To comply with COPPA YouTube is requiring content creators to disclose if their content is for younger audiences

As mediums change and it’s important to safeguard the impressions that ads can leave on children. Youtube channels like Ryan’s World, ToyTocToc, and Come Play with Me, are immensely popular with younger audiences. These channels heavily feature children’s toys and can contain paid sponsorship intended to influence a younger audience. To combat this and comply with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) creators now must state whether their content is created for kids.  

While despite that in the past marketing to a younger audience has been looked down on it has become an undeniable part of adolescence. From creating TV shows to sell action figures to creating channels built around unboxing these toys, creating methods to reach younger audiences is constant. As of last week, YouTube added a new feature shift on how adolescents receive content. The audience setting feature in the YouTube studio is intended to identify what content is made for kids and what content isn’t.  

“Each year, enormous sums of money are spent to reach this valuable audience because children and adolescents spend billions on their own purchases, influence family decisions about what to buy, and promise a potential lifetime of brand loyalty,” as stated in Pediatrics, the official Journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  

Additionally starting at the beginning of 2020 YouTube will then decrease that data that is collected on content that is made for kids. This is important to note because it will nix ads that are personalized towards young viewers. To put the kid’s content market into perspective one of the highest-grossing Youtube Channels is Ryan’s World, a channel that in 2018 made $22 million.  

In YouTube’s post about the change the platform added no matter the location, YouTube is required to ask creators to disclose the intended audience for their content. In addition to having creators signify the intended audiences, YouTube will be adding specified systems to weed out what content is for younger audiences. The repercussion for creators who abuse the system will be that YouTube sets the channel’s audience. This could also lead to issues with the FTC.  

For those who are in the business of selling to younger audiences, this could indeed be a shock.  YouTube noted that this is a process and it could “take some getting used to.” For additional information on COPPA, laws follow this link.

Google adds new add placements to Youtube to prepare for the holiday season.

Over the coming holiday seasons, users could see more advertisements based on their gift research. Google is increasing the visibility of Showcase Shopping ads that will be released to take advantage of shoppers’ activities when looking for the best holiday gifts. Based on their searches shoppers could see scrollable images of products they might enjoy.

Earlier this week Google announced Sitelinks will be included in TrueView for action ads. 

Google explains TrueView for action ads as, “TrueView for action campaigns help drive leads and conversions by adding prominent calls-to-action (CTAs), headline text overlays, and an end screen to your video ads.”

A TrueView ad is one that gives users options an example of this is the option to skip a video after 5 seconds.  Part of this holiday push will be Google’s extension of these ads to YouTube. Part of these changes includes ad space on Youtube’s home feed. With these new ad updates, users will see “suggested products” that users can cycle through that will be displayed as search results and between videos.

Most popular digital platforms are working hard to make the buying experience as seamless as possible. This keeps users on the platform and creates more opportunities to build revenue for those who are advertising and the platforms themselves. Google adds that in beta testing these new ad updates increased conversions by almost 25%

These updates to Google’s ad offerings can provide, brands, marketers, and businesses with new tools that could prove really useful as customers begin to plan gifts for family and friends.

In Google’s blog detailing the updates, Nicky Rettke, a product manager at YouTube writes, “we’ve made YouTube video ads more interactive, giving viewers useful and actionable information like store location, interest forms, and additional calls-to-actions to help you drive more conversions.”

The addition of these ads has been simmering for a while, and since 2015 the site has seen a growing audience that uses Youtube during the holiday season to learn what the hot gifts are. In Google’s blog post, Rettke added in the near future Google will add Sitelinks to these new ad additions. 

The new verification eligibility will be more into the channel’s authenticity. 

YouTube updated its verification requirements for creators and branded channels. The platform has received thousands of complaints from creators regarding impersonation and many voiced out their confusion on the badge’s meaning. The updates are expected to address these issues.

Trashing out the old system 

YouTube said that the earlier verification system was for a smaller community then but seeing how huge YouTube has become, it’s only right to have its verification process overhauled. YouTube did not comment on how they will be doing this but it’s assumed that they’ll use human curation and algorithmic signals in verifying the accounts. 

 New YouTube criteria 

YouTube channels with more than 100,000 subscribers can apply for the new verification process but that limit will be removed. This verification will reopen by the end of October this year. If the channel is suspected to be impersonating, the channels won’t be verified and will be taken legal against. All the channels must be authentic and complete. This means that channels must be set in public and must have descriptions. Channels also need to have icons, contents and must be active on YouTube. 

