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Surviving the YouTube Redesign
While my blog titles as of late may sound sensational, they are only a reaction to the first major overhaul of the site… ever. Since YouTube began, the site has functioned more-or-less the same with only cosmetic upgrades from time to time. We, the YouTube community, have not really had to go through such a radical change yet that actually affects the fundamental viewing experience for millions of visitors every day.
After my last blog post, I received two emails from YouTube, one from the head editor (who is in charge of the various category editors and what’s featured, etc.) and one from the head of the Partnership Program. I cannot post what those emails said; I can only tell you that the redesign may not be as doom and gloom as the blogs (this one included) have made it out to be.
That said, here is my biggest concern with the redesign. Currently on YouTube, Britney Spears and I are equals. Our videos both appear in all search results, both of our videos appear on the same honors lists, both of our videos have the opportunity to appear as Related Videos to any video on the site. This is called Discovery, to use a fancy analytics term. Currently, it is theoretically just as easy to discover one of my videos on YouTube as it is one of Ms. Spears’ videos.
However, after the redesign is complete, this will no longer be the case, from what I understand*. Separating Premium Content from User-Generated Content (UGC) will not take away any of the audience we already have, but it will immediately stop all growth of our audience, aside from word of mouth.
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world, behind Google. If your UGC video ranks highly in any search, new viewers are able to find your videos every day. New viewers mean new subscribers. If our UGC videos no longer rank among the Premium videos when searched, or honored, or related… our viewership growth is going to hit a brick wall. With viewers growing bored of YouTube, or moving on to other sites every day, we count on new subscribers to take their place. Without the new subscribers every day, yes, our audience would start shrinking.
The best way to combat this redesign is to make your own views. Don’t rely on YouTube to send viewers to your videos, as they’ve done in the past via search results, spotlights, features, honors charts, related videos, etc. You need to put in the legwork again, like back when you were first starting out and didn’t know anyone else on the site.
- Let people know when you make a new video. Update your twitter friends. Embed it in your blog. Post a link to it on relevant forums. Put the link in your email signature. Do video swaps with your friends (you feature their video on your channel and they feature yours). Just get it out there.
- Ask for help. It never hurts to ask. People are always willing to help, but most of the time they need a “call to action”. Ever wonder why the vloggers who ask for comments or ask for ratings have hundreds more of both than the vloggers who don’t? Simple. They asked for them. Ask your friends to pass along your video link to just two other people. If your video mentions, or would be interesting to, a bigger YouTuber, send it to them, ask if they’d share your link with their viewers. They certainly aren’t obligated to, and you wouldn’t want to send them every video you make. But I’ve found the occasional ask for help has yielded amazing results.
- Reciprocate. No one likes the kid on the playground who doesn’t share. If you see a video that you enjoy, throw the link up on twitter. If you see a video that is amazing, let it spend a little time in your autoplay, or make a video response! If others see you promoting good videos and smaller YouTubers, they will be more willing to do the same for you. Always practice what you preach. And do it because you want to help, not because you expect anything in return.
When you take YouTube out of the equation, and rely less on them for views, then changes like the one we are due to see this Thursday will impact you less. No one can fault YouTube for the changes they are about to make. They are losing money, and are trying to fix that. While not everyone sees eye-to-eye about how this can best be done, it does rally the troops and give us a reason to remember why we’re on the site and care so much about this change in the first place: the interaction.
*this is based solely on speculation and unconfirmed reports from other blogs and online media sources. YouTube has, as of yet, made no official statements about the redesign, so we won’t know for sure until Thursday. Either way, the advice given in the article is still relevant and useful, even if the redesign does not impact us as much as we’ve been told it will.
Viral Video Wannabe...
…is written by Alan “fallofautumndistro” Lastufka, co-author of the book, “YouTube: An Insider’s Guide
to Climbing the Charts“. This site offers resources
for readers of my book and new tips and techniques expanding upon what is in my book. Visit the Purchase page above to order your own copy today!