YouTube is experimenting with a new discovery element “hyperlinked keywords in comments.” According to the company, this will help viewers learn more about certain topics or products mentioned in comments. In YouTube’s words, hyperlinked keywords will “reduce friction for viewers looking to discover new and relevant content on the platform.”
To put it simply, viewers will be able to search certain words or phrases that they come across in comments directly from YouTube, instead of having to pause their YouTube in-stream activity to search the word.
YouTube’s criterion for the selection of these words for hyperlinks is simple too: keywords that the platform determines as ones that “encourage exploration” will be hyperlinked.
When a user clicks on a hyperlinked word or phrase, a search results page for the hyperlinked text will open. In the meantime, if the user has played a video on YouTube, it will continue playing in the miniplayer.
Creators will be able to remove the hyperlinks from keywords in the comments on their videos if they wish to. Moreover, hyperlinks can’t be added or changed by the commentors, however commentors can opt out of this test so as to not allow hyperlinks to be added in their comments.
To say whether or not the experiment would be successful is difficult at this point because it is hard to judge if hyperlinked keywords is as much of a practical option. But if it turns out to be so, then it is likely going to be a useful feature for discovery.
YouTube is simultaneously releasing other updates too. These include community posts being viewable on tablets, a new metric in YouTube Analytics that shows creators the number of users that have opted into reminders for their upcoming live-streams or Premieres, and an update to the Channel Memberships. The Channel Memberships update is an extension of a desktop functionality, that will enable managers to manage Channel Memberships on the YouTube Studio mobile app.