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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 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 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:

YouTube is giving us all a glimpse into how the world responded to the COVID-19 pandemic with a new batch of data showing what we’ve been watching in 2020.

The insights reveal a wide-range of trends, but an overall theme of self-care and learning new skills runs throughout. 

Let’s check out some of the most revealing details from the report:

Home Cooking

As restaurant shutdowns spread in March and remain at least partially in effect across the nation, many have had to brush up on their cooking abilities or expand their repertoire. 

Add to this that the shutdowns gave many considerable extra time to try their hands at cooking things which take hours or even days to do properly, and you may start to understand why sourdough bread was a major trend on YouTube this year.

“By the end of March, one could make a legitimate case that a good portion of the world was simultaneously fixated on how to achieve a superlative sourdough starter. And the evidence for that was on YouTube.”

Similarly, users around the world increasingly searched for “restaurant-style” cooking techniques and recipes to replicate their favorite eateries from home. 

The company notes that it is extremely rare for countries around the world to all be searching for similar topics at the same time. Still, once the pandemic began in earnest earlier this year, global searches for cooking tutorials have been consistently heightened no matter where you live. 

Self-Care

This year has been uniquely turbulent, which has led many to use YouTube to assist in or to learn new techniques for coping with anxiety or stress. 

Specifically, people have been watching countless videos related to food, exercise, relaxation, medication, and peaceful sleeping since March. 

This includes heightened searches for a variety of topics including:

  • Yoga (Daily views have doubled since March)
  • Guided Meditation (Daily views increased 40% since March)
  • Home Workouts (Daily views increased 4x since March)
  • Nature Sounds

Keeping Close While Social Distancing

Perhaps the strongest way YouTube has helped people cope with the ongoing pandemic is by providing a way to stay connected.

“YouTube viewers used video to engage with each other directly and indirectly, sometimes in nuanced ways: even just participating in a rising coffee-making trend can make someone feel more connected to other people.”

This is most obvious when looking at the data for a few notable video trends:

  • ‘With Me’ Videos (Views of #WithMe videos jumped 600% since March)
  • Museum Tours (Daily views up 60%)
  • Face Masks (DIY tutorials have been viewed over 400 million times)
  • Dalgona coffee (A briefly viral treat connected users around the world)

Building Your Identity

Without our usual ways to express ourselves, many saw YouTube as both a creative outlet and a learning tool for further developing their identity.

“Video proved to be a unique way people could both express who they were and who they might become — say, by learning a new skill.”

This is reflected in a variety of video topics which have trended up since March, including:

  • Gardening
  • How to cut hair
  • Religious services
  • Video call beauty tips

YouTube as a Mirror

This data shows that people around the world have turned to a few basic needs when it comes to their content right now. From India to the U.S., YouTube says the uniformity of these trends has been “astonishing”.

When it comes to what people are watching right now, it all boils down to three basic needs:

  • Experiencing a sense of connection
  • Maintaining positivity
  • Projecting a strong sense of self

A new analysis of YouTube’s top 100 search terms of the year reveals more than just the most popular channels – it shows a subtle change to how users are engaging with the platform and what type of content they are most interested in.

While YouTube releases a few key findings at the end of the year, the company does not provide the data for the top 100 search queries each year. Thankfully, Ahrefs annually analyzes more than 800 million keywords used on the site using its Keyword Explorer tool to give us this report. 

Top YouTube Searches

Below, we are including the top 25 searches for both the US and worldwide. For the complete list of the top 100 search queries, check out the full report.

