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YouTube creator liaison Rene Ritchie and VP of product management Jennifer Flannery O'Connor

Rene’s Top Five on YouTube: April 4, 2024 edition

Oh, hey! Hi! We’re a quarter of the way through the 2024th episode of this calendar year on earth, so to whomever keeps spamming the temporal skip button that’s making it go by so fast — thank you and chill! We have so much more to get done! Right now, specifically, scouring YouTube, X/Twitter, Instagram, Threads, and all the Discords and Slacks in between to find creators the most impactful YouTube news of the week! Let’s go!

🤖Altered & Synthetic — The Interview! A couple of weeks ago we talked about how, creators need to start disclosing in YouTube Studio desktop if the content we're uploading has been altered or synthetically generated in a meaningful way. Now, in addition to the YouTube blog post and help center, I had the chance to sit down and chat with our VP of product management, Jennifer Flannery O'Connor, to talk about not just how the disclosure and labeling works for creators and viewers, but why it’s needed, what the guiding principles are behind it, and how it might evolve from here. Watch the whole entire thing over on Creator Insider!

📊Audience segments in analytics! Last year, the YouTube Analytics team started rolling out views data by audience segment, specifically new vs returning viewers. Recently, they added retention data as well, including not just new vs. returning, but subscribed vs not subscribed and organic vs paid. Now, they’re rolling out… audience segments for impressions data! Once it finishes rolling out, when you drill down into Advanced Mode, you’ll be able to see impressions (the number of times your thumbnail was shown to a potential viewer) and CTR (the click-through rate of that thumbnail — the percentage of time a viewer chose to actually watch). Audience segmentation, especially for retention and impressions, has been high on the creator wish-list, because it can help us see which videos are growing our audience, which are bringing them back, and help us figure out how to best balance between both those goals. And it feels like the YTA team is just getting started!

🩳 Remix-a-lot! Quick update from the boss: “Shorts creators: remix a remix is now rolling out on iOS and Android! We're excited to see what you create when you put your own spin on remixed Shorts content. This update will inspire even more opportunities for creativity & community on YouTube…” You can see how it works over on YouTube Creators. And what I love about this is how it both chains and unchains creative expression. We can use it to build out super cool musical collabs or brain-bending collages, green-screen the green-screen or cut the cut, and that just opens up whole new possibilities for everyone!

Q&A: Why do I get a couple hundred/thousand views on my Short only for it to drop down to nothing a few hours/days later? This is such a frequent question, and I asked Todd Sherman, our head of Shorts, about it. The gist is, for long-form on the home page, there are thumbnails (impressions) that you can click-through (CTR) and watch (views). But the vast majority of Shorts are watched in the Shorts feed, where there are no thumbnails, and so no impressions or click-throughs. For the Shorts feed, you have to start playing the actual video (views) and see if someone watches (retention) or leaves (swipes away). So, for Shorts, those initial hundreds or thousands of views are more like what long-form gets with those initial thumbnail impressions — a way to see how the audience responds. Just instead of impression and click-through, you have view vs swiped away. (Which is the actual metric in YouTube Analytics). But the Shorts feed, like the home page, is competitive. So if your Short doesn’t perform as well as others in the feed, it won’t go much beyond those initial, impression-like views (though it may blow up another day). If it performs as well or better, than it might go on to get more views, tens or hundreds of thousands, millions or more. It’s just tough to wrap our heads around the different paradigm of the feed initially, but once you realize initial views are basically impressions, it should all… click!

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📈 Tip of the Week: Another week, another new series of creator advice Shorts! Last time it was all about thumbnail best practices. This week, it’s what to do if and when views start going down. Besides blaming the algorithm, of course. (That kinda high-key disempowers us as creators and makes us feel like our fate is in the hands of some mysterious machine when, really, almost all the time it’s audience behavior that can empower us to act on!) The truth is, the algorithm is constantly evolving to better follow the audience, but if you’re seeing a sudden or more drastic drop in performance, it’s usually for another reason. For example, topics can be seasonal. You can’t usually see it month to month, only year to year, but it can be a terrific opportunity to go deeper for your core audience, go evergreen to grow your catalog, or just take some time to recharge before the next surge. Also, A big spike can be followed by a big drop. If you had a huge viral hit last month, you can’t compare this month to that. You have to compare it to before that. But also decide if you want to lean in and see if you can get more of those new views to become regular viewers. And, of course, interests can and do change over time. Catalog content can expire, strategies can backfire, new competition can emerge — in and across topics. So, to sustain and grow, you have to create to where the audience is going to be! Sub to the @YouTubeLiaison channel so you don’t miss any of this series!

Then get with the contenting!

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