YouTube News: Studio Beta Default, Goodbye Messaging, Shows Playlists?

Tom gave us a new Newsflash this week, and there’s an update to YouTube “Messaging” that they didn’t cover.

First, Tom reports that there were data issues at the start of this month, which prevented realtime analytics data from being reported properly. This has been fixed.

Mentioning the bug was also a good opportunity to mention the “Known Issues” card, which can appear in the Studio Beta dashboard, letting you know if there’s something that is broken which the team is fixing. Here’s what it looks like at the time of writing:

Though if there aren’t any current issues to report, it won’t show up.

Tom also addressed that all creators have been moved to the Studio Beta as their default experience, and there won’t be any sessions that run fully in the Classic Studio experience. Specific features that are not yet present in the Beta will be linked to with encapsulated sessions just for that feature. (Such as Cards. You know, an important feature.)

Next, he provided an update on the “Thumbnail A/B Testing” feature that the team has been experimenting with. This would allow creators to experiment with two different thumbnails for one video being sent out to different people, and measuring which one is more successful. He states that the experimental group has expanded, but it’s not ready to be rolled out yet. (And it hasn’t been integrated into the Studio Beta yet.) While you're waiting for YouTube to roll our this feature, which may or may not happen in the near future, learn more about TubeBuddy's powerful A/B Testing Tools in this video:

Next, Tom addresses some update to the ad-friendly monetization classifiers, which are flags for specific video that may deem a video unable to be monetized. The team has been analyzing all of the data from appeals on Limited or No Ads videos which were approved (videos which had monetization reinstated) to help improve the classifiers. This means they’re using the data from creators who have appealed monetization status to better improve the tools that automatically detect if a video should or should not be monetized, and that’s great to see.

Something that hasn’t been addressed in a video yet, however, is that YouTube announced that their messaging feature will be shut down on September 18, 2019. This was brought to my attention via a Tweet from Jason Scott (@textfiles):

(Since I never get these emails myself, for some reason.)

This has mostly been met with confusion from people I shared it with - as most people were under the impression that YouTube messaging was shut down a couple years ago. Yes, in traditional Google fashion, they shut down the original YouTube messaging feature (which went back to 2006) and introduced a new “Beta Messaging” tool, which was only available on the front-end and was invite-only at one point, and generally confusing to use. It quickly got abused by imposter channels with fake giveaways, as things typically go.

I’m honestly not even certain this feature rolled out to the majority of users yet, but YouTube has deemed it’s not worth the responsibility and hassle of maintaining a messaging feature and are shutting it down.

Given that all of the messages went away with the original, actually useful, messaging tool from the older YouTube versions, this is probably for the best - though I anticipate that we’ll see another beta messaging tool come up again. YouTube and Google love removing features and re-launching them again and again.

Lastly, I wanted to talk about YouTube Shows Playlists. This was a fairly unknown feature in recent years, which allowed creators to organize a series by season and episode order, insert trailers, in-between hidden episodes, etc. Back circa 2014 and earlier, the Shows Playlists could actually stand as their own channels, with viewers having the option of subscribing just to that Show instead of the channel that posted it. Originally, this was a “Premium Partner” (back when that was a thing) feature, limited to channels with at least 100K subscribers or who were in Managed CMS with networks.

Last year, YouTube announced that the Shows Playlist format was being shut down, and they were removed in January. On my channel, all Shows Playlists were converted to Unlisted normal playlists and the feature removed from my dashboard. I talked about this in a video at the time:

However, people have been noticing that there are still shows with Season and Episode metadata above the title. The feature still seems to be alive and well. A viewer actually Tweeted me with one such example, wondering what the feature was:

Tim Schmoyer even responded to the thread saying it was an invite-only feature.

Confused, and frustrated that it seemed like YouTube had lied about this feature being removed, I reached out to my partner manager.

While I still remain unconvinced that certain channels - mainly those run by TV networks and big companies - will continue to have access to this tool, the “official answer” my partner manager was able to get from the team was:

The Series Editor beta tool had limited access and we've decided to remove the tool due to low impact. You may still see series in limited cases on the platform, though we have removed this as a Creator Studio feature. We heard your great feedback on the Series Editor beta, and will consider this for future tools.”

This is disappointing, as every time someone hears about the feature for the first time, I get lots of people who say it’s a feature they really wanted and would love to have. It seems to be one of those things that Google/YouTube does where they make a tool more obscure and hard to find or use, and then removes it due to “lack of use.” I’m pretty sure they stopped giving people access to the tool by 2014 or 2015.

Granted, I can’t entirely blame them for this. The original tool actually required a real-person manager to confirm that you had it set up properly, validate that you were using the right kind of content as episodes (they had to be named properly, you couldn’t have super short videos, etc.) and so on before making them live, and logistically that would become a problem. But I can still be disappointed.

That’s all for this week!

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

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