Recommendations help you discover more of the videos you love, whether it’s a great new recipe to try or your next favorite song. The success of YouTube’s recommendations depends on accurately predicting the videos you want to watch. When our recommendations are at their best, they connect billions of people around the world to content that uniquely inspires, informs, and entertains.
You can find recommendations at work in two main places: your homepage and the “Up Next” panel.
Homepage: Your homepage is what you see when you first open YouTube—it displays a mixture of personalized recommendations, subscriptions, and the latest news and information.
Up Next: The Up Next panel appears when you’re watching a video. It suggests additional content based on whatever you’re currently watching, alongside other videos that we think you may be interested in.
How does YouTube’s recommendation system work?
We start with the knowledge that everyone has unique viewing habits. Our system then compares your viewing habits with those that are similar to yours and uses that information to suggest other content you may want to watch.
Our recommendation system is constantly evolving, learning every day from over 80 billion pieces of information we call signals, the primary ones being:
Watch history: Our system uses the YouTube videos you watch to give you better recommendations, remember where you left off, and more.
Search history: Our system uses what you search for on YouTube to influence future recommendations.
Channel subscriptions: Our system uses information about the YouTube channels you’ve subscribed to recommend other videos you may like.
Likes: Our system uses your likes information to try to predict the likelihood that you will be interested in similar videos in the future.
Dislikes: Our system uses videos you dislike to inform what to avoid recommending in the future.
“Not interested” feedback selections: Our system uses videos you mark as “Not interested” to inform what to avoid recommending in the future.
“Don’t recommend channel” feedback selections: Our system uses your “Don’t recommend channel” feedback selections as a signal that the channel content likely isn’t something you enjoyed watching.
Satisfaction surveys: Our system uses user surveys that ask you to rate videos that you watched, which helps the system understand satisfaction, not just watch time.
Different YouTube features rely on certain recommendation signals more than others. For example, we use the video you’re currently watching as the main signal when suggesting a video to play next. To provide video recommendations on the homepage, we primarily rely on your watch history. You can turn off and clear your watch history if you don’t prefer us to provide video recommendations on the homepage.
For people with YouTube watch history off and no significant prior watch history, the homepage will continue to show the search bar and the left-hand Guide menu. This allows for a streamlined user experience with the ability to search, browse subscribed channels, and find trending videos in the Explore menu, which offers destination pages for popular categories and emerging creators and artists on the rise.
How do YouTube’s recommendations help maintain a responsible platform?
Recommendations play an important role in how we maintain a responsible platform. They connect you to relevant, timely, and high-quality information, and at the same time complement the work done by our Community Guidelines, which define what isn’t allowed on YouTube.
We take the additional step of recommending authoritative videos to viewers on topics such as news, politics, medical, and scientific information.
We rely on human evaluators, trained using publicly available guidelines, who assess the quality of information in each channel and video. To decide if a video is authoritative, evaluators look at factors like the expertise and reputation of the speaker or channel, the main topic of the video, and whether the content delivers on its promise or achieves its goal. The more authoritative a video, the more it’s promoted in recommendations.
Controls to make recommendations more relevant to you
Our system sorts through billions of videos to recommend content tailored to your specific interests. But of course, we also know not everyone wants to always share this information with us. So we’ve built controls that help you decide how much data you want to provide.
You can pause, edit, or delete your YouTube watch and search history whenever you want. We also provide ways for you to tell us when we’re recommending something you aren’t interested in. For example, buttons on the homepage and in the “Up next” section allow you to filter and choose recommendations by specific topics. You can also click on “not interested” to tell us that a video or channel is not what you wanted to see at that time.
And, if you don’t want to see recommendations on the homepage, you can turn off and clear your YouTube watch history. For users with YouTube watch history off and no significant prior watch history, the homepage will show the search bar and the left-hand Guide menu, with no feed of recommended videos.