Have you ever thought about how YouTubers get paid – and what actually helps creators grow on the platform?

It’s common for YouTubers to ask for likes at the end of their videos, but does this actually help them make money? In fact, what do likes actually do?

These are great questions, and the answer is actually pretty interesting.

So, in this article I’ll be answering these questions, as well as talking about the other factors that help creators make money on YouTube. If you’re a creator yourself or you simply want to help your favorite YouTubers out, you’ll certainly learn how!

Do YouTubers Get Paid For Likes?

YouTube Website

YouTubers do not get paid for likes left on their videos – at least not directly. However, likes act as a positive engagement signal, which can help the video get pushed out to more people.

So although YouTube creators are not paid-per-like, likes do help them make money indirectly, since their videos will ultimately reach more people.

Additionally, likes can show a creator what kind of content is resonating well with their audiences. This helps them to shape their content strategy, releasing more videos that their audience has proven to like, and releasing less content that doesn’t perform as well.

This helps to ensure that future videos that they publish are more well-received by their subscribers, and thus more profitable as a result.

While likes are helpful, they are far from the most important factor that determines how well a video performs, and how much money it makes.

So, let’s look over some of the other things that YouTube’s algorithm uses to boost or suppress videos, so you can discover what else can help!

These Are The Engagement Signals That Affect A Video’s Performance

Let’s look over the different factors YouTube uses to assess a video’s performance, after you’ve clicked on a video.

Remember that YouTube’s goal is to keep you watching videos for as long as possible, and returning to YouTube as frequently as possible. So, consider how some of these factor into these goals!

1. Likes AND Dislikes

We’ve already discussed this one, but did you know that dislikes are counted equally to likes?

It seems counter-intuitive, but it’s true! YouTube considers a dislike to be just as powerful of an engagement signal as a like, and dislikes can actually help a creator in the right circumstances.

This is particularly true if the dislike has been paired with one of the other important signals I’m about to share.

This is why in the past (before YouTube removed dislikes from public view), you could land on videos with lots of dislikes that were still being suggested – YouTube does not always consider them to a bad thing.

To learn more about the effect dislikes can have on YouTube creators, click here!

2. Watch Time

This is the big one.

Because YouTube wants to reward videos that keep people watching, the watch time of a video – both total, and the percentage of the video watched, have a dramatic effect on how far it gets pushed out.

In fact, this is hands-down one of the most important factor – far more than likes, or even subscribers.

If a creator’s audience is consistently watching videos all the way through, this shows to YouTube that the video was interesting and engaging.

So, you can help creators out by watching a bigger percentage of their video!


Similarly to likes and dislikes, comments are a great engagement signal.

Good videos will compel people to share their thoughts in the comment section. Comments prove the viewer wasn’t just letting it play passively in the background – they were actively paying attention.

Comments may also help YouTube gather data about what the video is about, and how you feel about it. The more data YouTube has about you, the more targeted ads they can show, which equates to more money for them.

So, comments help videos reach more people!

4. Subscribers From That Video

The more interesting channels you follow and care about on YouTube, the more likely you are to return to the platform in the future – and the longer you’ll likely spend catching up with everything that’s new.

YouTube tracks which videos on a creator’s page are creating new subscribers for them.

If you subscribe while on a video page, that is going to be factored into the algorithm, giving the video a boost.

Of course, this one can only be done once per person. You shouldn’t constantly unsubscribe and resubscribe to the same person, as it is unlikely to help any further.

5. Time On YouTube After Watching

Here’s one of the factors that isn’t commonly known, but is actually very important!

YouTube doesn’t just track how much of a single video you watch. They actually go on to measure how long you spend watching other videos on YouTube afterwards, which is then factored in!

For example, if you and a bunch of others watch a video and immediately stop watching YouTube after, this is generally a bad signal. YouTube can’t make money when you’re not on their platform, so videos that bore, upset, or otherwise cause someone to stop watching YouTube are a huge no-no.

On the other-hand, if someone watches a video and then spends a lot of time on YouTube after, this is generally a sign that the videos they were watching were an overall good experience.

This effect is amplified if someone watches a bunch of videos from the same creator at once – if someone lands on a video and then watches a bunch of videos from that same creator, all of those videos (and possibly the channel as a whole) may get a boost.

Remember, YouTube is as data-collection company, and the fact that they track everything is why their suggestion algorithm is so powerful!


Although YouTubers are not paid for likes directly, they can help boost the performance of a video.

This in turn leads to higher views, and thus higher revenue. This is one reason why YouTubers often ask for likes at the end of the video – they help the video get pushed to more people.

I hope that you’ve found this article insightful, and it’s shown you some more ways you can help out your favorite YouTube creators.

If you have any other questions about YouTube, ask them below and I’ll be happy to answer.

Wishing you the best,

– James McAllister

About the author 

James McAllister

James is the owner of JamesMcAllisterOnline.com. He started his first blog at the age of 11, and has since gone on to start several successful businesses. In total, these businesses have sold hundreds of thousands of units and have touched millions of lives. Here on JamesMcAllisterOnline.com, he shares his knowledge that brought him to where he is today. If you want to connect with James, follow him on your favorite social networks!

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