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Rene Ritchie with YouTube's CEO and creators, Johnny and Iz Harris

Rene’s Top Five on YouTube: April 25, 2024 edition

These are the top 5 things I saw this week.

Hi! Hello! I’m the YouTube Creator Liaison. That means I liaise between YouTube and creators. In other words, as a creator myself since 2008 and a YouTube employee since 2022, I help YouTube better relate to and empathize with creators, and creators better understand and thrive on YouTube. That includes meeting with creators like Johnny and Iz Harris when they’re in town and — no spoilers, just stay tuned! Also, every week, I scour YouTube, X/Twitter, Instagram, Threads, and many a Discord and Slack betwixt and between to find the most impactful news for creators. This is that!!

🧪 A/B testing: Last year, Amjad, YouTube’s Head of Creator Product, announced Thumbnail test and compare (aka thumbnail A/B testing) would be coming out this year. Creators were excited. Beyond excited. Elated! But we’ve also been waiting for launch ever since, like Simpson’s level “are we there yet?!” “Just a little more!” The good news is, we are getting closer! The current expectation is that test and compare will launch this summer. I know that isn’t too terribly precise, but YouTube really wants to get this right and make it as useful and valuable as possible for as many creators as possible, and that just takes time and testing. I’ll absolutely keep you all updated as we get closer!

🎤 Podcast product: YouTube’s Chief Product Officer, Johanna, joined me this week to talk all about podcasting on YouTube! We discussed how YouTube thinks about podcasts, the benefits of discovery at the episode level, the advantages of going video but also providing audio, the YouTube Music app, and what AI might mean for the future. We’ve even got a special guest creator question from Emily D. Baker! Watch it now on Creator Insider and, yes, it’s also available as a podcast!

♻️Reused content: We’ve been getting some questions about reused content policies on YouTube, so I sat down with our Director of Creator Monetization, Thomas Kim, and asked him what’s considered reused content, why YouTube cares about it, what creators can do to avoid being rejected or suspended from the YouTube Partner Program over reused content, and what creators should do when they’re not sure. Most creators are making completely original content and won’t ever run into this, but if it’s something you think might affect your channel, give it a watch on Creator Insider!

🙋Q&A: “In a previous blog post, you explained suggested traffic doesn’t always relate to the creator’s video topic, but to the viewer’s much more diverse watch history. What can creators do with this information?” It really does depend on your goals, but here are some examples. If you see any large scale trends in other topics suggesting your videos, you can experiment with splicing those topics into your content to see if you can amplify that trend. If you notice a trend in high-performance videos from larger creators on a topic you typically cover and you see an obvious opportunity for follow up videos (deeper, broader, different angle, etc), you can make them to try to get into the suggested traffic of those high performers. If you don’t see enough of your own videos suggesting more of your videos, you can experiment with series of videos with similar packaging and strong CTAs, end screens, pinned links, etc to try and get more average views per viewer from suggested.

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📈 Tip of the Week: Can you do variety content on YouTube? Yes… but! 1) If you don’t care about growing views and returning viewers, post whatever you want! It’s totally valid to use YouTube as a place for artistic expression or even just video storage. It’s only when you want to post whatever you want and also grow an audience you have to start thinking like the viewer! 2) If you want to do variety on one channel, you should come up with an overarching framework that still connects the same content for the same audience. For example, if you’re a doctor or a lawyer you can react to movie or tv shows, review trends, do interviews, make explainers, and post any other number of content types and as long as all of them relate back to medicine or the law, you’re audience will still know what to expect. 3) If you don’t mind or prefer multiple channels, you can cover different topics on each of them. Some people might follow more than one of them, others will pick and choose based on more topical interests, but everyone will always know roughly what to expect. 4) Some people can just become their own topics and people show up for them regardless of what the video is about. Most creators want this, but it’s really really hard to make happen. Even for Hollywood celebrities these days! So it’s important to understand your goals and then pick the right strategy for you.

Now back to the contenting!

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