YouTube News: January 2020 Updates

The Creator Insider team has been hard at work knocking out a lot of update videos for this first month of 2020, let’s get caught up!

Classic Studio is Gone!

Starting at the beginning of 2020, Classic Studio links have been removed from creators in waves and waves, and the “escape hatch” will continue to disappear over time until it’s totally gone! Individual features still missing from Studio Beta will link out to encapsulated segments of the Classic Studio, as needed.

Studio Beta also got a couple updates early on:

  • First, there have been improvements made to how ad breaks are placed on videos. 
  • You can now use the Studio Editor to save an edited video as a new video entirely. 
  • You can now bulk delete videos in the Studio Beta
  • There are now quick access buttons when hovering over a video in the Video Manager section of beta to help save clicks
  • Misc. navigation improvements
  • You can now search for a playlist when adding videos to playlists (finally!!)
  • Page load time has been improved

Tom also detailed upcoming changes, with no set deadlines yet, to the Studio Beta. More improvements to Analytics are planned, as well as a general attempt to make sure the new Studio can easily answer the most common questions a creator might have - such as why videos are performing the way they are, how to capitalize on a growing video’s success, etc. 

Amusingly, one feature Tom mentions that he’s excited for is something that used to exist in TubeBuddy - a feature that answers when a channel’s viewers are most often online to help with scheduling videos. However, it’s generally been accepted that this is not helpful information and a timeline of “when my viewers are online” will always be most heavily influenced by your video posting schedule - creating a “chicken and egg” scenario. BUT we’ll see how Tom and team tackle this problem, maybe they have more directly useful data to work with.

Tom describes a philosophy shift in user experience development for Studio from 2019 to 2020. In 2019, the goal was just to make sure that Studio (2? “New Studio?” this is awkward to word since it’s technically not in beta anymore but everyone, including Tom, refers to it as such out of convenience) gets caught up with Studio Classic. In 2020, the goal is to make the most frequently-used features require as few clicks as possible and be as convenient to access as possible.

The new Permissions Manager is still in the works and coming soon!

A new viewer feature called “Profile Cards” has finished launching to 100% of users on Android. This allows viewers to learn more about commenters on videos and see other comments they have left on the channel of the current video being watched.

The information shared about you in these cards is easily accessible in settings, if this feature makes you uncomfortable. You can learn more about these here.

Lastly, Tom announces that the channel editor page is FINALLY getting improvements and integration into Studio. Channel page editing has not been touched since circa 2014 (rough guess) and it has always baffled me. It seems the page editor is the only feature on YouTube’s front-end - aside from full Playlist editing - that still only runs on the old pre-Polymer YouTube layout (betas for this began rolling out in 2015) and it’s always been amusing that they were so quick to push everyone off of Studio Classic, but not wrap this up so our cache from using these editors wouldn’t force us into 2014 YouTube viewing mode. Looks like this is finally happening. I could not be more excited.

Creator Ad Sales

Firstly, Tom calls out a dedicated page to see all the updates made to YouTube Studio, sorted by month. I assume this is part of the accountability of YouTube’s new transparency policy, and I love it. Lots of good info in there you may have missed! 

Next, YouTube is experimenting with new ways for creators to sell ads to brands they may already be working with. No information is given at this time, but it seems to be a hush-hush experiment with a small percentage of creators to see if it’s a viable option to roll out to more creators.

YouTube is introducing new filter options to the Subscriptions feed to allow viewers to change how subscriptions are delivered to them - which Tom claims has shown an increase in viewers returning to the sub feed over time. It’s currently being rolled out to iOS, with Android following shortly. Tom re-assures that the default experience for the Subscriptions feed will always be reverse chronological - that this is just a new option for viewers, which is important.

A bug has been squashed with regards to copying metadata between videos in the YouTube Studio.

Studio Upload Workflow Improvements

Assaf joins Tom in this video discussing improvements and upcoming features to the Upload experience on YouTube. 

Now the new uploader is default for everyone - though the classic uploader is still accessible, which is important since the new one does not have a bulk/batch upload option.

The team has already improved reliability of the new upload workflow, as well as made the description box bigger - a big complaint many users had.

Adding videos to playlists now finally has a search box like Classic had. Until this was introduced, the new uploader’s playlist box was literally useless to me as it didn’t populate all of my playlists.

The duo addresses that the new upload flow is more steps for creators, but that’s required with the new monetization self-certification and COPPA adherence steps. 

The team is working on introducing more “checklist” entries to make sure any issues with a video are caught before the video goes live. Huh… it’s almost like Tubebuddy has had this for years!

One feature the team is working on building is Thumbnail A/B testing - again, something Tubebuddy has. Hopefully the official feature will let you A/B test thumbnails simultaneously versus just changing it for a little while.

