The new option, called 'Applause', would enable fans to purchase an applause animation, which they could then allocate to approved YouTube videos. The team from VidIQ posted this example of what it looks like from a viewer perspective
When a viewer taps on 'Applaud', they essentially donate $2, with 70% of that going direct to the creator (YouTube takes a 30% cut).
As explained by YouTube:
"You may be able to buy Viewer applause on participating creators’ videos and show your support for YouTube channels. When you buy Viewer applause, you’re purchasing a one-time “clapping” animation that will only be shown to you over the top of the video."
The option, as noted, expands on YouTube's Super Chat option, which it rolled out back in 2017, and which has gained significant momentum over the last year.
In her recent 2019 review post, YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki shared that:
"More than 100,000 channels have received Super Chat, and some streams are earning more than $400 per minute as fans reach out to creators to say hello, send congratulations, or just to connect."
That's likely what's inspired YouTube to expand the program - and interestingly, YouTube notes that Applause is not designed to be streamer-specific like Super Chat. Instead, Applause would be applicable to any video posted on the platform, providing an additional revenue generation opportunity for all YouTube creators.
But access is fairly limited at this stage. As reported by The Verge, Applause is in very limited beta right now, is only available on desktop, and only to selected users in Australia, Brazil, India, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, and USA. If YouTube were to move to the next stage of a rollout, you can also expect there to be strict limits on who can access it - Super Chat, for example, is still only available to creators who are part of the YouTube Partner Program and have over 1,000 subscribers Initially, the Super Chat threshold was 10k subs.
It could be an interesting addition - and it's also interesting to see where YouTube is looking on monetization opportunities. But it's difficult to say whether it's going to become a larger consideration at this point. If it does, in fact, get released, it could be another opportunity to consider, but it's only in early testing at this stage.