YouTube has been very busy this summer, rolling out a several new features for YouTube Partners and Content Creators in just the past few weeks. This includes adding new charts in YouTube Analytics, a YouTube subscribe button for websites, and more tools to build channels.
New Charts in YouTube Analytics
YouTube Analytics replaced YouTube Insights at the end of November 2011. YouTube Analytics was a significant improvement over YouTube Insight, but one of the top requests that Partners and Creators asked YouTube for was to see more of their videos at once in YouTube Analytics.
As of mid-July, you can see your top 200 videos in your video reports, as well as new charts to visualize your channel's activity. For networks, you can now see the same data for your top 200 channels.
In addition, a new multi-line graphs allow you to compare the performance of up to 25 videos, channels or geographies over time in a number of reports. This is useful for comparing video views, comparing views in different geographies, as well as seeing where most of your subscribers come from.
Another addition, the stacked area view, enables you to see how the data of selected videos, channels, or geographies relate to their totals.
YouTube Subscribe Button for Websites
You can now embed the YouTube subscribe button on your site, enabling Partners and Creators to build their YouTube audience from all of their web properties. This lets your fans subscribe with a single click without leaving your site.
Once fans subscribe, they can see your channel on their YouTube homepage, phone, tablet, PlayStation 3, smart TVs, and millions of other devices.
Here's what the subscribe button looks like on Vice.com in the bottom-right corner of this screenshot:
If you want to put the subscribe button on your site or customize the button, check out the documentation for more details.
More Tools to Build Channels
Finally, Partners and Creators with accounts in good standing will be able to use a bunch of features they've been asking for: live streaming, custom thumbnails, external annotations, and series playlists.
- Start live streaming if you have 100+ subscribers: All channels in good standing with at least a hundred subscribers will be able to live stream, within the next few weeks. Check your Account Features page for an "Enable" button, and click it if you're interested.
- Choose your best thumbnail: Help your video stand out by using a custom thumbnail. Make sure you only upload images that are representative of what viewers will see, like prominent stills from the video.
- Drive traffic to your merchandise: Want viewers to buy that new T-shirt you're wearing in your video? You can now use annotations to link externally to various online stores and your associated websites.
- Program related videos for viewers: Help viewers watch more of your videos by placing them in a series playlist. When you group videos that belong together, we'll show viewers of your videos the next episode from the series and a link to the whole playlist. Just mark your playlist as a "series" in the playlist settings.
Finally, YouTube has also updated its Creator Playbook, providing Partners and Creators with tips on the best ways to use any of these features.
So, why all of the activity during mid-July and early August, when many people take a couple of weeks of vacation? It's not like Hulu or some other direct competitor is giving YouTube a run for its money.
Is YouTube's Business Model Broken?
As Search Engine Watch observed at the beginning of July, however improbably it seems, the answer is "Elementary."
In April 2012, YouTube had more than 30,000 partners in 27 countries around the world. And hundreds of partners were making six figures a year.
Then, the YouTube team updated its partner eligibility requirements across 20 countries where the Partner Program had been launched. Content creators in these countries could quickly become YouTube Partners simply by enabling their YouTube accounts, and monetizing at least one of their videos.
Today, YouTube has more than a million partners from over 30 countries around the world earning money from their YouTube videos. And thousands of channels are making six figures a year.
But, the significant growth in the number of top YouTube Partners who are making six figures a year masks the dramatic growth in the number of YouTube Partners who aren't making that kind of money. There are now close to a million partners who are still trying to build a sustainable career on YouTube and beyond.
So, YouTube appears to be doing as much as it can as quickly as it can to prevent an awful lot of poor Partners from facing a hard decision this winter: remain starving artists or look for another day job.
Meanwhile, this temporary imbalance between supply and demand has made YouTube's TrueView video ads one of the best bargains available on the web over the past 15 months.
For example, VeryPink used YouTube TrueView In-Search ads to reach knitters for 3 cents a view. And at a budget-friendly cost of 2 to 3 cents per click on a predetermined $3 to $5 a day budget, YouTube TrueView ads have been a recipe for success for the BBQGuys.