Just like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, YouTube is also a social network where people share videos with viewers. It is one of the largest platforms for creating, viewing and sharing video content with more than 400 hours of video being uploaded every minute.
The company periodically tweaks its algorithm to provide the best personalized content for its users. The algorithm decides which videos to recommend and where to place that video for each individual user.
Until 2012, the view count was the major criterion for sorting videos. This strategy was not entirely foolproof as YouTubers began misleading viewers by giving false video titles. As a result, videos with good quality content never got the expected attention from the crowd, which adversely affected advertisers and brands.
From 2012 to 2016, the algorithm was revised in order to favour view duration and session times. YouTubers now began to create longer videos instead of quality content. By 2016, YouTube had introduced artificial intelligence and machine learning to the algorithm helping it provide better results to the end user.
In the beginning of 2019, YouTube removed their support to ‘borderline-content’, which are content that is very close to – but are not – crossing the company guidelines. The ultimate aim of the YouTube algorithm is to help viewers find the video they are likely to watch. YouTube mainly places videos in the following areas based on the algorithm.
SEARCH The YouTube search engine is considered as the second most widely used search engine in the world. The videos are listed by comparing the search query with the title, description, tags and other keywords of the video. It also takes into account the videos which have more engagement for a search query
SUGGESTED VIDEOS Suggested videos are shown on the top right end of the watch page and is a collection of videos that the user may be interested in viewing next. These videos are filtered by considering the viewers’ watch history, related videos and past search queries.
HOME Home is the first and the most viewed page on YouTube. Homepage consists of videos that are listed based on recent uploads, user watch history, subscriptions, and watch behaviour of similar viewers.
TRENDING VIDEOS Trending videos (a.k.a. viral videos) are the videos that are most popular in the users’ country or their region. This list is not personalized and is updated every 15 minutes. The following factors decide which videos have to be in the list.
Viewers can subscribe to a YouTube channel so that whenever a new video is uploaded, they are notified. These videos are also listed on the websites’ subscriptions tab. YouTube features like end screens and notations can be used to increase the subscriber base of a channel.
The points that I have mentioned above will hopefully give you a clearer picture about how videos are placed or rendered in different regions of youtube. But it doesn’t mean that the YouTube algorithm is fully revealed, as it still remains a mystery. Moreover, the company regularly updates its algorithm for improved results. In this article, I have covered less than a fraction of the vast universe of YouTube. I will come up with more interesting YouTube insights in my future articles.