YouTube Video Chapters

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YouTube Video Chapters

Jun 24, 2020

Our seventeenth minisode of the third season of “The Creative Influencer” podcast is available today for download on iTunes, Spotify, and premier platforms everywhere.  In minisodes, we answer questions that our listeners have emailed Jon.  In this minisode, Jon talks about a new feature on YouTube and how to add it to your videos.


A transcript of the episode follows:

This week’s question comes from Stewart.

Hi Jon,
I saw that YouTube added video chapters as a feature a few weeks ago. What are these for and should I add them to my videos?

Thank you for your e-mail Stewart.

This is a handy new feature that YouTube started rolling out around the last week of May.

In my opinion, one of the frustrating things about watching tutorial or how-to videos on YouTube is having to wade through long videos and starting and stopping playback to find the content that interests you. In the past, you had to rely on considerate YouTubers adding a list of timestamps in the video description. But you still had to play, fast forward, stop, start, play, fast forward. It was annoying.

But with the new YouTube Chapters feature, some of the hassle goes away by letting content creators embed timestamps right into the video progress bar. Now, when you fast forward using the bar, a topic description appears directly below the thumbnail image. This lets you quickly skip ahead to the part of the video that has the content you are looking for.

As with all things Google and YouTube, priority in search results is often tied to the relevance and quality of the content. In Google search results, this means that Google will display results higher when the website loads quickly and the website is uncluttered and easy to read, things that have less to do with the information itself, but contribute to the user experience and the ability for you to quickly find the information you are looking for on a particular website.

I’d argue that the same applies here: although adding chapters is completely optional, it strikes me as the type of thing that Google/YouTube would prioritize in deciding which videos show first in search results and which videos show in the trending feeds. For this reason, it seems like it would be well worth the effort to add Chapters to your videos.

By the way, adding chapters is very straight forward. You just need to type the relevant timestamps in a video’s description when you’re uploading. For the feature to work, videos must have at least three chapters of 10 seconds or more and the first chapter has to start at 0 minutes, 0 seconds (0:00). I’m going to do it for this minisode when we upload to YouTube, so check it out there.

By the way, I might as well give a plug if you didn’t know it already: this podcast and all past episodes are available on YouTube in addition to the standard podcasting platforms such as Apple podcasts and Spotify.

That’s it for this minisode.

The Creative Influencer is a bi-weekly podcast where we discuss all things creative with an emphasis on Influencers. It is hosted by Jon Pfeiffer, an entertainment attorney in Santa Monica, California.  Jon interviews influencers, creatives and the professionals who work with them.

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