The Social YouTube


Written by on Friday, January 18, 2013

YouTube isn’t just a search engine for online videos. It’s also a social site for content creators to interact with their audience and vice versa. Since the launch of Google+ YouTube began to infiltrate its way into the traditional social media scene. Suddenly you were able to check out videos people shared in your Google+ circles by visiting the social tab in YouTube. Soon Twitter, Orkut and Facebook integrations followed:

YouTube Social

The new layout published last autumn introduced us to a much more leaner social experience. Main feed was replaced by much more beefier “What to watch” feed. Instead of getting a list of videos from your subscriptions in a reverse chronological order, you are now greeted with a mixed bag of content: videos, social shares and activities that YouTube has deemed worth of your attention.

The “What to watch” feed now shows you the uploads, comments and likes from the channels you’ve subscribe to and if you have linked your YouTube account with G+, Orkut, Facebook or Twitter you will find the videos shared by your friends and followers. Personally, I’m not that into the “What to watch” feed. Most of the videos are old news to me. For me the social feed has more fresh unseen content and I’d rather have my social circles “curate” the feed rather than YouTube.

Here’s my “What to watch” feed:

What to Watch Feed

The audience side, the feeds and the homepage, weren’t the only places that got the social treatment. Now all the content creators are able to post directly to subscribers by sending a “status update” alongside their videos from the upload page. Some content creators are even able to post bulletins directly from their channel. Earlier, if you wanted to notify your subscribers about giveaways, schedule changes etc. you had to make a video about it, or write about it in the descriptions of most recent videos. Now you can just add a post and it will show up in the feed with your video. Or if you wish, you can share the post to Facebok, Twitter, Orkut or G+. Great way to save time if you have multiple accounts to post to.

There’s something to be aware of, though: YouTube doesn’t support Facebook pages. You’re able to share your videos only to your Facebook profile. Because of this I used my personal accounts to demonstrate this feature.

I uploaded a video and added a post to my subscribers:

screenshot

How it looked in the YouTube, Facebook and Twitter feeds:

How YouTube Post Looks In YouTube Feed

YouTube Post Sharing on Facebook Feed

Sharing on Twitter

Only time will tell how this feature catches on and whether it gets axed. At the moment it’s severely under used, and handicapped for not supporting Facebook pages.

Lot of changes are coming soon for us content creators. YouTube has been rolling out features that were previously limited only to a set of partner channels and making them available to all monetized channels. If you’re eligible to monetize from your videos you might soon find new features such as custom thumbnails.

Don’t Let the View Count Fool You: When Online Video Success Is Not What It Seems


Written by on Monday, January 7, 2013
motorola video

Image credit: Motorola

Fake YouTube views are nothing new but a recent music industry crackdown shed some light on just how common the practice is. Ten days ago, Google eliminated 2 billion fake views from record label run YouTube channels. Artists as big as Beyoncé, Rihanna and Justin Bieber were hit with reality.

It has been said fake views were bought to build credibility, prestige and ad revenue. After all, videos are evaluated based on view count and there is natural rivalry between channels. Other may do it simply because they can. Like the guy who recently acquired 60,000 views for 50 dollars as a Christmas gift to himself.

But there is also another likely reason: personal targets. If you work with videos, it’s likely your success is evaluated based on views because it seems like a solid, simple measure. A manager might be tempted to say: ”If you want your bonus, show me a video with 2 million views.” When the system is flawed, people are tempted to game it.

What would make better targets then? Engagement is definitely one. Whenever I see a video with 3 million views but it only has two dozen comments and a total of 90 likes or dislikes, I get suspicious. I’m looking at you Motorola Mobility and Droid Razr.

As a Google subsidiary, Motorola is probably buying views legitimately through YouTube advertising and even reaching its target audience. But what is it all worth if the content is not interesting to anyone? No one comments. No one likes. No one shares. The viewers might even drop off after the first 10 seconds. No problem.

At the end of December, the Droid Razr video was number six on YouTube’s Science & Technology chart for the month. For competitors, it might have seemed like a legitimate win. But it wasn’t. It was a mediocre piece of work with a big ad budget or a sponsored video not correctly labeled as one.

Yes, you should use advertising to seed and promote, but if the paid push isn’t generating any additional buzz or interaction, there’s something wrong with the content. It’s time to go back to the drawing board. Treating online video like it’s TV advertising you can force people to watch regardless of whether they like it or not – that’s a crime even more terrible than buying fake views.