How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work in 2024?

Right now, digital video is a critical aspect of every marketing strategy, which makes YouTube essential for advertisers. But you might be wondering: how does your content get to the right audience? Through the YouTube algorithm. 

But what is the YouTube algorithm and how does it work? And how can you use it to maximize your YouTube marketing plans? Here, we’ll walk through the YouTube algorithm and how you can make the most of your time on the platform.

What Is the YouTube Algorithm?

Algorithms are used by every social media platform to serve users relevant content. The goal is to keep users glued to and engaged with the site for as long as possible. An algorithm is a series of mathematical formulas that take inputs and create a series of outputs in the form of recommendations and served content.

In this situation, the algorithm takes data points of what a user might like (input) and then serves the most relevant content to them (output). YouTube’s algorithm has been refined and will continue to be refined over time. It determines what videos a user should see based on several factors, including popular content and your behavior on the platform.

Related: How Do Social Media Algorithms Work?

How Does the YouTube Algorithm Work?

YouTube remains a dominant force in the world of video marketing. So, how does your video end up on someone’s homepage? When you put a video up on YouTube, it doesn’t go directly from your fingertips to the eyeballs of your potential viewer. Rather, it then moves to the YouTube algorithm. 

In 2018, YouTube’s chief product officer said 70% of people’s watching hours on YouTube are spent watching algorithm-recommended content. With recommendations for different site sections — like the homepage, the ranked results that come up when you search, and the suggested next video — it’s easy to see how this can make up a significant portion of a user’s time on the platform. 

Like we said above, the algorithm takes different pieces of information about you to determine what videos you might want to watch.

How the algorithm serves each user’s content comes down to the interactions of three big factors:

  • Your personal interests. If you keep looking up bundt cake content, you’ll be served more bundt cake content. (Is anyone else hungry?) 
  • A video’s success so far. In the above examples, the best-rated bundt cake content on YouTube will be served to you before the lower-rated content. 
  • Overall trends. On days around impactful world events, you’re likely to see a lot more of these general interest videos. For example, even if you’re not a football fan, you might see some content about some high-profile games.

YouTube Feed Algorithm

As you watch and interact with more content on YouTube, the algorithm will learn more about your viewing habits and continue refining them. Your feed will go from being somewhat generic, reflecting broader trends, to reflecting your distinct interests.


Inventory refers to the vast array of videos that are uploaded to YouTube. Since videos are constantly being uploaded, it’s challenging to say how many videos are on the platform at any given time. But, if you’ve been on the platform, you know it seems like there’s no shortage of content for any topic.

Out of all these possibilities, YouTube’s algorithms exist to examine all of this content and find the videos each user is most likely to enjoy.


Signals refer to the indications you give by your actions as to whether you’re interested or not in a particular piece of content. They can be overt, a like or enthusiastic comment, or a bit more passive, like skipping forward at the halfway mark.


Predictions are exactly what they sound like; it’s the algorithm’s prediction that you’ll enjoy a piece of content based on your previous actions on the platform. The prediction system is quite agile. As you provide it with more signals and develop a longer history of viewing, its predictions will become more accurate. 


YouTube tries to serve you relevant content related to your interests and recent searches. It filters content by keywords and hashtags. The algorithm will also take into account videos people frequently watch together. If you go down an hours-long Les Mis rabbit hole, YouTube might serve you different types of videos of Jean Valjeans until you indicate you want to shift gears. 

10 Tips To Rank Your YouTube Videos and Get More Views

The YouTube algorithm works hard to make sure viewers are connected with relevant content. You can make the YouTube algorithm work for you by making entertaining content that hits the target interests of your viewers — and taking some extra steps to make sure your content is noticed by the algorithm. 

Tip #1: Utilize Humor

One of the main reasons people use social media is for entertainment, so give them something they can enjoy. Plus, funny videos are more likely to be shared with friends, family, and colleagues — and shared videos can help you gain traction with the algorithm. 

Tip #2: Be Concise

You’re going to want to keep your video production concise. While this doesn’t necessarily mean to keep them short, you won’t want to spend any more time than you truly need. Why? 

The average watch time factors into the algorithm. For example, if your video is 10 minutes long, and most of your viewers are only watching about half of it, the algorithm will take this into account. If another video is being watched all the way through, it might begin to promote that video over yours. 

No matter the length of your video, make sure to structurally engage viewers from beginning to end. 

Tip #3: Use the Right Video Specs

Native content is content made for a specific platform. YouTube has its own rules, distinct from those of Facebook, TikTok, and others. Make sure your content has the right video specs and meets all the benchmarks of quality YouTube content.

Related: YouTube Video Ad Specs & Placements Guide

Tip #4: Use Relevant Keywords

YouTube is a prime resource for millions of people across seemingly endless industries. So, you’ll want to make sure you clearly explain what your video is about through relevant keywords. 

If your spot emphasizes guitar lessons, be specific about the lessons you’re offering. Make sure your keywords are in the actual description of the video so it will show up in relevant searches. 

Tip #5: Consistently Share Content

YouTube builds its algorithms and interests based on prolonged viewing patterns. If you don’t have sufficient content, you can’t create the kind of long-term relationship with viewers that YouTube’s algorithm thrives on. 

Plus, if a user is already on your page, you’ll want to make sure they can view more of your content. Also, make sure you know the best time to post on YouTube to maximize video reach. 

Tip #6: Share Your Videos

If you’re looking to drive YouTube views and subscribers, you’ll want to share your video on different platforms. Whether you embed the video in your email marketing or put the link via a social post, don’t forget to share your video with the world. 

Tip #7: Engage with Your Audience 

Engaging with your audience is one of the most essential ways to stay relevant on YouTube. Engage with other users by responding to comments on your own videos, commenting on other videos, and generally being involved with relevant content. 

Tip #8: Stay on Trend

Since YouTube will serve users trending material, you’ll always want to keep an eye on trends. Whether it’s a fashion trend, headline news, or the latest pop culture event, keep them in mind and see which trends your brand can comment on or create content about. 

Tip #9: Take Viewers Behind the Scenes

Satisfy the YouTube viewer’s urge for a closer look at your business! Take viewers behind the scenes by introducing them to some of the people at your company. Or, give them an inside look by showing them some of the internal processes you’re most proud of. Even if this is a bit different than your other content, make sure you keep an engaging narrative throughout. 

Tip #10: Keep Your Content Fresh

Digital video is everywhere, which means you have a lot of opportunities to connect with your audience. It also means you need a lot of video content to stand out. And, since viewers are seeing ads alongside their favorite content, it means you need to have a variety of ads to display to avoid ad fatigue. 

With consistent content refreshes, you’ll be able to keep your audience engaged all year long, avoid ad fatigue, and stand out with timely video ads. 

Make YouTube Videos at Scale

Making the most out of your YouTube marketing strategy takes time, consistency, and a significant amount of video content. For many teams, it’s too much to keep up with alone. 

The good news? You don’t have to. 

Here at QuickFrame, we believe businesses of all sizes deserve high-quality video content for every objective. That’s why we created an end-to-end video production platform. We help connect you with leading video makers and production teams from around the world who are ready to help you create the video content you need to grow your business. 

Contact us today to get started with YouTube video production.

YouTube Algorithm: Final Thoughts

As YouTube continues evolving, the platform remains an incredibly popular platform for video content. By utilizing best practices and creating an effective video marketing strategy, you can work with the YouTube algorithm to break through the noise and effectively connect with your audience. 

Do More with Video

Learn how we can help you produce more quality videos affordably and at scale.