YouTube is expanding the amount of data available to video creators while rolling out an updated version of the YouTube Studio Mobile app.

Accompanying the release of the updated app, the video platform is offering video creators new information on traffic sources, returning viewers, and more in-depth data on how viewers are watching your content. 

Below we are going to dig into the new metrics and app in-depth:

Expanded Viewer Data In YouTube Studio

Living Room Impressions

Before the end of the month, YouTube says it will start showing creators data on what it is calling “living room impressions” or views coming from TV-based sources like built-in TV apps, Rokus, or video game consoles. 

Of course, YouTube has already been counting these streams within its broader metrics like watch time and total views. However, this allows you to see exactly how your viewers are engaging with your content and help optimize your videos for where most people are viewing them.

New or Returning Viewers

Though you have been able to see how many new subscribers you are getting since seemingly forever ago, YouTube has generally overlooked the group of viewers who keep returning to channels even if they aren’t actually subscribed. In many ways, these viewers can be more valuable because they are actively searching out your content on a regular basis, rather than simply relying on it to pop up in their feed.

Now, YouTube is introducing a metric breaking down which viewers are new to your channel and who is returning – whether they are subscribed or not. 

Not only does this provide a more accurate view of your channel’s health and community engagement, it also helps you plan topics based on past viewer response. 

Despite this data being available to the vast majority of creators, YouTube says it will not be present for copyrighted content owners or artistic channels. 

Updates to YouTube Studio Mobile

Redesigned Real-Time Data Card

YouTube is updating its real-time analytics card in the Studio Mobile app analytics section to make it easier to see exactly how specific videos are performing in the moment. These changes include:

  • Thumbnails: The real-time card now displays thumbnails for individual videos.
  • Sorting: The real-time card now sorts videos by view count rather than the date videos were published.
  • Amount of videos: The card now shows up to 15 videos – ten more than the previous limit of five videos.

Updates to Tabs

Along with the new data, YouTube is redesigning its tabs in the Studio Mobile app with a larger focus on alignment. Following the update, all the most-used tabs are aligned, including audience, reach, engagement, overview, and revenue.

At the same time, the company has removed a few cards from these tabs, saying the cards were rarely used on mobile. All of these sections are still fully visible on desktop.

For more information on the new metrics available and the refreshed app, watch the Creator Insider video below:

YouTube’s latest video format, called YouTube Shorts, is finally coming to the USA next month, after several months of testing internationally.

The short (15 seconds or less) vertical video format was first rolled out as a beta test in India back in September 2020. Though it may have taken a little bit to catch on, YouTube says that the number of channels using the video format has more than tripled since December.

Currently, the platform says YouTube Shorts are getting more than 3.5 billion daily views in India alone. 

Come March, US users will be able to see what all the buzz about as the format and associated video creation tools arrive in America.

What Are YouTube Shorts?

Unsurprisingly, many have compared YouTube Shorts to TikTok clips or the popular Stories format found on several other platforms. This is because YouTube Shorts share a number of features with the increasingly trendy format:

  • Users can create and upload short videos of 15 seconds or less.
  • Edit your videos with a range of creative tools.
  • Stitch several short clips together with a multi-segment editor.
  • Add licensed music to your videos through YouTube’s music library.
  • Speed up or slow down your video footage for dramatic effect.
  • Use timers and countdowns to plan your video shoots.

Additionally, the company says it is introducing a carousel on the YouTube homepage dedicated completely to Shorts.

YouTube Shorts Aim To Make Content Creation Easier For All

One of YouTube’s biggest goals with the new video format is to make the barrier to content creation and exposure on the platform lower for new creators:

“Every year, increasing numbers of people come to YouTube to launch their own channel. But we know there’s still a huge amount of people who find the bar for creation too high.

That’s why we’re working on Shorts, our new short-form video tool that lets creators and artists shoot snappy videos with nothing but their mobile phones.”

With YouTube Shorts users can immediately start creating their own content without the need for high-quality equipment or editing skills.

Even more enticing, YouTube says it is going to count Shorts views the same way as regular video views – creating a fast pathway for big metrics for new users. This will also make it easier for new users to reach the milestones needed to monetize content through the YouTube Partner Program.

More is sure to come in the next few weeks as YouTube seems poised to prioritize Shorts in big ways. 

In the next few weeks, the company is launching a dedicated biweekly Shorts Report to highlight all the latest updates and provide useful tips to users. Keep your eyes peeled as new info as the biweekly reports start arriving and YouTube Shorts finally come to the US.

