Social Media Optimization (SMO)

YouTube Working on Two New Internal Metrics to Evaluate the Success of Videos on the Site

Until now, YouTube solely relied on engagement criteria like the number of views, comments and likes for measuring the success of the video. It's not yet known how YouTube will measure the content quality but reports state that YouTube is working on introducing two new metrics soon.

YouTube, the world’s most popular video-sharing site is reportedly testing new internal metrics to evaluate the quality of videos on the network. According to a report by Bloomberg, YouTube is working on new ways to identify “quality” content on the site.

Until now, YouTube solely relied on engagement criteria like the number of views, comments and likes for measuring the success of the video. It’s not yet known how YouTube will measure the content quality but reports state that YouTube is working on introducing two new metrics soon.

Work on two new internal metrics for the last two years

The Bloomberg report states that YouTube’ parent company, Google, has been working on two new internal metrics for the last two years. These metrics will be used to measure the performance of videos. One metric tracks the amount of time users spend on YouTube including the time spent on watching videos, as well as time spent on posting and reading comments.

The other metric monitors ‘quality watch time.’ This will be used to identify the type of content the user consumes and provide similar content to suit their interest, rather than keeping them watching mindless, entertaining videos. While it’s reported that ‘quality watch time,’ is one of the two new metrics, YouTube is yet to figure out how this metric will work and how to convey the impact of this metric to millions of content creators, who upload videos on the site.

The idea behind these two new metrics

YouTube has recently been on the receiving end of several criticisms like making users addicted to video content and providing a socially corrosive tool. These new metrics are seen as a way for the platform to ward off criticism and provide the users with useful and productive videos. Furthermore, these metrics are deemed to help YouTube prevent the spread of noxious video content on the platform.

Watch time – the reigning metric, as of now

In 2012, YouTube rebuilt its business model around, ‘watch time.’ This was a measure of the time users spent watching a clip, instead of just clicking it open. This change was made to eliminate the rise of ‘clickbait,’ videos. However, critics of this metric state that measuring watch time was a poor choice, as this metric rewarded offensive videos.

What does YouTube have to say about the new metrics?

YouTube declined to reveal anything about the reported new internal metrics. However, a company spokeswoman stated that they used several metrics to evaluate the success of a video. Also, the company declined to state whether ‘watch time’ will be discontinued.

It’s to be noted that several leaders at YouTube have repeatedly stated that they are working on new ways to punish people who upload offensive and nasty videos on the site. YouTube executives also have stated that they are looking for ways to reward content based on responsibility as a rubric.

In a blog posted on YouTube in February, YouTube’s CEO, Susan Wojcicki stated that the actions of a few individuals are negatively impacting the entire content creation ecosystem, and they are looking to focus on responsible growth. These two metrics – tracking quality watch time and the total time spent on YouTube seem like an extension of company’s policy of responsible growth.

How do these new metrics impact content creators?

The new metrics will play a huge role in video recommendations, search result rankings, payments to video creators and the way YouTube runs ads on the site. An official date for the launch of these new metrics is not known yet.

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