February 10, 2018

YouTube: the year ahead

What does this year have in store for YouTube?

The end of 2017 saw YouTube CEO declare their goal for the year ahead, “stay one step ahead of bad actors, making it harder for policy-violating content to surface or remain on YouTube”.If YouTube had hoped to have a quiet start to 2018 then then their dreams would have been shattered as they hit the headlines after popular YouTuber Logan Paul’s controversial video post. With Facebook making a play for video views, is YouTube’s position as the leading social video channel under threat?

Increased scrutinyYouTube are undoubtedly under the spotlight more so than ever before. It’s a channel which reaches over 1 billion users and with YouTubers becoming celebrities in their own rights, any stories involving a combination of the two will capture the attention of the industry. With advertisers spending billions in advertising every year (2016 estimates were at $10 billion a year), YouTube is rightly under increased scrutiny. They are making changes and whilst these changes are long overdue and perceived to be reactive, they are saying and doing the right things to build up advertiser confidence one again.Global reach The recent launch of their YouTube Go app to 130 markets brings their mission statement to life:-

"Our mission is to give everyone a voice and show them the world. We believe that everyone deserves to have a voice, and that the world is a better place when we listen, share and build community through our stories".

It’s specifically designed and available to people in countries where connectivity is limited, allowing for YouTube to increase their global presence and challenge Facebook’s Free Basics – a platform vying for a similar audience and based on the same premise.A focus on social consciousnessThe announcement of an investment of $5 million in their Creators for Change programme this year highlights how YouTube is trying to promote the channel as a platform for good.The project was launched back in 2016 but the investment will allow them to expand the range of creators they are working with and the topics covered. Critics will argue that this is a PR stunt with the money invested just a mere token given the riches at YouTube’s disposal. However if some positivity and increased awareness of topics such as xenophobia and bullying is the result, then we should applaud YouTube and leave the cynicism to one side.What does the rest of the year have in store for YouTube?The start of 2018 has seen YouTube come under scrutiny but they have reacted quickly to make changes to their advertising policies and alleviate some of the fears raised by advertisers.With more changes expected with increased transparency and third-party integration, YouTube will still continue to be a channel invested in by advertisers and still the first channel people visit with an intent to watch video content. Yes, Facebook is proving to be a viable channel for video investment for advertisers, but the more open dialogue now taking place between YouTube and marketers is helping to strengthen the relationship which was in need of repair.Sharan Cheema, Client Services Director

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