YouTube‘s current marketing strategy is centered around engagement. While some other video sharing sites are doing whatever they can for raw views, YouTube is beginning to focus on what keeps users coming back. Though they’ve had mixed results with this new focus, new updates to the site’s search and analytics features will help promote content creators who engage viewers rather than briefly entertaining them.

The first change deals with YouTube’s search results. Search used to work in such a way that a video’s hits and likes were the main factors in determining where it landed on each results page. The new system will improve things for both YouTube and its users. YouTube can drive engagement by encouraging viewers to watch longer videos. Meanwhile, users can get a more accurate measure of what’s actually popular with fans. For instance, at first glance, you would say that Halo: Forward Unto Dawn is less popular than ‘Guy Runs Into Wall‘ because it has been viewed about 1.5 million times fewer. However, the former video is 20 minutes while the latter is six seconds, and this, in my mind, makes Halo in most ways a more rewarding experience. With the new changes, Halo will be sorted much higher for all to see, while ‘Guy Runs Into Wall’ may drop a couple spots. Now all we need to do is find a search term that encompasses both of these videos. Hmm…

YouTube also updated its analytics, allowing users to see how much time each video was watched on average. This gives creators good information on what is engaging his or her audience and what isn’t working, allowing them to make their next projects as refined as possible.

These changes are great for premium creators, who now will have a much better chance of their work getting noticed instead of your average run-of-the-mill viral video. The fact that YouTube profits from it as well makes these changes perfectly symbiotic, and should help insure the site’s continued domination of the online video world.

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