In a recent interview, Rene Ritchie, YouTube’s creator liaison, sat down with Todd Beaupre, YouTube’s growth and discovery lead, to discuss the algorithm’s future and its implications for creators in 2023.
Beaupre shares many insights that can help content creators understand and navigate YouTube.
This candid Q&A uncovers vital details, such as:
- The importance of focusing on audience satisfaction over algorithmic manipulation.
- The role of audience feedback and survey responses in refining YouTube’s recommendation system.
- Strategies for creators to build long-term relationships with their audiences for sustained success.
- YouTube’s dedicated efforts to support new or smaller creators.
- Advice on managing multi-format, multi-language content and the advantages of channel experimentation.
- The future of content discovery on YouTube, including the potential of emerging technologies and user interface enhancements.
This article overviews their enlightening conversation, with all the details on optimizing your YouTube content in 2023.
From Algorithm To Audience: A New Perspective
Q: What’s the main thing creators should focus on for the YouTube algorithm?
Beaupre emphasizes the importance of not thinking about algorithms but audiences. Creators are often asked about the best time or frequency to upload videos to optimize algorithm favorability.
Beaupre encourages a shift in perspective:
“Creators often ask about optimizing their upload time or frequency for the algorithm. But we want creators to shift their thinking. Rather than focusing on the algorithm, they should focus on the audience. Replace the word “algorithm” in their questions with the word “audience.” We design the algorithm to serve the audience, so understanding audience preferences will help the algorithm favor their content.”
The Satisfaction Metric: A Holistic View Of Engagement
Q: Can you explain the significance of the satisfaction metric in the YouTube algorithm?
Beaupre addresses an essential aspect of YouTube’s algorithm: audience satisfaction.
While watch time is a commonly known factor the algorithm considers, Beaupre says that not all watch time is equal:
“Everyone knows that watch time is one of the factors we look at. But we’ve realized that not all watch time is equal. We also need to understand the value an audience derives from a video. To do this, we run surveys about recommendations and specific videos, feeding those responses into the recommendation system. This helps the algorithm identify patterns of satisfying content, looking at various signals like likes, dislikes, watch time, and survey responses.”
A Long-term Strategy: The Key To Creator Success
Q: What kind of strategy should creators adopt for success on YouTube?
Beaupre says creators who prioritize long-term audience value over immediate views stand to benefit more long-term.
He explains that a video’s potential to leave a lasting impression and foster a long-term relationship with the audience would correlate well with satisfaction.
“I would advise creators to think about the long-term value for their audience. Rather than focusing on getting a lot of views in a week, think about creating a lasting impression with your audience. This could mean they’ll want to return to your channel in the future.”
Supporting Smaller Channels
Q: How does YouTube support new or smaller creators who don’t have a large audience?
For creators with smaller audiences, Beaupre reveals that YouTube has a team focused on helping them identify their audience, using various approaches like assessing video titles and descriptions.
“We have a team that focuses on this exact challenge. They use different approaches, like assessing video titles and descriptions, to help these creators identify their audience. We track the success of new creators on the platform, and we’re committed to helping them succeed.”
Multi-format, Multi-language Content:
Q: How should creators manage their channels with the rise of multi-format, multi-language content?
Beaupre touches on the evolving content landscape, including long-form videos, Live, Shorts, and podcasts.
His advice to creators navigating this space is:
“My advice to creators is simple: “Same audience, same channel, different audience, different channel.” We’re looking for ways to make it easier for creators to manage their channels in this multi-format, multi-language world. We encourage creators to experiment with different formats on the same channel and see how their audience reacts.”
The Future Of Discovery On YouTube
Q: What’s the future of discovery on YouTube?
Speaking about the challenges and opportunities ahead, Beaupre highlights several focus areas.
These include leveraging emerging technology, such as large language models, and making the discovery experience more enjoyable.
“We have several areas of focus. We’re excited about emerging technology like large language models, which could improve recommendation quality. We’re also working on enabling seamless user journeys across various formats. Another challenge is to make the discovery experience more enjoyable for users. We’re exploring opportunities to make the interface more entertaining and less overwhelming.”
Beaupre signs off with the message that YouTube’s algorithm prioritizes the audience’s satisfaction.
By creating long-term value for your audience, understanding their needs, and experimenting with different formats, you can better align with the platform’s goals and succeed.
Featured image generated by the author using Midjourney.