YouTube Adds New Features

youtube communities

Since 2005, when YouTube first rolled out to the public, the channel has continued to solidify its status as video royalty. YouTube stands strong as attention spans shrink and new channels add video features. It’s a testament to YouTube’s willingness to adjust and ability to sense when updates are necessary.

Over the years, updates to YouTube have mostly been incremental. This has created slowly but clearly increasing value. The channel’s two most recent updates are no different, but they’re certainly worth mentioning.

YouTube Communities

YouTube just rolled out a new feature in beta for a very select number of users. The YouTube community tab lives inline with other tabs for only four or so users. The tab serves similarly to the timeline on Facebook. Users can post a variety of types of content to engage with followers.

The move to allow non-video posts was likely a move to counter Facebook’s recent focus on video. Facebook Live and other elements like the ability to upload videos and create playlists pose a direct threat. The community feature makes it possible for marketers to connect more effectively with their target audience.


While communities are a cost-free tactic, YouTube now offers a new pay-to-play tactic as well. Marketers are now able to boost their advertising potential by running video ads with a call-to-action that appear at the beginning and end of video content on YouTube. The ads play before and after video published by YouTube partners. Marketers also have the option to run ads that appear beside YouTube videos rather than in-stream.

With the in-stream ads, if a viewer doesn’t want to see the ad, they can skip it after 5 seconds and you won’t have to pay anything. While you don’t earn a click, you do earn 5-plus seconds of branding. You won’t actually be charged until a viewer watches your ad for 30 or more seconds.

The ads that run along side videos, called video discovery ads, run on a per-click basis. These ads also run on Google’s Display Network and on YouTube search pages.

There’s a good chance you’ll be able to connect with your target market, no matter what type of ad you choose to run. With over 1 billion YouTube users, it’s important for marketers to be able to narrow down their target, and YouTube offers decent targeting options no matter which type of ad you choose.

Marketers are embracing these changes. Better targeting and the ability to engage followers on a deeper level are hugely important to marketing success, and these features provide enhanced opportunities on both those levels. The success of both features remains to be seen, but it’s a good idea to keep tabs on them and have a plan in place to potentially include them in your marketing as they develop and become proven.

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