YouTube Puts More Focus On Time Watched Over Views With Updated Search Algorithm, Analytics

By Megan O'Neill 

Back in August, YouTube’s head of creator marketing communications Eric Meyerson reported that YouTube was shifting the focus for suggested videos from views to watch time.  Today, YouTube announced that search is now optimized for time watched.

According to a post on the YouTube Creators blog, “We’ve started adjusting the ranking of videos in YouTube search to reward engaging videos that keep viewers watching.  This is a continuation of ongoing efforts to focus our video discovery features on watch time, and follows changes we made to Suggested Videos in March, and recent improvements to YouTube Analytics.”

They report that the new changes to the algorithm appear to be working.  People are clicking less and watching more and YouTube expects that “the amount of time viewers spend watching videos from search and across the site to increase.”

To help creators better understand which content is keeping their viewers around, yesterday YouTube added Time Watched data to their analytics suite. “Estimated minutes watched” data has been added to the Views analytics report.  This should help content creators improve their content based upon the knowledge of what gets their viewers to stick around and what makes them lose interest.

What do you think about YouTube’s recent focus shift from views to time watched?  Have you noticed an improvement in suggested videos and search results on the site?

Image credit: katykin via

Megan O’Neill is the resident web video enthusiast here at Social Times.  Megan covers everything from the latest viral videos to online video news and tips, and has a passion for bizarre, original and revolutionary content and ideas.