YouTube: Keep on Clicking

July 25, 2019

YouTube wants you to watch videos. The more videos you watch, the more advertising space it can sell. In order to keep you engrossed, YouTube recommends videos that its algorithms think will appeal to you based on your viewing history. Sometimes the recommendations score, other times they sink faster than a flash in the pan viral video. Make Use Of explains how you can take control of your YouTube recommendations so they score every time: “YouTube Gives Viewers More Control Over Content.”

YouTube wants to give viewers more control over curating their video experience and they debuted brand new features to put viewers in “the driver’s seat.” YouTube wants to “help viewers find new interests and passions” and this comes from understanding what viewers like. In order for YouTube to know what to recommend, viewers need to tell YouTube so its content algorithms can do their magic. Here is how YouTube is “placing viewers in the driver’s seat” (although it’s really the illusion of control):

Explore Topics on the Homepage and Up Next: YouTube is making it easier to explore topics and related videos. You’ll see these topics both at the top of your homepage (when you scroll up) and on the Up Next section below the video you’re currently watching.

Stop Certain Channels Being Recommended: On the flipside, you can now tell YouTube to stop recommending videos from particular channels. Just tap the three-dot menu next to a video and select “Don’t recommend channel” from the dropdown menu.

Discover Why YouTube Is Recommending Videos: YouTube is also explaining why it’s recommending particular content. When YouTube recommends videos based on what other viewers have watched, you’ll see an information box underneath the video.”

The last feature about “discovering why YouTube recommends a video” is a real show of AI intelligence, unless the algorithm is similar to what Amazon Prime, Netflix, and Hulu use to make similar recommendations. It is neat at first, then becomes passé unless there is flashy cover art. These updates were made, because YouTube’s old algorithms sent viewers down endless rabbit holes. For example, if a viewer watches a single anti-vaccination video, suddenly all of their recommendations were about anti-vaccinations. The only way to wipe out the recommendation was to clear the viewing history or watch a bunch of videos on another topic.

YouTube wants to retain ands gain viewers. Giving its viewers more control and understanding what they like with smarter AI will keep the video platform relevant.

Whitney Grace, July 25, 2019


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