What’s coming next for YouTube, and what should you be planning for in your digital marketing process?
Today, YouTube’s Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan has shared an overview of his top areas of focus for 2022, and where he sees the most potential, including new developments for creator funding, evolved live shopping, the potential integration of NFTs, the metaverse and more.
There are some interesting notes, which could assist in your strategy.
First off, Mohan says that live-streaming will be a key focus for the app, as it looks to build on the momentum of live-streams over the past two years.
Mohan says that daily live-stream watch time more than tripled between January 2020 and December 2021, and YouTube will look to capitalize on this with new elements like collaborative livestreaming, and live-stream shopping.
YouTube tested various live-stream shopping events last year, including its “Holiday Stream and Shop” event, a weeklong live-stream activation in partnership with creators like MrBeast, the Merrell Twins and Gordon Ramsay.
The event drove over 2 million views and 1.4 million Live Chat messages, underlining the potential of live-stream shopping – which every social app is now looking to develop.
But YouTube, with its vast array of established connections, and huge audience reach, may be best-placed to see the most success. And with TikTok also looking to lean into live-stream shopping, you can bet that YouTube will be keen to build on its efforts, and muscle out the competition where it can.
Speaking of TikTok, Shorts is another area of focus for YouTube, with its TikTok-like clone gaining significant momentum over the past year.
Last month, YouTube reported that Shorts has now surpassed 5 trillion all-time views. And while that’s not the same as monthly active users, or individual user engagement, it does underline the rising interest in short-form content, which YouTube is keen to build on as it works to hold onto its crown as the leading online video provider.
As explained by Mohan:
“Building on a feature we introduced last year that lets you remix audio from videos across YouTube, we’ll introduce new capabilities that empower creators to express themselves even more - new video effects, editing tools, and more. And to help Shorts creators engage with their audience more personally, we’ll also introduce the ability to reply to individual comments by creating a Short.”
YouTube’s also exploring more Shorts monetization options, including improved exposure for Shorts stars in BrandConnect (its creator marketplace), the expansion of Super Chat to Shorts clips and shopping options within the Shorts format.
eCommerce has significant potential in this element, with the Chinese version of TikTok ‘Douyin’ already generating the majority of its revenue from eCommerce integrations with its video clips.
TikTok is also working to integrate more shopping tools, and it’ll be interesting to see how YouTube’s push to merge Shorts and shopping aligns with TikTok’s own developments on this front.
In terms of newer tech, Mohan has also hinted at a future integration of NFTs for YouTube creators.
“For example, giving a verifiable way for fans to own unique videos, photos, art, and even experiences from their favorite creators could be a compelling prospect for creators and their audiences.”
It remains to be seen whether the current NFT trend will hold, or whether it’s a short-term fad, though it is also worth noting that there’s more to NFTs, as a process, than profile pictures, which have been the main usage of the option thus far.
Whether you see NFTs as holding potential or not, the fact is that we will increasingly be trading in digital items moving forward, for varying purpose, and the NFT process could play a key role in buying and selling unique digital goods - even if they’re not cartoons of monkeys and cats.
Mohan has also hinted at the metaverse, and the next stage of digital connection.
“We're thinking big about how to make viewing more immersive. The first area in which you can expect to see an impact is gaming, where we'll work to bring more interactions to games and make them feel more alive. It’s still early days, but we’re excited to see how we can turn these virtual worlds into a reality for viewers.”
The broader metaverse concept remains an evolving idea, and there are various paths that its development could take. It’ll be interesting to see how YouTube looks to integrate such, and what comes of these new experiments as a window to the app’s next stage.
Mohan says that YouTube’s also working on new additions for YouTube Studio that will help creators come up with the most effective, new content ideas for their audience, while it will also continue to develop new ad offerings to target people viewing YouTube content on Connected TVs.
“TV was once again our fastest growing screen in 2021 — as of January 2022, on average viewers are watching over 700 million hours of YouTube content on TV daily. And in the year ahead, we want to give these viewers easier navigation and even more interactivity. One of the ways we’ll do this is through a device that you always have within reach: your phone. Soon, we’ll be unveiling a new way for viewers to use their phones while they watch YouTube on their TV to read or leave comments, share videos with a friend, and much more - stay tuned.”
The expansion of YouTube’s TV integration could help to maximize engagement on the biggest screen in your home, which could present significant opportunities for advertisers.
There are some interesting notes here, and some valuable points of reference for YouTube’s ongoing development.
As noted, YouTube remains in a battle of sorts with TikTok for video supremacy, but where YouTube remains well ahead is in creator monetization, and providing pathways for its top stars to make real money from their efforts. That will remain a key consideration moving forward, and it’ll be interesting to see whether YouTube can press this advantage in 2022, in order to win out on several fronts.
You can read Neal Mohan’s full 2022 overview for YouTube here.