What 40,000 Videos Tell Us About The Trending Tab

[Coffee Break]
This is the trending tab visualized. There are over 40,000 videos here with over 2,000 unique channels all represented on this graph here. All of that and more will be explained right now. [h3h3Productions]
I’m trying to learn how to go trending from this video. I’m trying to understand. What does YouTube want from- from us as creators? [Shane Dawson]
A clip from the show “The View” that has 10,000 views is not trending (but it’s number three trend). That’s when you start to think “Oh, [this isn’t real?].” [YouTuber]
I want to show you a clip from the trending tab. And, as you can see, a lot of the videos don’t seem to be made by creators. [Coffee Break Intro] The trending tab is the most talked about, least understood part of YouTube and part of that’s because, for a long time, we’ve had nothing but anecdote and speculation. But today I’m hoping that changes, because for the last few months I’ve been analyzing a data set that covers seven months of trending history for November 2017 to June 2018. Now, if you want to know about the person who created the data set (Mitchell Jolly) if you wanted to know how I analyzed the data set… I know a lot of you don’t care. So we’re gonna just put it in a second video, but for now, we’re just gonna talk about the results. I’m gonna catch you up to speed with how we got to that first intro shot and we’re gonna do it really quickly. So we start with a huge amount of data: 40,000 entries. A lot of my reason for doing this is I want to answer the age-old question: “Is YouTube biased towards traditional media?” So if we’re gonna answer this question, we have to classify all the channels that trend and find out if they’re traditional media or not. I had to make some definitions of my own here (for the types of channels that are traditional media versus what is a YouTuber or independent creator) and I made a few other classifications as well and now all we have to do is figure out which of these two thousand channels is which. Manual classification like this would take way too long for one person, so I enlisted 70 people from my second channel in order to help me crowdsource this data classification. And when that’s all finished you get this. So, this is what we get. How do we read it? Uh, so the first thing is- is the color key. Blue will be traditional media. Orange is commercial. Uh, green is movies, trailers, video games. Red is music. Purple is YouTuber. And brown is conventional viral (anyone who trended with less than 10,000 subscribers.) So, what do we get? All right, so the y-axis is the average view count, uh, they got before they got on trending. So as soon as [they] got, we see them on trending. How many views [did] they have when that happens? So we can think of that as sort of the barrier to them getting on trending. How many views they needed to get on trending? And then we have the number of unique trending videos. So, let’s do a, for instance, let’s say you have, uh, I don’t know, Lele Pons. She seems to have trended about 10 times on the Trending tab. And she- it took her about four million views, on average, to get on trending those ten times. Okay, so that’s how to read this. So what do we find? Uh. Well, the data is pretty clear. Number one: if you are high up on this, you’re not going to be trending a lot. The chances are- you don’t- we don’t see you trend a lot and that sort of makes intuitive sense. If it takes you a lot of views to trend, you’re a lot less likely to trend a lot because, it’s very hard to get those views. Now, who do we find… trending a lot? Who do we find with- a lot of times on trending? Uh, the answer is overwhelmingly… Traditional media. Traditional media, as in ESPN, as in The Ellen Show, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert, Netflix, NBA, CNN, Vox. All- Almost all late night or, like, su- Traditional me- like the most mainstream of mainstream media is who we see over-represented on trending over and over and over again. And I want to stress: This is not due to the fact they’re getting more views than these other YouTubers are. For example, if Logan Paul’s barrier to trending is about 11 million views, then no matter how much he uploads he’s a lot less likely to trend frequently than someone like ESPN, whose barrier to trending is, on average, about 500,000 views. But that’s not all, though. Something else caught my eye: PewDiePie. His trending data is super interesting because he trends all over the world, yet he barely trends in the US. Now, here’s where I tell you that we don’t just have the US dataset. We