Youtube’s traffic growth over the years can be attributed to three main factors: 1) the ease of creating and uploading user generated content, 2) the appeal of watching UGC and 3) allowing visitors to embed video into their website. The ability to easily snag code and post the video content on websites, blogs, and social portals exposed the Youtube brand to a far greater audience then those that would have come directly to Youtube.com – in fact almost 44% of YouTube users are watching embedded videos.
Youtube’s embeddable video has always been functional but other video websites, like Hulu.com, pushed the envelope in terms of functionality and user-experience. Yesterday, Youtube released 4 new features that look to increase usage and compete with other, better, embeddable players.
- High-quality start images (thumbnails) – Before you press play on embedded YouTube videos, the thumbnails for the video will be presented in high-quality. We’re pleased with the results – let us know if you agree.
- Search in embeddable player – At the close of an embedded video, along with the usual recommended videos and URLs, a search box will appear. Not only will you be able search from within the embedded player, you will be able to watch videos through the same window. That’s right, you can search all of YouTube from the comfort of your favorite blog, news, or humor page.
- Integrated video annotations – Annotations enable video producers to incorporate text information into their videos, create choose your own adventure-style stories or add links to any YouTube video. People watching videos through the embedded player can now join the fun.
- Integrated closed captions – Back in August we started allowing video creators to add captions to their videos. Closed Captions are now available in embedded videos like this one:
The key improvement is the search functionality within the embeddable player. Hulu got this right and every other video producer should take notice – allowing users to embed videos is not only good for Video SEO, but when done correctly should result in increased content discovery and direct visits.
The time and effort put into developing a embeddable player that focuses on the content and user-experience is well worth the effort.