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YouTube Provides New Overview of How its Video Recommendation Systems Work

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youtube provides new overview of how its video recommendation systems work

YouTube has published a handy new overview of how its recommendation system works, in order to help creators build an audience on the platform, and reach more viewers with their clips.

The overview is presented by Rachel Alves, a product manager for discovery at YouTube. Alves has shared various insights into how the platform’s recommendation systems work, and she notes that this presentation, in particular, is usually used at conferences and the like to help people understand the systems that influence how videos are distributed.

As noted by Alves

“You don’t need to be an expert in algorithms of analytics to be successful on YouTube.”

Alves begins with an overview of the core aims of YouTube’s recommendation systems.

YouTube video recommendations guide

The key aim, as noted here, is to keep users coming back, by ensuring that they have a good experience on the platform.

“So we really maximize long-term satisfaction, so viewers keep coming back to YouTube.”

That, of course, is what you would expect, by Alves does note that YouTube has changed what it optimizes for over time.

“If we go back to 2011, what we optimized for was clicks and views […] but that’s not that great of a metric, because it may indirectly incentivize clickbait-y or sensational titles or thumbnails that get people in to watch a video, but doesn’t make them very satisfied or happy.”

YouTube video recommendations guide

Alves says that a lot of the feedback that YouTube got in the early days of its algorithmically-defined feed was that people’s home feeds were being filled with “sensational or off-putting videos”, so it switched focus to watch time as a key metric instead in 2012.

“How much time somebody spends watching a video or channel is much more indicative of the quality of the content, because if you spend more time watching something, it’s more likely that you’re going to be interested in it.”

However, Alves says that watch time isn’t a perfect metric either, because while you may spend more time watching something, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll end up feeling good about that time spent afterwards.

Because of this, YouTube has since been seeking to better define “quality or value” watch time, optimizing more towards user satisfaction.

YouTube does this through:

  • User surveys, helping to optimize for what people like and enjoy (Alves says they send out millions of user surveys every month)
  • Prioritizing authoritative content from recognized, established outlets, especially for news content
  • Reducing the spread of ‘borderline violative content’

So the focus is both on user satisfaction, and ensuring that people feel good about their experience on the platform, while also maintaining responsibility over what gets amplified through its recommendations.

YouTube has, of course, faced various challenges on this front, with the platform regularly coming under scrutiny for amplifying controversial content, including misinformation, conspiracy theories and politically divisive material. There’s no perfect solution for such, but YouTube’s seeking to keep these considerations in mind as it goes about refining its approach to what videos it recommends to users.

In terms of surveys, as noted, YouTube sends out millions of surveys to viewers every month, gathering feedback on a wide range of video uploads.

YouTube video recommendations guide

Alves says that they don’t share this information with creators at the moment, because they often don’t have enough feedback on each individual clip to provide useful feedback, but they can use the info to better inform their algorithms and systems. 

“We are looking at adding more satisfaction data, and externalizing it to creators, so it is something we’re working on.”

And yes – as you may probably expect, in addition to direct feedback via survey prompts, YouTube also uses signals like:

  • When people tap/click on the ‘Not interested’ option in the individual video menu  
  • Likes and dislikes on clips
  • Shares of clips
YouTube video recommendations guide

Like other social platforms, these actions are important in defining video reach through YouTube’s recommendation surfaces (i.e. the Home page and ‘Suggested’ listings). As much as YouTube does want to lean on more in-depth user feedback to determine whether a video provides viewers with a good experience, these lesser, more immediate response metrics do also play a part in determining your performance.

Alves also notes that the Home page and ‘Suggested’ listings actually use different algorithms – so the idea that there’s one central YouTube algorithm is not correct.

“The Home page offers up a broad array of videos when you visit youtube.com, and it uses similar signals as ‘Suggested’, but they are designed to do slightly different things.”

Given this, Alves notes that creators often want to know how they can optimize for each element – to which Alves says ‘you can’t’.

“You can’t optimize for a traffic source, you can only optimize for people or viewers.”

With this in mind, Alves says that creators looking to maximize views from the home page should try to consider their content from the perspective of somebody who’s been recommended their content, due to their interest in similar clips, but may not yet be familiar with their specific channel.

A reference to an in-joke with your audience may work in ‘Suggested’, as these are more aligned to each specific video clip, but in the home feed, you want to consider more general appeal, and what will make newer viewers, with a related interest, click.

YouTube video recommendations guide

As you can see here, Alves also notes that posting consistently can help to keep your videos coming up in relevant user home feeds, alerting them to your latest if they’ve already watched some of your other clips.

