YouTube has reportedly introduced two internal metrics over the past two years, so that it can establish which channels are providing high-quality content and engagement and reward them accordingly.
According to Bloomberg, citing people familiar with the company’s plans, one metric tracks the total time people spend on YouTube, including the comments they post and read, not just the videos they watch. The other focuses on the idea of ‘quality watch time’.
Both of the metrics are aimed at rewarding videos that are more appealing to the advertisers and the public, while stemming the criticism that is consistently levelled at the video sharing platform over some of the content that appears on its site and how it moderates this content.
The report says that these metrics influence more than just YouTube recommendations. They also decide how YouTube surfaces videos in search results, run ads, and pay creators who make videos.
The problem is there is no easy way to decide what a ‘quality’ or ‘responsible’ video is. At the moment, YouTube is using both software and staff to make this decision, so relying on the metrics is proving difficult.
YouTube has come under fire from all sides – advertisers, users, and content creators alike – over the years for its moderation of content and its monetisation policies. The decision to try to change the way it measures things is in response to all of these people, but it’s still seemingly struggling to get it right.