How important is YouTube’s trending section for getting views? According to YouTube chief business officer Robert Kyncl, it has less of an impact than people might believe. In an interview posted today, creator Caspar Lee and Kyncl discuss everything from monetization and YouTube’s trending section to memberships, echo chambers, and abuse. “You are getting a majority of your views through recommendations,” Kyncl tells Lee.
Unlike recommendations, which are fed to users based on what they watch, YouTube’s trending tab bills itself as “the pulse of what’s trending” on the platform. A look at the section today offers videos like the Captain Marvel trailer, clips from The Ellen Show, iPhone reviews, and a new music video from Eminem. As Lee points out, however, the section doesn’t feature many creators. “The way we think about the trending tab, and the reason we have it, is that we’re trying to always bring more audiences to YouTube for our creators to be able to show their videos to,” Kyncl says.
“What we really want creators to do is go in and appeal.”
The point of the trending tab is to ensure new users aren’t overwhelmed by content. If someone wanders onto YouTube and finds a familiar topic, they’re more likely to stick around and explore. “What we’re trying to do is not reflect only what’s popular on YouTube, but also what is popular in the world,” Kyncl says. “It means we’re taking lots of inputs from everywhere — outside of YouTube, as well — into consideration.”
It’s worth watching the full interview, which also tackles the sticky topic of monetization. When Lee says he feels like he gets fewer views when a video is limited or not given ads — the dreaded yellow dollar sign versus a healthy green one — Kyncl dismisses this as a myth. “We separate monetization decisions from viewership decisions,” he says. “If you let monetization influence your viewership, over time, you start losing your audience.”
Kyncl encourages any creator whose videos have been tagged with a yellow dollar sign to reach out. “What we really want creators to do is go in and appeal that because they’re giving us more intelligence about the videos,” he says. “Our systems are not perfect. The more creators give us feedback through an appeal, the less false positives we create.”