YouTube Wants You To Watch Longer . . .

Feel that you haven’t been spending enough time on YouTube lately?
YouTube agrees.

Today it was announced that YouTube, one of the biggest search engines in the world in and of its own right, has changed its algorithm, rewarding videos that people “watch longer” with higher video search rankings. In an nutshell, “watch time” is now worth more than “view count” in the YouTube algorithm.

YouTube’s video discovery features were previously designed to drive views. This rewarded videos that were successful at attracting clicks, rather than the videos that actually kept viewers engaged. (This short-sighted focus led some video marketers to use “cleavage thumbnails” to attract clicks.)

“Now when we suggest videos, we focus on those that increase the amount of time that the viewer will spend watching videos on YouTube, not only on the next view, but also successive views thereafter,” Meyerson said. “If viewers are watching more YouTube, it signals to us that they’re happier with the content they’ve found. It means that creators are attracting more engaged audiences. It also opens up more opportunities to generate revenue for our partners.”

The shift in YouTube’s algorithm reflects the attempt on the part of search engines to reward follower engagement across all social media channels. The takeaway: want to see your videos rank higher in video search? Make your videos more engaging and give viewers a reason to stick around.

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