The Only White Hat Way to “Buy” Real YouTube Subscribers for Under $1 [Google Adwords Tutorial]

By Nate McCallister

Published on May 11

Growing a YouTube channel is a slow, painful grind. You publish video after video after video and your growth still moves at a snail's pace. It's perfectly normal to start looking for shortcuts. The most tempting of all YouTube shortcuts is to buy subscribers, comments and likes. 

There are dozens of services that do offer this, but I have a cold hard truth for you. They are all (yes, all) garbage. 

However, you can buy your way to faster YouTube growth. It's just not discussed because there isn't money in teaching it like there is in selling junk subscribers in bulk.

In this article I'm going to show you exactly how to do it and how you can get REAL subscribers   who actually want to watch your videos and how to get them for under $2 each.

Let's get into it.

The Problem with Buying YouTube Subscribers 

Before I show you how to buy subscribers the right way, let me explain why the common subscriber services are actually going to damage your channel. 

Buy YouTube Subscribers

Buying YouTube subscribers from 3rd party services does little more than boost your own ego. The only possible benefit is that people might be more inclined to subscribe or watch your videos because the large number of followers works as social proof. 

The biggest problem with buying subscribers from these services is that they will not engage with your videos. They are just numbers. This means that whenever you publish a new video, they will likely see it but not watch or engage with it. This signals to YouTube that people don't like your video.

Hell, if your subscribers won't even watch it, why would YouTube show it to other people!?!

  • Ego boost
  • Larger channel may lead people to subscribe organically because the channel seems popular (social proof).
  • Extremely cheap
  • Subscribers are not going to engage with content.
  • Metrics for new videos will be damaged (all videos will underperform)
  • Embarassing to get caught 

How to Use Adwords to Get Real YouTube Subscribers

Ok, do we agree now that buying subscribers is a bad idea? I hope so. 

So what actually works? Running ads to your videos on YouTube via Google Adwords.

YouTube ads are managed within the Google ads dashboard. We can pay for impressions to our videos which then lead to views which lead to subscribers. 

The beautiful thing is that we are able to choose where our videos are displayed so we can target our ideal subscribers. 

Also, we aren't forcing anyone to subscribe and they aren't incentivized like many of the 3rd party services. We can get subscribers who are in our niche AND actually choose to subscribe on their own. 

Google ads for YouTube Subscribers

Here is the full process step by step.

Step #1 Set Up a Google Ads Account

Obviously, we can't run ads without this so if you don't have one already, click here to make a free one

Step #2 Choose (or Film) Video

The quality of our subscribers and the cost to acquire are dependant on using the right videos in our ads.

This is what we're looking for in the video we use for these campaigns.

Google ads for YouTube Subscribers Checklist

Let's dive a bit deeper...

On Topic - To attract your ideal subscriber, you need to show a video that matches what your channel is really about. For my channel Evergreen Affiliate Marketing, I needed to choose a video that was relevant to internet marketing. Showing videos that aren't in line with your overall brand will lead to a lower quality of subscriber. 

High CTR - We want to choose videos that are proven to get clicks. This shows us that our title and thumbnail are working well and this will lead to more views and more affordable subscribers. 

High Quality - The video you run ads to should showcase your channel in the best light possible. People subscribe when they're impressed by a video so never run ads to subpar videos. To gauge quality, look at your

  • Like to dislike ratio  
  • Comments
  • AVG watch time 

If the feedback is generally good, watch time is above your average and the like to dislike ratio is good (at least 90% likes to dislikes), it's a winner. 

Has Call to Action - Your video should ask for the viewer to subscribe within the first 20 seconds and again at the end of the video. Be sure your video also has subscribe buttons activated. 

Reviewing Analytics in YouTube Studio to Choose Ideal Video

Here's how to find the metrics you'll need once you've navigated into YouTube studio. 

1. Click on Analytics

2. Click on "Advanced" 

3. Click on "Add Metric"

4. Choose "Subscribers Gained"

Check the step by step slides below to confirm you did it right.

Creating Your Ad

Now that you've selected your video, it's time to create your ad. 

You'll need to create a free Google Ads account of course first. Sign up for that here.

This process seems far more complicated when you look at it in a "step by step" format like I did above. I'll still do that but first, let's do a video. It will make the step by step process seem far less daunting.

Step #1 From the Google Ads dashboard, Select "Create New Campaign" and click through 2x.

Step #2 Select " Create a campaign without a goal's guidance."

Step #3 Choose "Video" for campaign type.

Step #4 Name the campaign.

Step #5 Leave bid strategy untouched (Maximum CPV).

Step #6 Set budget type 

Recommended: Daily (no end date) at a minimum of $5/day. Let run for at least 3 days before making any decisions.

Step #7 Choose locations. Focus on your region and those reasonably close 

Recommended: United States and Canada is ideal for most American, english speaking channels.

Step #8 Choose your language.

Step #9 Select your content exclusions (recommended standard inventory type and leave excluded labels untouched).

Recommended: Standard inventory type and leave excluded labels to default settings. 

Step #10 Leave related videos blank.

Step #11 Adjust any additional settings.

