About the YouTube Subscriber Count

Live Subscriber Count

Here at Grin, we cover all kinds of topics relevant to content creators on YouTube. Today, we're going to tell you how the YouTube subscriber count works, what's wrong with the live subscriber count and all of the complications included.

live subscriber count

What're Subscribers, Exactly?

A subscriber on YouTube is simply someone that's subscribed to your channel. This means that they will see your channel in their subscription feeds whenever you choose to upload a video, and in theory means you have a reliable viewer for every video you make.

Unfortunately, this isn't always true. There's a lot of complications in this relationship between creator and subscriber, and we're going to dive into that right now.

youtube subscriber count

Real Time Subscriber Count

On YouTube, subscribers are often considered a mark of your success. Getting insight into your live subscriber count is something all creators want. Just like a high score in a video game, or high numbers in your bank account, subscribers are intended to show a tangible sign of a content creator's reach and their progress as a YouTuber. In a perfect world, this is how the YouTube subscriber count is meant to work:

  • Your subscribers are all real, active viewers who are invested in your content.
  • Your subscribers see all of your videos in their subscription feed as you release them.
  • Your YouTube subscriber count is an accurate reflection of people who meet the description set by the above bullet points.


When The YouTube Subscriber Count Doesn't Work

YouTube is a large website, arguably one of the largest on the Internet. 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube each day, and 300 hours are uploaded to the platform per minute. Seeing all that's out there is impossible for any one person to do, and as people used YouTube for a longer time and started having cluttered subscription feeds, YouTube did the following:

  • They moved focus on the Home Page, which is a combination of Subscriptions, Recommended and Previously Watched. This is intended to drive more views.
  • They silently modified the Subscriptions page to prioritize certain videos and channels other others, typically by how often a user had watched that channel's videos or how long they had been subscribed.

These were usability improvements, yes, but they also severely impacted the reliability of the YouTube subscriber count, and most importantly the live subscriber count, for creators who relied on it as a number to measure their performance.

The YouTube subscriber count also suffers from the following issues:

  • Many sites offer services to pay for robot subscribers. These aren't real subs and do nothing to boost your actual prominence, viewership or ad revenue. They may inflate your real time subscriber count temporarily, but that's not good.
  • Many bot accounts will also choose to auto-sub to various YouTubers to maintain the appearance of a "real" user. This again, affects your real time subscriber count but not in the best way.
  • These bots are often reflected in subscriber counts- until suddenly, one day they aren't. This causes things to drop fast.
  • Everyone with a Google account technically has a YouTube account, not to mention the YouTube accounts that existed before Google's acquisition. Because of this, many accounts are inactive and still counted in subscribers- until suddenly, one day they aren't.

real time subscriber count

A Few Complications

There's definitely a lot of work on YouTube's end to keep the real time subscriber count accurate and the live subscriber count up-to-date. Even so, many channels aren't prepared for the drastic drop in numbers that happen once every year or so, when YouTube has decided that it's time to spring clean the inactive accounts and the bots cluttering people's sub numbers. Fortunately, you're not losing any real engagements- but most people don't know that, and feel rightfully outraged to see their live subscriber count and their progress seemingly disappear with no explanation.

You may also notice on occasion that when viewing your list of subscribers, the real time subscriber count or amount you see on our tool and your total number doesn't add up. This isn't a glitch- it's that many people on YouTube choose to subscribe while keeping their subscriptions private, meaning that you won't be able to track certain subscribers.

If you want the most accurate possible performance metric, look instead at your analytics and watch time. Watch time determines how much YouTube chooses to boost your videos, and if your watch time remains the same after a subscriber purge you can be comforted in knowing that you didn't lose anything.

Look here for a full guide on YouTube subscribers.

How Grin Can Help You

Finally, let's talk about the elephant in the room: our team here at Grin.

At Grin, we have two primary offerings: our Platform and our Blog.

Our Grin Platform allows YouTube creators to meet with one another and purchase various services from one another, including shoutouts (which can boost your YouTube subscriber count legitimately), collaborations and video-making assistance.

Our Blog, meanwhile, offers a wide variety of informative posts, just like this one. We offer our blog for free because our goal is to help you grow as a creator- if that's your goal, too, we recommend you stick around.

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Who is Grin?

We're a small team based in California, USA. We're passionate about empowering creators. We believe that the future of entertainment is being driven by independent influencers. So we build tools to empower this fearless generation!