How subscribers work

On August 13, 2020, emails for new video uploads, live streams, and Premieres are going away. Very few people opened these emails, and in our tests, removing them didn’t negatively affect channels. You'll still get notified on mobile via the YouTube app, or on desktop via your Chrome browser if you've turned these notifications on.

We sometimes hear questions from the YouTube community about how subscribers work. We've addressed the most common ones we're hearing in this FAQ, but always want to keep the conversation going. If you don't find what you need, let us know in the YouTube Forum

Does YouTube automatically unsubscribe viewers from channels?
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.
Do all of my videos show up in my subscribers' Subscription feeds?
  • Every video that you publish as a creator is shown in your subscribers' Subscriptions feeds by default. However, there’s an advanced setting you can use when publishing a video to stop it showing in any Subscriptions feeds. Some creators who publish daily videos use this setting to strategically show only certain videos in the Subscriptions feed.
  • When you upload a video, we publish it to the Subscriptions feed as fast as we can. Usually, it should take only a few minutes or less. Making this work as fast as possible is a huge priority for the Subscriptions team. In the last 6 months, we’ve cut down publishing time by two-thirds.

Why are my subscribers telling me my videos aren’t showing up in their Subs feed?

Unless you change your distribution options, we publish every video to the Subscriptions feed. When we hear complaints from viewers that they aren’t seeing videos there, it's usually for one of two reasons:

  • If you're subscribed to a lot of channels, it’s easy to miss something. Many viewers have dozens — even hundreds! — of subscriptions. Sometimes, the video you’re looking for may be hard to find among lots of other subscription videos. If channels you're subscribed to post frequently, it's possible that older videos will not show in the Subscriptions feed.
  • It's important to note that although all videos show in the Subscriptions feed, they don't all show in the Home tab. The Home tab shows videos that we think you as a viewer are most interested in watching right now. It isn’t guaranteed that videos from your subscriptions will show up there.

If it seems like something else is happening, you can send us feedback and we'll look into it.

How does YouTube count subscribers?
We regularly verify the legitimacy of the accounts and actions on your YouTube channel. This is part of a process to make sure that our site metrics are free of spam, abuse, and closed accounts to keep YouTube a fair place for everyone. Learn about subscriber counts.
Do closed accounts count toward my subscriber count?
When someone closes their Google Account entirely, they don’t exist on YouTube anymore, so they don’t count toward your subscriber count.
You can see how many of your subscribers deleted their accounts in your channel's YouTube Analytics, where they’re counted as “closed accounts.”
Closed accounts don't count toward your subs. Learn more about subscriber counts
Do spam accounts count toward my subscriber count? 
When we find that an account is spammy, it doesn't count toward your total number of subscribers. These accounts are not unsubscribed from your channel. To that account, it still shows that they're subscribed and they continue to get your videos in their Subscriptions feed.
We don’t unsubscribe spam viewers from channels. Learn more about subscriber counts
Why is my subscriber count changing or dropping?
Generally, it's normal to see fluctuations in your subscriber count. If you notice a large drop, see some reasons why your subscriber count may change.

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