The verification is now focused on authenticity and prominence. Channels will now be verified it represents the real creator, brand, or company they represent. As for prominence, channels will be checked if they represent a well-known or highly searched creator, artist, public figure or company. It would also matter if the channels have a strong presence outside the YouTube platform. 

These new criteria are applicable for all channels, however, channels that meet the standards, need not apply for it. Verified channels will have checkmarks next to their channel names. 

What does this mean?

Marketers whose job is to evaluate the influencers on the platform may be impacted by the new requirements. This will make the verification for them easier since YouTube will do the verification process. Marketers can now have a pool of verified accounts with the help of the checkmark indicator beside the channel name. They don’t need to focus on their subscriber count or views. 

As for the creators, this verification process opts for them to make quality content on YouTube and outside of it. Creators with a niche audience will also have a difficult time being verified because of their lack of presence outside YouTube. Channels with questionable ways of driving traffic and views will not be verified. Follower count is no longer the basis of being seen as an official channel. 

Showcase your ad in the huge masthead in YouTube’s TV app now which can be purchased on a CPM basis. 

YouTube’s TV app now features a header ad that’s too large to miss. The YouTube masthead will show ads that automatically play after a few seconds on compatible devices. TV users often end up watching YouTube videos whenever they settle down their couch. 

Due to this consumer behavior, it has become the top ad-supporting streaming platform. In fact, it’s daily watch time even reaches 250 million hours per day! Advertisers can leverage this to widen their audience and increase their reach. 

Masthead ads are now on beta

Ford is one of the brands that’s testing out the new masthead ad for a two-week period. Brands who wish to invest in this kind of advertising have the choice to buy masthead ads across platforms or just focus on CTV. 

This new option doesn’t mean for brands should take out their in-stream ads. As Anish Kattukaran, Product Manager of Google Ads emphasized,  the masthead ads and in-stream ads both have their advantages. While the masthead ads focus on driving brand awareness, the in-stream ads are targeting and audience-based ad strategy. 

What does it mean for advertisers?

This ad option for brands and advertisers is a new way for them to reach audiences. Users can’t cancel it or get their way out of watching them. The ads stay where they are and users will see it and digest it when they open their YouTube app on their TV. With the mastheads, the brands will be front and center of the app. 

“According to a recent experiment with Media Science, YouTube ads on TV screen drive a 10% greater lift in recall than ads on linear TV,” says YouTube. TV screens ad via the YouTube app is now one of the most effective ways of bringing out brands out into the world. This also shows that no matter how advanced smartphones have been, wee still go back to the basics and we still want to consume content on larger screens. 

Marketers can get their hands on it based on a CPM(cost-per-thousand) basis and they can also customize their ads depending on the audience they are targeting. The ads will be placed on reserved and will be shown to their target audience on the dates they intend it to be launched. 

YouTube launched its beta testing today. 

YouTube abandons paid viewership for a limited time to fight against competitive streaming subscribers.

YouTube can’t seem to figure out how to compete with Netflix for digital streamers. YouTube launched YouTube Red back in 2016 for $10/month. Its a mix of Spotify and Netflix where users can watch exclusive movies and TV shows and listen to songs without ads.

They changed their service in 2018 and separated their music service for $10/month and YouTube Red to YouTube Premium for an extra $2. However, not long after the launch, YouTube decided to take down its paywall for its original programming.

YouTube now at the advantaged

While their previous plans didn’t see much success, this decision will put YouTube to an advantage as compared to Netflix, Apple, Amazon Prime, and Disney because users will now be able to watch content on the streaming platform for free.

One of the shows that are now available for all users is the cult classic Karate Kid spin-off Cobra Kai. The show’s first season is now fully available and the episodes for season two will drop weekly. Cobra Kai is spearheaded by Susanne Daniels, a TV veteran and was hired by YouTube in 2015 to help in their strategy. Daniels was a part of the popular show Buffy the Vampire Slayer and she’s also the one who ordered big-budgeted scripts for YouTube’s original series.

All the other YouTube original shows will also be available for the users who aren’t subscribed to the Premium services. The existing YouTube library, however, continues to have a paywall due to the contracts that the platform has with the shows’ producers.

