Dear YouTube Creators,
I want to start off 2018 the same way I want to see it through: with a spirit of openness, transparency and enthusiasm. So to kick off the year, I wanted to share our top priorities with you for 2018.
1. Prioritizing Transparency and Communication
In 2018, we want to do everything we can to strengthen the trust that our community places in YouTube through open and frequent communication. Last year we communicated a lot through blog posts and product forums, but going forward, we’ll also use our @YTCreators and @TeamYouTube handles to keep you informed, answer your questions, and respond quickly to issues. We’ll also use email to notify you of news or updates, so be sure to sign up here.
We often ask creators for feedback before launching updates and new features and we’ll be doing even more of this to make sure our changes are informed by your perspective. Personally, I always try to meet with creators at industry events and when I travel to a new country so I can hear your feedback directly and relay any issues to the right teams at YouTube. Since I can’t meet with most creators in person, I started a YouTube channel as a way to share my perspective. Though I haven’t shared much yet, I plan to use my channel more in 2018 to engage with creators and the community.
2. Supporting Your Success
We were pleased that in 2017 the number of creators making six-figures a year grew by 40 percent. But even as our platform continues to do well around the world, too many of you unfortunately had to learn a new word in 2017: “demonetization.”
We understand the frustration you feel when one of your videos is demonetized or age-gated and the impact it has on your views and your revenue. While we worked hard this year to provide an appeals system and quicker responses to creators when a video is demonetized, we’ve heard loud and clear that we need a better system. We’re currently working on a more accurate solution that includes more human review of your content, while also taking your own input into account (since you know your videos best). Addressing your concerns about demonetization is a top priority of ours and we’ll continue to share updates with you throughout the year.
At the same time, we’re working on giving you more ways to earn money from your channels beyond advertising. We launched Super Chat as a way to help you earn revenue during livestreams and acquired FameBit to help you partner with brands for influencer marketing partnerships. This year, you’ll see us make a big push to launch YouTube Red, our subscription offering, and a revamped YouTube Music experience in new markets. We’re also currently giving fans the ability to sponsor some of their favorite gaming creators for a monthly fee and plan to expand that option to more channels later this year. And we’re testing new ways for creators to earn revenue or raise money right on your channel through donations, merchandise and ticketing sales.
3. Giving People More Ways to Engage With Video
YouTube has transformed video viewing from a one-way broadcast to a two-way conversation. This year we will continue to build out all the ways you and your fans can connect on our platform to help build meaningful interactions, connect people with shared interests, and strengthen our community. Currently, we offer some fundamental ways for creators and fans to interact, including the ability to like, comment, or share a video and subscribe to channels. In fact, the number of viewers subscribing to creators and engaging with their channels every day grew 70 percent in the last year.
But there’s a much larger opportunity to build engagement around video. Some of the features we’ve begun to roll out include giving more creators access to our community tab and Reels, our new way to create fast, lightweight stories. We will also push new innovations in AR and VR to create more immersive experiences. Stay tuned.
4. Tightening and Enforcing Our Policies
The nature of an open platform means we never know what trends or moments are going to arise next. But the same creativity and unpredictability that makes YouTube so rewarding—like the fact that a reggaeton song can become the most popular video in history—can also lead to unfortunate events where we need to take a clear, informed, and principled stance.
Some of our policies are no-brainers, like preventing people from impersonating other channels or using misleading thumbnails. But others are far more nuanced and unique to YouTube. We realize we have a serious social responsibility to get these emerging policy issues right, so we seek advice from dozens of expert advisors and third-parties. For example, on issues of hate speech we work with the Anti-Defamation League in the U.S. and on issues of self-harm, we work with the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. These third-parties have been essential in helping us refine our policies and we will continue to work with them throughout 2018.
We’ll also improve the enforcement of our policies through a combination of human review and machine learning technology. In 2018, our goal is to bring the total number of people across YouTube and Google working to address content that might violate our policies to over 10,000. Using machine learning, we now also allow creators to automatically review and hold potentially offensive comments.
In 2017 we also made progress to better surface content from authoritative news sources, both on the homepage in a new “Breaking News” section and in search. Because the role news plays in our lives is so critical, we’ll seek to work closely with our news partners to roll out more solutions in this area in 2018.
And we’re also currently developing policies that would lead to consequences if a creator does something egregious that causes significant harm to our community as a whole. While these instances are rare, they can damage the reputation and revenue of your fellow creators, so we want to make sure we have policies in place that allow us to respond appropriately.
5. Investing More in Learning and Education
Learning and educational content drives over a billion views a day on YouTube. That is a remarkable statistic, and to me, it represents the incredible work our creators have done to help usher in a new way of learning. I’m passionate about education because it’s an area where YouTube can be transformative and really benefit the world. It can help people who don’t have the time, money, or access to take a class to still learn something new. And it can help transform learning from something we only invest in when we’re young to something that becomes a lifelong pursuit.
Personally, YouTube creators have helped me learn new things, from fixing appliances in my home, to raising chickens, to answering my kids’ questions about black holes or dark matter. And millions more turn to YouTube every day for job skills, from learning to use Excel to acing an interview.
The potential of our creators to enhance education and learning is incredible, so we’re going to do more to take advantage of the massive, modern-day video library that YouTube has become. That includes working with our educational creators to bring more of their content to the platform as well as expert organizations like Goodwill to provide and feature even more high-quality job skills videos on YouTube.
As YouTube grows, I want to remain focused on our mission to give everyone a voice and show them the world. It’s my commitment in 2018 to ensure we do this responsibly, with greater openness, smarter policies, more engaging products, more revenue for creators, and a higher emphasis on learning and education. I’m thankful to everyone who’s made our community such a special, inspiring and meaningful place and I feel privileged to be a part of it. I hope all of you are looking forward to YouTube’s best, most transparent and most exciting year yet as much as I am.