According to an update on the YouTube Help page, Google Analytics has stopped collecting new data from YouTube channels beginning February 1st. 

While older data is still available, any new information will be available solely through YouTube Studio. 

The change doesn’t come as a particularly big surprise. Users lost the ability to link Google Analytics and YouTube pages in November of last year. However, connected channels were able to keep tracking data from YouTube until now. 

Most likely already rely on YouTube Analytics for monitoring their channel performance, as it has always offered significantly more information compared to what could be found in Google Analytics. The ability to track major YouTube metrics through Google’s tool set was more about conveniently checking both platforms at the same time. 

Still, those affected received little warning about the change. The only information relating to the decision was buried in a YouTube Help page. 

What You Should Know About YouTube Analytics

While YouTube Analytics offers all the information you have come to expect from Google Analytics (and more), there are a couple key differences. 

Most importantly, you don’t have to add any tracking code, pixels, or anything else to get your data. YouTube collects information about engagement, views, and more for your channel and videos automatically. 

You will also find more granular information, with everything from specific audience details for every video on your channel, revenue information, and search terms used to find your channel. 

All of this is collected within five main tabs:

  • Overview: This section collects essential broad metrics for your channel, like watch time, total views, and subscribers. Here you will find reports addressing top videos, realtime activity, latest videos, and average performance. 
  • Reach: The ‘Reach’ tab shows your overall connection with YouTube users with data on impressions and clicks. Users can get reports for traffic source types, top external sources, impressions, and search terms in this section.
  • Engagement: Now, we start moving deeper to exactly what your viewers are watching on your channel as shown by total watch minutes. Read reports for top videos and playlists, top cards, and end screens here.
  • Audience: Explore who your viewers are with data on unique viewers, average videos watched per viewer, and overall subscriber growth. Reports included here cover audience location, demographics, and other channels they interact with. 
  • Revenue: If you are a member of the YouTube Partner Program, you will also find this tab that addresses how much money is being generated through monetized videos. 

For a brief guide on YouTube Studio Analytics, watch the video from the YouTube Creators channel below:

YouTube has created an entirely new type of search results which makes it easier to find videos when browsing using hashtags. 

This isn’t YouTube’s first take at using hashtags to find new videos. The company introduced the feature way over two years ago and has been trying to integrate the feature into its main feed. 

Unfortunately, the result has always been pretty hit or miss because the search results would also include videos which didn’t include the hashtag. 

Now, YouTube has updated the feature with dedicated search results pages for hashtags, which only contain media tagged with those specific hashtags. 

For example, here’s a version of the #SEO search results captured by Matt Southern over at Search Engine Journal:

Along with directly typing the hashtag into search results, users can also click hashtags included in videos to continue browsing the related topic. 

Use Hashtags To Find Your Niche

One aspect of this which can be very helpful to businesses and marketers is the prominent count of how often a particular hashtag has been used. Along with the total number of videos including the hashtag, you can also see how many channels have published videos on that topic. 

That means you can easily gauge how competitive a hashtag’s search results might be and scope out tags which haven’t been overdone. 

This means you can cut out the competition and become the prime source for discussion, news, and products or services related to your niche.

Why Does YouTube Use Hashtags?

Since their introduction, hashtags have been a bit of a curiosity on YouTube. On other social networks, hashtags are typically used to find the latest content relating to popular or trending topics. The nature of YouTube content, however, makes this a harder sell.

With this in mind, YouTube is still struggling to cement exactly why users should opt for using hashtags over more defined search terms when searching the site. 

Still, the revamped search results pages are a step in the right direction, creating a more central hub for videos on the topics you are interested in.

YouTube announced a pretty big change to how it manages ads for longer videos across the platform. Effective immediately, the video streaming platform is turning post-roll ads on by default for all monetized videos that run over 10 minutes long.

This means any video over that length will automatically include these ads, unless you explicitly opt-out. 

The news came as part of the first news update of 2021 from YouTube’s Creator Insider channel. 

In the video, a YouTube representative tells creators:

“For monetizing creators, any videos over 10 minutes in length will automatically have post-roll ads turned on by default.”

What Are Post-Roll Ads?

When it comes to online videos and video advertising, there are essentially three different types of ads: pre-roll, mid-roll, and post-roll. 

Pre-roll ads run before your video ever starts. Mid-roll ads interrupt your content, similar to TV commercials appearing in the middle of your favorite show. Post-roll ads run after your video has completed. 

The obvious benefit to post-roll ads is that they are the least intrusive to the viewing experience. The viewer loses nothing by moving on to a different video.

