HOW THE YOUTUBE ALGORITHM WORKS IN 2023
So we've got a camera, a camera, and a camera hello i'm gonna know that I did my job right here when you get that aha moment when this becomes so simple and crystal clear to you that you can't unlearn it. In fact, I want you to pretend that you just handed me a thousand dollars for me to teach this to you, because it can be worth far more than that if you really get this howdy howdy, everyone. Nate here. I'm going to move quickly through this, so please rewatch this video at least once to make sure that you get it. Now, it's important to note before we get into this where this comes from.
I have. Bodied and analyzed thousands upon thousands of YouTube videos, thousands of YouTube channels, and I also have my own YouTube program called Project 24 where I'm able to go even more in depth and know the back end or the analytics and the performance overtime of numerous YouTube channels. All that to say, I think this is going to blow your mind. And with all of that, I have finally come up with a visual way to represent how the YouTube algorithm works. So this ring, these three rings right here represent the entirety of YouTube, the entire audience on YouTube and within.
In the entirety of Youtube we have certain topic sectors that are represented topics covered within the content on Youtube So this sector right here might be lawn care, this sector might be lawn equipment, this sector might be landscaping. Now is where I start mapping out what it looks like for you and I as channel makers or creators of content on Youtube So the reason that I put three rings on this and it is an audience ring right here is that further in is less awareness of a topic within a topic sector and further out is more awareness or more broad.
Deal for that same topic. So we've got less and more. So using the lawn care example, if this sector right here was lawn care, further in or more niche would be how to fix the specific part on this specific lawnmower. That would be up here, further up this direction. Further out would be I mowed this person's lawn completely for free and here's what happened. So usually when you hear the advice you need to niche down your channel, they're talking about going further in and more specialized with the awareness of what is being covered within the channel and further out tends to have more.
Entertainment value or broader appeal? Now every channel on YouTube is positioned somewhere within this entire audience ring and somewhere within an arc. Right here of topics covered within the channel itself. Now my channel will be positioned within an area of YouTube. It could overlap multiple topics, but most of the time there's a primary topic that we cover with our channel, which is represented right here. But the next thing I've seen happen on YouTube is that YouTube builds out a profile. I'm calling it an audience profile of how your audience is positioned on YouTube also.
So the green circle is your channel lens, or the area you're trying to target with your content, but the algorithm might have built. Another audience profile that may be slightly different. I'm going to come back to that and why that's so important here. In a moment you see how I see the algorithm building out. This profile is based on both the topics of the content, the metadata. When you publish a piece of video, it builds this out so that YouTube starts to see, OK, this is a profile of the type of content that this channel likes, but also it's based on performance of that video.
So when you publish, how does that video perform? And with what area of the entirety of audience on YouTube does this video perform the best? Now I'm going to switch to just. The arc view of the entirety of the audience ring, so you can see what happens on a more micro scale when you publish a video. South What I've done here is zoomed in on the entire audience arc to show examples with a specific channel. So let's say the content of your channel is encompassed in three different topic sectors.
Let's say the area on Youtube you're going for is the how to paint, some speed painting and some paint supplies. And let's say your channel looks a bit like this. So the lens you're going for kind of encompasses mostly out of paint, but also goes into the paint supplies and some speed painting videos. It's a little bit more niche, so it's. Further towards the center or less awareness, what happens if your channel looked like this when you publish a video? Here's how I see it.
Remember you're targeting this area of Youtube but you publish a video. Hopefully when you publish, you're publishing somewhere within this area. So let's say it's a bit more of a how to paint and showcasing some paint supplies. So it goes right here. Now I wanted to clear up the common misconception that Youtube somehow pushes your video out. In fact, you are just positioning your video and Youtube is finding the audience and bringing it to your content in most cases these audience.
Already exist. So even before you publish a video, you're targeting this area of all the entirety of YouTube you're targeting here, what does YouTube know? They know that metadata. They know every single facet of that video. They know that the word spoken, they know the visuals shown, they've crawled it. They know all of that data, including the title and thumbnail. So when you publish a video, YouTube is looking first at preferences or the entirety of a audience profile. Meaning this type of person likes his content and therefore you publish something. And according to the metadata and the title and thumbnail of that video, it might be a match there, but then.
