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According to this video by The Game Theorists, YouTube does not push every video a channel makes to all of that channel's subscriber inboxes. Rather, a subscriber only sees videos from channels they commonly interact with, because that's better marketing.

When I first heard about this I thought the issue was merely a technical limitation. I.e. it would be technologically prohibitive to alert every YouTube user of every new video from every one of their subscriptions. (Considering the massive amounts of data YouTube can transmit this seems unlikely, but who knows.) But the Game Theorists video does not mention technical limitations, just that "YouTube's algorithms are optimized to drive increased watch time".

Is this true? Does YouTube send every video to every subscription inbox or not?

Note that I'm not talking about the YouTube homepage but the subscriptions inbox. I mean, obviously the recommended videos and "updates from channel X" stuff on the homepage are chosen to optimize engagement (and to be honest, it wasn't perfectly clear which one the Game Theorists video was talking about).

Note also that I'm not talking about mobile or google or email notifications. Just about what shows up naturally in the subscription inbox when you click "subscribe".

  • Would giving examples from my own suscriber inbox be original research? – Babika Babaka Sep 16 '16 at 10:57
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    Is this even answerable? You're asking about intrinsics of the closed-source algorithms of a huge, creepy internet company. Even if someone works there, they aren't going to be able to answer this. – cat Sep 16 '16 at 11:47
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    I cannot confirm nor deny the question as a fact to be true, but I did notice I missed a few videos that did not show up on my subscriptions page. I open a video from a channel and I notice a new video uploaded a few hours ago, before the video I was watching, that did not find on my feed. There are also moments when I receive a video a few minutes or hours ,on my feed, after they were published. I just thought this was a technical glitch related to my account. – AtulBhatS Sep 16 '16 at 12:04
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    I am subscribed to a number of channels that I never watch. Looking over the past 100 videos, which have all came in within the past day, a vast majority of these videos have come in from channels that I haven't touched in over a year. It does also include channels that I touch daily. I took a brief glance at a few of these channels, and there does not appear to be anything missing. My 15 minute conclusion is that everything is included, but this does not line up with what I've heard from others. – Thebluefish Sep 16 '16 at 16:27
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    I have subscribed channels with dozens of new videos i was never directly notified about on my feed until I actively looking for their channel. However, I watch 2 videos by one channel about something I never looked at before, and suddenly that channel is my top recommended channel to subscribe to, and I see their videos dozens of times over the next (as of now, the last) week. A channel I was not subscribed to had dozens of videos in my feed, while dozens I am subscribed to have 0. – Ryan Sep 16 '16 at 17:26
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Yes, this is confirmed by YouTube Help Center.

Subscriptions are an important part of your YouTube experience. If there are specific channels that you like, subscribe to them. Once you do, any videos that channel publishes will show up in your Subscriptions feed. This makes it simple to keep up with the content you care about.

Reference: YouTube Help Center

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    This site usually frowns a bit on an argument where the only proof boils down to "the people in question say they do this" but given the way the question is phrased it's hard to prove a negative. – Shadur Oct 31 '16 at 11:25

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