It’s hard to believe we’re already halfway through 2018. With 1.9 billion logged-in users coming to YouTube each month, our community continues to grow. More and more creators are building their businesses and discovering that they can shape the global conversation with just a phone and an internet connection. While mobile is one of the most popular ways fans enjoy content, more and more people are using their living room screens to watch their favorite creators. On average, users now watch over 180 million hours of YouTube on TV screens every day.
While the future is full of opportunity, it is not without challenges. One of the ways we make YouTube better is through testing and iterations, but we understand that sudden changes related to experiments are difficult to manage. So, in order to minimize the disruption for you, we will make our best effort to communicate with you as these tests approach and we’ll use your feedback to make the features better in the long run.
And now, here is an update on my five key priorities for 2018:
1. Transparency and Communication
We continue to prioritize communicating more with creators. We made a conscious effort to respond on social media, and we answered 600% more tweets through our official handles (@TeamYouTube, @YTCreators and @YouTube) in 2018 than in 2017 and grew our reach by 30% in the past few months. We’ve also built a new feature than enables us to deliver relevant information in YouTube Studio, formerly Creator Studio. In February, we began testing a new dashboard with a small group of creators, and we recently rolled out it out to all creators on the platform. The dashboard, which launched for all English channels and will soon be available in an additional 76 languages in the next two weeks, now gives you platform updates and news along with performance about your latest videos in one easy-to-find place.
Last year, I started my own channel with the goal of communicating more with creators and saw first-hand some of the challenges and opportunities of sharing my voice through video. Today, I’m posting a new video, along with this blog, updating you on the five key annual priorities. Additionally, Creator Insider, an unofficial channel started by YouTube employees, continues to offer weekly updates, responds to concerns, such as notifications, and provides a more behind-the-scenes look at some of our product launches. And most recently, we combined our Creator Academy and YouTube Creators channels, so that you can find both inspiration and education in one place: YouTube Creators.
2. Supporting your success
This year at VidCon we shared some exciting new products designed to grow and strengthen our communities and give you more ways to earn revenue in addition to ads, including:
- Channel Memberships - Viewers pay a monthly recurring fee of $4.99 to get unique badges, new emojis, Members-only posts in the Community tab, and access to unique custom perks offered by creators, such as exclusive livestreams, extra videos, or shout-outs. We worked with a small group of creators to develop this service and are expanding it to eligible channels with more than 100,000 subscribers and even more creators in the coming months.
- Merch - We’ve joined forces with Teespring so creators can choose from over 20 merchandise items to customize and sell via a shelf on their channel. This is available to all eligible U.S.-based channels with over 10,000 subscribers, with expanded merchandising partners and availability for creators coming soon
- Famebit - Acquired by Google in 2016, FameBit has been helping brands tap into YouTube's audience by using creator's authentic voices to develop unique branded content at scale. Over half of channels that used Famebit in the first three months of 2018 doubled their YouTube revenue. In the coming months, we’ll be launching a feature that will allow users to easily shop for products, apps or tickets directly from the creator watch page.
In addition to new products, we continue to invest in YouTube Originals as another way to help creators earn more revenue. Well over two-thirds of our Originals star YouTubers both in front of and behind the camera, and since we launched Originals three years ago, we’ve seen their success have a ripple effect on creators. Some creators have seen as much as a 20 percent increase in channel viewership after their Original has launched.
Finally, one of my biggest priorities is to show advertisers the incredible opportunities on YouTube to tap into engaged communities and extend their reach. We’ve been working hard on brand safety and meeting with the biggest brands in the world to share your incredible stories and the progress we’re making together. The results have been positive, and I continue to make this a priority.
3. Giving people more ways to engage
One of the greatest strengths of the platform is enabling two-way conversations between creators and fans and fans to fans. We’ve been working hard to build out the different ways to enable interactions on YouTube and seeing results. Our overall interactions, such as likes, comments and chats, grew by more than 60% year over year.
Our Community Tab continues to be a one-stop shop for growing and engaging with fans. Visible across the platform, these posts let you move beyond just video to build even deeper connections with fans through GIFs, pics, polls, and text. Every day, over sixty million users click into or engage with Community posts.
Livestreaming continues to be an area of growth for creators, with watchtime of livestreams increasing by 10X over the last three years. At VidCon, we launched Premieres to help creators take advantage of the popularity of live tools, such as Super Chat and scheduling, by allowing them to debut pre-recorded videos as a live moment on YouTube.
We’re also seeing more creators use Stories, a simple way of posting videos without editing or post-production, to engage with their fans as well. We have some key improvements coming soon and later this year, we will expand stories to all eligible creators with more than ten thousand subscribers.
4. Tightening and enforcing our policies
Earlier this year, we released the first YouTube Community Guidelines Enforcement Report and we’ll be updating this regularly with new data. We just released the newest update in late June, which you can read here.
We also announced our new Copyright Match tool, which uses the matching power of Content ID to help creators find copies of your content when it’s been uploaded by other channels. This will be offered to all creators, including those who are not part of a multi-channel network (MCN). We’ve been testing this tool with a thousand creators over the last year to tailor it to your specific needs and is a great complement to the range of copyright tools we provide.
5. Learning and education
Education is one of the greatest benefits of YouTube. Everyday, people watch learning-related content over a billion times and they’re using it to develop new skills and encourage their passions. I’m proud to announce a new initiative, YouTube Learning, through which we’re providing grants and promotion to support education focused creator content, expert organizations and learners. We're also expanding our learning content team efforts and have a newly dedicated product and engineering team working on building out features for learning on YouTube. Our hope is to support those who use YouTube to share their knowledge with the world and the millions of users who come to our platform to learn.
As our devices have become an increasingly important part of our lives, we want to support digital wellbeing. When we rolled out the YouTube Kids app, we included a timer that parents could use to limit the time their children spent in the app. We have since realized that a timer could also be helpful for adults. So, within the broader YouTube app, we’ve launched a feature that sends users a reminder to take a break. We’ve also added an option for users to get a single digest notification once per day from YouTube rather than at the moment notifications, and we enabled users to configure their notifications so that they happen within specific timeframes.
As we head into the second half of the year, I look forward to continuing to work with you to create communities and engage with people using video. You are building the next generation of media companies, and I’m humbled by the amazing work you do every day.