YouTube News: Quarterly Reporting, Mid-Roll Ad Experiments, Policy Updates!

Hey everyone! This week we got another Creator Insider Newsflash, as well as a Creator Blog update from Susan Wojcicki!

Let’s start with the Newsflash episode from Tom at Creator Insider.

Tom starts by showing an experimental feature that the team is currently showing to a small number of English creators in the Studio Beta which shows the performance of ad revenue on a creator’s channel. This has a trend graph for the past year or so, showing how earnings are performing over time, along with a “plain English” explanation as to why this number might be up or down compared to normal.

This goes along with many of the new summary style features (such as Snapshots on the Dashboard) that helps make Analytics information more accessible to creators. I like this a lot.

Next, Tom gets cheery as he talks about addressing people who claim they prefer the Classic Studio to the Studio Beta. Maybe I’m too heavily invested into this, but this felt really condescending as someone who has real problems with the Studio Beta that has real negative consequences for my work, and not “I just “oh I can’t find anything.” He then asked for people to either point said complainers to where their missing features are in the Studio Beta or to ask them to submit specific feedback about this.

So, once again, (as I do near daily via Feedback Reports at this point) I have done just this:

Tom then says "The longer we have to maintain Classic, the slower we will be able to do new cool things on Studio Beta." It's almost as if some of this development time should be spent making the Studio Beta feature complete so this isn't a problem, instead of adding "new cool things" that slow it down, huh?

Okay, enough snark for now (I hope).

Next, Tom announces that they are running an experiment where mid-roll in-stream video ads are run for 1% of traffic on videos, regardless of whether the video is longer than 10 minutes or not. Typically, a video must be at least 10 minutes to enable mid-rolls - but then those extra potential ad slots can as much as double a video’s revenue for creators.

Based on what I could gleam from how Tom explained it, the purpose of the experiment phase with this would be to see if more revenue could be earned for creators without ticking off too many viewers. Mid-roll ads are not a great experience as a viewer - especially since virtually no creator plans for it in their content formatting and just inserts them at random, mid-sentence - and having yet another ad spot on a short video could cause some serious viewer dropoff. Hopefully they make the right decision about this, based on the data, I guess.

(Personally, I feel that the delayed mid-roll ads on Facebook videos, regardless of length, was one of the causes of Facebook’s video platform not being viable. Among Facebook’s plethora of other issues when it comes to growing a page and getting content seen by a page’s followers, of course.)

Child Safety Policies on YouTube have been update to help protect minors and parents. The full policy can be found here, and the update reads:

“On August 21, we expanded our child safety policies to better protect the family experience on YouTube. Content that targets young minors and families but contains sexual themes, violence, obscene, or other mature themes not suitable for young audiences, is not allowed on YouTube. “

Clicking further to a support post addressing the update more:

What content will be removed?

We’re removing misleading family content, including videos that target younger minors and families, that contain sexual themes, violence, obscene, or other mature themes not suitable for young audiences.

Here are some examples of content that will be removed:

  • A video with tags like "for children" featuring family friendly cartoons engaging in inappropriate acts like injecting needles.
  • Videos with prominent children’s nursery rhymes targeting younger minors and families in the video’s title, description or tags, that contain adult themes such as violence, sex, death, etc. 
  • Videos that explicitly target younger minors and families with phrasing such as “for kids” or “family fun” in the video’s title, description and/or tags that contain vulgar language.

What content will be age-restricted?

Content that is meant for adults and not targeting younger minors and families won’t be removed, but it may be age-restricted. If you create adult content that could be confused as family entertainment, make sure your titles, descriptions, and tags match the audience you are targeting. Remember you can age restrict your content upon upload if it’s intended for mature audiences.

Here is an example of content that may still be allowed on YouTube but will be age-restricted: Adult cartoons with vulgar language and/or violence that is explicitly targeted at adults.”

Next, Tom states that the YouTube Community Guidelines enforcement report (something I’m just learning exists, and is very fascinating) now includes a section relating to the new Hate Speech guidelines that have been updated this year. This report details the removal of videos and channels from the platform, how they came to be removed, etc. based on enforcement of YouTube’s Community Guidelines. This is part of YouTube’s new transparency initiative and is really great to see.

Here you can see the number of channels removed for being “hateful or abusive” during the period of April to June of 2019.

According to the report’s footer: “YouTube is a community and, over the years, people have used the flagging feature located beneath every video and comment to help report content they believe violates our Community Guidelines. We want to empower the YouTube community to understand how flagging works and to get involved in maintaining our Community Guidelines.” It honestly makes me so happy to see how far YouTube has come over the past 5 or so years when it comes to this. To learn more about why flagging content matters, read this post on YouTube’s Official Blog.

Lastly (this was a dense episode!) Tom announces that channels who receive a Strike for violating YouTube’s policies will have to watch the appropriate educational section of the YouTube Creator Academy relating to which policy they violated before using their channel again. This has been a rule for copyright violations for a while - you have to watch through the “Copyright School” trainings after getting a copyright violation, and is neat to see be applied here, as well.

Alright, that was a lot. Creator Insider video over! Get a drink, take a breather.

Ready to hit one more talking point? Let’s talk about…

Susan Wojcicki: Preserving openness through responsibility” - Susan’s blog post! (You may have seen this linked in your Studio Beta Dashboard already.)

Susan’s blog post for this quarter (she writes these quarterly to measure progress towards her goals for YouTube) focused on how important openness is to YouTube’s success and what it has to offer the world, and how it’s YouTube’s responsibility to maintain that in a way that protects everyone. It’s a great read and honestly I’m just going to suggest you read it, but there are a couple takeaways.

A couple interesting numbers she mentioned are that YouTube creators have created 28,000 full-time jobs in Canada, according to a report from Ryerson University, and that the number of channels earning more than $100,000 climbs 40% year over year. (Though it’s not stated if that’s total income, yearly income, etc.)

The last thing to note on its own is YouTube’s 4 “Rs” of responsibility - they remove content that violates their policies as quickly as possible, they raise up authoritative voices about breaking news and information, they reduce the spread of content that brushes up against policy lines (edgy content), and reward trusted eligible creators. With these 4 r-words, they hope to keep YouTube an open platform, but keep people safe and included as well.

This was quite the lengthy update post. See you next week!

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

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