26th May 2017
We’ve all seen the spiteful and offensive comments lurking under YouTube videos. It’s safe to say that YouTube comments have a reputation of being very low quality. The negativity surrounding them has even led to brands and personalities disabling comments altogether.
Google acquired YouTube back in 2006. But it’s taken since then for the search giant to finally acknowledge the spam problem with the commenting system. Google+ powered comments are now being introduced to YouTube. The changes began to take place at the end of September for the discussion tab on channels and will be rolled out to videos by the end of the year.
Google+ powered YouTube comments will take full advantage of Circles. If you’re not familiar with Google+ Circles they simply allow users to share content with certain groups of people within a particular group. This has been integrated into YouTube comments and will allow for private discussions about a video with a ‘circle’ of friends or family. Gmail-like conversation threads will keep the comment section tidy.
Along with sub-discussions around videos, effective moderation tools are set to be implemented. This will allow for content creators to whitelist fans so they can comment without approval, ban certain words from comments and ultimately weed out spam. Ranking of comments will be influenced by many factors. One of these will be that users will still be able to up-vote or down-vote a comment.
The ‘top comments’ will also experience changes. Comments from the fans users interact with most will surface more frequently along with comments from the video creator. This should result in a more pleasant experience for all. Brands will finally be able to promote discussion, interact with users and offer help and support.
What does this mean for brands? Well, first and foremost, if you’ve not got a Google+ or YouTube presence then now is a good time to look into it. It’s less relevant if you don’t have any strong video content. But perhaps now is the time to reconsider that.
Brands with existing YouTube videos should seize this opportunity to shout about them and begin encouraging discussions. Brands that have disabled comments on their videos to avoid spam should enable them again and welcome what will hopefully be constructive and worthwhile discussion.
It’s not hard to jump to the conclusion that Google has ulterior motives in fusing the lukewarm Google+ ‘social network’ with the ever growing popularity of YouTube. However it’s irrelevant. We must all embrace the changes and take advantage of what will almost certainly be a renewed interest in Google+ and what should give YouTube a boost in becoming a powerful content-driven community building tool.