have all these other countries, too. And when you look at those countries, PewDiePie is crushing it everywhere *except the US* even in non-English speaking countries. If this is a simple algorithm, it’s bizarre that the US would be the one place he does so poorly. Now, YouTube has mentioned for some time that they have human moderators. Perhaps he gets blocked most of the time, but how do you test that? I decided to look at other controversial creators to see how they fared on the Trending tab in the United States. Many of these are US-based channels. So if they did poorly in the US, but not in other countries, it’d be evidence of, perhaps, some suppression in the US. I decided to compare the trending rates in the US with Canada. This is because Canada is operating in the same time zones. They have similar cultural interests and they also speak English. Now all of these controversial creators are extremely popular and have some level of swearing or edginess to them. And this is what I found on the US side:
many of these creators aren’t trending at *all*, or if they are trending, it’s once or twice and that’s it. For comparison, here’s the Canadian side of things. So this is just an insane difference, it’s night and day. I mean, people like Joe Rogan are trending zero times in America and they’re trending a hundred times in Canada, even though Joe Rogan is American based. People like h3 are trending maybe 60 times in Canada, one time in the United States. Philip DeFranco is trending two times in the United States, he’s trending 87 times in Canada And I know you’re thinking: “Well, maybe Canada’s just totally a different beast, even though we did expect it to be pretty similar.” Well, if we look at the top 12 channels who trended in America we actually don’t see that. We see what we’d expect: relatively similar trending numbers. So Canada being slightly different does not explain why these controversial creators are doing so poorly. The only thing that makes up for it is, maybe, the idea that America had moderation at this point and Canada had a lot less moderation. so these controversial channels were free to trend. So we may have unwittingly gotten an accurate view of how much some of these YouTubers would be trending if it weren’t for human intervention. Now I have to remind you here that that’s a theory, but we haven’t even gotten to the worst part, which is the double standard YouTube seems to have for what is banned on the trending tab for YouTubers and traditional media. Like maybe I can understand that you want to show family-friendly content. But why is late-night comedy always allowed and considered appropriate while these creators aren’t? Late-night swears too. And, even though they bleep out some of it, they keep other parts. Like, why is this okay? (and these bleeps are my own, by the way) [compilation of late-night swears that have been intentionally censored by Coffee Break] [Shane Dawson]
I’ve also heard, like, their go-to is just “Well, you cuss” and I’m like “So does everybody else!” Like they trended a song that was, like, controversial about, like, [the roles?] and Cardi B was in it. [“Clout” by Offset plays, with the swears censored] They trended, I don’t. It feels very personal to me, which is why I hear… [Racka Racka]
Like, pick and choose who the rules apply to. The rules apply to some people and the rules do not apply to other people. You guys are pushing already established filmmakers and letting them do whatever they want. How about you promote and help up-and-coming filmmakers that are made on your platform? [Coffee Break]
Yeah. I think that point by the Racka Racka guys really encapsulates how a lot of creators are feeling right now, that they’re feeling disenfranchised by the platform that they helped build and they feel like it’s unfair, and there’s certainly a lot of evidence to support that. Finally, the last thing I noticed was just how news was treated on YouTube. So there’s a thing called “category_id” in our data set. Categories include entertainment, education, and even news. And I got curious when I saw CNN, Vox and The Washington Post doing so well on trending, so I started to think: “How much of news on the trending tab is mainstream news versus alternative news?” (and I mean alternative in the sense of independent, not in terms of their politics) So to find out, I filtered our data set by news and graphed it the same way we did our last video, and this is what we find: 95% of all news takes on trending is traditional media. That’s ridiculously unfair to anyone seriously trying to do news right now independently. Philip DeFranco, for example, is one of the few YouTubers who even appeared on trending and it took him 1.4 million views on average to appear those two times on trending. In comparison, The Associated Press trended seven times. And how many views did it take them to appear in trending? 