I sometimes get distracted by frustrated Polish citizens who write to me messages saying:
Hey, look, I've got my YouTube channel since two years and I already have 15,000 subscribers. You have your channel for seven years and you only have 5,000. It means that I am better than you!
I wanted to address this because, uh, I think that those people just don't understand how the Internet works today. Let me explain.
Those people who write these messages to me are people with huge followings on Facebook. If you have 70,000 fans on a Facebook page, think about what happened for each of the persons who clicked to be a fan on those huge Facebook fanpages? What information did they shared with Google, Meta and other companies? Where have they left their “marks”?
Let's assume 95% of those people use a Gmail email address because it's how the world goes. Most of the people want free email and most of the people will settle down with the free version of Gmail.
Gmail reads your messages, that is why it's free. It analyzes what you receive and with whom you interact. And then it shows you ads — both inside of the Gmail web interface and on various other websites using AdSense. I assume you know that, because every time something is free, it means that, you are the product.
Those 70,000 people who clicked on a Facebook page, most of the time they were logged at the moment of clicking both into Facebook and into Gmail. That’s where they left — unknowingly — their "marks".
So, they had in their internet browsers a cookie from Facebook and a cookie from Google, the owner of Gmail and also the owner of Youtube. Moreover, when they clicked on this Facebook page, probably they have not turned off receiving emails for being fans on Facebook. So, they received also an email notification from Facebook saying that they have just become fans of a certain fanpage. Gmail analyzes this incoming message and stores the information that the said person likes something — let’s imagine it’s a band called Weesmans. Google stores this information for the future.
Now, what happens when the person who runs this Weesmans Facebook fanpage (with 70,000 fans) creates a channel on Youtube? This channel does not exist in a vacuum, because Google knows who is interested in Weesmans by analyzing Gmail, web traffic, web searches of the people who clicked “like” on the Weesmans Facebook fanpage. Google also knows that the person who just created a new Youtube channel runs the Weesmans fanpage on Facebook.
Google — who is the owner of YouTube — knows that there is 70,000 people who are potentially interested in this person who runs the fanpage and has just created a new channel on Youtube. Most of the people who have a Gmail address will also have a YouTube account and will use YouTube being logged in into YouTube because they are logged in to Gmail and Gmail is owned by Google, just like they own Youtube.
When the newly created YouTube channel starts publishing videos, those videos will get suggested (via the main Youtube page or browse features) to those people who have clicked to be a fan on Facebook, because there is a really good presumption that they will probably be interested in this content, since they already expressed their interest on Facebook. You know, it's a strong indicator of interest. Those videos on YouTube will start performing much better — much, much better — than the videos of a person who does not have a Facebook page with thousands of fans.
Frustrated Polish citizens’ beliefs
Those aggressive and frustrated Polish citizens who momentarily want to elevate themselves above me by writing me that they are better at Youtube than me, when I explain to them that actually their Facebook following converts pretty badly into Youtube audience since out of those 70,000 fans on Facebook just 15,000 subscribed on Youtube, they tell me:
No, no, no, I am looking into the YouTube studio analytics and I don't see that there is source views from Facebook; hence those views don’t come from Facebook!
They are wrong, since this kind of relationship between a cookie from Facebook, an information about the interest of their audience pulled off from Gmail and stored on Youtube (and used to generate suggestions on the main Youtube page or browse features) is never shown in the Youtube studio.
Youtube studio shows only direct clicks from Facebook to Youtube, that’s it.
But, as I explained above, in reality it's Facebook that is generating this traffic because 70,000 people who clicked on the Facebook page will now have the videos from this fresh Youtube channel suggested to them on YouTube.
Online shopping ads work in a similar way. This is how you get suggested news, etc.
Casey Neistat’s vlogs
The mechanism is the same, and there is no direct link between those services, it’s way more subtle. It works in the similar way as with Casey Neistat’s vlogs — he started vlogging having half a million subscribers on Youtube, so his channel grew fast, because there were people who were actually waiting for those videos. Half a million of them.
If someone today starts publishing vlogs with zero subscribers, they will have a much harder time actually reaching people just because of that — just because the starting point is zero and not half a million. And not 70,000 fans on Facebook.
So please don't be lured by simplistic stories people tell themselves.
Next time someone tells you that an audience on a different social media platform does not influence the audience on YouTube, please send them the link to this post.