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Is It Hard To Get YouTube Subscribers?

YouTube has, for many years now, been at the forefront of social media and internet culture. Its stratospheric success has been characterised by the prosperity of shrewd, predominantly young, content creators. Many of them have become world-famous through their entertaining or downright absurd videos. But, for aspiring creators just starting out, the YouTube world can feel like a minefield. Attempts to get subscribers can feel futile, with quite literally millions of channels competing for views on often over-saturated topic matters. So, just how hard is it to acquire new YouTube subscribers in 2020?

Here are the top three things that make it hard to get subscribers.

Difficulties in YouTube Channel Growth

Your Video Count

One of the main barriers to getting subscribers is the number of videos one’s channel has. From research, it’s clear that the fewer videos a channel has, the fewer subscribers they have and will be able to get. Using a tool called Engine, Fullscreen analysed 1 million channels over the course of 30 days and found that channels with fewer than 10 uploads had just 11 subscribers, and channels with 10 to 100 uploads had, on average, 834 subscribers. Moreover, channels with fewer than 1,000 subscribers contributed only 7.2% to the test group viewership.

Your Content Uniqueness

With an estimated 31 million YouTube channels out there, obtaining your share of an audience – and more subscribers – is no easy feat. Take television as an example – just 50 years ago, American and British viewers enjoyed, on average, just two or three channels. Even now, in 2020, on traditional cable TV there are only a few thousand channels. Compare that to the enormous online community of YouTube and it becomes obvious just how hard it is for a YouTuber to stand out. It’s estimated, for example, that there are 500 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute worldwide (Tubefilter, 2019). New YouTubers are fighting for an already-tiny gap in the market that is filled with successful, well-established channels. So, while a YouTuber may feel strongly that their videos are special and unique, there will be thousands of others uploading content that’s barely indistinguishable.

Connecting to Your Audience

With so many YouTube channels already possessing for a strong, dedicated fanbase, it’s tougher than ever to forge new relationships with audiences who’ll like you enough to subscribe to your channel. Assistant Communications Professor at Florida University, Arienne Ferchaud, suggests that with the ability to ask questions, offer opinions and even request content, the audience has a more active role than ever in online relationships. With audiences often subscribing to hundreds of channels, these relationships take a long time to foster, meaning new YouTubers are faced with a further barrier to getting subscribers.


It’s clear that in our social media-driven society, where there is already such an abundance of successful YouTubers, it is put simply, hard to get subscribers. The platform is already filled to the brim with millions of channels offering extremely similar content. Growing your fanbase is definitely hard, particularly if you currently have under 1,000 subscribers.

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