YouTube is looking to provide more specific search matches with the addition of its new auto chapters as a search element, which means that it will now be able to highlight automatically identified segments in response to user queries.
As explained by YouTube’s Conor Kavanagh:
“Starting this week, auto chapters are going to be used as a source of metadata in searches made on mobile. Previously, only creator-defined chapters were used in this way. Auto-chapters, now, will only appear in search if creator-defined chapters are unavailable.”
YouTube began rolling out auto-chapters back in July, with its system detecting segments of videos in order to provide more specific matching for search queries.
As you can see in this example, when chapters are enabled, YouTube can highlight specific segments in response to searches, giving it more capacity to help users find the key elements that they’re looking for in each clip.
That could play a much bigger role in video discovery over time, with each element of each clip becoming searchable, providing more data on what, specifically, people are looking for, while also facilitating more discovery potential based on your content.
Given that it’s now going to be used in this way, it could be worth checking the segmentation of your own YouTube clips, and optimizing your chapter names based on relative keyword search and likely matching. If you know, for example, that people are looking for info on 'black shoelaces', and you have a specific video segment on this, you could look to manually add that title into your clip.
Don’t go spamming it with unrelated segment names, as that won’t work out well, but by clearly labeling each segment, and/or ensuring any automatically segments elements of your clips are properly named, that could help to improve your search potential.
It’s worth also noting that not all videos are subject to auto-segmentation, and you can opt-out (via your upload defaults in YouTube Studio) if you choose to as well.
You can find out more about YouTube video chapters here.
In addition to this, YouTube’s also making Mentions available to all channels with 500 subscribers (previously only available to those with 1000+), while it’s also adding its ‘When Your Viewers are on YouTube’ card to the mobile version of YouTube Studio.
That will help in your channel planning, and while the specific addition of the chart to the mobile version is not a major change, it could help to keep you informed whenever you need.
But the expansion of YouTube’s chapter search is the big update, which could have a significant impact on discovery behavior in the app.
Worth noting in your process.