Getting more subscribers is one of the most important goals for any YouTube marketing effort. This never ending drive is why some are tempted to use Sub4Sub services. Do they really work, and is there a better way to get subscribers quickly? The fate of your YouTube channel may balance on this.
Sub4Sub, short for “Subscription for subscription,” is a purported strategy for attracting more subscriptions to your YouTube channel. The idea is:
By entering into this with more channels, you can supposedly increase your subscriber count and social proof.
Such offers are usually made by channels directly to others. However, there are also websites providing Sub4Sub “services.” In these, customers get a given number of subscriptions in exchange for following the channels recommended by the service.
YouTubers just starting their channels are easily swayed by Sub4Sub offers, as these seemingly provide them with a way to quickly increase their prominence.
Sub4Sub deals run largely on the premise that parties entering are willing to ensure that everyone benefits. While this might be true for the most part with one-on-one deals, that is certainly not the case with sites engaging in this. Since you are not able to personally interact with the subscribers they deliver to your channel, you have no idea whether these are indeed the subscribers you want and that they will honor their part.
The setup is also prone to collapse. Often, the “subscribers” delivered by these services to your channel are just random accounts who might not be directly interested in what you have. This increases the likelihood that they will unsubscribe from you. Eventually, this could lead to a decrease in subscriber count, nullifying the purported benefits.
So many @youtube content contributors lost a lot of subscribers, I feel bad for their loss.
— Dan (@BelgianDan) February 9, 2017
While you get a boost in subscriber count, that still does not translate into an increase in views. To add insult to injury, subscribers gained from Sub4Sub sites are unlikely to share your content, decreasing the chances of attracting new viewers.
The discrepancies caused by Sub4Sub services on your channel’s statistics can eventually lead to it looking suspicious to YouTube itself. The site explicitly disallows the activity under their user guidelines.
A drop in your videos’ search rankings is the most common penalty you can expect. The discrepancies between the number of subscribers and the level of engagement are often the trigger. If the infractions you made are already severe, you get this career-threatening notification.
YouTube employs an even tougher mode of punishment: shadow banning. Shadow bans are instances when YouTube blocks the activities of a certain channel from being visible to the audience without the channel owner noticing. The bans are usually implemented on the activities most visible to the audience, such as when commenting or sharing new videos.
Since YouTube is under Google, these bans also extend to your videos becoming less visible in search results. This significantly limits the engagement that the channel can have with its audience and the chance of attracting subscribers.
Be careful what you think, say, or feel, because YouTube's sweeping algorithms may shadow ban any & all of your videos for "wrong think".
— Jason Takes Ωmegle🔪 (@Jason_Omegle) March 19, 2017
Shadow bans are devastating precisely because the affected channel doesn’t know that they are happening. All their hard work may end up being undercut by a poor choice of relying on Sub4Sub services.
As you can see, Sub4Sub deals actually end up doing more harm on your channel than good. As such, you need to find better ways to increase its presence.
Follow these pointers and you can grow your channel’s subscriber numbers more effectively than any Sub4Sub offer could.