YouTube is always experimenting with new ways to keep its audience engaged and some of its new features - such as autoplaying videos and GIF sharing support - have come to aid in that effort.
While Google’s giant video streaming site has changed the way users consume media, it also looks like the successful website wants to adopt some of the older monetizing models such as interweaving content with ads. That’s why YouTube is now trying out autoplaying videos to keep users interested.
The new feature has been rolled out to a select few around the world to be tested out before it has a chance of spreading to more users. The way it works is that upon finishing a video a new one would automatically start, with a toggle to turn off this behavior. The whole point is to keep people watching and add commercials in there between the content. It's similar to how TV has ad breaks amid constantly running shows.
According to an ex-YouTuber, this strategy does work, in that it makes people watch more videos but it also has been meet with considerable pushback, which may mean that the feature could be scrapped in favor of a different model. However, that remains to be determined in the near future.
But here’s another way to have more people watch your content: make sure those who do watch share it with their friends. And YouTube seems to want to make this an even more attractive option by adding GIF-sharing support.
Again this feature has only been rolled out to a few select channels but if you visit them you’ll find you can create and share short GIFs of the video content. Users can pick up to six seconds of video that will then be transformed and shared in GIF format.
While this isn’t a major change it will no doubt be welcomed by many folks around the interwebs who enjoy spreading the love through GIFs.