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On December 7th, a day that will live in infamy, YouTube unveiled a new site design that prioritizes YouTube channels over videos. As part of their longer term strategy, they want channels with high engagement to take center stage. We recently covered some of these changes in our last blog post, but let’s revisit the topic and take a look at how the new design affects trending and “most popular” videos and why YTM’s channel manaegment services are more important than ever for a brand trying to succeed on YouTube.
YouTube is now very deliberate in emphasizing the discovery of channels and original content over individual video browsing. Rather than making it easy to search aimlessly for individual videos, YouTube’s main goal is to increase time on the site by getting viewers to subscribe to more channels and more easily find and view related videos in succession. For videos to show up in search and elsewhere on YouTube (i.e., be discoverable), videos not only need to have a high view count, but the channel to which the videos are posted must have higher engagement metrics, e.g., a larger subscriber-base. So, developing a strong overall channel and not simply focusing on a single video’s ability to trend has now become critical for those looking to attract and retain viewers.
When looking at the homepage, one of the most glaring differences in the new layout is the focus on a user’s subscriptions and suggested content, as opposed to highlighting most popular or most viewed videos. Popular videos, while not necessarily absent from the homepage, are not front and center. To access the list of trending videos, users must now click the “Popular On YouTube” tab, located in the upper left of the homepage and then select “Most Popular” in the lower right corner . Here you are able to access the top 9 videos for the majority of the old categories (music, sports, etc.).
It is also important to note that the categories that appear on this most popular page are based on your browsing history, creating a more custom-tailored list, as opposed to just displaying videos with the most views.
Users must follow a subscription-based model to subscribe to certain categories (e.g., travel) and topics in order to see their respective trending videos, a noticeable difference from the old design, where all categories were readily available on the trends page. By subscribing, users can view a list of channels, auto-generated by YouTube, for a given category.
With respect to the YouTube trending charts and dashboard that most have become accustomed to, both still exist, but aren’t accessible directly from YouTube’s homepage. To visit these particular pages you must enter the specific URL (youtube.com/charts and youtube.com/trendsdashboard) into your search engine’s browser.
While there are still several kinks to be ironed out, as navigation capabilities do seem a bit muddled at points, particularly when trying to access trending and popular videos, overall the changes appear to be moving YouTube towards a more complete and well-rounded platform. With the increased emphasis on channel subscriptions and customized browsing, YouTube is clearly pushing to enhance original content, while also fostering a higher quality, custom-tailored user experience. Whether this hints at Google (YouTube’s parent company) and its ultimate goal to supplant television, as some have suggested, remains to be seen, but for now all we can do is embrace the new changes and take advantage of the all the benefits that YouTube has and will continue to provide to the social video world.
Edited from: NICK ERGIN's Blog.