Ever looked back at your early YouTube videos and cringed? You’re not alone. As a content creator on YouTube, it’s natural to have moments where you consider deleting some of your older videos. Maybe the quality isn’t up to par, or the content no longer aligns with your channel’s current direction. However, before you rush to hit that delete button, there’s a better option to consider.

According to YouTube Product Lead Todd Beaupre, deleting videos from your channel can negatively impact your channel’s growth and overall performance on the platform.

Why deleting YouTube videos is harmful

Deleting a video might seem like a quick fix, but it comes with unintended consequences. When you delete a video from your channel, you’re essentially erasing its entire history – views, comments, likes, and most importantly, the watch time accumulated by that video. This erasure of valuable data can adversely affect your channel’s standing in YouTube’s algorithms, which prioritize watch time as a key metric for promoting channels and recommending videos to viewers.

For channels aiming for verification, or those already verified on YouTube, maintaining a robust and active channel is key. By deleting a video, you forfeit all the watch time it accumulated, making it harder for your channel to gain visibility and grow.

An illustration showing thumbnails of Youtube videos next to reasons why not to delete Youtube videos.

The power of unlisting

Instead of deleting videos, YouTube suggests unlisting them. Unlisting a video makes it unavailable to browse or search on YouTube, but it retains all its historical data and watch time. This means that any views, comments, and watch time accumulated by that video will still contribute to your channel’s overall performance metrics without being visible to new viewers.

Unlisting a video essentially hides it from public view without completely removing it from your channel. This way, you can keep your channel’s data intact while still curating the content you want to prominently feature.

Reviving unlisted videos

Another advantage of unlisting videos is that you can always bring them back to life later on. If you decide that an unlisted video is worth featuring again, you can simply re-list it, and it will become searchable and visible to your subscribers and viewers once again.

This flexibility can be particularly useful if you have evergreen content or videos that may become relevant again in the future.

For example, consider a tutorial video that didn’t garner much attention initially but becomes relevant due to a new trend. Unlisting rather than deleting allows you the flexibility to capitalize on such opportunities without starting from scratch.

In conclusion, while it may be tempting to delete old or underperforming videos from your YouTube channel, doing so can actually harm your channel’s growth and performance. By unlisting videos instead, you preserve your channel’s valuable history and data, maintaining the integrity of your channel’s metrics. So, think twice before hitting that delete button – unlist, and preserve your channel’s valuable history.

How Birdeye can streamline your online presence

When considering the management of your YouTube content — whether to delete, unlist, or even when contemplating the drastic step of deleting your channel — it’s vital to have a strategic approach to your digital presence across all platforms. Birdeye Social can be a pivotal part of this strategy, providing you with the ability to:

  • Use AI to generate targeted social content
  • Accelerate publishing with post and asset libraries
  • Streamline approvals with automated workflows
  • Monitor social engagement
  • Respond to social comments in seconds with AI

Watch a quick demo of the Birdeye platform to know more.

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