YouTube has come a long way since launching on April 23rd, 2005.
To be completely honest, I didn’t have a very good impression of Youtube when it launched. 15 years or so ago, my thought was this – it was a breeding ground for insensitive and outrageously course content.
I have a reason for this: My kids were toddlers then.
As a digital marketer, website developer, and content strategist, I have a better impression of it for business and blogging purposes. It was a convenient way for bloggers and companies to upload our video content or vlogs online without having to host our own videos. Back then, DailyMotion, Multiply, Macromedia Flash, Windows Multimedia Player, Shockwave Player, Netscape, Quicktime, CrunchyRoll, and Vevo started an earnest battle of wits and technological advancements against who would come out on top.
Back then, video creators had to create multiple formats axiomatic to each video publishing platform.
Even when Youtube was acquired by Google in 2006, they didn’t have a strong standing in the market. With so many players wrestling in the ring, it was a clangorous affair.
As my kids rode on their lofty dreams of becoming YouTube stars (kids…you know…lol), I shut the door to their dreams cruelly, instantly, and mercilessly. A Debby Downer who rained on their parade with my negative reviews of having an unregulated video publishing platform. The videos were floating around from their mobile devices without my knowledge.
In my defense, it was for the sake of children and vulnerable people who could be viewing offensive, malapropos content.
I know full well the existence of people who, without so much as a second thought, take full advantage of the platforms to further advance their own money-making endeavors. This is a very real human-based business world we’re talking about.
As Google or any industry expert can tell you, there were highs and lows to the video streaming concept.
“Among the lows: A surge in hate speech videos (including videos by prominent white supremacists); drama around certain creators (including PewDiePie, one YouTube’s biggest stars who faced allegations of racism and anti-Semitism); and frustration from some creators.”– CNN Business
The Problem with Video Streaming Sites like Youtube
It’s absolutely good news for content creators, business owners, entertainers, late-night talk show hosts, home cooks, chefs, musicians, vloggers, reviewers, educators, and talented artists who post carefully paced and written-out content on Youtube to share their ideas, tips, news, and opinions, of course.
They spend time understanding Youtube’s algorithm and cater to their audience at the same time. This, I applaud. There should be some sort of standard and unwritten decorum.
Youtube Viewers Call the Shots
Viewers control the popularity of the videos after Google implemented A.I. controlled recommendations. If you’ve been watching cooking videos on Youtube, chances are, you’re going to be seeing a whole bunch of other cooking videos in your feed.
However….on the other hand, if you’ve watched some radicalized and polarizing content on Youtube, that’s also going to be what you’ll be seeing more of in your feed. As much as they want to, there’s only so much A.I. can do to determine what the real intentions of the videos uploaded on their platform.
It’s so different from the written content on a website or blog. If a blog post or website is promoting racially, sexually or politically radical content, Google knows to shut it down or not rank it. With videos, it’s harder to crack the whip.
Because, ultimately, due to the algorithm, Youtube relies heavily on user behavior.
It’s difficult for the algorithm to differentiate the agenda of each video – is it from a terrorist or a reporter covering news about a terrorist attack? Thereby, it can promote hate speech, controversial or potentially dangerous content to young children if they share the same device with their parents who watch the said videos.
It has the potential of turning something incredibly dangerous, with the example of the Tide Pod Challenge as a backdrop, into trending videos that people might pick up ideas from.
More Authenticity from Low-Quality Youtube Videos
Freedom. Authenticity. Reliability. These are all the plus points of Youtube’s video streaming services.
With viewers helming the popularity of a video, it provides the Youtube backends with insightful information about what makes a video popular and hackneyed content.
A Peek into the Real Lives of Celebrities
Instead of being fed the polished productions recorded in well-lit studios made by made-up announcers or entertainers, Youtube found that viewers generally liked videos which are more-or-less of lower quality.
That’s why people (including me) are liking the ‘home-based’ videos some Late Night Talk Show hosts are publishing right now due to the worldwide Covid-19 lockdown. As a fan of those shows, I personally preferred the home-based less-polished videos of Stephen Colbert, Seth Meyers, John Oliver (oh, how he struggled without his crew), the Jimmys, etc, to the ones that I usually watch on their Youtube channels.
You can’t beat seeing Colbert talking to a nonchalant, no-makeup-on Cate Blanchett and yummy Ryan Reynolds on Youtube. How else will we get a sneak peek into what their homes (or the background of their homes they choose to take the video calls from) look like?
Like never? Welcome to the struggle of YouTubers, you pampered celebs. #lol
Suffice to say, people seem to prefer lower quality videos because they are more authentic.
That’s why travel vloggers, gamers, reviewers, and even KIDS, are making some real mullah from their home-based videos. And some of them are handsomely paid too.
Real Relationships Between Content Creators and Viewers
The high engagement rates between the video creators and their viewers also gave the creators a big hand in the kind of content they put out on their channels. With enhanced engagement, real people get to decide what they want to see from content creators.
Google’s users get paid through ad placements based on viewership and they favor longer videos. But here’s a thought – some viewers like me have little patience when browsing through Youtube.
I personally forward my way through long videos and prefer them when they’re anything between 8 minutes to 20 minutes long. In fact, 20 minutes is stretching it.
So, if you asked me, I would like to see more traction for business and review videos instead of prank or unboxing ones. Yes, I know they’re largely unscripted, and fail videos are funny as hell but you know what? I still prefer shorter videos.
What I Hope to See on Youtube in the Future
I would also like Youtube to consider allowing viewers to stream music with our screens off. It is a surprise (maybe even shock) to me that, up until this point, Youtube Music lacks this very basic feature like Spotify and SoundCloud. Is it really THAT hard?
Just because it is a video streaming platform, do we really have to watch the entire video (with our phone screens on and zap its battery) in order for the music to stream on Youtube Music (which it was promoting so heavily earlier)?
It should cut the strings tied to its mother’s apron.
There’s a fraction of us who stream music on Youtube in the background and pay no attention whatsoever to the video.
Sometimes, just playing a video of a podcaster or a gamer talking in the background gives us a strange kind of coping mechanism when we’re stressed out or concentrating.
Types of Youtube Videos are Working Right NOW
Creating Youtube videos for the everyday person next door is relatively easier than creating a corporate video. You have to walk on eggshells a little here. But here’s a list of types of videos that are working right now if you’re in a B2B business.
- Behind the Scenes – gives consumers a peek into what’s really going on and creates a connection
- Best of Videos – informational video about the best of ‘something’ in your industry. Best tools, best websites, best instagram accounts, best travel destinations, best tips…etc
- Explainer Videos – shows people how to troubleshoot problems on their own
- Interviews – such layers lends credibility to the Youtube creator and the interviewer. Gives viewers different perspectives and new ideas
- Listicles – short, clear, concise, to-the-point, wastes no time
- Demos – it’s not, per se, a sales pitch. It’s more like helping people see beyond what a picture or article can
- Testimonials – sometimes it’s hard to get people to trust you, that’s a reality. But with testimonials, it gives viewers extra confidence about your products and services
And of course, before you post the video, work out the kinks. You’ll need a solid understanding of what your viewers (or potential Youtube subscribers would like to see. So, sit down and work on tags, headlines, and keywords before you post.
There’s so much more that Youtube can do with its platform and although I had very negative reviews about its services at the start, I ate my words and swallowed my pride. It’s going to be huge going forth into the future.
Happy belated birthday, Youtube!
Featured Image Credit: Chalo Garcia on Unsplash