Peggy K's Creator Weekly: WordPress Monetization, YouTube Trends, Twitch Tip Jar, Patreon Free for Fans
Happy summer all!
This week is VidCon in Anaheim, the annual meeting of fans, video streaming stars, and industry members, including title sponsor YouTube and TikTok. You can watch this weekend’s goings-on live on the VidCon YouTube channel.
That means there are a number of updates for video creators this week, with some features rolling out now, and others in beta testing.
For web publishers there are new monetization options on WordPress.com, new Patreon free for fans, AI tools and more.
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YouTube Trends for 2023
In a survey of 18-44 year olds in 14 countries, an amazing 82% said they had posted video online in the past year and 40% consider themselves “video content creators”! Most people also watch video in multiple formats. And (not surprisingly) remixing content, effects and memes are popular. And yes, they mention generative AI-created content.
The Colin & Samir show (“About Creators, For Creators”) interviewed Kevin Allocca, YouTube’s Head of Culture and Trends about the report and what it means for creators. Watch the interview here.
I was interested in what he had to say about generative AI. In particular he talked about using AI as part of the creative workflow, such as generating prompts and challenges for content creation, AI-based video editing tools, creating video titles, turning video into animation and more.
Related: Hannah Doyle and Nathan Graber-Lipperman @ The Publish Press have an interesting article about “YouTube’s New Wave” (“an internet-native film and artistic movement that has emerged as a response to the so-called “Beastification” of YouTube”).
AI-Generated Dubbed Translations
Currently Aloud supports English, Spanish and Portuguese, with more languages in the works.
They are also “working to make translated audio tracks sound like the creator’s voice, with more expression, and lip sync”. That may be available in 2024.
You can sign up to get early access at aloud.area120.google.com.
Thumbnail Test and Compare
YouTube is testing a thumbnail A/B testing tool. It lets creators add up to three custom thumbnails that are compared for performance so that a winning thumbnail can be selected. Watch the announcement on Creator Insider.
Notably, it will compare thumbnails by watch time, not clicks. The YouTube Search Liaison Rene Ritchie explains why: “[Click Through Rate] gets people to over-index on clicks to the point where the video no longer fits/delivers and that tanks retention and hurts performance.”
CTR gets people to over-index on clicks to the point where the video no longer fits/delivers and that tanks retention and hurts performance. So, right now, we’re focusing on what delivers the most watch time and that’s way better aligning for total performance
— Creator Liaison (@YouTubeLiaison)
Jun 22, 2023
In the coming months this will be tested by a few thousand creators, then should be more broadly available next year.
How can you get in on new features? Sign up on the Creator Research page to be considered for trying new features and giving YouTube feedback.
Twitch Tip Jar
Viewers can purchase a Hype Chat message that is then pinned to the top of the live chat.
Available to Partners only (Twitch believes “Hype Chat will work best in channels that feature fast-moving chat”)
The revenue split is 70% to the streamer, 30% to Twitch on the net revenue. There is a 5% fee to cover transaction costs.
Viewers can purchase Hype Chat from $1 to $500 in their local currency (streamers can set a minimum amount). See pricing by country.
Hype Chat messages cannot include banned words or phrases, cannot be posted by users who are timed out or banned from the chat, and can be unpinned from the top of the chat by the streamer.
Streamers can set up Hype Chat alerts in their Stream Alerts settings (https://dashboard.twitch.tv/stream-alerts )
This is a revenue stream in addition to Bits, paid Subs and Gift Subs
It seems like this was inevitable, and hopefully it ends up a good source of revenue for creators.
More YouTube and Video Updates
YouTube has updated their impersonation policy to require that fan channels have a name and @handle that makes it obvious that the channel does not represent the original “artist, creator or entity”. This seems aimed in part at channels that claim to be a “fan account”, but just reupload a creator’s content without permission. This change goes into effect on August 21.
