In January, a YouTuber named The Spiffing Brit, famous for his content around hacks of any kind, released a video called The Youtube Algorithm Glitch (The secret YouTube Exploit). The video explains how you can get noticed by an unproportionate number of people on YouTube with a simple hack.
In the video, he talks about how YouTube introduced community posts in 2019 (for channels with more than 1000 subs), but due to over-saturation at its launch, creators saw little use for it and slowly abandoned the feature. The solution YouTube found, to make community posts survive, was to boost it within its algorithm so that the payoff of using it would be worth it. But with almost no one using it recently, and YouTube boosting it more & more, things got catastrophic.
The Spiffing Brit says that polls, a type of community post, are even more powerful. When a YouTube video has two ways of measuring engagement, namely likes and comments, polls allow triple that engagement, adding voting on top of likes and comments. This decision made polls the Loch Ness monster of the YouTube lake.
To prove his point, he tests it out with a simple experiment: He, at the time of the video, having 1.8M subscribers, posts a simple community post, which gains 2M impressions within 24 hours, which is nowhere near the viewership he has, even with his best videos. He concludes that the community posts aren’t only shown to his subscribers, but to any YouTube user that has watched one of his videos and is interested in a specific topic he creates content of (like gaming), or: NONE of that. His posts were shown to complete strangers, who had nothing to do with any of these categories.
He continues to create yet another experiment to see how polls perform, and this is even crazier: a ginormous 12.8M people saw his poll when he only had 1.8M subscribers. As you see in the image below, almost 20% of the people who interacted with the poll don’t even know who he is.
Some takeaways from his experiments are:
- Polls are extremely overpowered and can take any creator from mid-tier to a million subs if appropriately used.
- The channel has to already have a certain number of subs in order for its polls to go viral (around +100k).
- They are mainly shown to mobile users.
- After voting in a poll, that user will be accepted as “having interacted with your content” (same as having watched a full video of yours from start to end). Therefore your videos will get recommended to them, even when they have no interest in the contents of your channel.
- Strangers will also see your poll, so making very “generic” polls makes the most sense (ask them “which cheese are you?” instead of a more detailed question). In a way, the aim is to have people “just click” on them.
- If you like and comment on your own poll, there’s a x2 chance your subscribers seeing it (which is not possible with a video).
As soon as I watched his videos, I tried these methods with a small YouTube account I manage (around 2k subs), and bummer: Polls didn’t seem to affect anything at all.
It is safe to say that “YouTube community posts” only work in favor of really big channels, making them even bigger.
Some of the biggest creators on the platform have jumped on the poll train already for months.
I’d also like to note that The Spiffing Brit revealed this hack not for everyone to profit off of it, but to ensure it would get exploited to a point where YouTube has to fix the boost in the algorithm. So, the future of the community posts is still unclear, and YouTube can nerf it soon.