YouTube Is Encouraging Users to Share Videos With a New in-App Messaging Feature

Test run competes with social sites like Facebook

Not to be outdone by Facebook, Snapchat and Amazon, YouTube wants to help people share videos through social media. Wired reports the video site is testing a feature that will do just that with a small percentage of its app users.

Instead of copying and pasting video links into emails or text message, select users can share videos with their friends from a new tab in the app. They can also set up strings of conversations and respond with videos and text.

YouTube's director of product management, Shimrit Ben-Yair, told Wired the new feature is designed to get more people sharing videos.

And the video giant likely wants to keep all the sharing within its own app, as Facebook and Snapchat are catching up to its scale. Some marketing executives say YouTube's been slow to keep up in mobile, particularly as people shift to watching videos within apps versus on the mobile web.

YouTube doesn't break out daily views, but watch time on the site has increased 50 percent in the past year, with more than half of its traffic coming from mobile. People watch 10 billion Snapchat videos a day, and Facebook had 989 million daily mobile active users in March.

Mobile was a major focus of YouTube's BrandCast event in New York last week, when CEO Susan Wojcicki advocated for advertisers to pour their TV dollars into digital advertising. But surprisingly, the company didn't share its latest messaging tests with media buyers during the presentation.