YouTube is said to be defending its turf in the social media land grab that has dominated release announcements in 2016, according to a report from Venture Beat.
It’s been a brutal year for the social platforms. Facebook’s double-down on live video took a bite out of Snapchat and Vine. Snapchat lost some of its soul to build features to compete with Facebook, only to be attacked by Instagram. Twitter, whose attempts to grow—both real and proposed—keep getting bad press and the platform is fading. Live streaming and chat functionality are appearing in every social platform, if only to shut out apps defined by those features like YouNow and WhatsApp. YouTube was bound to enter the arms race to keep their biggest names and regular fans happy on their video-sharing platform. Facebook, in particular, is working hard to woo celebrities and creators on other platforms with both their audience-building feature set and direct payments for content.
YouTube’s solution appears to be a new set of features called Backstage that is designed to help their creators interact more deeply with their subscribers. Backstage would allow YouTubers to share photos, text, links, and polls alongside their videos. The report suggests Backstage will also feature a traditional social media timeline with content appearing in chronological order. Importantly, these updates can appear in subscriber feeds and notifications to drive more interaction. Those interactions are also rumored to also expand from just comments to videos, photos, and emoji.
Backstage would open the door for YouTube to most content types seen on social platforms, including their parent company’s own Google+. If Backstage includes all the features that are rumored, it could even mean the end of Google’s problematic social play, which never took hold.
What Does This Mean For Influencer Marketing
If Backstage includes the rumored features, it will help YouTubers grow their subscriber community. With more ways to interact, it means deeper engagement right on YouTube, connected directly to their main creative outlet. Brands that partner with them can gain an advantage from the stronger connections influencers build and the fact that audiences will likely coalesce on fewer platforms as a result. Content repurposing will also grow. As with Instagram Stories and Snapchat Memories, support for more content formats means reuse is more possible for branded and influencer content.
Backstage is said to be rolling out to certain “popular YouTube accounts” later this year.