Top US Queries and Search Volume

  1. pewdiepie – 3,770,000
  2. asmr – 3,230,000
  3. music – 2,670,000
  4. markiplier – 2,380,000
  5. old town road – 2,040,000
  6. pewdiepie vs t series – 1,940,000
  7. billie eilish – 1,910,000
  8. fortnite – 1,630,000
  9. david dobrik – 1,610,000
  10. jacksepticeye – 1,580,000
  11. james charles – 1,560,000
  12. joe rogan – 1,560,000
  13. baby shark – 1,500,000
  14. bts – 1,350,000
  15. dantdm – 1,330,000
  16. snl – 1,260,000
  17. game grumps – 1,140,000
  18. cnn – 1,120,000
  19. wwe – 1,100,000
  20. lofi – 1,040,000
  21. minecraft – 1,030,000
  22. shane dawson – 993,000
  23. t series – 955,000
  24. fox news – 943,000
  25. msnbc – 936,000

Top Worldwide Queries and Search Volume 

  1. bts – 17,630,000
  2. pewdiepie – 16,320,000
  3. asmr – 13,910,000
  4. billie eilish – 13,860,000
  5. baby shark – 12,090,000
  6. badabun – 11,330,000
  7. blackpink – 10,390,000
  8. old town road – 10,150,000
  9. music – 9,670,000
  10. peliculas completas en español – 9,050,000
  11. fortnite – 9,010,000
  12. pewdiepie vs t series – 8,720,000
  13. minecraft – 8,560,000
  14. senorita – 8,290,000
  15. ariana grande – 7,890,000
  16. alan walker – 7,560,000
  17. calma – 7,390,000
  18. tik tok – 7,270,000
  19. musica – 7,140,000
  20. bad bunny – 7,040,000
  21. wwe – 6,870,000
  22. queen – 6,660,000
  23. eminem – 6,600,000
  24. enes batur – 6,600,000
  25. la rosa de guadalupe – 6,300,000

What We Can Take From This

While the lists are largely filled with the expected names like PewDiePie, Joe Rogan, and BTS, there are a few surprising placements that reveal a bit about what people are most interested in on YouTube. 

Most clearly is the rising reliance on YouTube for music. Users have always looked up the latest music videos and singles on the site, this year’s data show that people are increasingly turning to the platform for music in general. 

Nearly a quarter of the top 100 search terms in America relate to music (including the keyword “music” itself being in the third slot), and that number only goes up when looking internationally. 

It is worth mentioning that ASMR – in the second highest spot in the US – is also a uniquely auditory experience.

Additionally, the top 100 shows a rising interest in news and current events. Alongside respected outlets like MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, the complete list includes a number of satirical news figures like John Oliver and Stephen Colbert. 

Most importantly, the top search terms reveal that people are beginning to use broader search terms than in the past. Yes, they are also searching for specific branded content like fortnite and snl, but they are also using broad terms like “music”, “lofi”, and “memes”. 

Between this and YouTube’s suggested videos, this shows that the platform is still fertile with opportunities for smaller brands among the biggest names and influencers. 

To view the full report from Ahrefs, click here.

YouTube is launching a new tool to help small businesses with limited budgets or means create short, stylish promotional videos.

The company is releasing a beta version of the tool ahead of schedule in recognition that the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has made it unsafe to shoot in-person videos for businesses.

“Because businesses of all sizes are strapped for time and resources and in-person video shoots are no longer practical in many countries, we are accelerating the next stage of Video Builder availability.”

The YouTube Video Builder makes it easy to create videos between 6-seconds and 15-seconds long using an array of templates and aesthetics.

Importantly, you don’t need to have any existing video footage. Businesses are just asked to provide their own images, text, and logos which are then animated into a video.

You can customize the colors, fonts, and even music thanks to Google’s royalty-free audio library.

Once finished, you are free to share the videos anywhere you like. The obvious choice would be to use it to promote your brand on YouTube. However, you can also share it on Facebook, your website, or anywhere else you choose.

You can see an example of what a finished ad using Video Builder looks like below:

How To Use The YouTube Video Builder

As the tool is in beta access, you will need to sign up before you can get use the tool for the time being.

Once you’ve gotten access, creating a video is a simple process – as shown in the video below:

In the video, YouTube recommends creating your short video by taking these steps:

  • Select a layout suited for your goal
  • Upload your logo and select a color
  • Upload images and add copy
  • Select a font
  • Pick a music track from Google’s library
  • Click “create video” to see a preview of the finished video
  • Save the clip and upload it to your channel, website, and social media pages

The tool will save any videos you have created as a template so you can also iterate upon your finished product for several similar videos with small tweaks.

