YouTube Gets Engaged: Changes Algorithms to Reward Quality

 By Ivan Nelson, Founder & CEO at MotiVideos


The fact that YouTube recently changed its algorithms to recommend videos with higher engagement instead of higher hits is another demonstration of the almighty importance of engagement. Videos that keep viewers watching and generate more likes and comments will rise above the fray.



Although this YT algorithm change may seem minor, I predict that it will change the online video marketplace in a fundamental way. The days of bad content rising to the top because of misleading teaser names and thumbnails (video spam) or web robots are over. Good viral videos will continue to make it to the top from time to time but one group stands to gain the most from these changes: YT channels. Episodic content that survives the test of time and continues to generate new subscribers will rise to the top of rankings.

What should you expect next? Engagement-based Ad revenues, of course. Comscore just released the March 2012 Online U.S. Video Rankings, and one thing comes out loud and clear: the largest users of advertising are the sites with the highest engagement (the Google Video properties and Hulu, the “little” joint venture launched by Comcast, Disney and News Corp).

As finding quality video content becomes easier and advertisers flock to it, it is not difficult to see how video producers will earn greater budgets to continuously improve their content and to experiment with. More viewers will flock to their content, which will create greater gravity around it and solidify these quality channels. I predict that in a few years a couple of hundred highly visible channels will hog 90% of YT’s traffic and make it very difficult for other content to gain visibility, although viral content will survive and provide a small stream of creative renewal.

Consequently, the cost of entry is starting to increase rapidly as I had insisted in a previous post on video SEO and it will become increasingly more difficult for newbies to generate traffic on YouTube. So if you haven’t started a YT channel yet, don’t wait too long!



Visit 'Social Pixels' - Ivan's blog about video, social media & more …About the Author – Ivan is Founder and CEO of MotiVideos, a start-up producing Online Video to help motivate corporate teams. Prior to MotiVideos, Nelson led the Digital Communications team of Sanofi, where, among other things, he championed the creation of a Corporate YouTube Channel, which soon became the second most visited Corporate Pharma Channel. Earlier in his career, Ivan built and managed the Sanofi US video production studio. He lives in NJ with his wife and children and can often be seen coaching his son’s soccer team. Contact him at or follow his blog at

Published: May 9, 2012 By: Larry Thomas