YouTube subscriber counts are now just another number

In the new Wild West of short-form content, YouTube is going through a metric revolution.

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The Future. In the new Wild West of short-form content, YouTube is going through a metric revolution. Subscriber counts may not be reflective of an actual following for creators. At the same time, views may be just an inflated look at how many people accidentally hovered on your video for a second too long before scrolling past. The key now may be in the consistency of views over a period of time — an actual demonstration of how many people are coming back for more.

The new metric
Many creators now consider the once-hallmark metric of “subscriber count” as now nothing more than a “vanity metric.” Why?

  • It’s now incredibly easy to have your subscriber count inflated with the rise of Shorts — of the 50 fastest growing YouTube channels, 47 actively post Shorts, per HypeAuditor.
  • And videos that are posted as Shorts accumulate three times as many views as those posted as more traditionally longer videos.
  • Wait, so what’s the problem? Creators say that the boost in subscribers and views doesn’t actually represent a community — the thing that gives a YouTuber sustained popularity. 

According to Insider, “at last year’s annual creator economy conference VidCon, some famous short-form creators with millions of followers walked around unnoticed, or hosted meet and greets where they said no fans came to see them.” Ouch.

Cash count
The irony is that although YouTube is pushing Shorts to compete with TikTok and Reels, long-form videos are still where the money is for creators. 

  • Creators make around $0.04 to $0.07 for every 1,000 views on Shorts.
  • They can make from $1.60 to $29 per 1,000 views on long-form videos.

Shorts may be a race to the bottom for the traditional views-based creator economy. But with brands set to spend $98 billion in ads on short-form content this year, that might be changing.


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