YouTube News: Auto-Placed Ads, Timestamps, and a Classic Studio 'Escape Hatch'

Happy Halloween Month, everyone! Tom gave us a new Creator Insider Newsflash today.

First, YouTube is running an ad experiment on 1% of content where manually-placed mid-roll ads are replaced with auto-placed mid-roll ads to see the impact they have on both creators and viewers. I’m not a big fan of mid-roll ads in the first place, and the auto-placed ones tend to be quite aggressive, but hopefully this gives them the data to fix that!

Next, the Google Search team is implementing a feature that will highlight and link separated sections of longer content based on timestamps written in the video description. Previously, Google featured auto-generated segments of tutorial and how-to content based on what Google thinks the search is looking to solve, but this can help a lot with making sure viewers get the exact content they want.

This is another reason to put timestamps in the video description - and more reason for YouTube to implement a native feature to showcase timestamps and integrate with this new Google feature.

The new Studio Beta desktop video upload tool is being rolled out as default for creators soon, with an “escape hatch” back to Classic still present in case the new one isn’t working correctly. For individual video uploads, I really like the new uploader and use it a lot - but you still need to switch to Classic for bulk uploads.

Next, Tom mentions that they’re calling for short videos with feedback or tips and tricks regarding the YouTube Studio Beta. I made one a while back, which has good info - but I really hope someone’s reading my actual feedback reports…

Tom clarifies that self-selected categories for videos (such as “Gaming,” “Entertainment,” etc.) don’t actually carry any weight for Search and Discovery on YouTube, as the team has found them to not be accurate. These used to be very important - the Homepage actually divided up based on those categories until a certain “Giveaway Extravaganza” event where multiple YouTubers kept switching their video categories to stay on the homepage longer and abused the system, requiring YouTube to basically make categories moot. 

I will say, however, that the Gaming Category does allow for selecting the game name that your video is on, which does affect discovery to some degree, as viewers can look for more videos based on those games and etc.

Lastly, YouTube is experimenting with what content to show on the “Stories shelf” on the homepage, by including videos that aren’t always just Stories, with a small number of users.

I would think this defeats the point of having a dedicated Stories section and would detract from the feature’s attention. 

Tech educator, '90s and '00s Nostalgia Nerd, Pixel and Framerate Junkie. 12 years on YouTube is a loooong time.

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