On Tuesday, September 24, YouTube announced it was rolling out its new commenting system powered by Google+. In a shift from comment recency to relevancy, YouTube will prioritize comments based on what they believe users care about.
“Comments you care about move to the top: You’ll see posts at the top of the list from the video’s creator, popular personalities, engaged discussions about the video, and people in your Google+ Circles. You can still see the most recent comments by switching from ‘Top Comments’ to ‘Newest First,’” states YouTube’s official blog post on the subject.
YouTube now requires commenters to have either a YouTube channel or a Google+ account, and people have been up in arms, voicing their opinions over Twitter, YouTube and other social sites. However, when it comes to brands and marketers, YouTube’s new commenting system yields more pros than cons.
For one, the new system will allow Google to personalize products for users and improve ad targeting. As people create Google+ accounts and volunteer personal information, Google will be able to tailor user experiences. For brands and marketers, this means access to a more targeted audience for ads across a Google+ integrated YouTube.
The new feature also presents brands and marketers with more opportunities to boost SEO. If there wasn’t enough of an incentive to have a branded Google+ page in the past, there is now. Not only will a Google+ page allow you to connect with fans and users, but it will also build your brand’s reputation with the largest search engine in the world. According to SEO experts from Sprout Social, strong Google-affiliated activity contributes to a higher search ranking.
On the user side, this new system will let Google assess commenter quality and give preferential influencer status.
“Google is going to reward the users by giving them authorship points and it’s going to reward the brands by giving them a higher quality score,” said Patrick Coombe, the CEO of Elite Strategies, an Internet marketing and design services firm. “More quality comments by influential users will give more points to that brand’s YouTube and Google+ page.”
On that note, because a Google+ or YouTube account is required to comment, anonymity on YouTube is a thing of the past. This was one of the riskier elements associated with the video hosting site and a reason many brands disabled commenting on videos. This new system will hopefully improve comment quality and as a result, consumer-brands interactions on the site. In addition, marketers and brands have new tools to review comments before they’re posted, block certain words, and auto-approve comments from certain fans.
This marriage between Google+ and YouTube will benefit brands and marketers if they’re producing quality content and interacting with users. Having a strong presence on each of these platforms ensures a fluid connection between content and the brand, maximizing brand affinity.
“Forward-thinking marketers who have spent the past two years building branded G+ pages should today be sharing more YouTube content with their audiences than ever before, as the connection between the two services has finally solidified,” said Dan Levin, COO of ViralGains. “The question of how long this connection will last, on the other hand, is clearly up in the air.”