Alphabet Inc (NASDAQ:GOOGL) was forced to make some changes to how it runs YouTube and its ad network last year, and the alterations may be to blame for several prominent creators seeing their subscriber growth plateau.
That’s according to Business Insider, which looked deep into the subscription decline, and what might be causing it:
In November, BuzzFeed uncovered an autocomplete bug in which users were prompted with the search term “How to have s*x with your kids” if they typed “How to have” in the search box. And advertisers including Mars boycotted YouTube after The Times found paedophilic comments underneath videos with children.
It’s possible that this, plus a wider crackdown by Google, YouTube’s parent company, on fake traffic from bots, may be affecting viewing figures. Regardless, it looks as if it’s likely to be a tough 2018 for YouTube’s creators.
BI points out that YouTube stars like PewDiePie and Zoella have suddenly ground to a halt in terms of subscribers after several years of massive growth. While there are exceptions to the rule, it appears that influencers may need to look beyond YouTube this year to grow their audiences — which may mean a big opportunity for competitors like Facebook Watch or even Snapchat.
Alphabet Inc shares were unchanged in premarket trading Wednesday. Year-to-date, GOOGL has gained 1.88%, versus a 0.72% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.