Importantly, for any type of ad to be shown on your videos, you must have applied for and been accepted to the YouTube Partner Program (YPP). 

How This Might Affect You

With this change, all types of ads are now turned on by default. That means viewers will be shown ads before, during, and after your video.

Even if it is a 20-minute long video or longer, that can add up to be a whole lot of advertising for online audiences. 

This can cause burnout or frustration, potentially pushing viewers away from your channel over time. 

On their own, there is nothing inherently wrong with including post-roll ads on your videos. They may even become the preferred ad placement for many content creators. 

However, this change makes it more important than ever to strategically manage where ads will appear on your videos and take more active control of your advertising settings. 

If you’d like to find out more about post-roll ads or YouTube’s new ad policy, check out the Creator Insider video below:

YouTube’s Trending section is one of the most coveted areas for video creators to appear, as it introduces countless users to entirely new channels and topics every day. As it is one of the few areas on YouTube which isn’t influenced by users’ watch histories, opening the opportunity for people to find things they otherwise never would have watched. 

Perhaps most importantly, the list of videos is the same for users across an entire country, meaning a video creator could theoretically reach every American user if they manage to get into the YouTube Trending section. 

Of course, as the section content creators most aspire to be in, the Trending section has also developed its fair shares of myths and misunderstandings about how it works over the years.

From the idea you have to pay someone to get in, to the belief that there is an ideal time to publish your video, YouTube’s Creator Insider channel recently debunked some of the biggest myths surrounding the prized YouTube Trending section.

Myth 1: Preferential Treatment

Perhaps the oldest myth about the YouTube Trending section is that it’s all about who you know or who you pay. Unless you have connections at YouTube or you are willing to grease some palms, you won’t break into the VIP-esque Trending section. 

Now, this is obviously not true. There is no one you can pay or buddy up to in order to get into the Trending section. 

While YouTube’s algorithms are extremely complex and can be hard to decipher, it is clear there is a method to the madness. Specifically, YouTube considers these factors when selecting the latest Trending videos:

  • View count
  • How quickly the video is generating views
  • Where the views are coming from (including off YouTube)
  • The age of the video
  • How the video performing compared to recent uploads from the same channel

Additionally, videos have to be free of excessive profanity, violence, mature, or disparaging content to appear in the Trending section. 

Myth 2: You’ve Got To Be Well-Known

Due to its nature, there is a commonly held belief that the Trending section is dominated exclusively by famous comedians, talk-show hosts, and influencers with massive followings like Jake Paul or PewDiePie. 

Not only is that not how the Trending section works, it goes against the actual purpose of the list. 

While many recognizable faces regularly appear in YouTube Trending, the company actually works to guarantee at least half of the videos at any given time come from smaller creators. 

In addition to this, the YouTube Trending section also includes areas which specifically showcase a daily “creator on the rise” and “artist on the rise.”

Myth 3: There’s a Perfect Time To Publish

Since YouTube has never revealed the more minute details about the Trending section, many have developed theories about the ideal time and way to publish their video to boost their chances. 

This one falls under mostly false. The YouTube Trending feed updates every 15 minutes, so exactly when your video is uploaded does very little to directly influence your chances. 

However, it is very possible there is a best time to publish for your audience. This is something that can only be discovered through trial, error, and analysis, though, so I wouldn’t spend much energy listening to anyone who says you have to be publishing at a specific time to make it on the Trending list. 


To hear more about these myths and their explanations, check out the full video from YouTube’s Creator Insider channel below:

Since its introduction in 2018, YouTube Premieres has let channels hype up their upcoming videos with countdowns and reminders for subscribers. Now, the platform is revamping the tool with ‘Premieres 2.0’.

With four new features and expanded options available, YouTube says this is the biggest update to the tool since its creation.

How YouTube Premieres Works

The overall goal of YouTube Premieres is to turn the launch of your videos into a collective experience. Not only can you schedule your video ahead of time and share it to hype up your audience, Premieres also allows you to increase the interactivity with live chats or Q&A’s during your videos.

The only catch is that your channel must have at least 1,000 subscribers to take advantage of some more advanced Premieres features, though YouTube says it hopes to make the entire toolset widely available in the future.

New YouTube Premieres Features

Live Redirect

The new Live Redirect feature allows you to connect pre-recorded videos with live streaming events.

With this, you can hold pre-premiere chats or streams to build up excitement or bring a more personal feel to the event. 

Then, when it is time for your video to go live, users will automatically be directed to the new video.

An important caveat here is that Live Redirects can only be set up for videos and streams taking place on the same channel. So, video creators won’t be able to hold interviews or chats on a secondary channel and then automatically direct users to the new video on your channel.

