The rise of the Creator Economy and pandemic-fueled growth of E-commerce is shaping the evolution of YouTube. The effect is visible in the features that YouTube is constantly launching to support the creative endeavors of Creators and the business aspirations of Brands.
Another reason why YouTube is constantly launching new features like the YouTube Shorts or Subscribers-only live chat is to close the gap between itself and its competitors and remain the first choice of Creators and Brands for videos.
In this blog, VideoAmigo has listed the top-15 new features launched by YouTube over the past year that Creators and Brands must use in 2022 to increase the views, subscribers and improve engagement metrics of their YouTube Channels. This list contains some new YouTube features that did not receive as much attention as they should have following their launch but will prove to have high utility in optimizing YouTube videos and improving the overall performance of a YouTube Channel.
- YouTube Clips
The feature allows Creators and YouTube users to share clips from videos. The clips can be anywhere between 5 seconds to 60 seconds long and come with their own shareable links.
Clips provide an excellent opportunity for the owners of YouTube channels to promote their videos on social media, as they can Clip a cliffhanger moment from a video and share its link to draw more viewers to their channel. Clicking on the link takes users directly to the clipped moment in the video.
- Unique and Returning Viewers
The Audience tab of YouTube Analytics on the desktop now provides information on the number of ‘Unique Viewers’ to your channel and how many are your ‘Returning Viewers’. These metrics go a long way in understanding the performance of particular videos on a YouTube channel.
While Unique Viewers will give an idea of how good a video is at attracting new audiences to your channel, Returning Viewers will help understand the brand loyalty of your channel. The information will help streamline your content strategy by making videos on topics that attract new viewers and retain the existing viewers. Make the best use of this feature in 2022 to create high-performing videos and optimize the performance of your channel!
- Measuring Performance of Community Posts
In May 2021, YouTube enabled anyone with 1,000 subscribers or more to get information on the impressions and engagement rates of their Community Posts in YouTube Analytics. Community Posts are an excellent way for Brands and Creators to engage with their subscribers on YouTube. They are also essential for Brands to launch new products, announce offers/discounts, conduct polls or direct the subscribers to online stores where their products are available. YouTube also enabled the feature to add up to five images to Community Posts, giving Channel owners more creative space to communicate and engage with their subscribers. The feature to schedule posts was also enabled for iOS users.
- New to You
The ‘New to You‘ feature helps viewers help explore new content, to watch something different than what they regularly watch. The New to You feature recommends videos to viewers that are different than the usual recommendations but are aligned with the viewers’ interests. This is different from the Explore page on YouTube, where the recommendations are not personalized.
- YouTube Search Insights
This feature announced in November 2021 is of significant help for the Creators in devising their content strategy. Search Insights, available on YouTube Studio, provides Creators with insights into the most used keywords by the viewers of their channel or similar channels over the last 20 days along with search volume (high, medium, or low).
Search Insights also provides Creators with information on the searches across YouTube by users over thousands of topics. Search Insights also provides keywords that have “Content Gaps” on YouTube, meaning that there aren’t enough good quality videos on those topics.
- Living Room Impressions
This feature in YouTube Analytics will help YouTube channel owners understand the performance of their impressions on different video viewing devices. Living Room Impressions will provide segregated information on impressions on various devices like Connected TV and Gaming Consoles. Since impressions from various sources are no longer lumped together, the click-through rate is available for different devices which will help in getting insights on how impressions of different videos perform with respect to the device on which they are being watched.
- YouTube Heatseeker
This feature launched for the YouTube Premium users highlights the most-watched parts of a video with contours along the progress bar. The most-watched parts of a video are marked with higher peaks, whereas the lower peaks indicate lower viewership of those parts in the video.
- Super Thanks
In July 2021, YouTube added another source of income for Creators, the Super Thanks. The Super Thanks button is available under the video title. Anyone who loves a video can click the button and buy Super Thanks, available at four price points between $2 and $50, to express their support for the Creator. They will see an animated GIF and get a distinct, colorful comment to highlight their purchase, to which creators can respond.
- YouTube Shorts Global Rollout, YouTube Shorts Fund, and YouTube Shorts New Features
The biggest launch by YouTube in 2021 was the global rollout of YouTube Shorts, the company’s direct competitor to TikTok. The global rollout followed the resounding success that YouTube Shorts received in India after its launch there in 2020. As of date, there are 141 Million videos by 9.1 Million YouTube channels categorized under the hashtag #Shorts. It is unlikely that you must be new to YouTube Shorts but if you are, then here’s a beginner’s guide and tips on how to use YouTube Shorts to promote your brand.