In the ‘Suggested’ feed, Alves says that these highlighted clips are designed to guide viewers on what to watch next after the video they’re currently watching.

YouTube video recommendations guide

That means the suggested feed is more specifically aligned with the current clip.

In some ways, you can consider the two surfaces as ‘top of funnel’, or viewers of a more general, yet related interest, with the Home recommendations, then ‘middle of funnel’ with ‘Suggested’, as these viewers have already shown specific interest in your content, by tapping through, and now the recommendations are more closely aligned to that.

Alves says that the most effective tactic she’s seen creators used to maximize their appearances in people’s ‘Suggested’ listings is to develop a video series, or create topically related videos that lead on from one another.

Alves also recommends using a consistent title and thumbnail style.

“You can imagine when a viewer is looking at everything that they could choose to watch next, there are a lot of options there, and if you have really strong, identifiable branding, that’s consistent, it’s really easy to pick out which videos are from your channel, and it just makes that decision all the quicker for viewers.”

Alves also notes that CTA buttons to ‘Watch more’, as well as playlists and end screens are also effective tools in encouraging viewers to keep watching your content.

Alves’ key lesson through this overview is that YouTube’s algorithm is designed to “find videos for viewers, not viewers for videos”.

“Sometimes creators have a perception that the recommendation system pushes out or promotes videos to viewers, when in reality, the system is designed to work the opposite way, where a viewer visits youtibe.com, and then a recommendation system pulls in and then ranks the best candidate for that viewer, depending on the page that they’re on.”

So if you come to the Home page, YouTube will try to show you the content you’ll stick around to watch, based on personalized recommendations (i.e. past history, location, trending, etc.), while if you click through to a specific video, the ‘Suggested’ content will largely be defined by that specific clip. YouTube’s system is not designed to amplify specific clips or creators, as such, but instead, its entire aim is to align with the interests of the individual.

Which seems like a logical process, but it’s also an important point of clarity in this context. 

In essence, what you want to be doing is creating content that appeals to your target audience, then building consistently around themes and topics to keep your viewers coming back, while also maintaining branding elements to strengthen those connections. Part of that will come through research, and understanding what works in your niche, but mapping out a strategic approach, and sticking to that process, is also key to building a YouTube audience over time.

There are some valuable pointers here, which could help in your platform planning – and given YouTube serves over 2 billion monthly active users, and is seeing significant growth in viewing on TV sets, it should be at least a consideration in every marketing plan.

Socialmediatoday.com

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12 Proven Methods to Make Money Blogging in 2024

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Make money blogging

 

Make money bloggingThis is a contributed article.

The world of blogging continues to thrive in 2024, offering a compelling avenue for creative minds to share their knowledge, build an audience, and even turn their passion into profit. Whether you’re a seasoned blogger or just starting, there are numerous effective strategies to monetize your blog and achieve financial success. Here, we delve into 12 proven methods to make money blogging in 2024:

1. Embrace Niche Expertise:

Standing out in the vast blogosphere requires focus. Carving a niche allows you to cater to a specific audience with targeted content. This not only builds a loyal following but also positions you as an authority in your chosen field. Whether it’s gardening techniques, travel hacking tips, or the intricacies of cryptocurrency, delve deep into a subject you’re passionate and knowledgeable about. Targeted audiences are more receptive to monetization efforts, making them ideal for success.

2. Content is King (and Queen):

High-quality content remains the cornerstone of any successful blog. In 2024, readers crave informative, engaging, and well-written content that solves their problems, answers their questions, or entertains them. Invest time in crafting valuable blog posts, articles, or videos that resonate with your target audience.

  • Focus on evergreen content: Create content that remains relevant for a long time, attracting consistent traffic and boosting your earning potential.
  • Incorporate multimedia: Spice up your content with captivating images, infographics, or even videos to enhance reader engagement and improve SEO.
  • Maintain consistency: Develop a regular publishing schedule to build anticipation and keep your audience coming back for more.

3. The Power of SEO:

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) ensures your blog ranks high in search engine results for relevant keywords. This increases organic traffic, the lifeblood of any monetization strategy.

  • Keyword research: Use keyword research tools to identify terms your target audience searches for. Strategically incorporate these keywords into your content naturally.
  • Technical SEO: Optimize your blog’s loading speed, mobile responsiveness, and overall technical aspects to improve search engine ranking.
  • Backlink building: Encourage other websites to link back to your content, boosting your blog’s authority in the eyes of search engines.

4. Monetization Magic: Affiliate Marketing

Affiliate marketing allows you to earn commissions by promoting other companies’ products or services. When a reader clicks on your affiliate link and makes a purchase, you get a commission.

