Back in 2012, views of my hobby videos on YouTube collapsed. Views that had low thousands or occasionally tens of thousands of views were no longer being watched. I hypothesized then that this was due to a flood of new content on YouTube, diluting the views, some sudden change in viewer habits or that YouTube had changed something.
Mostly this is due to YouTube changes. Starting in 2012, YouTube changed its search algorithm to reward videos that had more viewing time. Consequently, search results are steered towards the videos that YouTube thinks you will watch the longest.
A possible side effect of this change, also, is that short form videos may be likely to get higher rankings. The ideal YouTube video length has long been said to be 3-5 minutes. Longer videos get abandoned before they end.
To get seen on YouTube requires a combination of search engine optimization strategies, short videos, some specific types of content, and at least a weekly video release. I suspect that videos that enable advertising are ranked higher (all of mine have advertising disabled by me), which makes sense because ads pay the bills for YouTube.
This has impacted a great many, mostly small hobby producers. I went through my video subscription list yesterday and began pruning out those that have not posted a video in more than a year. I found dozens of content producers who stopped posting content over the past 1-3 years. Looking at their uploads list, it was apparent that their recent videos were no longer getting the views they once had for their older views – and not surprisingly, they gave up posting videos on YouTube.
This result is probably the “right result” for YouTube but not a desirable one for hobby video producers. This turns YouTube away from the serendipitous viewing of funny, independent little videos, to focus increasingly on sophisticated productions. Many of our favorite “channels” may still look like a guy or gal standing in front the camera in their bedroom, but in reality, many now have full production staff behind the scenes.
Today’s announcement doesn’t come as a total surprise. Earlier this year, the company already explained its focus on ‘watch time.” When it updated its suggested videos algorithm, YouTube noted that it did so to “better surface the videos that viewers actually watch, over those that they click on and then abandon.”
Meanwhile, Facebook is now hosting videos, although its search and organization of videos is terrible. Facebook is also faking high view counts by making Facebook hosted videos play automatically in Facebook news streams while YouTube auto play is disabled. Further, Facebook counts any video that plays for 3 seconds as a “view” while YouTube only counts 30 seconds or more as a view.
The author of the excellent Micro 4/3rds Photography Blog reveals the numbers behind his blog – and with blog ads, commissioned sales links and Youtube videos with ads, the combination earns very little money.
Most of the top video channels on Youtube got started very early back when it is alleged most channel creators gamed the system to increase viewership . While some recent arrivals have achieved viewer success, it may take years to achieve a reasonable following, or money spent on promotion. It is said that even for the successful Youtube channels, the creators most creators must also sell ancillary products (notably music but also t-shirts, hats, etc).
So why blog or produce Youtube videos? For many of us, do these as a hobby. We enjoy sharing helpful information with others. For example, I publish a popular tutorial blog on programming in App Inventor (See App Inventor 2: Learn to Code!). Other reasons include emphasizing one’s credentials in the subject, to advertise one’s skills to potential clients, to be involved in a social web of people with similar interests, perhaps to sell related products and services, and more.
Footnote – The “old” way Youtubers Got Views
 Many Youtubers figured out the way to get viewed – and obtain subscribers – was to generate lots of fake views to jump up high on the “Most Viewed” lists. In the early years of Youtube, it was easy to do this: copy the video player embed code 100 times on an HTML page and just keep reloading the page! (This “feature” was disabled long ago!)
Appearing on the “Most viewed” lists increased visibility and views rapidly. Others say that nearly all of today’s successful channels, which started in the 2005-2008 first three years of Youtube, got there by manipulating view counts.
In 2012 or 2013 Youtube seems to have made changes in the search system that caused viewership of minor channels to fall. Starting about 2 years ago, views of my own videos fell sharply – and I no longer post much on Youtube, having instead migrated to Flickr (Flickr supports videos too!) On Flickr I often get as many views in a day as I would see – ever – on Youtube 🙂
I just noticed that when I watched this video in Chrome (and only Chrome), that the video now has an option for 2D or 3D anaglyph (only 3D option).
I then disabled the HTML5 player to revert back to the Flash-based player and confirmed that the above was really appearing in the HTML5 player, not flash.
Unfortunately, this new HTML5 3D video capability appears solely in Chrome. It did not appear in Firefox, Opera or Internet Explorer when I tested each.
Having just watched The Martian (in 3D) at the theater today, it reaffirmed for us that we really like 3D! Let’s hope that Google is able to bring back more 3D viewing options to Youtube soon!
Starting in the fall of 2014, Youtube began dropping support for 3D videos. Now, Google briefly mentions it will be launching 360 degree VR 3D support soon (it’s #7 on this video).
Presumably, 3D VR will also support conventional 3D streaming again, as well.
This implies 3D is returning to Youtube – but in a bigger way – using virtual reality (VR) technology, 360 degree immersive video camera technology and VR viewers.
Source: Jump – Google