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With well over 1 billion users and millions of hours of video uploaded and watched every month, YouTube is still the world’s dominant video platform—for now. To compete with the rising popularity of video offerings on other social media apps and networks—Snapchat and Facebook, chief among them—YouTube recently launched a new feature, called “Community,” which provides a plethora of new ways for content creators (and the brands that work with them) to engage with audiences in real-time (Tubefilter).
[Tweet “18- to 49-year-olds spent 74% more time watching YouTube in 2015.”]
In a recent blog post directed primarily at content creators, YouTube describes the new Community feature as a way to “strengthen the bond between [creators] and viewers” by offering new ways to communicate and engage with audiences through “text, live videos, images, animated GIFs, and more.”
The new feature will appear as a tab (along with “Videos,” “Playlists,” and “About”) on a YouTube channel’s homepage and will effectively function as a “mini social network,” allowing creators to share content other than YouTube videos with their subscribers (TechCrunch).
The creators behind the popular YouTube channel The Key Of Awesome provide an introduction to YouTube Community and explain some of its new features.
YouTube Community was developed in collaboration with a handful of YouTube’s biggest channels/creators, including Lilly Singh, The Key Of Awesome, John and Hank Green (of The VlogBrothers), AsapSCIENCE, and Vsauce3, among others. For now, Community is only available to these and a handful of other YouTube stars, though YouTube says it is planning a widespread rollout of the feature (assuming beta testing is successful) in the coming months (TechCrunch).
Top YouTuber John Green explains how Community will help foster a stronger bond between content creators and their followers.
By providing more ways to interact with viewers, Community allows YouTube, as a platform, to compete directly with Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms that are now diverting more resources toward increasing digital video capabilities (Tubefilter).
Moreover, Community gives YouTube’s top content creators a reason to keep making videos for YouTube, especially as the social media ecosystem expands and the pressure to follow audiences to other platforms/networks increases.
For brands looking to capture the attention of YouTube’s massive user base, YouTube Community will offer yet another way to engage with consumers (via partnerships with YouTube influencers) and help boost the visibility of influencer marketing campaigns.
YouTube Community will function much like a “news feed,” with posts appearing in reverse chronological order. Audiences will be able to interact with Community posts by commenting, liking, or disliking. Image courtesy of YouTube.