Discover YouTube’s Updated Feature – ‘New To You’!

Have you ever gotten bored with YouTube? The answer will be more likely to be a no!! There might be occasions when you go on YouTube just to watch a music video. But end up in watching a tutorial on how to talk to a giraffe! Many of us spend a lot of time browsing for some website or the app. Especially younger people who grew up in the internet era are addicted to late-night scrolling on it. We even have our favorite channels, our favorite bloggers and shows. That is why this subject on YouTube is very relevant and interesting for a lot of people.

YouTube’s success journey

Being a free video sharing platform that allows users to create, upload and watch video content online, it gives the provision and freedom to any of the users to create their own channel, where their videos will appear. Also, they can follow the channels of other users, comment and share their videos.

YouTube’s vision is to give everyone a voice, to evolve video, and to make partners and advertisers successful. YouTube Analytics is known to be one of the best features of YouTube. It helps in tracking what kind of users are watching their videos, how often, from where etc. This positions YouTube in the second rank among the most visited websites in the world.

Being one of the most popular and visited websites, nowadays YouTube represents a powerful source for marketing and business activities. It cuts across categories, where it cannot be classified as a video sharing site alone. But it has evolved over as a platform that is more important than a social media site. It has become a communication channel, a place for creativity and a space for semi-private sharing at the same time.

However, YouTube accounts for the best searching history with an adequate amount of features. Back in July 2021, it introduced a ‘New To You’ section for Android users. The feature will enable users to discover new content based on watching preferences. This allows users to explore contents that are ‘outside of the typical recommendations’.

What is “New to You” on YouTube?

‘New to You’ is the opposite of YouTube’s Explore, which helps users discover videos in specific topics
‘New to You’ is the opposite of YouTube’s Explore, which helps users discover videos in specific topics

When it is late at night and we can’t sleep, we keep refreshing our YouTube feed. We hunt for something original to watch, right? But what YouTube does is, it keeps on giving the recommendations of videos which we have already watched. Seeing the same ancient videos, we often get tired of seeing the same old recommendations in the YouTube feed.

So, it is a common dilemma that most of us have faced. To help us out, YouTube launched a personalized feature called “New to You”. This was meant to offer fresh videos that we have never seen before. To help users discover new content and creators, the “New to you” feature was claimed to be of great use. It was available on the YouTube homepage across mobile, desktop, and TV devices.

To make it simple, ‘New to You’ is a section of YouTube that will give you fresh video recommendations. It only includes videos you haven’t seen and unlike those you usually watch. While it won’t recommend videos from channels you subscribe to, it will respect your general tastes and interests. Thus, though it will recommend fresh stuff, it won’t be too wild for your liking.

How to use YouTube’s “New to You” feature for fresh contents?

Basically, YouTube added a new section for the users to tap or click on the top bar, embedded on their feed, which may not always be available as it is a personalized list. “New to you” was available on the YouTube homepage across mobile, desktop, and TV devices. To try out “New to you”, users should tap “New to you” in the topic bar. This tab can also be found when users refresh the YouTube homepage on mobile.

Users were provided with a “New to you” prompt as they scroll through their feed. Since this feature is personalized, it may not always be available. Users will need to be signed in to see it, the Google-owned video platform further specified. The reason this new feature exists is because the users apparently have been telling YouTube to show them more videos from new creators.

Critical analysis of ‘New to You’:

In a desktop browser, after signing in to your YouTube account, the New to You tab automatically shows up alongside other tabs at the top.
In a desktop browser, after signing in to your YouTube account, the New to You tab automatically shows up alongside other tabs at the top.

YouTube’s ‘New to You’ should be a boost for creators. It should help creators gain additional exposure among viewers who would not have found them otherwise. For viewers, that could help them uncover totally new channels and niche interests. Ideally, it keep them on YouTube for even longer. While for creators, it may help them gain additional exposure among viewers who’ll be interested in their content, but would not have found them otherwise.

The feature is meant to refresh viewers’ YouTube feed and enhance the YouTube explore feature. The feature displays the content which it thinks aligns with the viewers watching preferences. But at the same time, has a novelty factor in it. It might be from a new YouTube channel a viewer has never seen before or a different genre of content that is similar to what the viewer has watched in the past.

Additionally, the new feature will also help creators to reach new audiences who might be interested in watching the type of content but have never explored a particular channel before. On the other hand, viewers might find a new type of content that they might be interested in.

Similar features: a comparative study:

New to You is the opposite of YouTube’s Explore, which helps users discover videos in specific topics, such as music and gaming, without referring to your watch history or subscriptions. Basically, Explore is not personalized unlike New to You.

It seems YouTube has taken inspiration from TikTok’s “For You” page, which works similarly; a curated feed of videos from creators you might not follow, but which TikTok’s algorithm thinks you will like based on your interests and past interactions. Anything that encourages never-ending content consumption is going to help a service supported by ads, and this will probably result in YouTube viewing times increasing substantially. This was the ideology behind implementing this feature. 

However, how effective the tool is, depends on how good YouTube’s algorithm is at linking up key viewer trends and habits, and showcasing new content based on those connections. 

According to studies based on this new feature of YouTube, it says that the new recommendations that are given after clicking ‘New To You’ is no different from what the users have seen before or sometimes, exactly the same videos come as suggestions in the feed. This almost marks the failure of the app feature as there is nothing novel or difference that this attribute could bring into the user experience.

‘New to You’ – a success or failure?

It is reported that this feature could not highlight great stuff that the user has never even thought to look for. Also, as the recommendations are too vague and untargeted, people don’t tap that button too much. Due to this, the introduction of this option didn’t make a valuable addition for YouTube’s market.

However, it was an interesting experiment either way, and with so much content to choose from, it made sense for YouTube to start recommending new content to users, and utilising its full catalogue where possible. But, ultimately it seemed to be a failure due to the malfunctioning of the algorithm and didn’t make any difference in its revenue collection.