YouTube creators who pay close attention to their subscriber counts may be in for a nasty surprise today. Earlier this month YouTube announced, via its creator blog, plans to purge suspended accounts from the platform, starting June 16, as part of its commitment to providing more accurate analytics for creators and advertisers. When those dormant accounts are removed, many creators are likely to see their all-important subscriber numbers take a dip, and the change will probably hit long-time YouTubers the hardest.
Most suspended accounts are likely to belong to older users of the site who no longer log in on a regular basis. These accounts become inactive and are eventually categorized as suspended. Some suspended accounts may also be bots or single-use logins meant to artificially inflate subscriber and view counts. Creators who have been on the site for years are more likely to have racked up more of these ghost subscribers than those who got their start more recently. While these suspended subscribers aren’t contributing views, the loss of a chunk of subscribers is still likely to sting for established creators, many of whom market themselves and their content by citing their high subscriber counts.
YouTube has stressed that the move the purge dead or suspended accounts was an important step toward making subscriber numbers an accurate representation of channel engagement. This, in turn, will make those numbers more meaningful to marketers. The implication is that more accurate numbers will result in better advertiser relations and, hopefully, more ad dollars for YouTube and its creators.
This latest move is part of a larger Google campaign to crack down on inaccurate analytics. Back in February Google announced, via its Online Security Blog, that it would be instituting a regular review of video view counts in order to weed out fraudulent views. As with suspended accounts, the prevalence of fraudulent automated views skews the accuracy of video view counts.
It remains to be seen how large an impact the purge will have. NMR reached out to YouTube representatives, but they were unable to provide an estimate for how many accounts are likely to be removed. However, given that this is the first large scale cleanup of its kind since the site launched, the total number of accounts culled is likely to be large.
After the first initial purge on June 16 YouTube will continue to remove suspended accounts from subscription counts on a rolling basis, making any subsequent loss of subscribers less noticeable. It is also important to note that according to YouTube Operations Specialist Katie Hushion, who penned the initial blog post announcing the purge, any changes made will be reversible if an account is removed in error.
Has your favorite YouTuber been tweeting about losing subs today? Share this article to let them know what’s going on!