YouTube’s subscriber notification system is, to put it lightly, contentious.
Creators’ biggest longtime beef is the fact that users who tap ‘Subscribe’ are automatically–and perhaps unwittingly–signed up for lite notifications. This default setting doesn’t notify subscribers each time a creator uploads a new video; it only sends them occasional updates. To (supposedly) receive all notifications, a user must subscribe, then manually hit the bell icon () next to the Subscribe button and ensure it looks like this:
We say “supposedly” because another top creator complaint is that sometimes, notifications are delayed or simply aren’t sent, even to subscribers who signed up to receive all missives. In July 2019, YouTube addressed these complaints, saying it was “working on improving our infrastructure to make our systems and networks that send out notifications more consistent and reliable.”
At the same time, it added new monitoring systems to detect when things went wrong with notifications (plus a backend tool encouraging creators to upload at different times, so notification sending wouldn’t be so congested).
Now, YouTube has rolled out notification metrics, a feature apparently giving creators access to some of those monitoring systems’ data. Moving forward, all creators will see a panel of notification information for each video they upload. The panel shows how many subscriber notifications were sent, what the click-through rate was, and exactly how many views were generated by those notifications.
Tom Leung, YouTube’s director of product management, revealed the panel’s rollout in yesterday’s Creator Insider video. He added that the panel will also inform creators if any notifications were not sent, and the “common reasons” why they weren’t.
He didn’t offer any additional details, so it’s not clear if YouTube will track what went wrong with each unsent notification and specifically inform creators, or if the platform will offer a sort of “here are some known causes of notification problems” explanation when things go awry. It’s also not clear if YouTube will offer a way for creators to attempt resending any notifications that didn’t make it through.
Tubefilter has reached out to YouTube to ask about “common reasons” and resending, and we’ll update this story with any new information.