This could lead to a lot more YouTube binging. The platform is this week rolling out a new option which will enable users to swipe left to skip to the next video, or swipe right to go back to the previous.
Rolling out this week on the YouTube iOS app (for 6S phones & above)!— Team YouTube (@TeamYouTube) January 15, 2019
From your video player:
????Swipe left for the next video
????Swipe right for your previously watched video
If you prefer, you can still tap for video player controls. More details here → https://t.co/ur4EiHCiii pic.twitter.com/Es2ExHl8m9
The update, currently only for iOS, aligns with the broader industry shift towards the swipeable Stories format, and is significant technical shift for the app.
In the accompanying notes, YouTube explains that not only can you shift forward to the next video, and back to the last, but you can also get a 'sneak peek' of the next or previous video by partially swiping.
"If you make a partial swipe (dragging the video partially left or right, without fully swiping to the next or previous video) you’ll see a sneak peek of the next or previous video. The current video you’re watching will continue to play with audio."
When you skip back, the video will also continue to play from the point you left it, and vice versa.
The shift towards broader adoption of Stories-like behavior is another nod towards the changing tide of social media, with habitual app behaviors evolving, and altering user expectation. As more apps provide more side-swiping functionalities, even more will follow suit, as users are attuned to swiping, instead of scrolling, to view more content.
That means that other apps like Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are likely also exploring their side-swipe options - and while this functionality from YouTube is somewhat restricted right now (given it's only available on iOS, and on iPhone 6S or better), the fact that the most used social apps - in Facebook, Instagram and YouTube - are all adopting similar engagement action is significant, and worth noting in your social media strategic planning.