10,000. This is just a different bar and standard for independent creators. If there is a standard to which we all should be set to, it should be an equal one. And, look, before we move on, I know YouTube has sort of made a creator memo. They’ve said: “Oh, we’re gonna fix all this. We’re gonna, you know, bump up the creator ratio to at least 50%”. And all I’ll say is that it’s not about percentages. It’s about a level playing field. And what I mean by that is, look. What’s unfair in all of this has nothing to do with an extra creator here or there making it to trending. What’s unfair is that YouTube has clearly put their hands on the levers to make it literally easier for traditional media to get on trending. What’s unfair is that controversial YouTubers get held to a different standard than traditional media and that 95% of news on Trending on YouTube is all mainstream takes. So while I think YouTube is right in taking the first steps in fixing the system, it’s about more than fixing a simple ratio. It’s about giving the creators who built this platform a fair chance. [“give us a (real) chance” by Marc Rebillet plays] Thank you so much for watching that video. The last thing I want to say is, sort of, um, to answer an objection that I know I’d have while watching this video if I didn’t do the research myself. And, um, it’s along the lines of a realization that I had while researching this video and it shaped the way I made it. Which is that, if you’re a savvy viewer, you probably noticed I only checked out the relationship with views and trending, and you might be saying: “Well, don’t you know, Steven, that the trending algorithm considers a sm- any number of signals. There’s a lot more signals that YouTube considers. Why didn’t you consider any of those? Why don’t you try to figure out what those had to do with it?” And I’ll say a few things there. Number one: I- I actually did try. I- I looked at things like likes, dislikes, comments. Um, I scraped for subscriber counts. I checked out the median view count of someone’s channel versus the performance of their trending video and st- tried to see if there is a relationship there. And the answer is that there’s not- none of those are the Silver Bullet to what we might call “trend ability”. Uh, and my revelation, sort of, about black boxes- and if you don’t know what black box is, something where you have input, you have some- something that nobody really quite understands, an algorithm (most of the time), um, and you have some kind of output. What I realized was, rather than focusing on the algorithm, which contains signals that we do not have access to, such as shares, where the views are coming from, what views YouTube is even considering outside of YouTube itself, we don’t have access to any of that back-end data. So we literally don’t have access to some of the key variables. So when that’s the case, instead of trying to deconstruct this, we can look at this, we can look at what the output is, because we know the input, and if we have the- we have the algorithm, we sort of have the output, but it’s also the case that if you have the output and the input, you can make inference as to what the algorithm, the black box, is. And that’s what this video is all about. So my intention, when only talking about views, was to shift the conversation away from this, and to talk about this. Because this is, in the end, what actually matters when you’re talking about a systemic bias. Um, regardless of whether there’s explicit or implicit biases here, whether human moderation or just YouTube’s choices and what they favor, uh, traditional media is getting the bulk of the attention, you might say, they have a different standard for them. And that is what I wanted to highlight in this video. So, I know I didn’t get to everything. I know I didn’t cover YouTube’s own intentions. I know I didn’t talk about every angle of this, this is not the end-all be-all take on the trending tab, but I wanted to give you a little insight into why I focused on this side of things. So, thank you so much for watching! Thank you to my patrons, everyone who’s supports me on Patreon, it’s a huge part of this channel, and I hope you have a wonderful day. Check out that second video if you want to see the nuts and bolts, and I’ll see you later. subs by zonk, sub to Coffee Break

