YouTube Goes After Instagram
YouTube creators are gaining three major new tools to generate revenue from their videos outside of traditional advertising, as well as those that will help them better engage their fans. This comes after Instagram’s launch of IGTV, so clearly this is a rebuttal since IGTV offers similar features.
This new features include rollout of channel memberships, merchandising, and the launch of Premieres.
Creators with 100,000 subscribers or more, are over 18 and members of the YouTube Partner Program qualify for this feature. For $4.99 per month, this feature will allow subscribers to gain access to members-only posts in the Community tab where creators can share custom perks, like access to an exclusive videos, news, announcements, and more. YouTube says it will vet these perks manually, to ensure they meet YouTube’s guidelines and are something the creator can actually deliver. The perks can be almost anything the creator wants to offer, within YouTube’s guidelines.
In addition to memberships, creators will also be able to sell to fans directly. The feature will show pictures of creators’ merchandise in a display under their videos. This tool is available to all channels in the U.S. with over 10,000 subscribers. This greatly increases the visibility of YouTubers’ branded gear on the platform. Previously, creators could only paste a link with no options to upload images of their merchandise in their video descriptions. This has the opportunity to increase sales by getting more clicks to products. Previously, people had to click “show more” to see the full description, creating an extra step in the process.
Finally, YouTubers can use a new feature called “Premieres” that creates a landing page they can promote ahead of a video’s release. This page will also have a chat feature, like Live videos do, which means creators can use Super Chat and take advantage of Channel Membership perks even if they aren’t doing live content.
The videos are uploaded in the same interface on YouTube, so there’s no new workflow to learn beyond toggling the “Premiere” switch on. Creators can also join in the chats as the video goes live to engage with their fans around this pre-recorded content, as well as comment on the videos before they start. When the Premiere wraps, it’s posted as a regular video on the site (without the two-minute countdown video YouTube adds).
YouTube said its version of Stories will arrive for all eligible creators with more than 10,000 subscribers later this year as well. The announcements come at a critical time for YouTube, as Facebook and Instagram are trying to woo creators away to their platforms and video hubs with unique features of its own.