Should you keep likes/dislikes visible on YouTube videos?

On November 10, YouTube announced their plans to remove the dislike button counter on their platform. They said “We’re making the dislike counts private across YouTube, but the dislike button is not going away. This change will start gradually rolling out today.” They revealed that “earlier this year, we experimented with the dislike button to see whether or not changes could help better protect our creators from harassment” and “our experiment data showed a reduction in dislike attacking behavior.”

It was interesting timing because I’ve been doing an experiment for a few months regarding the YouTube algorithm. This experiment involves the interaction of my videos, specifically about the like/dislike button. I’ve had my like/dislike counter hidden. Some people comment on this so I wanted to explain.

Experiment: For months I’ve hidden the like/dislike counter in order to see if this reduces interaction on my videos or has a negative impact. Did it have a negative impact on my channel?

Spoiler: it hasn’t. I still have the same average like/dislike ratio as I did years ago: 99% or higher.

likes dislikes ratio

According to most sources, anything above a 90% ratio is considered good.

From the very beginning of my time on youtube (years ago), my aversion to the dislike button has been strong. I’ve seen countless creators being trolled with malicious dislike attacks. For others it’s purely detrimental to mental health (seeing a video you worked tirelessly on be disliked can hurt).

I was in college when Facebook was invented. At the beginning there was a dislike button for each post. Guess what happened. The assholes of the world used it as an opportunity to spread hate and malice. What a surprise. If you give some people the option to be negative, they take out their own unhappiness on others. They spread negativity like a virus.

As an ex-full time streamer, I learned through trial and fire that there is absolutely no way to avoid those people if you share content online. Every creator comes across a negative person at least once. Through that experience I grew a thicker skin. I realized most of the time the negativity is all on them and has nothing to do with me.

Regarding YouTube videos – Yes, most people use the like/dislike button as a way to demonstrate actual value of a video. That part of the system is OK, when it is used correctly. But there will ALWAYS be those who act maliciously. Period. Sad truth of humanity.

Anyways, my experiment has proven to me that it doesn’t matter whether the counters are visible. My videos are still getting above a 99% like ratio. In the grand scheme of things I still see growth. My subscriber count continues to grow, my YouTube ad revenue continues to increase, and my watch time continues to grow.

So I’ll be ending the experiment for now (it’s actually difficult to remember to check the box to hide the counter 🤣, and it’s annoying to answer questions about it)

Funny statistic: the only videos that have a bad rating (95-99%, which technically is still very good) are my “shorts” and class trailers. Basically all those videos that are super short or purely meant as a trailer to my skillshare stuff 😅 People just want everything for free. Oh well!

So I hope this post was insightful and that if you are a creator, you know you aren’t alone in the struggle against algorithms or negativity, and that you keep doing what you love no matter what! We are in this together. You are loved. Ignore the haters.

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I'm an independent artist living in Scotland. Always chasing the light, and painting the beautiful highlands.

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