Comments 100

  • EDIT: who’s here from pew news?? Welcome 9yr olds to my channel! Like for Mary Ham, comment for poppy or Gloria.

    if you like this video, the two biggest things you can do to get it seen are a) watch the entirety of it. and b) share it with one person.

    I really would like other Youtubers to see this, but I need your help. <3

  • On trending tab: CNN with little to no news, 15,000 views.
    Somewhere on YouTube: Small time channel peaking 50,000 views in a day, no trending.

  • RIP YouTube, it's just a matter of time.

  • Traditional media are either paying YouTube directly for preferential treatment or through placing advertising. There's no other reason they'd do this. It's always about money.

  • I neeed a chance! Great video

  • After Pewds started playing minecraft he's been getting on gaming trending more

  • well, hope this gets trending

  • Κανείς από 2j?😂

  • For me right now there are videos in top 10 trending that have less than 100k vids that have been up for a week or so, when there are vids that have millions that have been up for about a day below it

  • As of lately I’ve been seeing a lot more creators making it on trending. Joana Ceddia, Cody Ko, Best Dressed, Drew gooden to name a few! Hopefully we get to see more!!!

  • Absolutely loved the honesty this video! Keep it up!

  • I have pretty much never looked at the trending tab. "Home" "recommended" SURE! "Trending" NO! Just because people think it's hot means nothing to me.

  • I didn't even realise there was a trending tab until now

  • You need at least one more variable — time between when something is posted and it hitting a number of views… If something gets 10,000 views in the first 30 minutes it's up, that's very different than 10,000 views in a week.

  • All left/far-left news outlets 🤔

  • P*rnhub got a community filter, YouTube ?

  • 0:31 but… iKon :<
    edit: And Monsta X

  • I've changed my country form the U.S. to Canada now so let's see what happens

  • Basically trending content today:
    Hot girl Vlog
    Rich YouTube couple flexing their wealth.
    Make up.
    Rap, pop music.
    Kid friendly channels.

  • Not even Phillip defranco is that promoted…
    YouTube cares only in advertisers not their users.

  • Have you been talking to Tim Pool/Tim Cast? If not you should.

  • I'm sorry, somewhere along the way people began mistaking brainwashing for trending. The year is 2019. Real trending on youtube died roughly back in 2012.

  • honestly just burn it all down

  • Upperechelon gaming brought me here..

  • funny how the algorithm is recommending this video and exposing itself 🙁

  • Notice how all the trending videos are from left wing media 😉

  • I wonder why this video got a lot of thumbs down? Long standing resentments about the now removed Kurzgesagt video perhaps.

  • im mean could it be a mix of how fast you get the views the number of likes/dislikes subscriber count and average view count
    i mean youtube probably is getting bought out but it does seem like alot was left out because it was the magic puzzle piece instead of them all being a piece of the puzzle

  • Sounds like TV shows and all are even more on the way out than we even thought…

  • It's all about the Benjamins Baby

  • Damn, James Corbett of the for the corbettreport.com need to see this.

  • Youtubers do not trend on the US because of the NSA, CIA and FBI. They categorize the majority of the so called "controversial channels" you listed as a national security threat. It's social engineering that dumbs down the population. They are MANUFACTURING CONSENT.

  • Susan Wojcicki has left the chat

  • Here from Joerg's fairtube video. Help support the cause!

  • It’s cause they promote all the feminist type things

  • It would be interesting to look at a views vs time graph for videos on different spots of your trending graph. Also to look at which Vevo/music channels trend (what factors ex. swearing or genre are at play)

  • (Not that you care)I wonder how many utube eyes are on you now because of this vid. Good one, regardless, and thanks for being one of the good guys.

  • Traditional Media should have its own tab. Leave trending to the creators.

  • At least animators show up there sometimes.

  • YouTube is like that gamer funded game that goes corporate and pretends they didn't need any help from those "toxic" gamers.

  • every one make jinu trend the song is good

  • jinu should have trended too but guess what he did not so is music unfair too

  • YouTube's rigged. No wonder nasime sada shot the head quarters up

  • Okay, so I haven't watched this video yet and never heard of this channel before, but it was recommended on my home page. As for the trending tab? Well I've looked at it from time to time , but it is always just a bunch of really dumb shit that I don't understand how anybody could watch unless you have the mental capacity of a two year old. That and sometimes music videos, of which most are the same as the formerly mentioned.

  • Trending, no thanks!

  • There probably an incentive for YouTube to promote traditional media, it could be money sponsorship and advertisment,
    There has to be a incentive placed.

    Great video.

