Susan Wojcicki, the CEO of YouTube, has shared a letter about the platform’s major areas of focus for 2022 as well as where it sees new possibilities, implying some huge changes in the platform’s roadmap.
What will be the main priorities of YouTube in 2022?
Despite the fact that TikTok continues to expand, and other platforms compete for video market share, YouTube is still the industry leader. And, based on its current long-term planning and development, the platform will stay as number one for some time to come.
YouTube’s most significant focus has been TikTok-like short video platform Shorts, which YouTube claims to have reached 5 trillion all-time views, demonstrating the format’s potential.
TikTok is a key rival for YouTube, as it tries to retain its position as the internet video leader. While YouTube clearly remains the main app for lengthy content, TikTok’s growing audience poses a danger to its long-term expansion.
Wojcicki notes that:
“The number of channels around the world making more than $10,000 a year is up 40% year over year [while] YouTube’s creative ecosystem supported more than 800,000 jobs in 2020.”
There is a lot more room for creators to earn a lot more money on YouTube than TikTok, which Hank Green recently highlighted in a new video clip, in which he urged TikTok personalities to collaborate and ask for a bigger piece of the platform’s expanding revenue pie.
That appeal has already received some support from prominent users, and it will eventually help to cement YouTube’s position as the destination of choice for creators looking to monetize their work.
Wojcicki highlights that:
“Now there are 10 ways for creators to make money on YouTube. Last year, YouTube Channel Memberships and paid digital goods were purchased or renewed more than 110 million times.”
Last but not least, there are new possibilities for platforms to capitalize on the trend by providing more ways for customers to showcase their digital item purchases. Twitter debuted its NFT profile display option last week, and Instagram and Reddit are developing their own variations of NFT-related features.
YouTube also has its own plans related to NFTs:
“The past year in the world of crypto, nonfungible tokens (NFTs), and even decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) has highlighted a previously unimaginable opportunity to grow the connection between creators and their fans. We’re always focused on expanding the YouTube ecosystem to help creators capitalize on emerging technologies, including things like NFTs, while continuing to strengthen and enhance the experiences creators and fans have on YouTube.”
It’s difficult to say how that would work, but it appears that NFTs will have a larger presence in the social media environment.
Also, Wojcicki addressed the uproar surrounding YouTube’s decision to eliminate negative ratings on videos, which has been widely condemned in certain communities.
“We saw the dislike count harming parts of our ecosystem through dislike attacks as people actively worked to drive up the number of dislikes on a creator’s videos. These attacks often targeted smaller creators and those just getting started. We want every creator to feel they can express themselves without harassment. So we experimented with removing the dislike count across millions of videos over many months. Every way we looked at it, we did not see a meaningful difference in viewership, regardless of whether or not there was a public dislike count. And importantly, it reduced dislike attacks.”
While some users may be disappointed by the removal of dislikes, Wojcicki claims that the overall impact has been largely beneficial, therefore it’s unlikely to reverse course at this point.
On the platform’s creator accountability, Wojcicki noted improvements in user safety tools and creator reporting capabilities, as well as the platform’s ongoing efforts to collaborate with governments on new regulations, including the Digital Services Act (DSA) and Article 17 in the EU.
Even as potential rivals grow in popularity, YouTube is in a solid position. TikTok is the current app on everyone’s lips, while Facebook may have more overall users. But YouTube’s well-established systems and creator partnerships appear poised to keep it at the top of the pack for some time to come.
There’s a reason why YouTube just discontinued its Originals program in order to concentrate on creator financing. And that has the potential to benefit the platform significantly in 2022.