Finished videos can also be immediately used to create a YouTube or Google Ads campaign if you like, though it is not required.

For more information about using the YouTube Video Builder, check out the official help document.

YouTube is expanding its analytics tools to allow content creators and channel managers to better compare their metrics against other data and competitors.

Specifically, the company is changing how its “Deep Dive” section of analytics functions by allowing you to compare multiple metrics side-by-side simultaneously.

Deep Dive Data

The Deep Dive section is designed to allow creators to compare their channel’s and video’s performance over time. It can be found after clicking the “see more” button next to any metrics in your overview screen.

Initially, this section only allowed video managers to view the performance of a single metric at a time – such as their video views over time.

Now, you can view multiple metrics at the same time within the same graph, making it easier to get an understanding of how specific metrics improve your overall channel’s performance or how some metrics feed others.

For example, YouTube recommends checking out the comparison of ‘views versus comments’ to show if some videos are getting more or less comments compared to other videos with similar view counts.

Another recommended comparison is the chart of ‘views versus revenue’ if you are monetizing your content.

Other Ways To Compare Data

Along with allowing you to monitor several metrics at once, the Deep Dive section is being improved to make it possible to compare a few other types of data, such as:

  • Period over period: Compare month versus month performance, or year versus year.
  • Top videos: Compare a channel’s overall top videos from one month over another.
  • Audience: A geographic comparison shows where your audience is coming from month to month.

For more information about the new analytics comparison features and other upcoming improvements to YouTube analytics, check out the full video below:

Google is kicking off October – which just so happens to be Cybersecurity Awareness Month – by announcing three new ways for users to hide or delete their personal activity data when using Google products like Maps, YouTube, and Google Assistant. 

Incognito Mode For Maps

Incognito mode has been allowing people to browse the web while preventing data from being saved to their Google account or computer since 2008. Earlier this year, the company expanded the feature to YouTube, and soon it will be coming to Maps.

Once it is live, you’ll be able to quickly toggle incognito mode on and off by selecting it in the menu that appears when choosing accounts.

 

 

While the feature is coming to Android within the month, the company could only say it would be coming to iOS “soon”. 

Auto-Delete YouTube History

Google is also introducing a way for users to automatically delete their YouTube activity after a set amount of time. Specifically, you can select to keep data for 3 months, 18 months, or until you manually clear your history. 

A similar feature was introduced earlier this year for users’ location history and web activity and is expected to launch for YouTube this month. 

Managing Google Assistant Data

The search engine has introduced a way for people to control their Google Assistant activity using simple voice commands. 

For example, users could ask the Assistant to clear their history for the last week by saying “Hey Google, delete everything I said to you last week.”

 

This will be available to all Google Assistant users next week.

YouTube has ramped up its efforts to remove harmful content over the last quarter, as a new report shows the company removing over 100,000 individual videos. 

That is nearly 5 times the number of videos removed in the first quarter of the year, reflecting a big shift in activity following a new hate speech policy introduced in June. 

Additionally, the company says it has removed over 17,000 channels and 500 million comments in Q2. 

Notably, YouTube says a large amount of the harmful content is flagged using machine learning technology to remove the content before it is ever seen by actual users. According to the company’s data, more than 87% of the videos removed in Q2 were first flagged by YouTube’s automatic systems. 

The report also mentions that an update to YouTube’s spam detection tools has driven a 50% increase in the number of channels removed for violating the platform’s spam guidelines. 

YouTube says the report is only the first in a four-part series which will cover the company’s guiding principles:

  • Remove content that violates policies
  • Raise up authoritative voices
  • Reward eligible creators
  • Reduce the spread of borderline content

As such, you can expect to see more details about how YouTube is working to curate the best platform possible in the near future.