Stiff competition in the streaming industry

The competition is no joke as content providers are in a race or increasing their programming budgets to acquire market share. YouTube’s removal of their paywall isn’t official yet and there’s no news if they are dropping it completely.  

However, this temporary removal of YouTube’s paywall aims to increase the number of users who watch YouTube’s programming.

This next phase of our original strategy will expand the audience of our YouTube Original creators and provide advertisers with incredible content that reaches the YouTube generation,” says YouTube spokesperson.

Users can watch the content for free until September 24.

YouTube confirmed the new abbreviated subs count with the aim of helping to alleviate creators’ concerns regarding their subscriber count. 

Creators will be seeing some changes in their subscriber counts starting this year particularly in regards to the channels with over a thousand subscribers. YouTube wants to create more consistency in the way they publicly display subscriber count in desktop and mobile apps.

Creators’ well-being

YouTube said that this change is for the well-being of their creators. YouTube is addressing creator concerns regarding the stress they have in tracking their public subscriber count in real-time. With this, YouTube is hoping that creators will now focus on their story, their experience, their content, and not on whether their numbers are going up or not.

This is similar to Instagram hiding their like counts to give creators more importance on the content rather than the number of likes to reduce the pressure of increasing their engagement with every post.

How does the new update work?

YouTube channels with less than a thousand won’t be affected by the change as their subscriber count will be displayed as-is. For example, a channel with 4, 338 subs will appear with a 4.3K subs count until the number reaches 4, 400. A channel with 133, 095 subscribers will appear as 133k until it reached 134, 000.

What does it mean for marketers?

Marketing Land has noted that this change can impact the public subscriber listings and may lead to loss of sponsorship opportunities. 

…even for the channels with hundreds of millions of followers, if they’re at 120,450,000, their 120M subscriber count will be short more than 400,000,” says YouTube.

Brands will not be able to see the accurate number of subscribers an influencer has and thus won’t be able to assess one’s popularity in the platform. Channels may lose sponsorship in favor of larger channels even when the disparity is only a hundred of subscribers. 

This change is closely related to the platform’s API usage as well. This means that apps using YouTube subscriber count will no longer have access to the detailed listing thus affecting the analytic tools that display subscriber count over time. 

Read more about the update on YouTube’s community board

Federal regulators are thinking of ways on how to update and expand kids’ online privacy laws following YouTube complaints. 

The U.S. Federal Trade Commission is considering making changes to the laws on children’s privacy online, otherwise known as COPPA Rule. The law was made in 2000 and then amended in 2013 to accommodate the changing tides regarding how children use their devices to access social networking platforms. 

Federal Trade Commission Chairman Joe Simons said that the FTC thinks that the law is fit for revision once again due to the rapid technological changes that impact the online children’s marketplace. Included in their concerns are the websites, video games, and other platforms that are targeted at children. 

YouTube under FTC investigation

Due to consumer group complaints, YouTube has been accused of abusing the COPPA law. The platform has allegedly done this by promoting popular accounts and featuring content like nursery rhymes and cartoons. When in fact, YouTube is not a site intended for children. 

According to COPPA, companies are not allowed to collect children’s data or to target them with personalized advertising. However, the law has some loopholes because it’s only applicable to websites or apps with users younger than 13. Many private groups have complained that this loophole has left the big companies including YoutTube, Snapchat, Instagram, and the video game Fortnite with some leeway which enables them to avoid the legal restrictions of COPPA. 

Angela Campbell, a law professor at Georgetown University admitted that indeed there are many rules in COPPA that are ambiguous. This is one of several reasons why the COPPA must be amended. 

FTC is now looking for ways on how to update the rules in enforcing COPPA and address the issues. The organization is determined to line out and enforce the scope of the law. The verdict is still out on if it’s limited to mobiles and application or should it include smart TVs, educational technologies and interactive games such as Fortnite. 

With changing regulations, it’s important to stay on top of additions to topics like this. Subscribe the Holler Hustle for more information on this and other digital marketing matters.    

Fake videos are invading YouTube and YouTube isn’t turning a blind eye

Deepfakes are realistic fake videos that are becoming more difficult to spot by the day. These videos can incriminate someone into doing something that they never actually did. The reasons could vary from a crazy prank to political nuisance.