Second, they're tracking the performance of the video after publish. So in this case of this video, hopefully you targeted right here and let's say you did it perfectly and you targeted this exact sector. What they're going to do first is test it based on 1st audience profile. And remember I said I was going to come back to this and why this is such a big deal. You see, based on previous performance from the content on your channel, it's possible YouTube might think, oh, this channel is actually about this. And in that case if you publish a piece of content, this blue piece of content right here within the audience profile, then it may do well.
But what happens if you publish? A video, and it's actually not within the profile of previous viewers that the algorithm has built out. Well, I'm gonna get to that here in a moment. For now, let's assume that it looks something like this. So remember you published this piece of content, so it's in the realms of the topic of how to paint and some paint supplies. We're straddling the line there. And also it's a bit mid level, so it's not very extremely niche or a very specific question, but it can be a little bit more broad. Maybe it's how to paint a horse using this specific kit of paint supplies.
So here is where it gets really interesting because as I've observed. The performance of thousands of YouTube videos I've seen, what they'll do first is they'll test the video based on hopefully where you're targeting and the metadata first including and very importantly factoring in previous audience data. So what I mean by that is the audience profile where YouTube, the algorithm thinks your content is targeting. So you publish a piece of content, it goes right here, they test it with your core audience first. Then what they're the very next thing they're going to do is they're going to start testing it with fringe audiences.
And start saying, hey, what if this video, does this video do well with more of the paint supplies interested audience, does it do well and more of a niche how to paint audience and so on to see how the video performs with each of these marginal audiences. And if a video does particularly well with an audience, let's say it does really well with a more paint supplies focused audience, they might say, oh that does well, hey let's spread this video more and if it keeps doing well, hey we're going to spread it even more.
And This is why they say, and I have this literally backed up from words from Youtube about preferences first based on the metadata. Of the video, what they see within the video and then performance seconds, how the video performs overtime, how it spreads or how it's received by different marginal audiences. All right now I need to talk about why this audience profile is so Dang important. I'm going to erase this in order to show you. Now we're going to use the same, let's say we're still, we think we're targeting this segment of Youtube But what if You Tube based on the performance of your previous videos or if your channel is small enough it doesn't have enough data.
What if they think that your audience is actually over here and then going back to the. This example, if you published a piece of content over here, we're going to have a disconnect. If the algorithm sees that your audience is actually over here because they test it first with your audience profile, this red ring, they test it first with that. And if it doesn't perform well because it's over here, then many times I see videos being dead in the water, which is why I say that it's ideal that, remember this green right here is your audience lens where you're trying to target on YouTube.
If the audience lens and the profile are the same, that is the ideal space, because that means. Whenever you're publishing a piece of content in there, you also have the audience already in the audience profile for it to spread from. And in order to do this to get the two aligned, you can either follow the audience profile and see well OK, where is my audience positioned and then move your lens there, or you can keep publishing content within a lens to keep giving you the algorithm indicators that this over here is actually where your lens is this blowing your mind thus far? I'm not done yet.
I'm hoping it is blowing your mind though, and if it is thus far, I'd love if you would boop the like button so that it can spread to more people and more people can be aware. Finally, understand visually how the YouTube algorithm works. Thank you for doing that. You see, I need to clear this one more time because there's another concept you need to understand based on audience profile. You see, what if the algorithm doesn't have enough data on what your audience is? It doesn't matter what size your lens is or what you're trying to target on YouTube. What if the profile that the algorithm has for you is only this big? It's a really small profile.
This is often the case of very small YouTube channels that are just starting off. You only have a small data pool to pull from so that when you publish a video it's only going to be within a very small segment of YouTube. And if the profile is small, they might test it here and they might test it here and then. That's it. And this isn't because the algorithm somehow hates you or your channel. It means that in most cases the data or the profile needs to grow gradually overtime. It's actually a very positive thing because your job then is to keep publishing videos and. Going around this area so that you literally expand the audience profile so that you can see what type of audience likes your content.
The algorithm can see more and more people are liking this content because this channel has proven that they create good engaging content and I can trust them based on previous viewers to spread it more quickly. This is why it seems like larger channels have such a big advantage on YouTube, because if your audience profile was this big, you literally have a larger starting bed of previous viewers of. Preferences and all of that to test a video with. When you publish, the algorithm can literally test a video with a larger group from get go.
Which by the way, I don't know if you caught that, but I just straight up answered why videos perform the way they do on YouTube, and also why YouTube can say that they treat each piece of content independently and yet it keeps seeming like larger channels have their content performed better or spread more quickly. It's for this exact reason. If you didn't catch that, go back and rewatch this section. So the kicker here is one of your biggest jobs.
