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You can buy subscribers on YouTube, but should you?

buying subscribers on youtube

Buying YouTube subscribers is an idea that many new YouTubers have toyed with. There are a lot of benefits to doing so ‒ but is it truly a good idea?

So, should you buy YouTube subscribers? Yes, you should buy YouTube subscribers, but only if you do it in the right way and for the right reasons. 

If you want to learn more about buying YouTube subscribers, I’ve got you covered. The rest of this article will discuss everything you need to know about this confusing and questionable practice:

  • The right way to “buy” legitimate YouTube subscribers
  • What buying YouTube subscribers gets you
  • Actionable tips for buying subscribers

The different ways to buy YouTube subscribers

buying YouTube subscribers

There are two different ways to buy YouTube subscribers ‒ the right way, and the wrong way.

The right way to buy YouTube subscribers

The right way to buy YouTube subscribers is by hiring a legitimate promotional service to market your videos to networks of real human viewers. These services will share your videos and channel with networks of people ‒ some of whom will end up subscribing to you.

If you find the right service, it can be worth the money. A successful outreach campaign lets you skip the initial grind and guesswork of hoping YouTube’s algorithm recommends your videos.

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However, don’t be surprised if you end up losing some of these subscribers. Followers gained via outreach are less likely to stay engaged with you than followers gained through other means.

The wrong way to buy YouTube subscribers

The wrong way to buy YouTube subscribers is to hire someone who owns a bunch of YouTube accounts to flood your channel with subscribers. We’ll cover this more when we discuss the cons of buying YouTube subscribers, but know that this approach can get your account banned.

The websites that offer this service are also often less than reputable, and there’s a risk of getting scammed out of your money.

The benefits of buying YouTube subscribers

instant social proof

Social proof

Most people feel more comfortable doing something if they see other people are doing it too.

This phenomenon is called herd mentality. It’s a basic tenet of social psychology, and it explains why people are more likely to subscribe to YouTube channels that already have a significant number of followers.

The toughest part about starting a brand new YouTube channel is building that subscriber count from zero.

When you have less than a thousand subscribers, herd mentality is working against you. You’ll spend long hours creating content that almost nobody is going to watch ‒ all for the sake of growing your subscriber count organically. Either one of your videos goes viral, or you wait for the trickle of viewers and subscribers to grow into a sustainable stream.

Buying an initial batch of subscribers will let you skip this painfully slow growth process. It gives you the instant social proof needed to convince interested viewers to subscribe to you.

Get to the “tipping point” faster

Every successful YouTube channel has a tipping point. The subscribers start to snowball into more subscribers, and the success of the channel becomes an inevitability instead of a big question mark.

To understand why this snowball phenomenon occurs, you need to know how YouTube’s algorithm works.

While this is a gross oversimplification, YouTube’s algorithm essentially operates in two distinct phases.

First, the algorithm identifies viewers it thinks might be interested in your video. Because Google owns YouTube, the algorithm knows every hobby, characteristic, and interest about everyone that watches YouTube videos. It uses this information to decide which videos get recommended to certain viewers.

It then shows them the video and analyzes how they interact with it.

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Let’s say you have a channel about building log cabins. You post a video ‒ also about building log cabins ‒ and ten people watch the video within a day of it being posted.

Of those ten people, one of them watches the whole thing, clicks through to your channel, and watches the rest of your videos. The YouTube algorithm already knows this person likes content about log cabins, so they recommend the video to other people who want content about log cabins. If those people also interact positively with the video, YouTube will keep recommending it to viewers who like log cabins.

This is how successful channels are built ‒ by capitalizing on YouTube’s recommendation algorithm.

One fact that is key to this process is that the vast majority of views don’t come from the YouTube search results ‒ they come from videos that YouTube recommends. This includes videos that autoplay after the one you’re watching finishes, as well as the videos in the “Recommended Videos” sidebar.

So you need to get the algorithm to recommend your videos to your target audience. But how does buying subscribers play into this?

It all comes back to the social proof we talked about in the previous section. YouTube also notices how many people are interacting positively with your content. While ten highly interested viewers are great, 10,000 highly interested viewers are going to have a much more significant impact on the algorithm’s recommendation decision.

Building up social proof by buying your initial subscribers will get you a dedicated viewer base faster ‒ which will give your videos more weight in YouTube’s recommendation algorithm.

The negatives of buying YouTube subscribers

It can get you banned

YouTube has made it extremely clear that buying subscribers can get you banned. They have a strict no-tolerance policy on artificial inflation of views, likes, subscribers, or other metrics.

If you want to grow your fledgling channel into a long-term revenue source, avoiding a ban should be one of your top priorities.

No matter how reputable a YouTube subscriber buying service might seem, you’re always running the risk of a ban when you use them.

This risk is compounded by the fact that YouTube can see which accounts are participating in artificial metrics inflation.

If someone reports an account with 1,000 subscribers for buying subscribers ‒ and your account has the same 1,000 subscribers ‒ YouTube is going to know that your subscribers are also illegitimate. So even if you keep everything on the down-low, there’s always a risk that someone else’s mistake can bring your channel down.

Purchased subscribers won’t engage with you

buying subscribers won’t engage

The other negative thing about buying subscribers is that they usually won’t engage with you.

Subscribers purchased from someone who owns a bunch of YouTube accounts definitely won’t watch your videos. And even legitimate subscribers gained from a third party marketing effort are less likely to stay involved than subscribers who find your channel organically.

So if you do buy YouTube subscribers, it needs to be for building social proof. If you go into this thinking you can build an empire solely off the backs of purchased followers, you’re in for a rough time.

Actionable tips for buying subscribers

If you do decide to buy YouTube subscribers, here are a few tips to help you do it safely and correctly.

Ask where the subscribers come from

Any service that isn’t promoting your content to viewers on third-party websites is probably using a network of bot accounts. Before you even consider using a YouTube subscriber service, you need to know precisely how that service obtains subscribers.

Don’t add a bunch of subscribers all at once

bunch of subscribers

Whether you buy subscribers from a promotional service or a guy with bot accounts, make sure to space out the rate of subscriber addition. There is no bigger signal to YouTube that your subscriber count is artificial than a sudden jump from zero to 1,000+ followers.

And while obtaining subscribers from promotional campaigns is perfectly acceptable, you should still ask the promo company to start off slow. If the campaign is particularly successful, YouTube might incorrectly attribute the sudden jump to artificial inflation.

Look for reviews

Before hiring any service, you should check the internet for reviews of the company. If the company is legitimate, they’ll have a long track record of 5-star reviews. If they aren’t ‒ or if they’re not good at subscriber acquisition ‒ the internet will tell you about it.

Final thoughts

Buying YouTube subscribers is a great way to boost social proof and get you closer to the subscriber snowball tipping point.

It isn’t for everyone though as it comes with the risk of a ban. You’ll also have artificially low view metrics, which can warp your perception of how well your content is doing.

If your interest lies in long-term success, I recommend doing things the organic way. It might take longer, but it’ll ensure that YouTube becomes a stable revenue source that persists for years to come.

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Shawn Manaher
Shawn Manaher is the founder and CEO of Ignite Marketing. He's one part local business growth specialist, one part campaign strategizing ninja, and two parts leader of an awesome nerd pack. He won't eat pancakes unless you call them flat waffles.
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