  • Choose relevant affiliates: Promote products or services that align with your niche and resonate with your audience.
  • Transparency is key: Disclose your affiliate relationships clearly to your readers and build trust.
  • Integrate strategically: Don’t just bombard readers with links. Weave affiliate promotions naturally into your content, highlighting the value proposition.

5. Display Advertising: A Classic Approach

Display advertising involves placing banner ads, text ads, or other visual elements on your blog. When a reader clicks on an ad, you earn revenue.

  • Choose reputable ad networks: Partner with established ad networks that offer competitive rates and relevant ads for your audience.
  • Strategic ad placement: Place ads thoughtfully, avoiding an overwhelming experience for readers.
  • Track your performance: Monitor ad clicks and conversions to measure the effectiveness of your ad placements and optimize for better results.

6. Offer Premium Content:

Providing exclusive, in-depth content behind a paywall can generate additional income. This could be premium blog posts, ebooks, online courses, or webinars.

  • Deliver exceptional value: Ensure your premium content offers significant value that justifies the price tag.
  • Multiple pricing options: Consider offering tiered subscription plans to cater to different audience needs and budgets.
  • Promote effectively: Highlight the benefits of your premium content and encourage readers to subscribe.

7. Coaching and Consulting:

Leverage your expertise by offering coaching or consulting services related to your niche. Readers who find your content valuable may be interested in personalized guidance.

  • Position yourself as an expert: Showcase your qualifications, experience, and client testimonials to build trust and establish your credibility.
  • Offer free consultations: Provide a limited free consultation to potential clients, allowing them to experience your expertise firsthand.
  • Develop clear packages: Outline different coaching or consulting packages with varying time commitments and pricing structures.

8. The Power of Community: Online Events and Webinars

Host online events or webinars related to your niche. These events offer valuable content while also providing an opportunity to promote other monetization avenues.

  • Interactive and engaging: Structure your online events to be interactive with polls, Q&A sessions, or live chats. Click here to learn more about image marketing with Q&A sessions and live chats.

9. Embrace the Power of Email Marketing:

Building an email list allows you to foster stronger relationships with your audience and promote your content and offerings directly.

  • Offer valuable incentives: Encourage readers to subscribe by offering exclusive content, discounts, or early access to new products.
  • Segmentation is key: Segment your email list based on reader interests to send targeted campaigns that resonate more effectively.
  • Regular communication: Maintain consistent communication with your subscribers through engaging newsletters or updates.

10. Sell Your Own Products:

Take your expertise to the next level by creating and selling your own products. This could be physical merchandise, digital downloads, or even printables related to your niche.

  • Identify audience needs: Develop products that address the specific needs and desires of your target audience.
  • High-quality offerings: Invest in creating high-quality products that offer exceptional value and user experience.
  • Utilize multiple platforms: Sell your products through your blog, online marketplaces, or even social media platforms.

11. Sponsorships and Brand Collaborations:

Partner with brands or businesses relevant to your niche for sponsored content or collaborations. This can be a lucrative way to leverage your audience and generate income.

  • Maintain editorial control: While working with sponsors, ensure you retain editorial control to maintain your blog’s authenticity and audience trust.
  • Disclosures are essential: Clearly disclose sponsored content to readers, upholding transparency and ethical practices.
  • Align with your niche: Partner with brands that complement your content and resonate with your audience.

12. Freelancing and Paid Writing Opportunities:

Your blog can serve as a springboard for freelance writing opportunities. Showcase your writing skills and expertise through your blog content, attracting potential clients.

  • Target relevant publications: Identify online publications, websites, or magazines related to your niche and pitch your writing services.
  • High-quality samples: Include high-quality blog posts from your site as writing samples when pitching to potential clients.
  • Develop strong writing skills: Continuously hone your writing skills and stay updated on current trends in your niche to deliver exceptional work.

Conclusion:

Building a successful blog that generates income requires dedication, strategic planning, and high-quality content. In today’s digital age, there are numerous opportunities to make money online through blogging. By utilizing a combination of methods such as affiliate marketing, sponsored content, and selling digital products or services, you can leverage your blog’s potential and achieve financial success.

Remember, consistency in posting, engaging with your audience, and staying adaptable to trends are key to thriving in the ever-evolving blogosphere. Embrace new strategies, refine your approaches, and always keep your readers at the forefront of your content creation journey. With dedication and the right approach, your blog has the potential to become a valuable source of income and a platform for sharing your knowledge and passion with the world, making money online while doing what you love.

Image Credit: DepositPhotos



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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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