guy giving thumbs up to woman

Why Do YouTubers Ask For Likes?

How many times have you heard a YouTuber say the words “don’t forget to give this video a thumbs up”? Aside from just being a way to tell your favorite YouTuber that you like their content, giving a video a thumbs up actually makes a practical difference.

We’ve broken down everything you need to know about giving a YouTube video the thumbs up.

The Video Creator’s Understanding

Most YouTubers know that getting likes is a good thing. For some people it’s simply the validation and emotional boost that people are giving you a thumbs up. It feels good for a YouTuber who has spent time making the video to see people liking it. Additionally, many viewers don’t think about liking unless the YouTuber prompts them to do it. YouTuber’s ask because asking for likes get likes.

Also, YouTubers know that likes are a good thing for their channel. Many people don’t understand why it’s good, they just know that it is good. So, they ask for likes because it gives them validation and it does something good for their channel. But, what does it actually do?

Benefits of Likes

Engagement and Algorithms

The main benefit of likes is an increased engagement . Engagement is the industry term for when people interact with videos rather than just watching them. This covers everything from subscribing, commenting, sharing, and, of course, liking videos.

YouTube can’t employ someone to watch every single video; over 500 hours are uploaded to the platform every minute! So, YouTube uses algorithms to determine what is interesting and what isn’t. The algorithms do this by assessing engagement. A video with lots of likes, comments and shares is probably better than one without. So, likes on a video signal to YouTube’s algorithms that the video is interesting. But how does this help YouTubers?

Boost in search results

With so many videos on the platform, YouTube needs a way to order them. So, when you go to the search bar and type in “funny dog video,” it needs to know which ones you might mean. There are millions of videos of funny dogs on YouTube, but you are more likely going to watch the one that everyone shared with their friends and liked, compared to the one with three views and no likes.

Videos with more engagement end up higher in the search rankings. This translates to more views, more subscribers, even more likes, and so the cycle continues. So, when YouTubers ask you to like a video, it means you will help them get their video on the first page of the search results.


For some YouTubers, likes can also help them make money. While YouTube doesn’t pay for likes, good audience engagement can help them secure endorsements and sponsorship deals.

Think about it, companies spend millions every year trying to identify their audience and learn what they like. They do this for one reason only; a small interested audience is better than a huge uninterested one.

If a cosmetics company wants to launch a new mascara, they only want to spend money advertising it to people who wear mascara or might want to start. For example, they might decide that part of their advertising campaign is to have a beauty YouTuber to talk about their mascara in a video. Anyone who watches and subscribes to a beauty channel is likely to wear mascara, so the company knows they are hitting their target audience.

But they have two choices, one YouTuber has a million views on every video, but very few likes. Another YouTuber has fewer views but lots of likes, comments, and shares. The YouTuber with lots of engagement will likely show higher on the search results and have more views. Also the increased likes indicate that that their audience is engaged and proactive, and may go and buy the mascara. It’s a no brainer which one they should pick.

New viewership

YouTube also uses your likes to create a personalised experience. When you give a video the thumbs up, YouTube scans every other video on the site and sees that people who liked the same funny dog video as you liked another video about funny cats. Next time you sign in to YouTube, you’ll find that funny cat video on your homepage.

This is why your homepage is filled with videos you already want to watch. Based on what you’ve previously watched and liked, YouTube learns what you might want to watch in the future. The algorithms are so effective that 70% of what you watch on YouTube is determined by YouTube.

So, when a YouTuber asks you to like their video, you aren’t just helping them, you’re helping yourself.

The Thumbs Down

But it isn’t all good news. Many people on YouTube dislike videos. Just like the thumbs up, the thumbs down also affects viewers and creators.

When it comes down to it, disliking a video is still engaging with it. Which tells YouTube that you care enough about the content to interact with it. Disliking a video isn’t the same as reporting it for dangerous or inappropriate reasons. A dislike generally shows that you don’t agree with the video or the opinion or dislike the content. It doesn’t mean the video is bad.

Some controversial videos have more dislikes than likes, but YouTube still promotes them. Think back to when one-hit-wonder Rebecca Black launched the catchy song “Friday.” Within the first few weeks, that song had more dislikes than likes. Yet it was still on everyone’s homepage. YouTube’s algorithm noticed that people loved to hate it, so even with the dislikes, it got huge views.

The Bottom Line

Overall, liking YouTube videos helps you see the personalised content you want; it allows YouTube to improve its algorithms to promote better videos and helps YouTubers win advertising deals and brand sponsorship.

Engaging with online content helps ensure there is always fresh new content, tailored to your taste, ready for you any time you go online. So next time you genuinely like something online, leave a comment, hit the thumbs up, or share it with a friend.


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