Should YouTube Creators Ever Delete Their Old Videos?

YouTube creators face an interesting dilemma. Their past work is, until manually deleted, forever frozen on YouTube, serving as a reminder of a time when they were just getting legs under their channels. Sometimes those old videos aren’t exactly up to snuff or they’re simply just embarrassing.

If you are a YouTube creator who is just hitting your stride, the question is this: Are those old videos lame enough, unprofessional enough or boring enough to actually delete? It’s a tough choice to make.

To help us get to the bottom of this video purging dilemma, YouTube vlogger and singer Qaadir Howard dropped by to drop some knowledge on us.

Qaadir has been on YouTube from its earliest days and like any veteran vlogger he has had his share of old, possibly embarrassing videos, but were any of them worth deleting? Qaadir explains his thoughts on erasing old videos saying:

“It depends on what is on the table, the pros and cons.”

When it comes to your reputation on YouTube, the answer is clear for the digital performer, who says, “Maybe the video, for a lack of a better word, is ratchet. Maybe it might not put you in the light you want to be in.” For Qaadir, it comes down to whether or not those old videos will do more harm than good. “Well, this video might make you look bad or unprofessional or maybe you are using language or saying certain things that are in conflict with organizations you might be working with. If that is the case, it is better to take it down.”

However, due to YouTube’s latest view cleanup initiative, many YouTubers experienced a drop in views once their analytics were recalculated excluding any purged videos. Already, YouTube goliaths like Sony and Universal have experienced massive view drops after they migrated to VEVO and subsequently deleted videos on their individual channels.

If the possibility of losing views is on the table, deleting a video must generally be worth it. Qaadir explains, “If I’m going to take this down and it has 3 million views, I better be getting something in return.” Deleting videos not only brings up the issue of losing views, but also of removing a chunk of your history as a YouTube creator. For your fans, seeing past uploads provides a visual timeline of the journey you’ve taken to become the creator you are now. “If I’m going to take it down there has to be reason big enough for me to lose those views. It can’t just be ‘Oh, I look bad,’ Qaadir said.

Ultimately, when it comes to keeping your old videos, the choice comes down to what you stand to lose or gain. Is potentially loosing views and a piece of your back catalog worth saving face? Maybe, but before you embark on a scoring frenzy, Qaadir offers an interesting solution, “If you want to take the video down but don’t want to lose the views, maybe just private the video; it is kind of beating the system in a way.”

For more YouTube tutorials and creator tips, check out “Why Every YouTube Creator Should Be Using Live Streams.“

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