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YouTube CEO, Neal Mohan skipping with Pierson

Rene’s Top Five on YouTube: February 29, 2024 Edition

These are the top 5 things I saw this week.

Leap Year day blog! Fun fact: Unless the publishing schedule changes, the next time we’ll get one of these is 2052! So sit back, relax, and enjoy as we share February 29 facts, all drawn from the most impactful stories on YouTube, X/Twitter, Instagram, Threads, and Discord this week!

🤳 BFF CEO Intern: You may remember part-time epic creator collab’er — and full-time YouTube CEO! — Neal Mohan from such bangers as the Airrack Piggy Back and Mythical Mixer. That was season 1. Season 2 just kicked off, appropriately enough, at the Superbowl, with Neal going all undercover intern on Haley Kallil and Dream vs. Reality with Pierson. (Don’t miss all the BTS on Neal’s Instagram either!) For me, it’s not just that Neal is always so interested in doing these collabs with creators. It’s not that, away from the spotlight, he so constantly cares about and prioritizes creators in his vision for the company. It’s that those two things come together to inform the latter and make the former just so much fun!

🎨 Creative expansion: YouTube Create — the app that lets you edit and enhance your Shorts and long form video right on your phone — is going just a bit more global! Specifically, it’s rolling out in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, Finland, Hong Kong, Ireland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, and Turkey. On Android now, with iOS expected later this year. For creators who don’t have the time or inclination to strap on a full desktop non-linear editor, especially when on-the-go, YouTube Create is a terrific new go-to. (And for more on Create, check out my interview with Sarah Ali!)

🎉South By: If you’re heading to SXSW, everyone’s famous Hermès-clad tech-expert, Andru Edwards, is hosting a #YouTubeCreatorCollective meet-up. Let him know if you’re interested in joining!

🙋Q&A: How are vertical lives promoted in the shorts feed? Does it depend on likes, comments, watch time? Great question! One of the things I always struggle to remember is that YouTube doesn't really promote content for creators, it tries to find satisfying content to recommend for viewers! Those recommendations are ranked in two ways: How the content performs compared to other content available at the same time, and how good a match that content is for the person who wants to watch something at that time. So, if you watch a ton of coffee making content, even if a piece of Minecraft content is performing better, you personally might get recommended the coffee content. Live has the added factor of showing what's actually live during the time you're swiping through the feed, and is available to be recommended, of course.

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📈 Tip of the Week: All creators know this feeling: We make a video we’re super passionate about, but it only gets a fraction of our normal views. Why doesn’t the algorithm push it more? Why isn’t everyone being forced to watch it, subscribers twice?! It’s something every creative has to deal with, it’s just really hard to set expectations. If an actor or director makes a big, commercial Avengers movie, that’s pretty much a guaranteed blockbuster with massive box-office. If they make a very personal art-house indie pic… that’s really not. Which is fine! Unless you’ve set your expectations for the indie pic to perform as well as the blockbuster. Then, disappointed! Same if you’re a chart-topping pop singer who releases a track from a German opera. Might not get as many streams. That used to happen to me all the time on my channel. I’d do a big phone review and it would pull in all the views. Then I’d do a passion piece on accessibility, and crickets. And it hurts, because we all want the audience to love — and watch! — us for us, not just for the topic. But audiences are very topic-sensitive and topics can have very different broadnesses of appeal. Here’s the thing though — those big phone reviews gave me the financial and performance freedom to make the accessibility videos, just like a blockbuster or chart-topper can give someone the ability to make that art-house pic or passion track. The important thing is to always judge apple to apples, or potential audience to potential audience. Realize, when you go into YouTube Analytics, a video with 20% the potential audience getting 20% as many views isn’t an L. It’s a huge W. 2/10 for a big phone review may disappoint where 8/10 for an accessibility video might be… phenomenal. Analytics are contextual and relative, so before looking at them, we need to set our expectations accordingly!

Then get with the contenting!

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