YouTube has announced that it’s expanding its test of membership gifting to more users, after launching an initial trial of the option in Japan earlier in the year.
Just as it sounds, membership gifting enables users to buy channel memberships for others who may be interested in a certain creator or channel, but are not yet paying subscribers.
Though you don’t get any control over who actually gets your donated memberships.
As explained by YouTube:
“With Memberships Gifting, your channel members can buy a set number of channel memberships [5, 10, 20] in a single purchase, that YouTube will “gift” out to other viewers in your live stream. Viewers who receive a gift membership, get 1 month of access to your channel membership perks like loyalty badges, custom emoji and more. Viewers who receive gift memberships do not pay any charges and as the creator, you receive your usual revenue share from each transaction.”
So YouTube’s system chooses who gets a donated membership, which is based on how non-subscribers interact with a channel.
“For example, loyal viewers who are always watching and interacting with your content are more likely to receive gift memberships.”
Which may seem a little strange, but it’s designed to be a support measure for creators, not a gift for friends, as such.
When chosen to receive a donated membership, the viewers will be notified via a personal live chat message, as well as a follow-up email.
So you get to support a creator, and help them grow their channel, while it also introduces more people into that creators’ broader community, and encourages them to keep coming back.
Indeed, in its initial tests, YouTube says that membership gifting contributed to community building:
“Since February, we have been testing Memberships Gifting with a small subset of creators in Japan. We’ve seen that viewers who receive a gift show appreciation and gratitude, both in text and in other monetization options. Additionally, we have seen that many users who receive a gift and try out memberships perks decide to stay and become a paying member.”
It seems like a good option for creators to encourage, as a means to contribute to their channel, helping them to reach even more people with their content.
Though I get a sense that Japanese audiences may have a stronger sense of community spirit than those in western markets, who are likely less inclined to buy something for a stranger. But we’ll see.
YouTube says that a beta version of Channel Memberships Gifting is being launched with a small group of creators from today, with all creators to get access to the option ‘over the next several months’.
It’s worth noting that users need to opt-in on a stream to be eligible to receive a gifted membership, which you do by tapping the ‘Allow Gifts’ prompt in the chat on an eligible broadcast. Then you just hope you get lucky.
For creators, if you want to get early access, you can fill out this form to register your interest.