What Is Sub4 Sub, Anyway? Sub4Sub is a non-formal, controversial technique to get more subscribers to one’s YouTube channel. It stands for Subscription for Subscription in which YouTube channel owners will make a mutual agreement to subscribe to each other’s channels as a quick and easy way to gain more subscribers to their channel in the hopes of appearing more well established and maybe get more marketing on their channel. Other methods include simply buying YouTube subscribers from certain suppliers of these.
This technique has received lots of dissension for being, not just dishonest, but in having adverse effects on your plans to grow your channel and be successful on YouTube or as a marketer.
YouTube algorithms are designed to weed out unsuccessful, low quality video and even have them shadow-banned. Many may seek sub4sub arrangements as they seem an easy way to cheat the system and appear more well-established. Some even believe that large amounts of subscribers may mean a large amount of views and likes as subscribers gained in this manner will actively engage.
This is not always the case. The nature of a sub4sub arrangements actually hinder one’s prospects of becoming a successful YouTube channel owner as YouTube algorithms are designed to snuff out low-performing videos that a sub4sub arrangement may lead your videos to be. What ’s more, your videos will become shadow-banned by YouTube, hindering your chances even further.
Let us take a closer look as to why that is.
For those who are unfamiliar with the term, Shadow banning is having your profile or content blocked by a platform without you even knowing it is. It may be outright blocked or made to rank very low or not at all in search results. All direct links and URLs will work, but your content is banned from all organic searches.
It's incredible that in one breath, @YouTube pretends to be concerned about corporate censorship in the EU from Article 13, yet they'll actively shadow ban The Thinkery's videos for talking about things as innocuous as being a housewife. How stupid do they think viewers are?
— Lord Majicus [Fish are friends, not food] (@LordMajicus) January 23, 2019
Many social and content platforms do this when they suspect your content goes against policy (before you are officially banned) or you are an undesirable uploader by many standards.
YouTube wants quality content that keeps viewers coming back for more. Since anyone can upload anything to YouTube at any time , YouTube’s algorithms (as well as those working for YouTube) have to work around the clock to ensure that the content displayed first in search results and in the recommended feeds are firstly appropriate and are not of any violation of YouTube user policy. Then, YouTube has to ensure they are of a decent quality. YouTube ensures that appropriate, relevant content of the highest quality will rank first above those found to be irrelevant and of poor quality.
People will be put off if they have to sieve through hours of nonsense footage before they find anything useful. YouTube may then lose it reputation as being a quality and go-to source for video content. They cannot have this, and so have devised algorithms to rate videos based on certain quantifiable data.
While what defines quality can be a matter of opinion, YouTube’s algorithms look for old hard data to determine this and look for certain key factors:
YouTube is usually only able to tell a lot once your video actually starts getting those clicks and views. However, having relevant Meta descriptions will go a long way towards getting your video found. Having an effective title, keyword descriptions, meta-tags and even subtitles will help your video to rank better in search results, being noticed and getting more views.
Once videos start to gain views, YouTube’s algorithms will then seek to track the viewer behaviour surrounding the videos that you upload. This includes the amount of views as well as the average watch times of your videos.
Views , especially a high volume of views within certain period will give YouTube an indication of a videos popularity, which YouTube associates with quality content and relevance, helping it to rank higher still.
Social engagement around a video is an indication whether there was some quality content. If ausers are actively sharing and embedding a video onto other sites around the web, this will earn it some points, as YouTube loves video content that happens to go viral, linking back to YouTube.
Having other things like likes, dislikes, comments around your video are indicators that your audience is real and engaging with you, or at least with each other, surrounding your video.
Watch time is another key factor. Many people may be clicking on your video due to inviting thumbnails and effective SEO but leave after a few seconds if the content and the video quality fail to keep viewers engaged for long.
If your videos have high views but accompanied by low watch times, this is an indicator to You Tube’s algorithms that your video’s content may be lacking in quality.
The primary goal of a sub4 sub arrangement is to gain subscribers- for the sake of having large amounts of subscribers. Sub4Sub users are not particularly interested in your videos and are out to gain subscribers themselves.
Oddly enough, once people have got you to subscribe to them, they will just unsubscribe from you!
Due to these motives of Sub4Sub’ers , many of them will not even watch your videos and will not interact socially in any way. Considering the criteria of You tube’s algorithms, you may have a large amount of subscribers, but with low watch rates and low to non-existent watch times.
@YouTube how dare you guys shadow ban artists without a totally checking the video. Your algorithm is garbage. You clearly don't know what you're doing with your heads so far up your asses. Get your shit together.
— Thomas Lightbody (@dukiehead) January 22, 2019
In these circumstances, having a large amount of subscribers with low to no watch times is adversely effective as this will signal to You tube’s algorithms that your video’s quality may be lacking since out of so many subscribers, you cannot seem to engage any with your content.
Like many seemingly promising short cuts, Sub4Sub is an ineffective strategy long-term for gaining momentum on YouTube. Your best bet is still to have a solid and comprehensive marketing strategy that aims to gain organic subscribers. You want real people who are genuinely interested in you and your content. You do not want to just seem popular on YouTube but build a network of people actively engaging in and helping to grow your brand.
For anyone who is familiar with SEO, or search engine optimization, they you will have heard of PBNs, or Private Blog Networks. These are networks of realistic looking websites in every category imaginable that exist entirely to sell backlink opportunities from. They are often run and managed by people in third world countries with a high sales based turnover. They will wait for a year or two before going full sell-out mode on a website, and when they do – they take down every website that it links to.
Any SEO person will tell you it’s not just a dangerous game to play, but a stupid one. It’s a game that will get your website penalized down the line. Google owns YouTube, and they use the same analytics to track the back-and-forth nature and inter-web that connects the Sub4Sub users and the websites they represent.
This is a network of websites and users you do NOT want to associate yourself in!
Date: November 21, 2016 / Categories: Analytics, SEO, YouTube, / Author: Rich Drees