Clickbait Works! The Secret to Getting Views with the YouTube Algorithm

43 Pages Posted: 12 Apr 2019 Last revised: 1 May 2019

See all articles by Linus Wilson

Linus Wilson

University of Louisiana at Lafayette - College of Business Administration

Date Written: April 9, 2019

Abstract

In 2018, YouTube began releasing click-through rates (CTR) data to its video creators. Since 2012, YouTube has emphasized how it favors watch time over clicks in its recommendations to viewers. This is the first academic study employing that data to test what matters more for views on YouTube. Is watch time or CTR more important to getting views on YouTube? This paper finds no to limited evidence that higher percent audience retention or and total average watch time per view are associated with more views on YouTube. Instead, videos with higher CTR got significantly more views as did videos on trending or newsworthy topics. The marginal benefit in terms of views scaled by subscribers of increased CTR is between 71 and 318 times larger than the marginal benefits of increased watch time per view.

Keywords: YouTube, algorithm, search, discovery, video, CTR, click-through rates, clickbait, watch time, audience retention, neural networks, recommendation systems

JEL Classification: D12, D22, D26, D83, D85, L15, L21, L82, L86, M15

Suggested Citation

Wilson, Linus, Clickbait Works! The Secret to Getting Views with the YouTube Algorithm (April 9, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3369353 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3369353

Linus Wilson (Contact Author)

University of Louisiana at Lafayette - College of Business Administration ( email )

Department of Economics & Finance
214 Hebrard Blvd., Room 326
Lafayette, LA 70504-0200
United States
(337) 482-6209 (Phone)
(337) 482-6675 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.linuswilson.com

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
25
Abstract Views
259
PlumX Metrics