Instagram is rolling out the ability to download any public Reel. This appears to be US-only to start. You can turn off the ability to have your Reels downloaded in your Instagram account settings.
Meta is bringing more advertising options to Reels on Facebook and Instagram. If advertisers jump in, this may mean more revenue for creators. And it could help the entire vertical-video-ad ecosystem. Also shared from Cannes: a Reels Creative Mini Manual for marketers (pdf).
Twitch introduced Content Classification Labels to replace the single “Mature Content” label. Now streams can be labeled as “Mature-Rated Game”, “Sexual Themes”, “Drugs, Intoxication or Excessive Tobacco Use”, “Violent and Graphic Depictions”, “Significant Profanity or Vulgarity”, or Gambling. Streamers are expected to accurately label their streams, and incorrect labeling can result in a warning email and the correct label added automatically. Starting July 20, repeated warnings may result in “label lock”. Why the update? Twitch says “this will allow advertisers to have more context to inform which types of streams they show their ads alongside”.
Google Search’s Gary Illyes explains why you should not use AI LLM’s (Large Language Models) to diagnose SEO issues or other problems with your website. "Can they give you factually correct information in general? Yes! Can they give you information that has nothing to do with reality? Also yes!"
Automattic is pushing custom domains. With the announcement of Google’s sale of its Domains business to Squarespace, WordPress.com has a tutorial for transferring your domain to their service. And now Tumblr is offering domain registration for your Tumblr blog (including a deal on .blog domains), while deprecating linking domains registered elsewhere.
WordPress.com now allows monetization of sites on the free plan. You can monetize with pay-gated premium content, paid subscriptions, have an online store, or add affiliate links. Note that running ads on your site still requires a paid plan (Business or Commerce plan for third party ads like AdSense). Learn more about monetization options.
AI and Social Media
LinkedIn is launching an AI tool for drafting posts. You need to enter at least 30 words as a prompt, and it will generate an editable draft. The generated draft in the announcement seems both wordy and generic (so typical generative AI), and hopefully people will actually edit what’s generated and not just dump AI-generated content in the feed.
Meta is launching a Community Forum on Generative AI, run together with the Stanford Deliberative Democracy Lab. “Participants will explore the principles a diverse range of users from around the world believe generative AI systems should align with.” Their previous Metaverse Community Forum included more than 6,000 social media users from 32 countries, in 9 regions, speaking 23 different languages.
Patreon is positioning itself as an algorithm-free space with “guaranteed reach” for creators to interact with their fans. To that end there is now a free tier. Fans can follow you on Patreon without paying anything. Creators can also set up a customized home page, where people can “join the community”, and there is now the option to sell digital products from a dedicated “Shop” tab.
Twitter Blue subscribers can now Tweet up to 25,000 characters. To give you a sense of how ginormous that is, this newsletter is less than 20,000 characters. The “Note” Tweets don’t let you add any rich formatting, so it’s not clear who is actually going to read such a massive wall of text.
Social Media Today is covering how Twitter is trying to bring in more advertising revenue, including adding services that give advertisers more control of where their ads appear. But it’s not clear how good Twitter’s stats are, and apparently the numbers keep shifting. And it’s not clear that Twitter’s current owner understands the ad business at all (and he definitely isn’t good at playing nice with brands).
Amid ongoing protests of the API charges that are forcing the shutdown of third party apps, Reddit announced content filtering (by flair) coming to the mobile app, and the addition of a “Live” section of Chats to highlight chat channels you haven’t joined in the communities you are a member of. (Since Reddit indicated they might replace moderators of subreddits set to private, there have been some creative protests. For example r/femalefashionadvice is limiting questions to 18th century fashion.)
Google Meet is offering a number of new features for educators. The one I’m looking forward to using: “pair your tile with someone else’s so if one of you speaks, you’re both highlighted.” This will be great for co-presenters or for meetings where there is a sign language interpreter.
Header image background: Sand texture background by Lifestyle Graphic on Canva. Free for commercial use.