The past several months have been an absolute whirlwind for YouTube, and now the company appears to be making some internal moves to change things for the better. According to a new report, YouTube has two new internal metrics for measuring the success of a video, including “quality watch time.”
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Bloomberg reports this week that, in response to recent criticism, YouTube is rethinking how it measures the success of a video. Previously, YouTube would measure the success of a video based almost solely on engagement, how much people were watching. It didn’t matter if that video was clickbait or a conspiracy, it was all about getting more eyes glued to the platform.
With these new metrics, it looks like YouTube wants to focus more on getting watch time on content that is “quality.” However, the report explains that they’ve not yet decided on how that will work. Aside from the “quality watch time,” YouTube would also track users and look at the comments they read, as well as post.
The Google division introduced two new internal metrics in the past two years for gauging how well videos are performing, according to people familiar with the company’s plans. One tracks the total time people spend on YouTube, including comments they post and read (not just the clips they watch). The other is a measurement called “quality watch time,” a squishier statistic with a noble goal: To spot content that achieves something more constructive than just keeping users glued to their phones.
Once settled on, these new metrics could help influence other parts of the platform, such as the recommendation system. In the long run, it could result in some absolutely huge changes to the platform in general. The focus on “responsibility” would probably restrict the types of content that could be posted to some extent. It’s a risky move, though, as Bloomberg further explains:
Deciding what is a “quality” video, or which clips are “responsible,” is difficult even for humans. YouTube is trying to pull off this feat with a combination of software and employees, making the task even harder. It’s a risky change. The video service generates most of its revenue through advertising and the business works best when as many people as possible are spending as much time as possible on YouTube. Hence executives’ obsession with engagement stats. Adding murkier metrics to the mix could crimp ad revenue growth.
So far, YouTube has declined to comment on these new metrics with a spokesperson only saying that “there are many metrics that we use to measure success.”
More on YouTube:
- Bloomberg: YouTube execs ignored warnings that led to recent controversies for sake of engagement
- YouTube House pop-up in NYC showcases TV, Music, and creators
- YouTube is developing its own interactive original shows, new slate reportedly coming next month
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