#SlowClap for YouTube Adding Mobile End Screens

I’m going to show my age here, but I’m old enough to remember YouTube Custom Channels for brands. These were branded “experiences” that companies received for free, just for investing six-figures+ with Google (not that I know from experience or anything).

Remember the Pepsi Refresh Project? This was their custom YouTube Channel.

Remember the Pepsi Refresh Project? This was their custom YouTube Channel.

The problem with Custom Channels was that the amount of traffic sent to the custom channel never really made up for the (alleged) $300K investment.

Hey, the Old Spice guy!

Hey, the Old Spice guy!

On top of that, in the early 2010’s (Aughteens?) the amount of mobile traffic on YouTube was skyrocketing. But did YouTube provide mobile support for these channels? Not so much.

At that point, many brands rightfully refocused their channel efforts on improving video performance with adding title cards and end screens to their videos in order to maintain traffic on their own channels.

Still, the effort to create a compelling end screen is not without its pain points.

Screen Shot 2016-11-02 at 6.30.01 PM.png

The above video is nearly ten minutes long, and it’s title is “The Easiest Way to Make a YouTube End Screen.” The money not spent on investing in a bloated branded channel was shifted to hours of thankless post-production work by an intern, or by brand manager who was the only guy in the office who knew how YouTube worked. (Not bitter at all.)

Also, one of the knocks from a creator’s standpoint has been that, for all the trouble it takes to make a halfway decent end screen, the end result still didn’t work on mobile, which at this point is almost negligent. Take it from YouTube’s own propaganda on Mobile usage (emphasis mine):

Once users are on YouTube, they are spending more time per session watching videos. On mobile, the average viewing session is now more than 40 minutes.
More than half of YouTube views come from mobile devices

Which brings us to October 26, 2016, when YouTube announced the implementation of mobile end screens. A welcomed, forward-thinking move on their part, and most likely one that was supported by data:

A comScore study (commissioned by Google), released earlier this summer found that millennials are more likely to binge-watch digital video than older viewers. 37 percent of millennials said they binge-watched daily, while only 14 percent of those 35 or older did the same, for example.

Now if you’re watching watching your favorite web video on mobile, you can frictionlessly continue on to view the next in the series. The future is (finally) here.

Mitch Mirsky is the Principal at Black Lab Digital, LLC, and has led social strategy at global organizations such as Fisher-Price and New Era Cap.