- YouTube unveiled a wide range of new features as well as a refreshed logo and redesigned mobile app in a company blog post. The Google-owned video platform highlighted how it's experimenting with how to display videos in the best possible way across screens, including through automatically optimizing its player to match the video format when watched from vertical, square or horizontal views.
- The blog post also highlighted the change from YouTube's launch 12 years ago, when it only supported video of 320x240 size and a 4:3 aspect ratio. It now supports SD, HD, 4K, 360-degree, 3-D and live video that can be watched on practically any device connected to the internet. A number of other user experience enhancements include a cleaned-up design, the ability to fast forward or rewind 10 seconds of video playback with a single tap, variable speed on video playback, new browsing options while watching videos and optimized playback experiences based on the aspect ratio of the video being watched.
- The new logo is a subtle shift from the old YouTube, when the "Tube" portion of the text was surrounded by a rounded red rectangle. In the new version, the rounded rectangle has moved to the left of "YouTube" to instead surround the iconic "play." This branding will be more intuitive for buttons on devices like TV remotes, physical jam boxes and online video and audio players.
Marketers' interest in digital video is only growing, and YouTube is and has for a long time been the go-to platform for the medium. Even as digital video has quickly proliferated across desktop and mobile screens, many marketers have difficulty in optimizing their efforts for an intuitive and seamless viewing experience, and have also experienced difficulty in mastering new formats that have emerged like vertical video.
A recent study from YouAppi found 96% of those surveyed face challenges in creating mobile video, in particular, with 35% pointing to difficulties in effectively delivering their content. In practical terms, YouTube's latest update means marketers can create video in whatever format they find most convenient and should have a reasonable expectation that any viewer on any device will receive a suitable, if not optimized, viewing experience.
The changes might be especially valuable for those looking to test out more bleeding-edge formats like 360-degree video, which can create immersive and resonant brand experiences but are also more technologically complex than straightforward offerings.
For another look at the YouTube updates, check out Andrew Hutchinson's analysis over at Social Media Today