My favorite addition to both the YouTube Studio and the new upload flow is perhaps a silly one, but one I’ve requested many times: separate SD, HD, and 4K indicators to show when a video has finished processing the different available transcode formats. In the Studio Classic, video entries in the Video Manager showed HD icons next to the video titles once HD was available, but nothing for 4K and this feature was removed in the Studio Beta. Well now, they have finally implemented what I asked for. That being said, there’s no indicator for 1440p (especially useful for gaming videos or native ultrawide music videos) nor 8K, and it seems silly to just leave that off when (as I’m imagining it) the functionality would be added the same way and just not take up space if the user isn’t uploading videos in that format. But I’m stoked to see this at last, regardless. But also, the SD button always shows, even while your video is still uploading or is still processing and unavailable for viewing - which makes it pretty useless.

Next update!

Misc. Updates

Studio had a bug where selecting playlists for videos would sometimes not actually check the playlists before the “Done” button was clicked, causing confusion and unsorted videos - this has been fixed

The video list in Studio now has a “Restrictions” column to show and sort videos that have limited ads, blocked viewership due to Content ID, etc.

Studio Dashboard will soon get a link to more quickly access realtime data.

YouTube Studio on mobile just got a new UI overhaul and many improvements, with more on the way. Apparently 70% of YouTube’s top creators use the mobile app on a weekly basis. I have to admit, it’s pretty helpful to have that info so readily on-hand.

Some viewers on Android will have an experimental feature that features other creators below a video - such as for collaborations - to make it easier to find those guests.


New Caption Editor

Tom is joined by James in this video to discuss changes to captions in YouTube Studio.

First, the importance of captions was discussed - not only for accessibility and localization reasons, but also for situations where you’re watching while in a loud environment and want to keep up with the video.

James and his team are looking for input on how creators use captions and what they consider important for the toolset for setting up captions.

James states that their focus and goal is to make sure as many videos as possible get high-quality, human-approved captions and they’re looking for ways to make that happen. 

Firstly, the caption editor and existing tools are being brought into the new YouTube Studio.

He then previews the new caption editor workflow (still a work in progress) in YouTube Studio.

This shows control for editing auto captions, controlling how many lines are on screen, the timing of lines, etc.

The new editor seems really powerful and helpful, and I look forward to trying it!

More Experiments

About 5% of creators will get to participate in an experiment wherein they can pin live chat messages to the top of chat during a live stream (and presumably a Premiere) to boost engagement and feature a specific message. This is already kinda done by Super Chats, but would be in control of the creator. I could see this being useful for pinning relevant links or messages that are currently being discussed or responded to - or just shouting out big fans!

iOS viewers can now join Channel Memberships on mobile! The “Join” button has begun rolling out.

Viewers watching YouTube Stories will now possibly be exposed to an experiment where videos can be watched directly within Stories, instead of requiring the video to be added to “Watch Later.” If the feature is effective, it will begin rolling out to everyone.

Snapshot Cards for Live

Tom is joined by Fiona to talk about an upcoming feature for live streaming - Snapshot Cards! 

The Snapshot Cards (or just Snapshots) are sections in the new Dashboard that provide a lot of up-to-date information about your most recent video upload to help you track its progress and compare to other recent viewers.

Live streams have not had this. Sometimes (for me, at least) the VOD might register as an upload a few hours after the stream was over and show up here, but this just kinda went away at some point. So for now, the only easy access data you get is when you immediately click “End Stream” and a small Snapshot pops up, such as this:

However, this goes away for good as soon as you dismiss it and isn’t available in the Dashboard. Fiona has been working on changing that.

Tom once again gets a big kick out of pointing out that the Snapshots feature is only in the new YouTube Studio and not Studio Classic. This seems to amuse him to no end, even after this many videos on the subject. Also amusing since Snapshots is a feature based on a feature that was actually in Classic.

Fiona is also looking for feedback as to which metrics of a live stream should take top priority since the Snapshot can only feature 3 metrics at once. (These could include average or peak concurrent viewers, SuperChat revenue, number of chat messages, average view duration, etc.)

Fiona suggests a feature to compare the stream stats to uploaded videos as well - useful for me, as my main live show on YouTube is literally designed to slot in as a video when the show is done. 

The next potential point of input is should the snapshot focus on the data after the VOD goes live versus while the stream actually happened.

We’re finally caught up on YouTube news! Here’s to staying on top of it in February.

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EposVox
Tech educator, '90s and '00s Nostalgia Nerd, Pixel and Framerate Junkie. 12 years on YouTube is a loooong time.
https://youtube.com/eposvox
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