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Last Updated: April 25, 2020

October 2018 Youtube Update, will your conversion rate drops ?

​If you care about website conversion rate, then you might be interested in looking at your youtube video embeds on your site.  Whether you are embedding your own videos (or other youtube videos), ​those new changes can affect Time on Site and might have your visitors clicking away from your site.

​Youtube Title and Related videos ​are now always showing​, and there is no option to remove them. The Video Title (showinfo) and Related videos (Rel) options has been deprecated. ​You can watch this video :

Here are a few examples on youtube.

CHANGE 1: Title, Watch Later and Share icons ​are now always visible.

As you can see here, the channel image, title and Watch Later icon and Share icon are now covering the top of the video before we start it.

Design Considerations

​When designing thumbnails, make sure of :
1. ​To leave a gap at the top.
2. To leave a gap on the sides.  At times, the related videos will be ​a row of two or three thumbnails.  When only 2 related videos are shown, the side will be cropped by the player.

Here's an example of a thumbnail where the first line is partly hidden by the player title.

CHANGE 2: Related Videos

​We can't no longer hide related videos.  However, the rel=0 and rel=1 parameter (if you are using Thrive Architect, it is still called Hide Related in the advanced properties) ​still have a function.

rel=1 (default): Show ​related video specific to the user.  This is probably based on Youtube Suggested Videos.

rel=0 (previously known as Hide Related), aka : Show related video from the channel where the video is from.

LIVE Example: Default Suggest video (rel=1)

When you pause the video (and at the end of the video), you will see related videos coming from youtube.  ​This can lead your viewers to see videos suggested by YouTube and have your visitors click away to YouTube, and therefore hurt your conversion rate

LIVE Example: ​Suggest video (rel=​0), aka Optimized Related in Thrive Architect.

When you pause the video (and at the end of the video), you will see related videos coming from ​the channel where the video belongs.  This is generally better, but can lead your viewers to click away to YouTube and hurt your conversion rate.

CHANGE 3: ​Modest Branding 

Changes to the modest branding happened too.  Now when modest branding is enabled, ​no YouTube logo overlay is shown.  If the Modest Branding is not set (default) then the YouTube logo is shown.  You can see the 2 examples below.

Example: Modest Branding On ( Hide Logo Option checked in Thrive Achitect)  

Example: Modest Branding ​Off (​Hide Logo Option not checked in Thrive Achitect)  

Benefits of this change.

1. If you are producing content on YouTube and websites embed your video, there is more chances that people will browse to your channel, subscribe to your channel or see other related videos.

2. If you are advertising on YouTube, on specific videos, the ads are showing in the embeds.

3. Overtime, there is a good chances of more people subscribing to your youtube channel from your own website embeds, or from other people embedding you.

​Other negative​ impact of Youtube embeds still existant

​YouTube can show ads in the embeds, so if you are showing other people's video, there is a possibility that ads shows up.  

​Why YouTube made this change.

​Youtube is a free platform, and one of their goals is to increase watch time.  This makes perfect sense for them.

​Here's Darrel Eaves talking about Youtube algorithm and how they make money, (it's with their ads, and they need views to show ads):

​SOME OPTIONS: Should you switch Video Hosting?

​Or should you add a Video Hosting platform on top of YouTube ?  In term of conversion, the best way to find out is to look at your numbers.  if you see a drop, it might be worth it.  Tools like hotjar or fullstory can be a good source of information too.

I personally have used Vimeo for many videos, but I know some people have simply used YouTube Hidden video feature since this month.  For 7$ per month, Vimeo ​can​ be a good option. Wistia is great too, but it does start at $99 per month.

There are other video hosting platform out there.  I have written this post with examples of ​different platforms.

Leave a comment or ask a question.

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Denis Ethier

I help startups and established businesses communicate the value of what they do using design, copywriting and the latest tools.

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