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3 Myths About YouTube Trending Debunked

YouTube addresses 3 common myths about how it features content and explains what it takes for a video to appear in the coveted ‘Trending’ section.

The myths which are debunked by a member of YouTube’s creator content strategy team include:

  • YouTube Trending gives preferential treatment to specific creators.
  • YouTube Trending is exclusive to high profile creators.
  • There’s an ideal time to publish to get featured in Trending.

Before getting into these myths let’s briefly go over what the YouTube Trending section is, which is not to be confused with home page recommendations.

Overview of YouTube Trending

Trending is a separate section of the YouTube website which is accessible from the main navigation menu.

The goal of YouTube trending is to provide a set of videos that a wide range of viewers would find appealing.

This includes videos that are:

  • Showcasing the diversity of the platform.
  • Performing exceptionally well compared to other videos on the platform (or other videos on the channel).
  • Aren’t clickbaity, misleading, or sensational.
  • Indicative of the culture and trends that are popular on the platform at the time.

YouTube Trending is one of the few areas where users can discover new videos which aren’t personalized based on viewing history.

All users throughout the whole country see the same list of videos in YouTube Trending. The list updates roughly once every 15 minutes to ensure it remains current.

Getting a video featured in the Trending section is a considerably big deal. With how sought after the space is, creators have developed their own theories about why and how videos get chosen.


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Here are a few of those theories.

Myth 1: Preferential Treatment

There’s a myth that, in order to show up on YouTube trending, you have to either pay someone or know someone who works for the company.

This isn’t true. YouTube doesn’t accept payment for placement in Trending, or have any favoritism when considering the eligibility of appearing in YouTube Trending.

What YouTube does consider when curating videos for Trending is:

  • View count
  • How quickly the video is generating views
  • Where the views are coming from (including off YouTube)
  • The age of the video
  • How the video performing compared to recent uploads from the same channel

There are filters to ensure certain types of videos do not appear show up in trending such as videos with excessive profanity, extreme violence, mature content, or content which is disparaging to others.


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Myth 2: Exclusive to Big Creators

It’s a commonly held belief amongst creators that Trending only surfaces late night talk show hosts or large YouTube creators.

That’s not true. In fact, YouTube even ensures at least half of the videos on Trending are from homegrown creators.

In addition, YouTube Trending has sections for “creator on the rise,” and “artist on the rise,” which showcases a smaller channel for a whole day

Myth 3: There’s a Perfect Time to Publish

Theories around the formula behind YouTube Trending lead creators to believe there’s a “right” time to publish to improve one’s chances of getting featured.

That’s not true. As mentioned, the list is updated every 15 minutes, which means every 15 minutes there’s another chance to appear in Trending.


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When it comes to publishing times, it’s more important to get videos out when your specific audience is likely to watch them.

For more information, see the full video below:

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