Following the successful global rollout of YouTube Shorts, the much-anticipated monetization scheme for the short videos was launched in more than 100 countries – YouTube Shorts Fund – a $100M fund to reward creators who make original YouTube Shorts content (not recycled TikTok or Instagram Reels videos). The payouts can range anywhere from $100 to $10,000.
In 2021 YouTube rolled out new features adding more excitement in creating Shorts, including the ability to use 15 seconds of audio from other YouTube Shorts content or regular videos on YouTube. Also, YouTube Analytics now shows Creators how many videos have been created using audio from their Shorts videos and a list of some of their most popular Shorts.
- YouTube Hashtag Landing Pages
Hashtags made it easier to search for specific content on Twitter, and now it’s the same on YouTube. In January 2021, YouTube launched the Hashtag Landing Pages. Anyone searching for a specific hashtag on YouTube, on the desktop, and on the mobile app will land on a dedicated page that will contain only those videos that contain the hashtag.
According to Google, the videos on these pages are sorted to keep the best videos at the top. One can also navigate to these pages by clicking on any automatically linked hashtag on YouTube. YouTube also launched the hashtag autocomplete suggestions, which will recommend relevant hashtags based on popularity, similar to the feature on Twitter.
- Ability to Change Profile Names and Pictures
YouTube Creators can change their names and profile image in the YouTube Studio without making the changes to their Google Account. Launched in April 2021, the feature will prove helpful to anyone interested in changing their names and profile images to suit a particular requirement. However, Creators with verified badges will not find this feature of much use as they will stand to lose their badges with changes in their profile picture or name.
- Live Auto Captions
Regardless of the number of subscribers, YouTube Creators can enable auto-caption for their livestreams in 13 languages, which can help add more viewers and increase reach, cutting across language barriers. YouTube also started testing with a small group of creators, the feature to add multiple audio tracks to videos and descriptive audio for people who are blind or have low vision.
- Interactive Ads on TV Screens with Brand Extensions
Brands have got one more reason to rejoice as YouTube makes it easier for viewers to buy products while watching a YouTube video on Connected TV. With the sharp rise in viewership of YouTube on Connected TV, a medium that has more sway on viewers than smartphones, YouTube launched the ‘Brand Extensions with interactive ads‘. Brands can create interactive ads specifically for Connected TV and provide website link with a ‘Send to Phone’ button. When viewers click the button on their TV screen, the website link to purchase the product is directly sent to their mobiles, providing a smooth transition for the viewers to buy the product they see on TV.
What’s more? Brands can even measure the conversions generated by these brand extensions! The conversions generated can be viewed directly in Google Ads.
- YouTube Livestreams – Shopping & Subscribers-Only Live Chat
YouTube introduced Livestream shopping in 2021 with a select group of Creators at the beginning of the 2021 Holiday Season with the event “YouTube Holiday Stream & Shop.”
Although Livestream shopping, popularized in China over the last couple of years, generating billions of dollars worth of sales, is not a new concept for many Creators on YouTube, it has not witnessed significant growth. But as the idea takes center stage in the wake of Creator Economy, YouTube witnessed the addition of firepower to its Livestream arsenal as it enabled the creation of trailers for the promotion of Livestream events.
YouTube also added the Subscribers-only live chat feature to provide gaming influencers on YouTube a chance to hold exclusive live chat sessions with their subscribers. This move does not surprise as YouTube grows into a gaming destination in direct competition with Twitch, which already had the feature. Livestream events and shopping promise a tremendous potential o growth for Creators and Brands, and it remains to be seen how they shape up on YouTube in 2022.
- Browse and Buy: Enabling E-Commerce on YouTube
One of the biggest launches in YouTube’s history till now was the launch of ‘Browse and Buy‘ in 2021 to provide YouTube viewers the option of buying a product straight away, whose review videos they watch on YouTube. The launch of this feature, which seems to be still in the Beta phase, marked the journey of YouTube towards becoming an e-commerce giant.
How does the feature function? When a user searches for a product on YouTube, along with the video results, YouTube also provides links to online stores where the product can be bought. Similarly, when a user watches a product review video, links are provided underneath the video to the various online stores where the product can be purchased.
There are not many details available regarding the Browse and Buy feature at this time. It remains to be seen how the feature grows in 2022 as YouTube has been focusing its efforts on becoming a Shopping Destination, especially given the rise in YouTube’s Connected TV viewership and the emergence of Livestream Shopping.
Are you looking to grow your Brand on YouTube to gain the attention of the most valuable consumer audiences in the world? Contact Touchstorm today to know about the various YouTube Channel Services we offer.