Abbreviated Subscriber Counts on YouTube

As you likely have heard by now, as of September 2019, YouTube will be abbreviating subscriber counts everywhere except in a creators private studio dashboard. This will cause the subscriber number everywhere it is publicly shown, including on Social Blade, to be shortened to only three leading digits max. Read on to learn a little more about the change and how to adapt to this new change when looking at data on Social Blade.

For the purposes of the screen shots below we have backdated YouTube’s change to Sept 2018 in order to show you what things will look like before they actually go live on YouTube. The actual website will show live data up to the point when YouTube flips the switch.

UPDATE 1: Sept 17 2019 3pm ET (19:00 UTC) – YouTube has started to roll this out to the API. Some (not all) channels now show abbreviated counts.

UPDATE 2: Sept 17 2019 7pm ET (23:00 UTC) – Most channels now have abbreviated counts.

UPDATE 3: Dec 26 2019 – You can now see your OWN Live Sub Count with the help of our Chrome/Firefox Addon!

User Summary Pages

PewDiePie’s User Summary Page (top)

The top half of the User Summary page has a new look to it but is still mostly the same data as you’re used to with the addition of the graphs. The new graphs feature how many subscribers (left) or views (right) the channel got each week over the past year. Looking at this gives you an at the glance look of the channels health over the past year and some areas to explore in more detail. For example in the above graphs you can see how PewDiePie’s subscriber growth slowed down for several months but recently picked back up as he started playing Minecraft. His view graph also spiked during this change.

The table in the middle of the summary page is where you’ll notice the most changes. Depending on the size of the channel and how fast they’re growing you’ll see a wide range of data points. If a channel is growing fast (relative to it’s size) you’ll see almost daily subscriber updates, but if a channel isn’t growing fast anymore (maybe an older channel that has slowed down) you may see subscriber updates every few days, weeks, or even months or years. It should be noted that at least currently, YouTube has chosen to leave views as the exact number so those will be updated every day.

In the example above it shows PewDiePie got 1M subscribers on September 8th. Since we have the real data still we obviously know this isn’t true. We are then left to either A) put a 1M subs gained on Sept 8th since that is when YouTube told us his sub count changed from 100M to 101M, or B) smooth the data out from the last sub count update which is already off the chart. We have chosen to take option A since neither way is fully correct, but option A at least uses the data that was given to us rather then guess, potentially very wrongly, about how many subs were gained each day in the past. For example that 1M really could have happened on a single date and if we smoothed it out across the previous days that would be wrong. We do smooth this data out though in the graphs at the top and the summary page where you can view the data weekly/monthly instead of just daily.

Detailed Statistics Pages

The last thing we wanted to highlight in this change are the new graphs on the detailed statistics page. We’re going to be doing some further changes to this soon too, but at launch the screen shots you see here will be how things look for the most part.

PewDiePie Detailed Stats (top graphs)

The first four graphs you will see highlight on a weekly basis the channels growth on both subscribers and views. The top two graphs show how many have been gained or lost during that week (a bigger version of what is on the summary page), while the bottom two show the running total.

Silver+ Subscription Required for Daily Charts

The next four graphs require you to have a Silver or higher subscription to view daily data.

PewDiePie Daily Data (including legacy)

Inside these daily graphs (green to indicate they are a premium feature) you’ll be able to see a couple years back of daily data regarding subscriber and view growth. One thing to note though is the daily subscriber data will end on the date YouTube flips the switch so we’re calling it legacy or historical.

PewDiePie Detailed Stats (Bottom Graphs)

The last graphs on the page are pretty straight forward, a history of the channel over the past few years in monthly form. These should look very similar to the weekly but on a wider basis to smooth data even more.

One last general thing to note about almost all of the graphs is you can click and drag drawing a box to zoom in on any portion of the graph you want to see in more detail.

You’ll notice other parts of the website such as your favorites list have also been updated to support this change.

The Day of the Change

T-Series Drop Example

One final thing to note is, on the day of the change (simulated to Sept 8th in the example above) is you will see a substantial drop in subscribers for most channels. In the example above T-Series looses 150k subs when typically you can see they are gaining. This is because when YouTube switched to abbreviated subscriber counts 111,155,817 for example changes to 111,000,000. All those subscribers (most likely) aren’t REALLY lost, but as far as anyone outside of T-Series knows they are because YouTube has removed the full count. We will leave an (i) on the table to indicate this for the time being.

The New Normal

Really at the end of the day the only thing that won’t work anymore is the real time subscriber counter. Or more specifically it will work, but it will be very boring (unless you have less then 1000 subscribers) for most channels unless you know the counter is about to change. The good thing though is you can always get a perfect screen shot as once a milestone is reached it won’t change for a while!

So that about sums things up. While we’re not happy that YouTube has chosen to go forward with these changes despite the overwhelming opposition from the community we have adapted the site to support them. We want to thank the community for all of their support over the past few months surrounding this issue and to let you know we’re not going anywhere! Social Blade may not have exact subscriber numbers anymore, but other then real time, you’ll still be able to enjoy almost all of the same features and since everyone is effected the same way channel data will still be comparable!