Kim Kardashian is the recent victim of a deepfake video. The fake video was uploaded on YouTube by Brandalism, an anti-advertising activist. The video was taken from a video uploaded by Vogue magazine and was brought down due to a copyright claim.

Henry Ajder, head of communications and research analysis at Deeptrace said that the legal infrastructure can help in protecting the rights of individuals however, this is only available for the privileged few.

The era of fake videos

Deeptrace is an organization that detects deepfakes on the web. Accordingly, there has been an increasing number of fake videos uploaded to YouTube every day globally. These falsified videos are digitally edited and look very factual.

Kim Kardashian’s video wasn’t the only one but it was a precedent for future videos that can be taken down. But without copyright claims, other videos will be difficult to take down even if it’s tarnishing your good name. There’s still no legal infrastructure protecting the rights of people in case problems like this arise.

There’s still no specific law made to stop the creation of fake videos but lawmakers are now looking for ways to address the deepfake situation by amending section 230 of the Communications Decency Act and by making laws that can pass liabilities to creators and hosts of deepfake videos. As for now, copyright law is used in order to battle the spread of fake videos.

As said earlier, the Kardashian video was taken down based on copyright law and the influence of Kardashian. Hopefully, laws will be finalized to prevent further deepfake damage.

Much needed notification tweaks and more are coming to YouTube!

Users and Youtubers rejoice! After a constant outcry from fans of the service, YouTube announced yesterday that they are finally making some improvements on the notification system of the platform. In the said post, YouTube aimed to address the reports from the creators of the irregular notification delivery system of the platform.

Due to the improvement, notifications are now personalized. This means that users will not be getting the same videos in their inboxes. Users have the freedom to choose whether they want to be notified from all the videos the creators they follow have posted. It’s a bit of a process as you will have to click subscribe, hit the golden bell button, and make sure that the notification is enabled in their account. Subscribing alone doesn’t get you notifications of the new videos from creators.

There has been a disconnect with Youtube creators that has continued to grow recently.  Though Youtube executives have tried to quell concerns, Youtubers complain that the majority of promoted content on the platform stems from traditional media platforms like late night tv.  

Subscriber ghosting addressed

Many creators suffered from subscriber ghosting due to the inconsistency of the previous notification fail. YouTube made few updates following the huge issue of March last year but very little improvements were felt by the creators. But now, YouTube introduced the two new metrics that creators can use to understand the number of subscribers who are getting their notifications.

The first one shows the number of subscribers who have signed up to get all the notifications but have not enabled the notification setting on their device. The second metric is for the subscribers who have can get all the notifications and have enabled the notifications on their device.

Mixed Reactions from Creators

It’s still unsure whether the change is positively adapted by the YouTube community. There has been a mixed reaction from the Twitter thread. Whilst it’s true that the metrics show transparency, but then how it works and how it will affect them, in the long run, is difficult to figure out. With these changes it makes following creators, with any subscriber count, easier.   

YouTube is taking a step further in tackling extremism.

Created in what seemed like ages ago, the year 2005, YouTube has now become a giant of a platform. Coming next to Google, YouTube is now a sought-after search engine around the globe. With the number of users to control and content to take charge of, it has now decided to take a more aggressive role in reprimanding supremacist content.

YouTube announced in their blog last Wednesday that they have been in the process of protecting the YouTube community from harmful contents. In order to push this goal, they have focused their efforts into four aspects – raising up authoritative content, rewarding trusted creators, removing violative content, and reducing the spread of borderline content. Minutes after the news, YouTube started out removing channels and videos of various users.

YouTube begins the takedown

Among the few early channels is owned by the independent journalist named Ford Fisher (News2Share). His channel covers activism, politics, and extremism. Some of his videos include gay right parades and supremacy rallies. After taking down some of his videos, his channel was demonetized.

This was a blow to Fisher since YouTube is his primary source of income. He argued that he isn’t spreading hate speech and when it comes to seeing things from a good perspective, YouTube doesn’t seem to be caring much that their content creators be paid fairly.

Jared Holt, Right Wing Watch’s investigative reporter shares the same sentiment. He said that YouTube must be there for their content creators and not against them if they really want to foster a healthy community. If they want something deleted, they need to explain it and if they demonetize a channel, they should at least give instructions on how to appeal it.

According to YouTube, this decision will result in a thousand channels to be removed. For now, Thulean Perspective, Xurios, and The Great Order have been wiped out from YouTube.