  • Remember the adpocolips, the mainstream media is holding YouTube's advertisers hostage and saying give us front of stage or else.

  • Protip: Block the trending tab with UBlock Origin. I've had it blocked over a year.

    While you're at it block youtube tv too.

  • Change the trending to japanese. Some of them are legit from creators

  • trending, your video feed, recommendations – are only ad's in a video format

  • Plus YouTube is done for, their will only be the face of Youtubers as Youtubers

  • Thanks for the research and making this as a content creator. This is substantial part of factors you can do to get things better on this platform.
    It seems this has been uneasy issue many people have been suffering for long time. I want to point out one thing and give a suggestion. Trying to fix unfairness of the platform provider(YouTube) is one way to deal with this meanwhile that doesn't necessarily give viewers/independent creators much of control of what those YouTube decision makers do to this ecology.
    For those who stay as viewers on this platform, don't just wait and see what happens if you don't feel good about this issue. To supplement this creator's actions to eventually make this situation better and fair, there is something you can do about it. To fix this more effectively we as viewers/consumers should actively choose to click "not interested" buttons on those traditional media videos on trending section and section on the right side of video pages. This method really make a difference on what videos appeared on "your" account YouTube trending section. This way you as individual viewer suffer less from the annoyance of seeing those TV stuffs. I can tell based on my experience how effectively this method works on my YouTube pages.(I recommend go further after click "not interested button" by clicking "tell us why" and check all the boxes). And if majority of people proactively do this in stead of being a passive watcher and let those traditional media trending videos keep popping up on their YouTube pages, YouTube will have no option but to change this bull crap manipulation to what is more in favor of actual viewers.
    To sum up, voicing our opinion by making videos, go on a lawsuit is one factor to make the giant move. But don't just focus on what the giant does to you(individual viewer) and your community(creators+subscribers) because that only makes you stay in misery as a victim during tyranny. Trying to find what you can actively do about the sabotage to make your side less miserable.

  • Ah, the US corporate interests laid bare.

  • Trending tab aka the brainwashing tab bought n paid for by corporations.

  • 10:56 Try Nepal trending tab it won't match trending rules.
    Most of the content are clickbait.

  • YouTube algorithm is designed to favor money. Advertisers will pay more to get there crap put on MSM than they will anyone else. YouTube is trying to get people to watch their shows more by putting them everywhere like trending and suggested in order to make more money. It’s pretty clear. Unfortunately marketing executives are just as old fashioned and stuck in the past as MSM and can’t seem to understand that the people who have the money and are willing to spend it on the crap they want to sell are not watching grandma’s late night and news shows. Their watching the “controversial” and cutting edge channels and don’t care if they cuss, show violence, and god forbid talk about conspiracy’s.

  • Simply put google is owned by liberals, liberals are the dumbest people on the planet


  • Too late. Media conglomerates are down to 4. They basically use Youtubers to plagiarize ideas from, give YouTube a reach around in exchange for trending at 10K views.

    The era of creative independent content flourishing on the YouTube is over.

  • Do real people actually use the trending tab though?

  • Did not expect loop daddy to feature in this

  • Sue the bitches. It's disgusting and evil what they are doing. And they are lying about it. So they know it's wrong.

  • YouTube is not happy they'll make sure this won't trend anywhere even if it reaches 1billion views

  • Before 9:47 : holy shit this video is amazing
    After 9:47 : LOOPDADDYYYY

  • Creators made Youtube to what it's today, Youtube started destroying creators.

  • Isn't this censorship?! Does Joe Rogan know about this?! haha

  • This is admitted by Susan W. No surprises but thank you for the hard work

  • Well… this was recommended to me.. so..

  • I am willing to bet this video never got on trending

  • PewDiePie gets a guranteed 5 mil + views every day, and he never gets on the main trending page. Youtube is rigged.

  • Traditional News Channels are a tool for the government manipulate how the general public think and feel. That’s why YouTube pushing them on you. Alternative news are bad for the government. It’s all about control.

