouTube subscriber counts here.


Watch the video for my discussion piece reporting my findings:




Based on my research I don't think YouTube are removing subscribers because they haven't watched videos from the channel they are subscribing to. 

There are however several other reasons why YouTubers might see changes in the number of subscribers to their channel. In most cases it's because the person unsubscribed by accident or they deleted their account.

There are of course people who use follower tactics to grow their own social media presence. This is where they follow or subscribe in the hopes that you will reciprocate by following/subscribing to their profile/channel. Once you have, they then unfollow/unsubscribe to your profile/channel. 

In conclusion, are YouTube removing subscribers because they haven't watched videos from the channel they are subscribing to? No. It does however make sense to watch a video or two before subscribing to a channel in order to see if the channel is in fact of interest to you. Just common sense. 


Discussion: Are YouTube Removing Subscribers?



Do you have any information about YouTube removing subscribers? What are your thoughts about follower tactics? Do you consider follower/subscriber counts when choosing who to follow on social media?




14 comments

  1. I am woefully ignorant of YouTube but always seem to fall down a rabbit hole whenever I watch something - funny how that happens... ;)

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  2. Interesting. I lose/gain 2-4 subscribers weekly. So my number remains stagnant.

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  3. I only use YouTube for listening to music. Have no clue about the subscription aspect of YouTube

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    1. There's a huge Booktube community on there. Book tags, reading blogs, readathons, book reviews, reading wrap ups, book hauls... Worth checking out 😉

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  4. This is so interesting. I think it’s also possible folks with apps that track follows and unfollows might accidentally unfollow easily. I recently cleaned up all of the Instagram accounts I followed that are inactive or that never followed me back that I am unfamiliar with or now uninterested in. I used one of those apps. I accidentally unfollowed a few friends in the process. It was an easy mistake to make!

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    1. It happens. I sometimes unfollow inactive accounts too (those that have been inactive for a long period of time... Like over a year).

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  5. I don't use Youtube for anything other than to see a few bloggers reviews like yours and Robins and to listen to music. So I haven't a clue what is happening. If they are taregtting the follow/unfollow people then I wish they would do it on Instagram because they drive me mad over there.

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    1. The whole follow/unfollow thing happens on almost every social media site. I've experienced it a lot on Twitter for example. One of the few site it doesn't tend to happen on is Facebook... At least from my own personal experience.

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  6. I only watch stuff on youtube so not sure of this.. but yes, i do see changes on other social media sometimes

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    1. It happens on a lot of sites unfortunately.

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  7. Wow! I had no idea about this. And I'm not really familiar with the BookTube activities mentioned either. I'd like to know more though!

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    1. There's a great Booktube community on YouTube. Definitely worth checking out.

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