With your channel is to expand the audience profile to know where you're targeting your channel. Arc the whole in the entirety of the audience. On YouTube, you have a small channel profile right now, or whatever size it is. Your job is to expand it by literally training the algorithm on what kind of audience you're targeting and that you can produce good videos. And each piece of content that you publish trains the algorithm in three ways.
The 1st is it shares content on a topic wherever you're targeting, the second is it shows the algorithm the audience's reasons for watching your content. And then the third is it. Shows how they like to consume your content. All right, let's walk through some common scenarios. Now, the most common scenario we'd be looking at is you publish a video and it does not do well. Let's visually show you why that happens. Let's say you're targeting this area of YouTube. But first let's give the example of maybe your audience profile is really small.
Maybe it's really this small and you publish a video right here and it's just being tested with this audience and boom, that's the only audience you're going to get. And it's OK because you're continually training the algorithm. But for now, that's why that happens and that is why for. Many channels. At the beginning you have what I call a ghost town phase of your channel, where you're just figuring yourself out, you're figuring out your audience.
You may not even know or be aware of the channel arc or where your lens is targeting. And so you're in the process of training yourself, but also training the algorithm where to put your content. It's not bad, it just means you need to keep going. But let's say for a moment that you have a more established channel, and let's say your audience profile is a bit bigger. Maybe there's a little bit of overlap. This is the general area that you have your audience if you published a video and it didn't do well, the first option.
Is you just made a bad video. It wasn't an enjoyable video, and that's OK, just learn from it. That's possible. But more commonly, especially if you are more established channel and you've been doing YouTube for a while, it looks like this. You thought you were publishing within your audience lens or the audience profile, but you actually published a video over here or even off the map. And why this is so significant, and I hope you are reading between the lines of what we've covered thus far. Why this matters so much is because if it's not within your audience profile, it will probably. Not do very well because the test group is off and this video did not do well with your core or your previous audience profile, the previous viewers.
Therefore it has a smaller starting group, which in many cases, let's say you published a video and YouTube is trying to test it over here with your audience profile right here, but it's not doing well. They try some surrounding tests and it still doesn't do well because your video is all the way over here, then they're going to say OK at this point. We're going to layoff. We're going to hold off and maybe do some more generic testing, and at that point the testing by the algorithm is a bit more generic, meaning they have to just go off of know the metadata, but it's not doing well with this audience.
Maybe it will do well with this audience profile, maybe over here we're not sure. So sometimes videos will take off over time. Why does that happen? It's because possibly what they've done is they've tested, they've tested, and then they tried over here. Remember your original video, maybe it was published right here. This is this blue circle right here. And they tested and they said, Oh my gosh, OK, now it picked up with this audience. Now we can start expanding it over here and This is why I say that viral videos are almost useless to your channel unless they are within your channel lens of what you're trying to do with your channel because what happens is you'll have an entirely fragmented audience.
If your channel is this green ring over here and you have a viral video that just exploded over here and it's too far of a gap between them. It's a problem, but either way. It happens, because the performance overtime showed that was a good video for an audience profile not necessarily your audience profile. Or more specifically, the audience lens that you're trying to target. So what happens if you keep getting indicators that you're targeting over here and yet your videos keep doing well? Let's say your videos keep doing well over here in the speed painting realm, then it's a question of should you pivot or not? And in fact, as this video goes live, I just published a brand new project 24 lesson going much more in depth, including a tool that I built to help you map this for yourself.
The big point here is that this should be actionable, and I'm really hoping you're looking through this. It's not just a oh, that's interesting. No, I want you to do something because of what you just saw here. Start mapping out where your channel is. Because what I've just given you is both the means to map out where your channel and your content is right now and where you think the algorithm is pinpointing your content. And not only that, but a way to visually show when you publish a piece of content, why it performed the way it did.
You're welcome. Now at this point, there's going to be a myriad of unique questions and scenarios based on what your channel is doing right now. So you have two options. One is members of Project 24 log in today where I. That's barely published an advanced version of what I just explained, including Advanced Audience location calculation, how to perform pivots effectively with this, and a built a tool to help you easily input all of this data so that you can quickly see exactly where your channel is and where your audience profile is. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, or you're not a member of Project 24 you can check it out. There's a link in the description.
The second option is to watch this full guide where I walk you through how to apply all of this knowledge in the sequence of building your own channel successfully. So basically knowing exactly what to do at any phase of. So I'm excited for you to watch that next and we'll see you there.