  • https://youtu.be/nWA3d8E5-Bg?t=11m12s

  • Trending seems to be all about what moneyed interests want you to see, not what actually is trending currently by means of user interest. It's entirely manufactured trends, aka "we want you to consider this a popular video" even though it's not.
    Also why I /never/ look at trending.

  • This is clearly ends justifying the means, which is the exact philosophy of the current far left ideologues who wish to determine what content we consume.

  • This is cause the US is authoritarian in the sense that they want corporations to run everything and dictate what we do.

  • Remember when Google's motto was "Don't Be Evil" ? Apparently they have forgotten.

  • If you work for YouTube, your first incentive is to generate more viewership and business for the company. There are several causal implications from the observation that the "highest trenders" are overwhelmingly traditional media. The first, I like to call the "Alex Jones Inference", is that there is some social engineering aspect to what clearly is a manual selection of what constitutes trending videos. I don't totally dismiss this idea, yet there's no direct evidence for it so we can only suspect that it is the case. Another plausible incentive for YouTube to manually fill their trending tab with conventional media would be as an incentive to generate interest/viewership from new users. Honestly, how many people who already watch videos on YouTube go to the "trending" tab? I can say for sure that I've never once checked out the trending tab. If you already use YouTube, and you're not a creator so you're not necessarily interested in who is "doing well", why would you go on the trending page? It seems possible to me that YouTube created the trending tab as an "in" to people new to the platform – and just did a terrible job of naming the tab.

  • Sweet, a quantitative representation of what's blindingly obvious. Media created by those who can make money not just on the media alone have a small portion of their revenue tied up in YouTube views, and therefore do not care about paying off YouTube to promote their content. They can afford their transaction with YouTube to be a net loss because the platform for the viewing of their content by the younger generations is more valuable than whatever they could gain by playing the YouTube game normally-playing the game like small creators have to because their budgets can't afford paid promotion on the scale of corporate media.

  • @ susan wojcicki

  • So I am pretty sure that YouTube sells spots on trending which is why we see so much artificial results.. They allow some organic spots but the vast majority are sold to traditional media

  • This may have a lot to do with Google's overall focus on EAT. Traditional media would have a way higher EAT score in general. You might look into Google's search guidelines in general and that may give you a lot of insight. E.g. a game company will outrank a pewdiepie video. Likewise CNN vs secular talk.

  • The trending tab might as well not exist on my bar. I never click it.

  • YouTube trending is biased toward transsexual content. It's pretty damn obvious

  • I just don’t go to trending

  • Here cuz of nerd city. You got another subscriber

  • Wow I knew Suso was a good liar, but damn the trending situation is even worse than I thought! Thank you for the huge amount of research you did for this video.

  • Step one: go on trending tab
    Step two: find traditional media
    Step three: dislike video
    Step four:leave a comment that round about says gtfo our platform

  • YouTube invented a new form censorship in the guise of bots and the algorithm.

  • There are social costs to everyone playing by the same rules if someone controversial makes Trending (even if the video in question is benign). But there's an issue if traditional media is playing for relevance, placement on youtube AND generates self serving criticism of youtube.

  • I never even look at 'trending' because i know it's total dog shit.

  • Why is he so frenetic? It makes him seem so untrustworthy.

  • NOW trans, gays and fallen "angels"

  • Some great analysis

  • PewDiePie isn't actually trending in Germany…

    I just watch him a few million times.

  • Opened trending tab after watching this video. YouTube app immediately crashed. Coincidence?

  • wow, google is evil not only in a global sense, but even in such petty cases.

  • https://youtu.be/o9ndXb_YsHQ

  • Big money brings corruption. YouTube used to be an avenue for the independent creator, not anymore. New rules and regulations have ensured the small creator will never breakthrough with any success.

  • I LOVE RUKA RUKA ALI. !!! He's the SHIT! sorry if u don't trend now

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