Some people suspect and believe that YouTube has been ranking videos based on the time watched for quite a while now. Or, that they were using time watched as a partial indicator anyway.
On October 12, 2012 YouTube officially announced in this blog post: YouTube search, now optimized for time watched that they adjusted ranking videos according to time watched. Apparently in an effort to reward engaging videos with better ranking results.
Of course any time Google or YouTube officially announce a change the rumors start to swirl. Some feel that this change will be for the better, while others disagree. One thing is for certain they will never please or make everyone happy. That’s just the way it is.
One of the things that isn’t so clear is if shorter 1-3 minute videos would benefit the most, or videos that are much longer in length. People seem to be arguing both ways.
I know I am more likely to watch a 1-5 minute YouTube video than I am to watch a 15+ minute one. Or, at least I am less likely to forward through a shorter one in most cases. A lengthier one really needs to catch my interest from the start. If it is one of those videos where the person can’t find or figure out the right screen they want to show us, then I am not going to sit through 15+ minutes of a bunch of this.
On the other hand I have been to countless YouTube video pages that were in the 1-3 minute range that I could only bare to watching for a few short seconds before leaving.
One thing that it might reduce is buying and selling YouTube views. What people have been doing for years is buying views for extremely cheap, which would inflate their number of views to make it look like they have popular videos. The viewer only needs to watch a video for a few seconds. The YouTube user is happy because their number of views go up, and the viewer is happy because they get paid to do this simple task.
If one happened to be doing this, then the time watched or viewed should be very low, potentially reducing their popularity and ranking.
I don’t believe that it will eliminate it all, but some people might be less inclined to do so now.
If you have a YouTube account you can find the new time watched in the Analytics area of your account if you haven’t noticed yet.
I am not a big YouTube’r. I really should make and upload more videos than what I have. I just don’t have that much spare time on my hands for it lately.
Here is a screen shot from within my YouTube Account for one of the videos I have uploaded:
As you can see in the last 30 days September 17, 2012 to October 16, 2012 this particular video had a whopping 227 views with 365 estimated minutes watched (6 hours 5 minutes). I don’t have time to promote my YouTube page or any of the individual videos I have uploaded, which is fairly good when you take that into consideration.
Nothing to brag about I know, but it can potentially lead to more traffic since my website is listed on the video page. For FREE why not!
I still believe making videos can be a time-consuming and tedious task, but overall YouTube videos are worth the effort.