In hopes to consolidate its short-form content creation, YouTube has made plans to remove its stories feature. In tandem, the media company announced several new features that creators can look forward to. Stories will no longer be available to upload starting June, 26th, 2023, and any existing stories prior to this date will expire seven days after the original post date.
YouTube has been at the forefront of online video content creation since its inception back in 2005, but in recent years it’s been making changes to try and keep up with the burgeoning growth of bite-sized content like TikTok and Instagram. One of those changes was the 2018 implementation of ‘YouTube Stories’ reminiscent of the Snapchat feature with the same name. YouTube wasn’t the only adopter of stories, though. Both Instagram and Facebook added the disappearing posts back in 2016 and 2017 respectively, but what worked for those social media sites might not have for the video-housing giant.
Why Cut Stories?
It seems that stories simply didn’t live up to expectations, at least for YouTube. This short-form content existed too close to their other main source of quick consumables, YouTube Shorts. Similarly to how YouTube tried to emulate the success of Snapchat stories, the shorts are reminiscent of TikTok’s video length or Instagram’s Reels. The main differences between stories and shorts are the form of content and that content’s shelf life. Stories could host photos or videos that would disappear seven days after posting. Shorts, on the other hand, are exclusive to videos, up to 60 seconds in length, that exist on a dedicated scrollable tab, and they exist indefinitely.
For YouTube, stories existed to be an outlet for creators to create quick, easily digestible content for their viewers. However, on a platform based almost entirely on lasting video, they felt disjointed. Additionally, YouTube felt that stories were vastly underperforming compared to regular posts or even shorts, and thus the decision was made to get rid of them.
How Can Creators Interact with Viewers Now?
Creators shouldn’t worry too much about the removal of YouTube stories. There already exist a couple different tools they can use that work even better.
As mentioned, the main competitor to YouTube stories was YouTube’s own shorts page. This, of course, can fill in the potential hole of short-form videos. These videos help to garner more engagement in a channel’s main posts, as well as to be a forum for creators to cater their content to their viewers.
Another tool creators can use to get direct feedback from their audience is through the “Community” page. Anything from polls to announcements to Q&As gets posted there making it a great resource to get direct feedback. YouTube also plans to roll out more features for the community page in 2023.
What Features to Expect from YouTube in 2023
Out with the old and in with the new features. YouTube has dropped several new features already this year, and with more on the horizon, there’s a lot for both creators and viewers alike to be excited about.
Some of the most exciting new features that YouTube has already implemented in 2023 include changes to shorts, monetization, and how viewers can interact with creators.
Shorts received a makeover recently. Unlike before, creators can now create and choose custom thumbnails for their quick videos, allowing for more engagement and expression. Additionally, shorts will join the YouTube partner program later this year.
Monetization looks different, too. Now audiences have more outlets than ever to support their favorite creators. The most prominent of these outlets is merchandise. Now, instead of having to search for creator merch, YouTube now allows creators to tag products directly in their videos. In addition, YouTube expects to do a complete overhaul of its membership system and direct fan funding.
Fans of YouTube live streaming will also be excited to see live reactions coming to the site. A common feature of contemporary streaming sites, YouTube has caught up to the trend.
In the latter half of the year waits some of the most anticipated additions to YouTube. The aforementioned changes to monetization through the membership program and additions to the community tab are just some of what we can expect in 2023.
One of the most welcome additions YouTube has announced is its changes to audio in their videos, and how they can use owned media without risking copyright infringement. This will come to us in the form of a vaster library of YouTube-owned music for creators to freely use, as well as an option to license popular music while maintaining revenue from videos the music is used in. This will offer creators more stability in monetization when utilizing songs from big-name artists.
More features for engagement are also expected in 2023. Multi-language videos are on the docket, allowing creators to add multiple audio tracks to a video depending on the region it’s shown. This feature was tested by popular creator Mr. Beast and has shown itself to be of great success.
Lastly, YouTube plans to add A/B testing for thumbnails this year, one of the most highly requested features from creators. This lets creators use two different thumbnails early in a video’s publishing to test for engagement.
What else YouTube plans to add to their site, we’ll just have to wait and see. So far the changes appear to be in favor of users on both sides of the content line.