Social Media

YouTube Releases In-App Chat Functionality to All Users

Back in January, YouTube announced that it was testing a new, in-stream chat option to encourage more social activity on YouTube, as opposed to having users link off to other, more popular social sites.

The functionality was initially tested in Canada (Canadians share more videos online than any other nation, apparently), and now, after some minor tweaks, it’s being rolled out to all users on iOS and Android. So now, you too can chat and share content on YouTube as opposed to Facebook or Twitter. If you want.

As shown in the above video, your shared videos and interactions are now available via a new ‘Shared’ tab within the app. The chat system has all the regular functionality, including emoji and group chats (up to 30 people), and you can share links from any other platform to add to the discussion – you’re not only limited to YouTube links.

 

It all looks good, and the basic idea makes sense – if it’s easier to share YouTube content directly, within the app itself, more people will do that, rather than clicking on the Facebook or Twitter buttons and sharing them elsewhere. Right?

Right?

This, to me, is probably where the option falls down. While YouTube definitely has the user numbers to make it a viable option – YouTube currently serves over 1.5 billion monthly logged in viewers, with mobile users, in particular, being highly engaged with the app – those users are now more attuned to sharing and discussing YouTube links on other platforms, as opposed to engaging this way within the app.

That’s not to say behaviours can’t be changed, but it’s certainly a challenge. For example, in order to initiate a YouTube chat, you first need to invite your friends, which you can do via SMS using your contacts or by sending an invitation link through your platform of choice. Or, you could just share the YouTube link you want to discuss within your existing Facebook Group message stream or on Twitter, initiating the conversation as you like.

While direct interaction on YouTube may be a little more efficient and will give you the opportunity to more easily search for related videos in-stream, the process doesn’t add anything new, it just gives you another place to engage. And sure, a lot of your friends are going to be active on YouTube anyway, reducing some of the friction (i.e. you don’t have to download a new app), but you have existing networks already established for such purposes in other apps. In this sense, it may be too little too late for YouTube chat.

In terms of specific updates as a result of their initial testing, YouTube says that:

“We’ve made changes to the chat visual, and we’ve made the video stick to the top of the chat when scrolling down, to allow replying and chatting while watching a video”

Good, functional changes, but again, nothing new. In order for the option to really take off, they likely need more of a kicker, they need to provide more reason for people to start conversations on YouTube, other than simply making it easier. Because 2 billion people already use Facebook every month to discuss the latest topics of interest – and post video – 1.2 billion use Messenger per month, a billion log onto WhatsApp every day. People already have established conversational networks and groups – newer players, like Snapchat, have been able to come in and take some of that attention, but they’ve generally done so by providing something new. I’m not sure YouTube chat does that.

But the numbers will tell the tale – if you want to try it out, you need to upgrade to the latest version of YouTube. Then invite your friends to a chat.

In terms of marketing potential, it really needs enough adoption to become a viable channel, but the ability to chat in-stream could serve a purpose for those looking to offer additional contact options. It could also be used as a channel to connect with highly engaged users, sending them links to your latest, or most personally relevant, video content, though the potential for spam is high, particularly in the early stages.

This article was originally published at Social Media Today. Image courtesy YouTube.

Join The Discussion

Injured people are treated in Barcelona Spain
Van Plows Into Crowd In Barcelona; Police View It As Terror
Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe
Mugabe Flies To South Africa To Aid Wife Accused Of Assault
It’s not just a gross Fourth Amendment privacy violation but free speech rights as well
Did you Visit This Anti-Trump Site? The US Government Wants Your IP Address
Pope Francis made the comments in a foreword to a book by Daniel Pittet, who was abused by a priest.
Pope Francis Says Sexual Abuse By Priests Is An ‘Absolute Monstrosity’ In New Book
Acupuncture
Modern Acupuncture Showing Signs Of Huge Growth
Marijuana plants
Canada Tries Trading Marijuana In New ETF
For a lot of brands, selling on Amazon holds a ton of opportunity.
A Small Business Guide To Selling On Amazon: Be Ready To Compete On Price
Bitcoin rose above $4,000 today
Bitcoin Surpasses $4,000, Reaches Another Milestone
Mark Fidelman and Noah Kagan
Why Email Marketing Is Better Than Social Media Marketing
Emily Richett
4 Surefire Ways To Increase Sales Using Video
Product Images Enrapture
6 Ways Irresistible Product Images Enrapture Customers And Boost Conversions
Digital Marketing Trends
5 Digital Marketing Trends Your Business Needs To Try
Pinterest
Pinterest Users Can Now Pinch-To-Zoom On Photos In The App
Facebook redesign
Facebook And Instagram Get Redesigns For Readability
Facebook
5 New Facebook Updates And Tests Spotted This Week
Facebook is expanding its mobile e-commerce Marketplace tab to 17 additional European countries.
Facebook Invests In E-Commerce With ‘Marketplace’ Expansion
Bonnie Tyler
Bonnie Tyler To Sing ‘Total Eclipse’ Hit During Eclipse
US airlines expect to carry more than 16 million passengers this Labor Day travel period.
Airlines Anticipate Record Travel For Labor Day
Daniel Craig will play James Bond for the fifth time
Daniel Craig Confirms He Will Play James Bond Again
Rule Taproom pub in Moscow, Russia
Pint By Pint, A Hoppy Revolution Is Brewing In Russia
Zimbabwean first lady Grace Mugabe
Mugabe Flies To South Africa To Aid Wife Accused Of Assault
Bonnie Tyler
Bonnie Tyler To Sing ‘Total Eclipse’ Hit During Eclipse
It’s not just a gross Fourth Amendment privacy violation but free speech rights as well
Did you Visit This Anti-Trump Site? The US Government Wants Your IP Address
Mark Fidelman and Noah Kagan
Why Email Marketing Is Better Than Social Media Marketing