Recommended: Turn "TV" placements off since they have lower subscription rates. You can leave everything else (capping, schedule and Third party measurement) on default settings for now. 

Step #12 Name your ad group.

Step #13 Leave demographics and audience segments untouched.

Step #14 Leave Keywords and Topics untouched but choose Placements and select your videos and/or channels to place your ad.

Recommended: Choose videos related to your video first and then channels related to your channel and video second. Specific video placements will perform better but you may need to go more broad if you can't get enough impressions.

Step #14 Paste in your YouTube video URL

Step #15 Select "In feed video ad."

Step #16 Fill in headline, description 1 & 2 and Ad name.

Step #17 Skip over making additional ads for now. 

Step #18 Set bidding.

Recommended: They will suggest a very large minimum bid amount. Ignore that for now and focus on between $0.02 and $0.03. Ignore top content bid adjustment for now. 

Step #19 Select "Create campaign"

Step #20 Select "Continue to campaign"

Step #21 Check back in a few hours to ensure the campaign is approved and running.

Step #22 Monitor and optimize. Run for at least 3 days. 

Monitoring, Scaling and Optimizing Campaigns

Your first campaign may do decent or it could totally flop. Regardless of what happens, we always want to analyze the numbers and optimize accordingly. 

Free YouTube Ads Worksheet

One of the most important parts of running paid ads is knowing your numbers. If we can't measure our results, we don't know if our ads are converting and worth continual spend. 

The downside to using paid ads to grow your subscribers on YouTube is that we can't track conversions cleanly like we can with leads or sales. 

To make this process easier, you can swipe my worksheet below. It will prompt you to make a copy, just replace my data with yours and update it over time.

Google Ads for Subs Worksheet

Your subscriber data will be slightly overstated since your videos will likely drive a few organic subscribers while your running paid traffic. 

My suggestion is to just subtract what the average daily subscriber number is per day for each video. 

Important Notes and FAQs

There is quite a bit of nuance involved here so please read through this last section entirely. 

How Far Should I Scale? 

This method is really best for getting your first 1,000 subscribers. There is a benefit to getting over that threshold and it's worth paying for. However, at $2+ per subscriber, it isn't likely to be profitable to use this method to try and grow your channel far beyond that. 

You're of course welcome to use it as much as you'd like, but it will be hard to monetize each subscriber to justify the $2+ spend on each. 

What Changes Should I Do to Improve My Ads

We have a lot of things we can do to improve our ads. 

  • Choose a new video - If the video is a dud when shown to the right audience, it may just not be the right topic or it didn't meet all of the criteria from step #2 of this article.
  • Change your thumbnail - If impressions are low but subscribers are high, consider trying a more enticing thumbnail. 
  • Placements - Try different videos and channels. 
  • Change region - If you're not getting quality views, consider tightening your region a bit to just your country and native language. 
  • Change ad text - Update your headline and ad descriptions. Make sure the best part of the text is shown at the front since mobile devices will truncate them.

Will This Hurt My Social Blade Score?

Many creators are concerned with looking like they bought fake subscribers and tools like Social Blade keep us all honest. They have algorithms that monitor channels growth and engagement and give a grade of how authentic they think the channel is.

Although running YouTube ads gets you subscribers that are just as legitimate as organic ones, doing it too much can damage your score on social blade and similar platforms. Irregular spikes in views and subscribers can be interpreted as signs of illegitimate growth and it could have a slight impact on your grade.

However, this doesn't really matter. No one really checks these or cares. You know that the subscribers are real and engaged, don't lose sleep over this. You will get your score back once you grow more. 

My Subscribers Are Going Up But Falling When I Turn My Ads Off

Depending on your budget, you'll notice that a LOT of subscribers drop off when you pause your ads or lower your budget. 

For example, you might get 100 subscribers in one day but when you turn off the ads, you lose about half of them.

This is normal. It's a glitch in the YouTube system that happens when we flood in new traffic and subscribers fast.

It appears that YouTube uses some assumptions when calculating subscribers when they come in very fast vs. counting each one manually.

Essentially, if your channel got 100 subscribers in one day, they will expect that you will get 100 the next day and they will add to your subscriber count even if you didn't get those subscribers. 

My guess is that this is a feature that goes unnoticed on large channels. However, when we increase our rate of subscribers up to 100+ per day and have under 1,000 subscribers, it's very easy to spot.

Don't worry though. This doesn't mean you'll lose all of your paid subscribers, it will just be overstated at first and within about 48 hours, you'll stabilize and can get a real idea of how many real subscribers you added. 

About the author

Nate is the founder and main contributor of and author of Evergreen Affiliate Marketing. He is a lifestyle entrepreneur who spends his time building businesses and raising his four kids Sawyer, Brooks, Van and Lua with his beautiful wife Emily. His main interests include copywriting, economics and piano.

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  1. This is great. I've tried a Youtube subscription boost service before and it got me 294 subscribers in 14 days. Okay. It's weird that my videos would get 10 views, but would have 15 likes on it. How is that possible? Plus after the 14 days were up, after i posted a video… no views. No views, no engagement, nothing. I deleted that old channel and started a new one using Tubebuddy and VidIQ to boost my views and subscriber rate. Best real alternative to growing a channel the slow way.

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