For the longest time, the conventional wisdom has held that Facebook is where people spend the majority of their screen time while using apps. According to a new report from App Annie, however, that has shifted over the past year.

For the first time ever, TikTok has taken the lead as the social app with the longest time spent per user.

Year-over-year, TikTok has leapt 325% in time spent, officially knocking Facebook out of the top spot.

Notably, this does not necessarily mean people are spending less time on Facebook. In fact, nearly every app in every market included in the report has seen increases in the time spent on their platform – likely due to the Coronavirus and social distancing measures.

Still, TikTok’s growth over the past year far outpaced any other platform, allowing it to take the lead compared to any other social app.

With this in mind, it is not a surprise to see that TikTok also took the top spot as the #1 breakout app of 2020 based on monthly active user growth.

Another key finding is that TikTok has risen to the #2 non-gaming apps when it comes to consumer spending. In addition to the traditional advertising services TikTok offers, it brings in additional revenue with purchasable digital goods. Surprisingly, this appears to have been a hit with users, contributing to a swell of revenue.

While this may be one of the most important takeaways from the report for brands trying to keep up with shifting audiences, the report also includes a few other interesting findings:

Mobile Adoption Leaps Forward

Based on App Annie’s data, mobile adoption has leapt forward by 2-3 years over the past year. Nearly every metric related to mobile use spiked.

This includes a 7% year-over-year increase in mobile app downloads, an 8%, which translates to 218 billion app downloads. 

This year also marks the first time Americans have spent more time on their mobile devices than they have spent watching TV. People spent 8% more time on their mobile devices compared to TVs (4 hours a day on mobile vs 3.7 hours watching TV).

People Watch 4x More YouTube Than Netflix

Based on app usage, YouTube is the unquestioned leader in video streaming. The app received more than 4x the time spent on the app per user compared to any other platform. Even Netflix was miles behind Google’s video platform.

Every month, the average user watches 23 hours of content on YouTube, compared to just 5.7 hours of Netflix shows or movies. This makes it clear that YouTube is the platform to focus on if you want to get video content in front of your target audience, whether it takes the form of advertisements or regular content.

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:

Over the weekend, YouTube announced a series of 5 new updates to make it easier for people to find, watch, and interact with videos on mobile devices. 

The updates affect a wide range of features while also introducing a few new ways to use the YouTube app, including:

  • Easier Browsing of Video Chapters
  • Streamlined Player Pages
  • New Gestures
  • Suggested Actions
  • Bedtime Reminders

As the video platform says in the announcement

“With a global community of two billion people on YouTube, we’re always looking for ways to make it easier to watch and interact with your favorite videos.”

With that in mind, let’s explore these new updates which are now available for all mobile users.

Better Video Chapters

YouTube is building on its video chapters feature (which lets content creators break up their videos into digestible sections).

Now, users can browse a complete list of all the chapters in your videos as they are watching. This makes it easier to rewind or skip to the most interesting sections. 

In the list, each chapter will have its own individual thumbnail, title, and timestamp. 

As before, these chapters are set by simply writing out the timestamps and titles in the description section of your videos. 

The only requirements are that you include at least three chapters in your video, with the first one beginning at “0:00”. Additionally, each chapter must be at least 10 seconds long. 

These chapters also appear in Google search results, making this a powerful form of SEO for your videos. 

Streamlined Video Player

YouTube has subtly simplified its player page with a few tweaks:

  • Closed Captions button has been moved to the top.
  • Autoplay toggle has also been moved to the top.
  • Rearranging some buttons, such as the “Save” and “Share” buttons previously at the top.

New Gestures

The app has been improved to support new gestures, including a quick way to exit full-screen mode. Now, you just have to swipe up to enter full-screen mode, then swipe down to exit.

You can also quickly pull up details like elapsed time and time remaining by tapping the timestamp. 

Suggested Actions

YouTube is now notifying users when a video is meant to be watched a specific way. For example, a VR device will be recommended when trying to watch a video made for virtual reality, and the app will suggest rotating your phone to properly view a widescreen format video. 

Bedtime Reminders

The last feature is focused on helping users maintain their well-being by setting specific times to stop watching videos and go to sleep. 

The feature can be set up in the settings section or by tapping your profile picture and selecting “Time Watched”. 

From there, you can set up reminders and select if you would like the tool to “Wait until I finish my video to show reminder”.

When the alert appears, you can snooze the reminder which will turn it off for 10 minutes. After that time the reminder will pop up again. 


These features are all available now for all users on iOS and Android devices. They are rolling out to others in the next few days.

Google is testing the waters of short-form videos with a new platform similar to the popular but controversial TikTok.

The company announced it is be launching a new service called YouTube Shorts which will focus on short, catchy videos like those found on TikTok or Instagram Reels. 

The announcement describes the new service as:

“Shorts is a new short-form video experience for creators and artists who want to shoot short, catchy videos using nothing but their mobile phones.“

For now, YouTube Shorts is limited to India as Google tests its features and public reception. 

Though features will be limited at launch, Google says YouTube Shorts will eventually include a variety of features, including:

  • Create and upload videos of 15-seconds or less.
  • Edit videos with a number of creative tools.
  • Stitch shorter clips together with a multi-segment camera.
  • Add music to videos from YouTube’s library.
  • Speed up or slow down videos.
  • Timers and countdowns.

Early Version

The version launching to users in India this week is reportedly a very limited version of the tool including only a portion of the features that will be implemented in the final release. 

The purpose of the early test is to get feedback from early users so the company can better prioritize their efforts before releasing the service to a wider audience. 

Of course, this is likely not the only reason the company decided to test the service in India. 

India banned TikTok from operating within its country on June 29 of this year, similar to the actions taken by President Trump to eventually force the company out of the U.S. 

With this in mind, there is a clear opportunity to those who launch their own take on the tool in the country sooner rather than later. Still, YouTube has already confirmed it will be bringing YouTube Shorts to more countries in the near future.