YouTube recently made changes to the algorithm which controls which videos show up in the related video section. This was a direct response to users’ outrage that the old algorithm could be so easily manipulated in order for certain individuals to make money on the success of other videos.
Known as ‘reply girls’, these users discovered that by posting reply videos to popular YouTube videos, they could pull traffic from these videos using a certain amount of cleavage. They very rarely have anything of value to say, and usually merely point out the obvious for around 3 minutes. What would be the point of that, you may be wondering? They make a whole lot of money from the ads, as they usually bring in a similar number of hits as their target video.
The changes will now place videos in that section based not only on the number of views, but also on how long users view the videos for. This will hopefully stop the reply girl videos ranking quite so high, as the majority of people get bored after only a few seconds.
So what does this mean for users who post genuine video responses?
You’re now going to have to work that little bit harder to make sure you capture and engage your audience. YouTube will help you out along the way, by offering news stats which show not only hits, but also viewing times. Be sure to get your aim and message in to the video before you provide the content; then your users will know exactly what they’re going to see. You’ll also have to make sure that the thumbnail you use is highly relevant to the video content, as clicks will still count.
And what about the replygirls? The most famous, know as ‘thereplygirl’ will be using here exposure and video making skills to produce actual content, which will include tutorials and similar content. Although, without the constant exposure (no pun intended) it’s difficult to say if she’ll still be as successful.