Live Redirects will roll out to users later this month.

Trailers

Rather than having to upload an entirely separate video on your channel to build excitement for your upcoming premiere, YouTube will now let you share previews between 15 seconds and 3 minutes long.

The trailers for your upcoming videos will play for those who open a premiere watch page before the video goes live, giving more incentive to open a video early.

With the current system, you will still have to upload a public video on your channel to act as the trailer, but this new feature makes the Premiere page more effective and engaging. 

Without a trailer, your Premieres will simply show your video’s static thumbnail until the content becomes available.

Trailers for Premieres will be available to users this week.

More Countdown Themes

Although YouTube has provided an automatic countdown for immediately before your videos premiere, there has only been a single theme available. This made all premieres overly similar and many expressed frustration that the theme didn’t accurately reflect their content.

Now, you can select from a collection of 10 countdown themes with a variety of styles and moods.

These themes are aimed to cover everything from serious or educational videos to lighthearted or funny clips.

The new countdown themes will become available early next year.

 Schedule Your Premieres From Mobile

In the past, the only way to schedule a Premiere for your YouTube video was through the desktop platform. Now, for the first time, you will soon be able to schedule and manage your Premieres directly through the mobile app. 

For creators who manage their channels largely through the mobile app, this streamlines the process and makes holding a Premiere more convenient.

For more information, you can check out the video from YouTube below:

YouTube has introduced a major change to how it handles advertising which has many content creators, users, and advertisers outraged.

Breaking with its tradition of sharing ad revenue with the channels they are shown on, YouTube is beginning to show ads on channels which have not opted into monetization. 

This means that the channel creator did not approve the inclusion of ads and – perhaps most importantly – they will not receive any revenue from the placement of ads within their videos. 

Until now, video creators had to join the YouTube Partner Program and enable monetization in order for ads to be shown on videos across their channel.

This helped strike a balance where those who wanted could create their videos planning for the inclusion of ads while others could rely on sponsorships to generate revenue or simply not monetize their videos. 

All of this was introduced via a change to YouTube’s Terms of Service with very little communication to users and content creators. 

Right To Monetize

YouTube added a new section to its Terms of Services recently titled Right to Monetize which introduces the ability to advertise on any and all videos. 

In order to use YouTube, all users must agree to the Terms of Service, making it mandatory for uploading videos or even viewing and  engaging with videos. 

A brief selection of the new section largely lays out the changes taking place:

“You grant to YouTube the right to monetize your Content on the Service (and such monetization may include displaying ads on or within Content or charging users a fee for access). This Agreement does not entitle you to any payments.”

Although YouTube says it is starting slowly by rolling out ads to a small number of channels which have not joined the Partner Program, it will be hard to track how true this actually is. The company has chosen not to notify channels when ads begin appearing on their videos, so it is hard to gauge how widely the change has been implemented. 

While YouTube says channels which are not part of the Partner Program can apply for the program if they wish to receive revenue, it is also true that not everyone is eligible for the YouTube Partner Program. 

YouTube Partner Program Requirements

To be eligible for the YouTube Partner Program, channels have to meet a number of conditions. The biggest hurdles for most channels are the requirements stating you must have more than 4,000 valid public watch hours in the last 12 months and more than 1,000 subscribers. Adult-oriented topics may also run into issues with content guidelines.

How This Affects Advertisers

The most obvious group affected by this change are small video creators who do not meet the requirements for the YouTube Partner Program but will have ads placed on their videos nonetheless or have opted to not include ads within their videos. 

However, the new ad policies may also have an effect on advertisers. If viewers receive a double-dose of advertising through an in-video sponsorship and mid-roll ad, they may be less likely to engage with either advertisement. 

Additionally, smaller channels may cover more niche topics or themes making it harder to properly target ads to that audience. 

Lastly, the revised rules on advertising may have an unintended consequence of driving more users to YouTube’s ad-free premium service, YouTube Red. This means that although YouTube would keep getting revenue, ads may actually have smaller reach than ever and drive less sales. 

As expected, the new rules have not been warmly received. Countless creators both big and small have uploaded videos decrying the new Terms of Service agreement, with some going as far as to announce they will be changing platforms or altogether boycotting YouTube.

For now it appears YouTube is sticking with the policy change, though there is always the possibility for the platform to amend or revise its agreement if negative response is widespread enough. 

YouTube is giving video publishers new insights into where their views are coming from with a new report in YouTube Analytics. 

