Thursday, 20 April 2017

Why you need to use YouTube Cards and End Screens

YouTube Annotations. They are a bit like Marmite, you either love them or you hate them.

As a viewer you may think they are ugly and often hide the video you want to watch. But if you are a YouTube creator you will know annotations have been one of your best friends. When introduced by YouTube they helped Creators grow their channels by encouraging fans to subscribe, lead them to other related videos, boost comments, likes and shares, Annotation can even facilitate the sale of merchandise. So if Annotations are so good, why is YouTube doing away with them from Tuesday May 2nd 2017?

The big problem for Annotations is that they are old technology that does not work on mobile. Annotations were introduced in 2008 when our e-lives were firmly tied to desktop computers. Mobile networks were relatively slow and streaming HD videos to your phone was a bizarre notion for most people. Almost ten years later everything has moved on. Desktop viewing has been overtaken by mobile and annotations have not kept pace because they were never intended to be mobile friendly.

In 2015 YouTube introduced Cards, which were meant to be a mobile friendly replacement for Annotations, however Cards did not provide the same functionality. Then in 2016 End Screens were launched, again usable on mobiles but restricted to appearing on the last 20sec of a video. The fact that Cards and End Screens are not direct replacements for Annotations is perhaps not surprising. YouTube have said that viewers on average close 12 annotations before they click on one, which suggests viewers do not like them or the way they are being used. With such evidence why would YouTube introduce Annotations Mk II that work on mobile? With Cards and End Screens YouTube have provided the main benefits of Annotations but restricted what Creators can do, thereby avoiding viewers.

Although some Creators have complained about the demise of Annotations their use has dropped by over 70 percent as the new mobile friendly tools had been adopted. The fact that Cards and End Screens also produce seven time more clicks across YouTube than Annotations must also have been a big reason behind the move.

So if you have videos on YouTube what will this mean? As from 2nd May 2017, you will not be able to add new or edit existing annotations. But viewers will continue to see your existing Annotations on desktop computers. Fortunately, you will be able to delete your Annotations post May 2nd, very handy if you have Annotations that show product prices or other details that may change in the future.

If you are a die-hard Annotation user and the majority of your watch time is from desktop users, check and update your existing Annotations before YouTube remove your ability to do so. Update anything that needs updating, make your Annotations as attractive as possible and of course make them user friendly.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Why Your YouTube channels Needs 10,000 views for adverts

So you want to make money online and you think an easy way to do that is create video content, upload it to YouTube and monetize it with ads. Well hold on there, the goal posts have just shifted. YouTube has just changed some of its rules about YouTube Partner Program membership.

YouTube has introduced changes it hopes will address the concerns of some heavy weight advertisers who recently discovered their adverts had been appearing beside videos that promote hate, extremist views and terrorism.

Obviously major brands do not want to be associated with such material but the is a further twist. Some of their advertising budget is being shared with the hate speech creators. Effectively, major advertisers fear they are inadvertently helping to fund and facilitate individuals and organisation whose views are highly divergent from those of their brands.

With around 250 companies quitting Google’s ad platforms, estimated by some to be worth about $750m in lost revenues, it is no surprise that Google have sat up and announced some changes to safeguard the interests of their advertisers.

Philipp Schindler, Google’s chief business officer, wrote in a blog post, “We’re taking a tougher stance on hateful, offensive and derogatory content.” He continued, “We’ll also tighten safeguards to ensure that ads show up only against legitimate creators in our YouTube Partner Program—as opposed to those who impersonate other channels or violate our community guidelines. Finally, we won’t stop at taking down ads. The YouTube team is taking a hard look at our existing community guidelines to determine what content is allowed on the platform—not just what content can be monetized.”

So how is this going to affect your YouTube channel?

If you already have an established channel you don’t need to worry. If it is already monetized your viewers will continue to see ads appear with your videos. However, if you are creating a new channel the changes will affect you.

You can monetize your channel as before by going to your channel features and enabling monetization, but your viewers will not see adverts on your videos until your channel reaches the 10,000 view threshold. Or at least that is when your viewers may start seeing adverts on your videos. According to a post by Ariel Bardin, vice president of product management at YouTube, "After a creator hits 10k lifetime views on their channel, we'll review their activity against our policies. If everything looks good, we'll bring this channel into YPP [YouTube Partner Program] and begin serving ads against their content. Together these new thresholds will help ensure revenue only flows to creators who are playing by the rules." So even if your channel reaches 10k views you will only get adverts appearing on your videos if you play by YouTube’s rules and policies, and those policies may change some more in the weeks and months ahead.

So is this bad for your YouTube channel? No. In fact, provided you are playing by the rules, YouTube’s changes are sensible and good news, since they are clearly aimed at bringing back advertisers and their advertising budgets.

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