Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Growing Against the Odds

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Humans like growth. Even if its just a little each day, its the idea that youre

bigger or better than you were yesterday. I dont mean physically. That isnt

always good. But as a Youtuber, its nice to see your stats going up and stuff.

But that isnt always enough- you want for your growth to grow! To go from gaining 400

to 600 subscribers daily is great. You feel as though youre going to the moon! Then

600 subscribers a day becomes the norm and suddenly, 400 a day feels BAD.

But all of this is still growth. What if you were to start losing subscribers faster than

you gained them? Its something you know will happen one day, but you hope it wont

be today. You like to think that youre one of those special people who rockets to

the top of Youtube and remains there. But you probably arent.

And now a lot of CS:GO youtubers are in this situation. Last month they might have had

500,000 subscribers. Now, 490,000. Its still a great number, dont get me wrong!

But for them, thats no solace. I feel that I peaked in 2015. I didnt-

my channels have been growing ever since and in 2017, I even received more views than ever

before. But mentally, for me, 2015 was the peak. It just felt so EASY to grow back then,

and exciting to explore both CS:GO and Youtube. CS:GO was an up-and-coming game. I was one

of the lucky youtubers to ride that growth wave as it catapulted my channel, and many

others, to sizes that none of us could have expected.

This is largely down to luck, about being in the right place at the right time and with

the right kind of skillset. But its appealing to think that its all your own doing. That

YOU drove that growth, and you alone. But that puts you in a difficult position

when your channels start to shrink. Suddenly, your tried-and-tested video making formula

isnt working quite as well as it once was. You begin to reminisce fondly about times

when your channels were doing better, even if at the time you took it largely for granted.

CS:GO, and associated channels, are now shrinking. Theyre still an impressive size! But its

evident that CS:GO is no longer the cool trend. And with this, the enthusiasm of its community

has dwindled when you compare it with, say, the hype that the likes of PUBG or Fortnite

benefit from right now. I really have to emphasise this: your mental

state changes as the game you love stops growing. We all have different ways of dealing with

this. The CS:GO community is quick to blame Valve for why the game doesnt feel exciting

any more. But really? I think they must know thats not the case. Players look back with

rose-tinted glasses at when THEY enjoyed the game the most and think that if it were to

return to how it was back then, then it would be like the old days again. Of course, its

not that simple. Those days have gone. If youre no longer enjoying CS:GO, perhaps

its not the games fault... Maybe, its YOU.

And as for CS:GO Youtubers, I started seeing it last year and its only gotten worse

since. The moment a channel starts failing, it fails FAST. What seems like a bad month

becomes a trend, then before you know it, viewcounts are plummeting and theyre backtracking

on all the subscriber milestones they once surpassed.

And you can see the sort of impact it has on the Youtuber. They announce breaks, they

knee-jerk change their content (though that only makes things worse!). Some even cry out

for help, not sure how everything went so wrong.

But youre not necessarily doing anything wrong. It might just be a natural stage in

the life of a niche Youtuber. When people think of becoming a Youtuber,

they aim to become the next Pewdiepie. The biggest! The best. Why would you aspire to

be anything less? Its not enough to have an audience: you need ALL the audience. But

although it may be less glamorous, a smaller community is a more achievable goal and comes

with its own benefits. You wont be expected to change- that is, to lose anything that

makes you different or unique in order to appeal to the lowest common denominator. You

can specialise on something you care about and do it well.

This is what 3kliksphilip is. Its bound to CS:GO. That channel can only make content

for it, and so is very dependent on how well the games doing. But 3kliksphilip cant

jump ship- if I do that, I risk alienating the audience that I do have, plus Im not

sure how transferrable 3kliksphilips skills are any way. I suspect 3kliksphilip will stick

with CS:GO to the bitter end. Warowl, on the other hand, made the jump to other content

a while ago and is suffering the transition. His view count is still healthy. People like

viewing his stuff! But he might just have to accept that his content has less of an

audience than before, and that it might be a while before his subscriber count reflects

the size of his new fanbase. Losing subscribers is never nice, but I think

can tell you valuable information about the state of your channel. I think its important

to work out whether these are people unsubscribing because they dont like your content, or

if its Youtube doing some housecleaning, removing old or inactive accounts etc. Here

are 3kliksphilips subscribers gained and lost, every month since the beginning of 2014.

This nicely reflects how I felt about 2015 being the Year of the Philip. Its hard

to argue that 2015 was when I gained the most subscribers. Since then Im actually surprised

that the people unsubscribing to me has remained so few- that is, until the last few months.

Could 3kliksphilip see his subscriber count dropping sometime soon?!

I wouldnt be surprised. CS:GOs fanbase has dropped by about 30% in the last 2 months

alone. Its amazing that 3kliksphilip is still growing by as much as it is. Aprils

subscriber growth was hampered by a sizeable subscriber purge that Youtube likes to do

once in a while. Its pretty easy to spot it, from the Youtube Analytics page- and clear

its not in any way linked to the state of CS:GOs community.