As explained in the latest update on the Creator Insider channel, YouTube’s team says the new report will make it easier to see where people are finding your videos along with what is overperforming and underperforming. 

The new data is directly viewable in the Overview area of the Analytics tab in YouTube Studio. 

In the section called “How viewers found this video”, you’ll find details on the percentage of views generated by each traffic source along with the overall number of viewers from each source. 

Currently, the sources in the report include: 

  • Notifications
  • Subscriptions feed
  • YouTube recommendations
    • YouTube Home
    • Up next
  • Channel pages

There is also a category labeled “Other” which would include any other traffic sources like links sent between friends or random placements. 

Along with the raw data on traffic sources, the report includes a green arrow, grey arrow, or dash next to each source. This reflects how the traffic source is performing compared to other videos on your channel. 

A green upward pointing arrow indicates the traffic source is performing better than usual. A sash or no indicator would suggest either the traffic source is performing about the same as usual, or the system does not have enough data to estimate the relative performance of that source. 

Lastly, a grey downward arrow says that source is underperforming. 

While it is perfectly normal for the traffic sources for each video to vary based on a number of factors, consistently low numbers from a source may show you need to invest efforts to improve in that area. 

For example, you might find that subscribers are not returning to your latest videos – suggesting your latest topics are not as relevant to their interests. 

Also mentioned – New Free YouTube Audio Library

In the same video, the Creator Insider channel revealed that YouTube is providing creators with a free collection of thousands of songs and sound effects to use in your videos. 

This should make it immeasurably simpler for video creators to find copyright-free music and ensure your video will not be penalized or removed for licensing issues. 

Most importantly for those driving revenue through YouTube, you can still monetize videos when using the licensed audio from the YouTube audio library.

Search engine algorithms are tightly protected, with most of what we know pieced together through data. Google, YouTube, Bing, and Facebook prefer to keep as little publicly known as possible, to prevent people from “gaming” the algorithm to leapfrog to the top of the results. 

This week, however, YouTube revealed quite a bit about its video recommendation algorithm in a Q&A, including how a few signals directly impact rankings. 

Below, we’ve collected a few of the best questions asked in the Q&A, as well as the responses from YouTube’s team responsible for maintaining the YouTube recommendation algorithm.

Underperforming Videos

Many believe that having even one or two underperforming videos can hurt your channel overall. Is it true that a few poor videos can affect your future videos’ performance?

YouTube recognizes that not every video is going to be a smash hit. In fact, they regularly see that some channels have videos that perform very well, while others fail to hit the mark. 

This is why YouTube focuses more on how people are responding to a given video, rather than past video performance. 

As the team says, the recommendation algorithm will always “follow the audience”.

Too Many Uploads

Is there a point where a creator can be uploading too many videos? Can having a large number of uploads in a day hurt your chances of being recommended?

The simple answer here is no. YouTube’s recommendation algorithm does not directly punish channels for uploading too many videos in a day. 

In fact, there are channels which benefit from uploading numerous videos in a series at once. 

What it comes down to is how many videos your viewers are willing to watch at once. 

The recommendation algorithm will continue to recommend your videos to viewers so long as they continue to watch. 

However, if you begin to lose viewers with each successive upload, it may be a sign that your audience is at their limit. 

While there is no limit to how many videos YouTube will recommend from your channel, there is a limit to how many notifications viewers will receive in a given day. Viewers can receive up to three notifications for new videos from a single channel in a 24 hour period. 

Inactive Subscribers

After a few years, channels can develop a significant number of inactive subscribers. Can these hurt your channel, and would it be beneficial to start a new channel to reduce these numbers?

YouTube knows that there are many reasons subscribers can become inactive. Because of this, they do not factor in inactive subscribers when recommending videos. 

With this in mind, there is no real value to starting a new channel to reduce inactive subscribers or reconnect with lost viewers. 

The only reason you should consider starting a new channel is if you decide to go in a different direction with your content.

External Traffic

Does external traffic help your channel?

External traffic is absolutely a factor that YouTube’s recommendation algorithm considers and can help your videos get recommended. 

However, there are limits.

While external traffic will help your video get recommended to viewers, it has to continue to perform well to continue being shown. 

To continue being recommended, viewers have to not only click on your video but respond well to the content. 

Does this mean it will hurt my video if I’m getting lots of traffic from external websites and it is dragging down my click-through-rates and average view durations?

This is actually a common phenomenon so YouTube will not punish your video if the average view duration drops when receiving large amounts of external traffic. 

What really matters is how people respond after clicking on your video in their recommendations.

To hear the YouTube recommendation team answer these questions in more detail, watch the full video below: