Your biggest fear as a YouTube creator has come true. Your most recent upload isn’t bringing in much positive engagement. Instead, dislikes are piling on.
Before you let this nightmare scenario get the best of you, remember: Dislikes aren’t as significant as you think. Instead of wallowing in one video’s lackluster performance, use this ordeal as a learning experience. It likely won’t have a massive impact on your viewership, but it will provide valuable insight into what your viewers do and don’t like about your content.
In the end, what seems like a discouraging obstacle in your content creator career can end up being advantageous in the long term.
Dislikes won’t affect your viewership (for now)
YouTube announced in November 2021 that though the dislike button would remain, the actual number of dislikes would be hidden from viewers. The decision was met with widespread controversy, with many arguing that the dislike count was a quick and easy quality barometer for viewers. Meanwhile, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki has defended the company’s decision saying it protects creators from dislike attacks.
Though the debate is far from over, creators can rest assured that their viewership won’t be affected by swarms of dislikes. According to Wojcicki and internal YouTube research, dislikes don’t have a meaningful impact on viewership—and there are real-world examples supporting the findings. A Short from sibling-creator duo Lucas and Marcus currently holds the “honor” of the most disliked video on the platform. Despite this, the channel has 27.6 million subscribers and receives well over 500,000 views on the majority of their recent uploads.
To further ease your worries, a recent study by Mozilla revealed that the YouTube algorithm doesn’t even consider dislikes. The study tested different methods to help users avoid bad recommendations, where videos similar to one they previously rejected are recommended.
The results were less than ideal for users; the dislike button only prevented around 12% of bad recommendations (this figure rises to 43% when users stop recommending a channel). The study urged YouTube to do something about their ineffective recommendation algorithm. In the meantime, creators can take comfort in knowing that dislikes don’t signal the end of their YouTube career.
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger
Just because dislikes are unlikely to affect your channel performance doesn’t mean they should be ignored. The dislike count isn’t publicly available to viewers, but creators can access the data within the Creator Studio, YouTube’s central channel management hub.
Keep an eye on your dislike metrics just as you would any other video performance statistics. Do your dislikes fluctuate across videos? Are your videos receiving more dislikes than likes? Does one video have way more dislikes than your other content? A spike in dislikes could mean that your content is no longer resonating with your viewers.
If you notice a pattern in your dislikes, use the feedback to your advantage. For example, a surge in negative feedback since you started using a new microphone might mean it’s time to look at higher quality alternatives. Or if all of your Q&A style videos are underperforming, think about ending that series in favor of better-performing content.
Negative feedback can be your friend, not your enemy
The comments section of a video can be a scary place—full of trolls and bullies. But if you can brave it, it can help you learn more about your audience. Read the comments on a disliked video to understand what missed the mark.
Your audience simply might not like the style of your video. Or perhaps you said something you shouldn’t have. Either way, it’s helpful to know how your content is being received so you can improve.
In the end, dislikes are a gauge for how content is performing. Now that this information is hidden from viewers, it’s not about driving away traffic to your channel—it’s about learning from feedback and making changes to better yourself and your channel.