Skenderis Studios

YouTube appears to boost videos based on quality

As of May 2019, a montage video of drone footage, shot in 4k by Constantine “Costa” Skenderis, titled “SHIPWRECK BEACH WITH 4K DRONE – NAVAGIO, GREECE” remains at the top of YouTube search results, even when compared to related videos with exponentially higher view counts. After some digging, it appears that YouTube values others factors to rank videos in a search result such as user retention, video resolution, and likability.


If YouTube likes your video, it will show up higher on results

YouTube is shown to place Costa Skenderis’ video, with only 15k views, closer to the top of search results, above videos with 500k views and even one with 2.5million views.

Why would this happen?

According to a white paper completed in 2016, “we know that YouTube’s algorithm—or AI, if you prefer—tracks viewers’ perceived satisfaction to create an addictive, personalized stream of recommendations.”

YouTube video views start to have diminishing returns as other factors start to come into play; such as audience retention and interaction. It has been studied and shown that at a certain point “you often see high-quality videos rank above lower-quality videos (even when the lower-quality video has significantly more views).”

In other words YouTube’s AI tracks viewer satisfaction and longer audience retention as ways to place certain videos higher on search results alongside pure view count. As of May, 2019 Costa Skenderis’ video was ranked 2nd on the search result, relevancy-based, list when searching “zakynthos shipwreck beach” for interested viewers to see.

Getting to the cliffside

After ending his work, capturing photos for a virtual reality tour of the Ionian Village Camp in Greece, Skenderis decided to vacation to the island of Zakynthos. Getting the chance to see Shipwreck Beach was always a dream of his growing up, after seeing photos of the 650ft cliffs in books.

Anticipating the spectacular view, he brought his DJI Mavic 4K drone along with him. Most of the places to stay are on the opposite side of Navagio “Shipwreck Beach” and the best (and often most fun) means of transportation to traverse the island is by four-wheeler.

Zipping across the island on dirt roads makes the journey extra special, as drivers can glance to the side and see ports all along the island, nestled by crystal clear blue waters. After Skenderis reached the cliffside and of course snapped a “selfie”, he quickly found a cozy spot away from the tourists to launch his drone.


The DJI Mavic captures 4k video which takes up considerable memory but using multiple memory cards and batteries can do the trick in order to gain enough usable footage. Winds are extremely strong but the drone has a series of protocols to stabilize itself mid-flight by using more than 10 satellites to geolocate itself.

After walking around to different spots and launching the drone nearby, Costa Skenderis was able to edit a video maintained in 4k (twice the resolution of normal HD video) to the music of Freeze Time (Stasius Chill out Remix).

In many cases, especially on YouTube, exposure can be more important than monetization. That was the decision Costa Skenderis made when using copy-written material for the background music.

The song fit so well that Skenderis decided to use it even if that risked having the video taken down due to copyright infringement and/or result in demonetization. In copyright infringement cases “the copyright owner decides whether they want to allow you to use their music. In most cases, the owners will be happy to let you use their music in exchange for putting ads in your video. Sadly, this means you won’t be able to monetize your video.”


  • If you want to have your videos show up higher make sure to record and publish your video in as high a quality as you can.
  • Make sure people watch your video longer and stay on your page long enough to avoid a hurtful, bounce-rate.
  • If you want to use other people’s content, be sure to get permission, otherwise you run the risk of having your video or channel demonetized due to copyright infringement.
  • Seems obvious, but make sure people like your video. YouTube likes what it’s advertisers *I mean viewers* like. The more thumbs up compared to thumbs down your video has, the better chance you have of YouTube boosting your video higher in relevant search results.

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