This blue line represents the 626 closed accounts. Fair enough. But the rest, Youtube

TRIES to disguise as every-day stuff. This green line is apparently the 731 people who,

on these 2 days, just happened to look at their subscriber list and decided to remove

me from it. Thats almost as many as the other 28 days of the month put together! And

this purple line is the 693 people who clicked on my channel and then decided to unsubscribe,

on these 2 particular days. Yeah, so Im not buying that.

Im not saying this is a big conspiracy against me! Im saying that Youtube does

more house-cleaning to tidy up old, inactive or fake channels than it lets on to,

which will inevitably hurt older, more established channels more than it will newer ones.

Its particularly evident in spikes like this, but I think a certain amount of housecleaning

goes on on Youtube every day. Its shown on socialblade as one BIG drop for one hour

every day. For me, a growing channel, most of the hours are seen as positive growth,

which is to be expected. And on a shrinking channel, more hours show a drop, which is

why I suspect the big drop is something other than just people naturally losing interest

in the channel. Like I said, Youtube housecleaning. Its important to be able to distinguish

between housecleaning and other reasons for subscriber drops. If everybody unsubscribes

the moment you release a new video, yes- then its time to worry! But Ive often seen

a drop, asked is this housecleaning and checked other channels to ensure they

also received a similar drop. And usually they have, or are due for one within a few

hours time. If your channel is only shrinking because

of this large, single daily sub loss, like Warowls currently is, then rejoice! These

accounts that youre losing probably werent real or current followers any way and have

only been artificially inflating your subscriber-count until now. It will likely have little impact

on your viewcount in the long-run, as long as you can produce content that keeps your

new subscribers happy. Although theres probably a stage after

people stop viewing your videos, and before they unsubscribe. But that gets complicated!

In a way, this house-cleaning is a bit like a drawn-out version of what we experienced

in mid 2016. There was a weird bubble where we started getting a LOT more subscribers

than normal. Of course, we all just thought it was because we were awesome, then they

were dramatically removed again 2 months later and we returned back to how we should have

been doing. It sucked, but probably didnt change anything unless in those 2 months,

the real followers had grown bored of the content we were churning out because we thought

our new-found audience liked it. Lets move onto the first week of May for

what an average week without a purge looks more like. I gained 3185 subscribers during

this time. Thats 455 a day! Very nice for 3kliksphilip. But I also lost 1,048. Per day,

56 people looked at my channel and decided it was no longer for them, and unsubscribed.

38 a day see me in their list of subscriptions and dont even bother clicking on it- they

unsubscribe, knowing they dont want to see my stuff anymore. And 34 accounts are

either closed by Youtube, or removed for an unknown reason every day.

Altogether Im losing 150 subscribers a day. Thats like, 1000 a week, 4000 a month

and 50,000 a year. Ignoring new subscribers, I lose just over 7% of my existing audience

a year, even when Im producing regular new stuff thats similar to what made them

subscribe in the first place. Without new followers, you can see how quickly an older

channel can lose its existing fanbase. Mays another weird month for me, since

later on in it I did a subscriber milestone celebration video. This ALWAYS causes loads

of new people to subscribe for some reason but also leads to a number of unsubs. The

pros always outweigh the cons, makes me think every video should be a celebration of some

sort of subscriber count. Maybe Ive found a way of breaking the system! Annoyingly,

it shows that telling people to subscribe works. As Mister Sterling found out recently.

Honestly though, right now 3kliksphilip is outperforming how it should be doing. Its

heavily tied to CS:GOs playerbase, and while thats been shrinking, 3kliksphilip

continues to grow! But for those of you who are losing subscribers faster than youre

gaining them, its not all doom and gloom. Accept that you may need to lose some, but

as long as youve got a steady supply of new subscribers coming in then your channel

will have an audience left at the end of it. Maybe switching from total subscriber count

to benchmarking yourself by new subscribers gained is just a silly way of coping with

a bad situation. But hey, even Youtube did it when they switched over from viewcount

to watchtime. In conclusion, times are hard for CS:GO Youtubers

who have been spoilt by years of EZ growth and views. Losing old subscribers makes it

doubly difficult for established youtubers to increase their subscriber count, and quadruple-y

so to ever achieve the same subscriber growth boom that they had in the first place. It

will take time for their subscriber counts to represent their old channels new-found

audiences. And this correction period will be equally

hard on the Youtubers themselves. You can see the negative impact these recent changes

have had on their mental states. I see many Youtubers talk about taking breaks. I can

empathise with that. Making content year in year out, you become desensitized. Something

you once loved is now a mundane daily task- especially when your view and subscriber counts

start dropping. And its nice to think that getting away from it for a bit will some how

return it to the old days again. Even though it probably wont.

I predicted at the beginning of this year that 2018 could be the year that 2kliksphilip

overtakes 3kliksphilip, for views at least. Ive kept 2kliksphilip separate and active

for years, as insurance for the day that CS:GO fails me. But it hasnt happened yet. 3kliksphilip

remains surprisingly resilient, and the fanbase, loyal and supportive. I dont think it will

last forever, but while the going is good, 3kliksphilip will remain my main channel.

However, if any of my channels are to ever reach a million subscribers, I dont think

itll be 3kliksphilip. (PLOT-TWIST: ITLL BE THIS CHANNEL!)

The Description of Growing Against the Odds